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Is vet school even an option for me?

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by Manderella, Jan 12, 2014.

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  1. Manderella

    Manderella

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    Pre-Veterinary

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    To start, I would like to say that of course (as all of us who aspire to be veterinarians) I love animals. I always have and have had pets my whole life. I do understand that this isn't the only thing required of a veterinarian, I also have a genuine interest in medicine. I would also like to say that I come from a poor family, my mother lives off of disability and my father is pretty much homeless right now. I have nobody to help me with any school expenses. I've been fortunate enough that my boyfriend's parents were willing to let me stay with them, but this is only temporary. Due to a dysfunctional (to say the least) childhood, my high school GPA was terrible. 1.98 to be exact. In order to succeed in school, I would need to be on my own, and I'm currently working on that. I took a CNA course in November, as I had plans to continue on to the RN program...but I HATED it....I felt I was forcing myself to do something just because of the job stability and high pay...which I need right now to get on my feet and help out my family. Right now I'm caught in a tough spot, because part of me wants to do another program at the community college near me just to get on my feet, but I also know how I felt when forcing myself to do something I hated. I could get my general ed out of the way and transfer to the University of Wisconsin to start on the path to veterinary school, but I only want to do that if I know for sure that's what I should do. I know the debt will be immense considering I'll have to live on my own and pay all of my own bills. That scares me....along with job stability issues...it's sort of pushing me away from the whole plan! I have considered doing a veterinary technician program, but the closest accredited program is 3 hours away and I can't move there...the only other option is Globe University..but their program isn't even fully accredited. I also know vet techs don't make much for money. I don't know what to do right now because I want a career with animals, but I need a job that can get me to a healthier financial place. I want to be a vet...but is it a smart idea?
  2. that redhead

    that redhead MMXV

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    In the long term, if you will be expected to or feel obligated to help your family financially, it is probably not financially reasonable or wise to pursue a career as a veterinarian. The debt:salary ratio is poor, the job market is patchy and the AVMA doesn't seem willing or able to help correct this any time soon. It would be worth it to get a bit of shadowing under your belt before you go anything further, to see if you really do like the field.

    If you haven't done any undergraduate course work yet, it's to your benefit, as you don't have to undo any bad grades. Pursuing community college classes sounds like the most feasible option from a financial aspect, but you may want to consider working for a bit and building some savings before you go that route; it would suck to get into classes and do poorly with all of this hanging over you, and then it'll be even more expensive to go back and correct. You may be able to find work at a vet hospital, which would get you a bit of income as well as experience for your application, if you choose to go forward.

    What about the RN program made you dislike it so strongly?
  3. hopefulinva

    hopefulinva VMRCVM DVM/MPH c/o 2016

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    Vet school is tough, especially if you're not a big school person. I have classmates who will make fantastic veterinarians but hate being students. The unfortunate truth is that the program is highly, highly academic. It also tries to cover a lot of ground all at once; if being a doctor for cats and dogs is the only thing that interests you, be prepared to spend three hours of lecture/lab/exam learning about how to care for animals that aren't cats and dogs (sheep, cattle, horses, pigs) for every hour learning about cats and dogs! (Edited to finish this sentence, lol; it didn't make sense before, whoops!)

    There's also a lot to be said for the debt:income ratio. I love my chosen field and would not deviate from it, but I'm already up to $80k in loans with 2.5 more years to go. Unless I decide to specialize, I can hope to make $60-80k according to where I'm from - and that's on the higher end of the spectrum, and only if I can find a job!

    I don't mean to dissuade you, by all means if you decide that this is the only career that's going to make you happy - go for it. <3 Just be prepared for a long journey ahead of you!
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2014
  4. Manderella

    Manderella

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    I'm sorry I worded that wrong...I wasn't in the RN program...I completed the CNA course...which was a requirement to getting into the RN program which I decided not to do because I was never really interested in the human side of medicine, I was only into it for the money. Don't get me wrong...the CNA thing was a great experience, but I hated the fact that I was forcing myself to do something that I never really wanted to in the first place. I believe I can do well in veterinary school...but I'm just concerned about the debt. I will be living almost exclusively off of loans for 8 years...that's a scary thought. I obviously will work through undergrad which will help but not cover all of my living expenses. I want to do what I love, but I'm trying to be smart. It almost seems like one can work as a vet tech and make as much money as a veterinarian considering the loan payments...but then I have the fact that there is no credible school near me....I'm in a bind.
  5. TooLove

    TooLove

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    There are a lot of careers where you can work with animals where you don't have to be a vet to do so. They also don't have that daunting debt:income ratio to deal with either. If finances are of primary concern, you may want to look into some of those. Like redhead said, getting some experience (paid or otherwise) may help you reach a decision. As a veterinarian, a lot of times you are dealing with the owners mostly, while your support staff handles a lot of the animal care - a caveat some people don't realize if they aren't familiar with the field.

    I'm also curious, if you like medicine, what did you dislike so much about the RN program? EDIT: So it wasn't so much the material, but something you couldn't see yourself being happy doing?
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  6. TooLove

    TooLove

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    You don't necessarily need a bachelors to apply. This means you could either crank out your prereqs in 2 years (not recommended) or take classes part time and work to put yourself through them. Since cost is a huge factor here, taking them at a community college (at least initially, til you get to upper level courses) would be smart as well.

    What kind of veterinary experience do you have?
  7. Manderella

    Manderella

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    To be honest...none....:scared:I have applied and applied but there are very few clinics where I am that are hiring. I am only 19...maybe I'm taking things too fast? I have been a volunteer at the shelter..but that's about it. The thing is, I don't plan on attending a four year school if I'm not going to vet school...and I want to get my life going...so I'm trying to decide on whether I should settle with a program at my community college or just head for the university. I'm losing sleep over all this.
  8. wildcatj

    wildcatj Mizzou c/o 2017!

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    There's nothing wrong with starting out at community college even if you do decide to go to vet school. The first thing is to definitely get some sort of veterinary experience though, even if it's just shadowing. Until you get some experience, you are't really going to know if this is something you will want to do. If you are going to take some courses at a community college anyways, I would try to do that, work part time, and do some veterinary shadowing on the side. If you aren't planning on taking any courses if you decide against vet school, then I would just work part/full time and do veterinary stuff on the side until you can figure out if you do want to shoot for vet school. But seriously, don't rush. There are TONS of us on here who decided we wanted to go to vet school late in our undergrad career (or way later in life) and we've made it work. So don't stress yourself out, take it one step at a time. Be realistic and don't jump into anything too fast.
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  9. TooLove

    TooLove

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    Veterinary experience doesn't have to be paid. I understand that in your circumstances you're looking for something that is - but you'll have better success asking to shadow. Find some other source of income and do some shadowing in your free time. I'm guessing that if you do, you won't start school until the fall, which should give you plenty of time between now and then to get some experience and see if it's something you want to pursue. You're young, you have more than enough time - don't stress.
  10. Manderella

    Manderella

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    You all have been so helpful...I really do appreciate it! I suppose I will start looking for some type of shadow or volunteer work in a clinic.
  11. hopefulinva

    hopefulinva VMRCVM DVM/MPH c/o 2016

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    Piggybacking on the community college advice - the smartest girl in my class did her pre-reqs at community college for a fraction of the cost of my fancy-pants, useless Bachelor's degree. And notice I said classmate; she got in just the same as I did (I think on her first try, too). Honestly I'm never going to use my BS (probably why it has those initials), and if I could do it over again I'd work and do the comm. college thing at the same time.

    In short - if you're trying to avoid a buttload of debt, that honestly might be the smartest path to take.
  12. Manderella

    Manderella

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    So veterinary schools will accept pre-reqs from a community college? Or will they only accept some?
  13. wildcatj

    wildcatj Mizzou c/o 2017!

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    Some schools require upper division pre-reqs to be from a 4 year university, but that isn't consistent across the board. You should be able to find out from specific school websites. You'll at least be fine for basic bio 1 and 2, and inorganic chem. Sometimes classes like biochem and genetics (if they are required) need to be taken at a 4 year university.
  14. gfa240

    gfa240

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    I think most school want the biochem to be an upper level course along with genetics, some biology and micro.
  15. AE373

    AE373

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    General ed stuff can come from a CC... The classes that they want from a 4 year institution typically aren't even offered at a CC because they're upper division anyways... As you get closer to applying just double check and compare what's necessary for the schools you're interested in... But I agree with everyone else... Make sure you're getting as much shadowing experience as possible. You won't really understand what it means to be in that environment until you've experienced. It definitively requires more than just a love of animals, but of course we all do! :)

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