Jump to Footer

NECO Agreement

3+4 AFFILIATION AGREEMENT BETWEEN NEW ENGLAND COLLEGE OF OPTOMETRY AND WESTERN NEW ENGLAND UNIVERSITY

New England College of Optometry, 424 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02115 ("NECO") and Western New England University, 1215 Wilbraham Road, Springfield, MA 01119 ("WNE") do hereby enter into a formal Affiliation Agreement ("Agreement") on the date this Agreement is signed by the authorized administrative representatives of both institutions.

Purposes:

NECO and Western New England University wish to establish an affiliation for the early admission of Western New England University students who satisfy certain requirements into the Four-Year Optometry ("OD04") program at NECO.

Eligibility:

For students recruited into Western New England University's 's first-year class and who demonstrate strong aptitude for and interest in joining this accelerated program, Western New England University will offer this opportunity at the time these students are considering enrollment from their secondary school experience. While the Office of Admissions at Western New England University will exercise professional judgment to determine which applicants are offered admission into this program as a pre-first-year student, the following academic metrics provide general expectations:

a. High school GPA of 3.0 on 4.0 scale, with a strong science and math curriculum
b. SAT of 1100, Critical Reading & Math or ACT of 24.

NECO will support Western New England University's recruitment efforts with these students when requested by the University's Office of Admission.  Once admitted into the 3+4 program, these students will be expected to make progress towards the academic and co-curricular goals delineated in statements a-i below.

As described in Addendum B, current Western New England University students can enter the 3+4 program at the early stages of their Western New England University experience. These students will be expected to meet the academic and co-curricular goals delineated in statements a-i below.

Third-year students (Juniors) of Western New England University will receive early admissions status to NECO's 0004 program under this Agreement once they have:

  • Completed at least three (3) years of coursework;

  • Met the academic prerequisites for NECO admission in place at the time of their formal admission into this Affiliation program (Addendum A);

  • Adhere to the current admission standards ofNECO (refer to the NECO web site for current standards).

  • Earned an overall cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.3 at the time of matriculation at NECO;

  • Earned a science/math undergraduate GPA of3. I at the time of matriculation at NECO;

  • Received a 320 or above for the Academic Average on the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) with no OAT sub-score below 290;

  • Demonstrated strong evidence of commitment to the field of optometry through a shadowing experience with a practicing optometrist, details to be provided on the NECO's website and related literature;

  • Obtained three letters of recommendation from faculty and the optometrist who was shadowed; and

  • Interviewed successfully (by NECO standards, as detailed on the NECO web sites) with NECO faculty prior to receiving a final admissions decision.

Note: NECO reserves the right, at their sole discretion, to withdraw or reverse an admit status for any Western New England University 3+4 student who, subsequent to the offer of admissions, fails to remain in good academic and disciplinary standing.

General Considerations:

1. Although the students who apply to NECO through this agreement will be responsible to OptomCAS for their processing fee, any supplemental fees related to the application process will be waived.

2. For those students planning to enter NECO after their junior year, Western New England University agrees to have these students pursue a curriculum approved by Western New England University that fulfills the NECO academic pre­requisites listed in Addendum A based on NECO admission standards. Western New England University agrees to award the Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences degree to these students upon successful completion of their first year courses at NECO (see Addendum A), provided that they complete all requirements for graduation as outlined in the current copy of the Western New England University academic catalogue.

3. Western New England University will designate a faculty member ("WNE Designee"), a member of the Health Sciences faculty in the Department of Physical and Biological Sciences who will be the primary contact person for this Agreement.

4. NECO will designate a staff member ("NECO Designee") who will be the primary contact person for this Agreement.

5. This Agreement will operate within the timetable delineated in Addendum B.

6. This Agreement will offer the opportunities - both required and optional - delineated in Addendum C.

7. Prior to the application deadline to the OD04 program at NECO, the WNE Designee will provide the NECO Designee a recommendation for each Western New England University student applying through this agreement.

8. Potential applicants will be referred to the NECO Office of Admission regarding the application and admission process. Individuals with questions about the curriculum or degree will be instructed to contact NECO directly.

9. For students who begin the OD04 program upon completion of their third year, and who successfully complete the first year of coursework at NECO, a maximum of 21 credits may be transferred to Western New England University and will count toward the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Health Sciences degree at Western New England University and will also count toward the OD04 degree. Western New England University will review annually the OD04 first-year curriculum and determine in advance of the student's matriculation at NECO whether coursework, if satisfactorily completed, meets the substantive baccalaureate graduation requirements. Western New England University students will not receive any credit toward an OD04 degree for undergraduate courses taken prior to matriculation at NECO. (Addendum A)

10. Students who successfully satisfy the graduation requirements for a Western New England University Bachelor's degree will be eligible to participate in commencement activities at Western New England.

11. Should a student in the Western New England University Pre-Optometry program elect to remain at Western New England University for his/her fourth undergraduate year, NECO will track his/her OD04 application within the NECO admissions process.

12. Any Western New England University student not participating in this program is eligible to apply for admission to NECO within the regular admissions process.

13. In a given year, Western New England University has no obligation to nominate a student or students to this Agreement with NECO even if he or she fulfills the criteria.

14. NECO and Western New England University agree to jointly publicize this program. Any information concerning publicity and publication of the program must be jointly reviewed and approved via the designated faculty point of contact.

15. It is agreed and understood that each party has the right and responsibility to make changes to its curricula and enrollment standards to maintain its academic integrity and meet accreditation standards. Such changes, if any, will be communicated in writing between the parties via the designated point of contact as they occur.

16. NECO and Western New England University will retain the right to charge its own tuition and fees and will be entitled to retain its policies, procedures, and handbooks applicable to students attending that institution herein shall be in addition to and not derogation of any other rights contained in this Agreement.

Duration and Termination of the Agreement:

22. This Agreement constitutes the entire Agreement and understanding of the parties with respect to its subject matter. Any prior or contemporaneous Agreement or understanding is merged herein. This Agreement becomes effective on the date that it is signed by the authorized administrative representatives of both institutions and is valid until June 30, 2025. No prior or contemporaneous agreement or understanding will be effective.

23. Each party will evaluate, determine and notify the other party no later than June 30, 2024 as to whether or not a renewal of this Agreement is desired. Should a decision be made to terminate this agreement, the students enrolled at that time will be allowed to complete the program under the Agreement as it stands at that time.

24. Either party may terminate this Agreement upon written notice to the other party at least one year prior to the entrance of the next class of students, and any such termination shall not affect students who have already been accepted into the 0004 program at NECO. Termination shall be without penalty. If this Agreement is terminated, neither Western New England University nor NECO shall be liable to the other for any monetary or other losses that may result.

Amendment of the Agreement:

25. Either party may take the initiative to amend this Agreement by submitting suggestions in writing and following through the respective liaison. No addition, modification, or deletion of the Agreement shall be valid unless reduced to writing and signed by authorized administrative representatives of both institutions. The amended Agreement will become effective when signed by the authorized administrative representatives of each institution.

26.NECO and WNE acknowledge that the individuals authorized to receive notice are not authorized to change the terms of this Agreement.

Contacts:

Notice to the parties shall be sent via regular and electronic mail to the following:

For WNE:

Alexander Wurm, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Physics and Chair Dept. of Physical and Biological Sciences Western New England University
12 Wilbraham Road, Box #5544 Springfield, MA O 1119
awurm(cl)wne.edu

For NECO:

Kristen Harrington 
Director of Admissions New England College of Optometry
424 Beacon Street Boston, MA 02115 harringtonk@neco.edu

Addendum A: Academic Requirements

NECO requires that its candidates fulfill a number of academic prerequisites designed to provide the subject knowledge necessary for them to be successful optometry students and practitioners. Below is a list of these prerequisites and the courses at Western New England University that meet these requirements. Western New England University via the WNE designee agrees to update this agreement as necessary as a result.

Biology (with a lab) - 2 semesters
WNE Courses: BIO 107/117 and BIO 108/118

Chemistry (with a lab) - 2 semesters
WNE Courses: CHEM 105 and CHEM 106

Physics (with a lab) - 2 semesters
WNE Courses: PHYS 123 and PHYS 124

Organic Chemistry (with a lab)- 1 semester
WNE Course: CHEM 209/219 and CHEM 210/220

Biochemistry - 1 semester
WNE Course: CHEM 314/324 (has CHEM 210/220 as a prerequisite)

Microbiology - 1 semester
WNE Course: BIO 203

Mathematics - 1 semester
WNE Courses: MATH 123

Statistics - 1 semester
WNE Course: MATH 121

Psychology- 1 semester
WNE Course: PSY 101

English - 2 semesters
WNE Courses: ENGL 132 and ENGL 133

After completing the three-year Pre-Optometry program at Western New England University as outlined in the Western New England University academic catalogue, students will need an additional number of credits of electives (Health Sciences and General) to fulfill the course requirements of a B.S. in Health Sciences from Western New England University. Western New England University will accept credits for any of the following Year 1 NECO courses:

BSD 0300 Cell Biology, Histology, and Ocular Anatomy (3.5cr)

VS11001 Optics I (4cr)

VS 11002 Optics II ( 4.5cr)

VSl 1210 Color Vision (1.25)

BSD10721 Ocular Disease Principles I (2cr)

BSD10340 Ocular Biochemistry and Genetics (2cr)

BSDI 0009 Neuroanatomy (2.75cr)

PC12021 Principles and Practice of Optometry I (3.5cr) PC12022 Principles and Practice of Optometry II (4.5cr)

Addendum B: The Program Timetable (first two years)

Summer 1

Western New England University (WNE) will communicate to NECO via the designated liaison the admissions plan for the upcoming admissions season by September 1st to include web and print information and other marketing items. WNE will outline enrollment data collection and dissemination procedures as well.

Fall 1

  • Sophomore students interested in 3+4 program submit applications for entering the WNE Pre-Optometry program to the WNE Pre-Optometry advisor by October 1.

  • NECO visits to 3+4 partner campuses in late October to early December.|

    -Meet with freshmen students interested in applying to the WNE Pre­Optometry program during Fall 2.

    -Meet with sophomores who have been admitted into the WNE Pre­Optometry program during Fall 1.

    -Meet with other WNE students interested in applying to NECO

  • Assign NECO advisor and peer advisor to each student admitted to the WNE Pre­Optometry program.

  • Work with WNE admissions staff regarding prospective students (high school) interested in 3+4 program.

 Spring 1

  • NECO visits to 3+4 partner campuses in late February to early April.

    -Meet with other WNE students interested in applying to NECO.

    -Meet with sophomore students in WNE Pre-Optometry program.

Summer 2

Western New England University (WNE) will communicate to NECO via the designated liaison the admissions plan for the upcoming admissions season by September 1st to include web and print information and other marketing items. WNE will outline enrollment data collection and dissemination procedures as well.

Fall 2

  • Current juniors in the WNE Pre-Optometry program complete OptomCAS application by October 15.

    -OAT taken by end of September.

  • First group of freshmen enters WNE Pre-Optometry program (as students of the pre-optometry track of the Health Sciences major).

  • Other sophomore students interested in 3+4 program submit applications to enter the WNE Pre-Optometry program to WNE Pre-Optometry advisor by October 1.

  • NECO visits to 3+4 partner campuses in late October to early December

    -Meet with freshmen students admitted into the WNE Pre-Optometry program in Fall 2.

    -Meet with freshmen students interested in applying to the WNE Pre­Optometry program during Fall 3.

    -Meet with sophomores who have been admitted into the WNE Pre­Optometry program in Fall 2.

    -Meet with other WNE students interested in applying to NECO.

  • Assign NECO advisor and peer advisor to each student admitted to the WNE Pre-Optometry program.

Spring 2

  •  Determine admission to NECO for junior students.

  • NECO visits to 3+4 partner campuses.

    -Meet with other WNE students interested in applying to NECO.

    -Meet with junior, sophomore, and freshmen students in the WNE Pre­Optometry program.

 Subsequent years follow the same pattern as Year 2.

Addendum C: Program Opportunities

A. Assistance to Partner's Office of Admission

NECO representatives can serve as a resource to the Office of Admissions at each of its partners to help recruit and enroll promising students interested in optometry into their incoming class. When there is interest on the part of a partner, the specific scope of NECO's involvement will be discussed with the leadership of the partner's admissions operation and an annual plan will be established. For certain high school students considering enrolling at a partner institution and who have a strong interest in studying optometry in future years, an early commitment can be made with the understanding that continued enrollment in the program is contingent on their making reasonable progress towards and then meeting the admissions criteria (academic and co-curricular) by the time an application to NECO is submitted in the early part of their junior year at WNE.

B. Cultivation of Prospective 3+4 Students - Early Identification

NECO will schedule a campus visit to each partner institution in the fall semester to meet with students who are freshmen or sophomores and are considering the 3+4 program. These students will learn about the benefits of the 3+4 program, the expectations for participating in the program, and the process to follow.

C. Admission into the WNE Pre-Optometry Program

Qualified students can be admitted into the WNE Pre-Optometry program as freshmen by WNE Admissions. The requirements for students to remain in good standing in the program will be listed in the WNE Catalogue including the following:

  • Complete the required 101 credits of the WNE Pre-Optometry program within three academic years.

  • Transfer in no credits (including AP credits) of science coursework completed prior to matriculation at Western New England University and, following matriculation, transfer in no credits for any science or mathematics course satisfying a requirement for the Pre-Optometry program.

  • Maintain a 3.3 Overall GPA with a Science/Math GPA of 3.1 for all course work with no grade in any course less than a "C".

In addition, there will be a second entry point during the Fall of the sophomore year for students that have followed the course sequence of the WNE Pre­Optometry program but had not been admitted into the program as incoming freshmen. The same credit transfer restrictions and GPA requirements apply as for the students admitted into the WNE Pre-Optometry program as freshmen. Students that fulfill these criteria can apply to the WNE Pre-Optometry Advisor for official admittance into the program prior to October 1st of the first semester of their sophomore year.

D. Program Expectations for Participating Students

  •  Complete all academic prerequisite courses by the point of entrance to NECO.

    -3+4 students will be responsible for meeting the prerequisite courses in place at the time of their admission into the program.

  • Meet NECO admissions criteria

    -3.3 Overall GPA with a Science/Math GPA of 3. l.

    -OAT-AA of320 and no OAT sub-score below 290.

    -Evidence of commitment to the field of optometry.

  • Complete OptomCAS application by the October 15 prior to the intended fall entrance date

  • Sit for the OAT by September prior to the intended fall entrance date.

    -This provides students with an opportunity to retake the OAT, if necessary, in a timely manner.

E. Ongoing Program Advising

Participants will be expected to be in contact - in person or virtually - with their NECO advisor (staff or faculty) at least once a semester. This will provide opportunities to discuss each student's progress and identify any issues that might affect this progress.

 F. Peer Advising

 Each participant will be assigned a current NECO student who will serve as resource about "all things NECO" from a student's perspective. The scope of this relationship will be determined by the individuals involved with most communication being virtual.

 G. Visits to NECO Campus (Optional)

NECO will host visits to the campus open to all 3+4 participants and their advisors. These will provide an opportunity for each student to learn more about optometry and the College. During these visits 3+4 students will meet with faculty, staff, and current students - most especially their peer mentors. Although group visits - intended to also create an esprit de corps within this cohort of 3+4 students - will be offered, individual students are welcome to visit the campus on their own as their schedules allow.

The timing and quantity of these visits will be determined after additional discussion with 3+4 liaisons.