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4th Year Rotations – Choosing Your Sites

So you’ve just started your 3rd year of optometry school, finally got a grasp of seeing patients on your own, and now you’re about to take on the daunting task of choosing from over a hundred externship sites for your 4th-year rotations.  

On top of the vast number of sites to consider, the process can become stressful given most school’s “lottery” protocol, especially as the list of available favorable sites dwindle.

However, determining what you deem most fundamental in the last year of clinic and doing thorough research to ascertain the pros and cons of each site will make externship selection the easiest feat of your 3rd year.

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Julie Chao
Julie Chao is a UCLA alum embarking on her rotations as a 4th-year optometry student at Western University of Health Sciences. During her time on campus at WesternU, she served as the Lead Student Ambassador for Prospective Candidates and Vice President of Optometry Private Practice Business Club. She is currently a Student Liaison for the AOA-Vision Rehabilitation Section and was recently initiated into Gold Key Optometric Honors Society. Julie is passionate about integrating a multidisciplinary approach to patient care, shifting focus to wellness-centered medicine through efficient inter-professional communication. She hopes to pursue a residency in Vision Rehabilitation and Ocular Disease.


  1. Great article! Often times it is important to match 4th-year students with a site that nurtures and encourages a particular discipline within our profession. It is a great way to see if the student might be interested in pursuing a residency in that particular area. From binocular vision heavy sites to primary care and the more medical offices, we have a cornucopia of models that the interns can appreciate and give way to shape their future. Congratulations on a well written and thought out post!


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