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Vet School rankings

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by gfa240, Apr 19, 2013.

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  1. gfa240

    gfa240

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    I am just curious if anyone has had any basis for comparison between higher ranking vet schools vs. lower ranking ones. I am trying to move and settle into a state before I apply, but not quite sure which one to pick. I absolutely love state of Oregon, but their vet school is ranked pretty low. Second choice is Colorado state but only because of the higher ranking. Does anyone know if the quality of education, facilities and training is actually different? I know vet students are probably going to say there is no difference and these rankings have no basis, BUT I have heard from vets and other professionals that where you go to school does have an impact on how well you are considered for employment, research, etc.
    Any pointers would be appreciated! :)
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  2. Frozenshades

    Frozenshades KSU c/o 2017! Gold Donor

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    Put really bluntly, I think those school rankings (and not just vet schools, in general) are a load of bs and totally unfounded. Far, far, far too much stuff to possibly quantify in just a simple one number.

    Different schools may have better things to offer in specific areas of clinical focus and research, but on the whole any DVM program in the US will give you a solid veterinary education.
  3. adams30

    adams30 Illinois c/o 2017!!!

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    vet school rankings are BS. esp since there's so few schools each with a great program, it's hard to compare them in terms of educational quality. you will learn the same stuff anywhere.

    Of course some schools might have different strengths in certain areas of medicine but they are all great schools.

    Instead of focusing on school rankings maybe spend some time researching/learning about each school, their curriculum, and what they have to offer in terms of what you want to do with your career and then pick a school based on that; not rankings.
  4. kernel

    kernel OSU c/o 2017

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    To answer your concerns: Oregon definitely does not suck as a vet school, don't worry.
  5. LetItSnow

    LetItSnow UMN CVM Gold Donor

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    Oregon has a vet school?


    (I kid, I kid.)
  6. felinelvr44

    felinelvr44 Cornell c/o 2017

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    I agree with everyone else - rankings don't mean a whole lot. I certainly wouldn't base my residency on which school has a good ranking. Write down a list of schools you could really see yourself attending (location might be a factor... it definitely was for me). Then look into each school's curriculum. Is there a certain field of vet med you'd like to go into (example: Cornell has a strong dairy program)? Is it important to you that you get early hands on work with animals? Do you prefer traditional learning or problem based learning? Figure out all that stuff and then establish residency in the state of the school that would fit your needs best.
  7. gimmeshelter

    gimmeshelter

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    Try to figure out where you'll be happiest and most comfortable, and base your decision on that. Factors contributing to happiness are going to vary for everyone -- what constitutes a good learning environment for you may not be great for someone else.

    That said, if finding a job after you graduate is one of the factors contributing to your comfort level, I'd argue that you should take school reputation into account. (Note that I say reputation -- not rank.) Ask working veterinarians in the city or state where you think you'd eventually like to live/work for their impressions of graduates from the schools you're considering. If they say they feel they're unprepared, or that they'd hesitate to hire them, I'd say that's a red flag.
  8. bbeventer

    bbeventer Illinois 2016

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    The ranking system like others have said does not matter one bit. It is based on how the schools are "viewed" among academia officials ie. their opinions. Pick the school that will be cheapest for you and go at it.
  9. Minnerbelle

    Minnerbelle Moderator Emeritus

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    Quality of education, facilities, and training aren't things that you can infer from rankings.

    Quality of education is pretty much the same wherever you go, and the quality of the student going in determines the outcome more than what school that student goes to anyway. If you're really worried about that, then look up national board pass rates over the past several years for each school you're interested in. You'll see that for the most part, pass rates are in the high 90's for all schools (and the few students who don't pass tend to do so because of personal problems). The only thing that will make much of a difference in this department is the teaching style the school has. If you just want a traditional Didactic teaching style, it really doesn't matter which schools of this type you go to. If you don't, then look up schools that have alternative teaching styles. If anything, I would personally choose the schools that give you the most clinical rotation time in your third and fourth years when you know enough to have case responsibilities. Maybe you'll prefer to have more clinics time during your first and second years, and a few schools aim to do just that. Also think about whether you want to go to a school that allows you to track or not. It won't change the curriculum much for your first two years since you still need to pass boards, but it might matter big time once you're in clinics.

    Facilities and training are things you'll have to really research on your own if they're important to you. If pretty lecture halls matter to you, then go visit them or ask current students about them. If new and shiny hospital wings matter to you, do the same. But make sure you ask about specific things and not just about "the hospital," and make sure to ask about it in comparison to other vet schools. Not so much compared to specific schools, but more in terms of how does this school compare to all the others type thing. Ask specifics about the general field you want to go into, because if you're a small animal person, it won't matter as much how great the equine hospital is, if the small animal hospital is old and has the smallest caseload in the country. Which brings me to an important point, hospital caseload matters waaaaay more than what shiny equipment the hospital has (esp because the latest coolest equipment won't matter to students... since they're either not allowed to touch them, or they're for referral procedures that don't matter to a majority of practitioners). If you're really interested in a specific field like nutrition or behavior that tend not to be core clinical rotations in many schools, it might be a good idea to see if the teaching hospital has a department with clinicians in that field. If they don't, you can always spend elective time elsewhere, but then you might want to ask how many weeks your school allows for external rotations.

    Definitely try to get the opinions of multiple new grads and fourth years from each school, because they will know how the whole curriculum fits together to produce the resulting clinician. If you ask first-second years they can tell you how awesome their anatomy professors are, or how cool it is that they get so much hands on time with animals, or whatever, but how much these things will matter will change a ton as you progress through the curriculum and begin to realize what thins you wish you had more of, what was a waste of time, and what things you wish you are really happy you've had. This is not to say that opinions of underclassmen don't matter, because they can be very important. But my point is more to make sure you get a balanced view esp with those who have gone through clinics, because most student reps available at vet schools are the first and second years and it's really hard at that stage to understand how the entire vet school experience comes together.

    As for employment, I wouldn't worry too much about which vet school to go to. If anything, your best bet is prob to go to school at the state where you're likely to seek employment, since many clinic owners are going to be alums of the same school and will more likely than not have a good bias. Only thing is, if you want to be a food animal vet in beef country or something, don't go to schools that don't have a good caseload with beef cattle unless you're willing to spend a ton of effort getting that experience and advocating for yourself.
  10. bunnity

    bunnity Penn 2014

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    Anywhere you go you will encounter people who think the nearby vet school is god's gift to veterinary medicine and also people who once hired an incompetent new grad from the same place and have concluded that it's the worst vet school in the country. People go by their own experience and most never work with enough other vets to have any idea which schools are truly better if any.

    Go to a school that you can afford and that meets your needs as far as educational style, surrounding area, and proximity to important people in your life. Seriously, cost/locale/fit, hell even the local weather, matter more than rank.
  11. gfa240

    gfa240

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    Thank you for all your replies. For some reason people correlate the ranking with the quality of education. Right now, I am a CA resident but do not want to go Davis, b/c I can't stand CA for 1 more month, let alone 4 more years. I think cost for residents is pretty much the same (+-few thousand $), no matter where you go, so that is not a determining factor for me. I would like a more hands-on, clinical type of experience, because ultimately that is what is actually used in the real world. I am considering Oregon(LOVE all the green, climate,lower cost of living) and Colorado state, and have looked at both of their curriculum. The course load looks very similar but I am not really sure what area of medicine they are focused on, or what the hospital/ facilities are like. Any students from these school here that could provide some insight?
    How do I research the strength of each school? I think this type of info could only be obtained from current students. If anyone is from these schools, or has any experience/basis for comparison, I would really appreciated your input.
  12. twelvetigers

    twelvetigers Throw the ball throw the ball THROW THE BALL Gold Donor

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    I guess you are aware that Davis has recently had a curriculum change where it is more along the lines of the sort of program you seem to be looking for?

    I know you said you don't like CA and want to move - that's fine, I just wanted to make sure you were aware, as the c/o 2015 was the first to experience the new system.
  13. bbeventer

    bbeventer Illinois 2016

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    Illinois, incorporates first and second years in rotations before third year. Each year we get 8 weeks in the clinics consisting of 1 week rotations.
  14. hygebeorht

    hygebeorht NCSU c/o 2017

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    Rankings are one little factor among many, I think. They will give you maybe a general idea of how well a school is perceived by others, but otherwise, I don't think they tell you anything concrete about the institution.

    Personally, what I like in a school is a sense of "scrappiness." Are they actively trying to improve themselves? Are they open to change, are they working hard to become the best? THAT'S what I want to see. A dynamic place where people are open to improvement. You can have highly-ranked schools that rest on their laurels, and low-ranked schools that are content with mediocrity. But at either end and in the middle you'll find schools that are fighting tooth and nail to become a better place every day.

    Unfortunately, it's really hard to get a sense for that. Visiting is helpful, but you have to take your personal impressions with a grain of salt. Don't be wowed by shiny things. Do as much research as you can. You'll know what's right when you find it.
  15. dyachei

    dyachei vet pirate zombie Administrator SDN Senior Moderator

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    I don't find this to be true. What I do find to be true is "oh you went to x vet school that is in this state? I heard that's the best" in EVERY STATE I have visited or worked in. But that's just been my experience.
  16. david594

    david594 The-OSU CVM c/o 2013

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    Vet school rankings are not going to make or break ones future career. They all get you the same degree(ignoring Penn for a second here) which will open all the same doors post graduation. How you use your time the first 4 years is going to be a far bigger factor then where that time was spent*.

    *There are exceptions to this rule. If you unsure if you would be an exception, you're not.
  17. RagtimeWillie

    RagtimeWillie call me trimtab

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    Rankings are based on research dollars brought in. Smaller vet schools will tend to get less funding, hence the disparity in rankings. OSU is one of only 2 schools (vet related or not) that has all 4 congressional research grants. The other is Cornell. That being said, the rankings are for funding for the vet schools themselves.
  18. bwestner

    bwestner

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    .
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2013
  19. Minnerbelle

    Minnerbelle Moderator Emeritus

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    Yup pretty much.
  20. StartingoverVet

    StartingoverVet Flight Instructor for hire Gold Donor

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    Oddly I didn't find that to be true.

    I volunteered for a practice with vets with degrees from around the country, and they universally disdained the state's vet school, although highly regarded, and thought highly of some others (not the ones they went to either).

    And that greatly influenced my decision.
  21. gfa240

    gfa240

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    What is different about Penn?
  22. twelvetigers

    twelvetigers Throw the ball throw the ball THROW THE BALL Gold Donor

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    They give graduates a VMD instead of a DVM.

    The only difference is the order of the letters, really. But still. Cue the "Penn grad special cookie unique snowflake" jokes.
  23. hygebeorht

    hygebeorht NCSU c/o 2017

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    I agree as far a non-vet-med people are concerned. Most people don't know much about the field or the schools, etc etc.

    And as far as people within vet med, most agree that it doesn't matter where you got your degree. However, if you went to a school that was "highly ranked" in part because of some highly-regarded program that catered to your specialty (i.e. Cornell for dairy practitioners) it can be a boon, but not because of ranking. It's the program that counts, not the ranking, though the former may increase the latter.

    All in all, rankings don't mean much if anything. But they may mean something to you if ranking reflects the presence of funding, or high-quality programs that may interest you.
  24. gfa240

    gfa240

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    Which school has a good program for wildlife and/or exotics? which one for large animal? which one for small/companion animals (GP)?
  25. mnkyrat

    mnkyrat

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    love this...lots of people don't even know what this means! I was talking to a colleague at UCSD and he was making fun of all letters I would have with the dual degrees and he pointed out that it's DVM not VMD! Ha! Had to explain how special Penn is! We also came up with DUM-Phud instead of MUD-Phud. . .which he quickly pointed out that with VMD it just sounds like a disease!

    Sent from my SCH-I800 using SDN Mobile
  26. cs5910

    cs5910 The Ohio State CVM 2017

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    Just looks like dyslexia to me haha ;)
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2013
  27. StartingoverVet

    StartingoverVet Flight Instructor for hire Gold Donor

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    We're the Sony Betamax of video tapes (oops, maybe no one gets that reference).

    The degree title is a function of the fact that the vet school here was a split off from the med school, so the degree was titled appropriately (not as a doctorate program but as a health degree). And at the time there was only one other vet school in the country (in the modern way we understand a vet school), so it is not like Penn didn't follow the norm, there was no norm. :p

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