Anyone applied to other types of grad school?

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by Pandacinny, May 8, 2008.

  1. Pandacinny

    Pandacinny VMRCVM c/o 2013

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    So this coming year will be my third time applying to vet school. i think I'm *well* on my way to a much improved application - I was told last year to add to my experience and this year I'm shadowing a house call vet, doing lab animal care, have worked at an emergency vet, and will soon (hopefully) be shadowing an equine/large animal vet.

    Just in case I still don't get in, though, I'd like to apply to some other graduate level programs. Has anyone here done that? I need some advice. I've spent so many years thinking about/prepping for vet school that I am just clueless on other grad programs. How do you choose one? How hard are they to get in to? I haven't got much research experience ( just one summer) - would I have a chance at getting in anywhere, or should I just scrap this idea?

    I'm not exactly sure which programs I'm looking at yet or I'd be more specific. Any advice or stories/experiences are really appreciated! :love:
     
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  3. nyanko

    nyanko 360noscope squidkid
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    Let me preface this by saying that research is my interest in vet med, so my situation may be a little different than yours. In my case, I'm interested in veterinary genetics. So when I was looking for graduate programs to which to apply (the year before I decided to apply to vet school), I had 2 limiting factors.

    1) Location - I had to go somewhere that had a good PhD program in Computer Vision (my SO's area of Computer Science) as well

    2) Quality of the research/advisors in the field that I wanted to go into.

    So that's how I narrowed down my list to five schools for my PhD applications. I got into three of them and decided to come here, where I didn't get in, and then decided to apply to the DVM instead this year. :laugh:

    So I don't know how much this helps you, but I think what you need to do is decide what kind of field you wish to be doing research in, and then find schools with good programs in that field. With little research experience, you are probably looking at applying to MS programs rather than PhD programs. I am kind of confused by your intent though. Do you wish to get a graduate degree to help your application to vet school or do you want one as a means to a career?
     
  4. wi girl

    wi girl Wisconsin SVM c/o 2012

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    This is of no use whatsoever, but I also applied to history of science master programs. Was in the process of applying to Madison (IS tuition, and also where my #1 vet school was), Yale, and a few others. My goal was to study something interesting, but not science-y because I had good course work in science, and would have wanted a break. Also, because I still sometimes wish I could go into history or publishing (see second career choice thread).

    For some actual advise: I would recommend applying to masters programs, and in something you feel you are genuinely interested in. Keep in mind, this is not a "get into vet med free" card, so it should be something you can see yourself making a career out of. if you can't find something to that extent, then grad school is not for you. especially because the ad coms for grad school will be able to tell if this is something to just mark time until vet med.
     
  5. Pandacinny

    Pandacinny VMRCVM c/o 2013

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    I'm not interested in grad school as a way to *boost* my application for vet med. I'm thinking more of alternatives to vet school.

    Frankly, after three years of applying, if I don't get in this year, I'm not trying again. I've done so many things to improve my application, short of going back and retaking every class I did remotely poorly in (and who has the money, time, or interest to do that, really?) If vet schools still don't want me after I've spent the past few years jumping through all of the hoops and improving everything I can, they'll never want me.

    I'm just worried that I haven't got the right prerequisites for getting into a grad program. I've got a lot of the right looking things for vet school, but I don't know that adcoms in, say, a molecular biology program are going to go "wow - you shadowed a horse vet and took care of mice in a lab! We think you'll do great here!"

    As far as specific programs go, a lot of them look or sound really interesting. I'm afraid that if I applied in something I don't already have tons of experience in, the adcoms will say "How do you know you like this specific aspect of biology? You've never done hands on research in it." And that's a valid criticism, but right now I don't really have the option of being involved in research in anything - let alone anything that really interests me. The closest I can get is lab animal care and reading lots of papers to see who's doing what. I just don't know if that's at all enough to get me into a program I'd like, though.
     
  6. wi girl

    wi girl Wisconsin SVM c/o 2012

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    (a) I did not mean to imply that boosting was your purpose; it was simply difficult to ascertain your goals from your previous post. Sorry for stepping on toes. But, it's good to think of back-up plans! (Or at least, that's what everyone says!)

    (b) Not having a strong research background may make applying to PhD programs difficult; that being said, you never know unless you ask, so I would suggest once you've narrowed down region/schools, start calling their admissions offices. Ask how someone with your background might be looked upon. (This may offend some, but that is NOT my intension) Masters programs may be slightly more forgiving of a lack of research background. It's a rather long route, but a masters then a PhD might be the route for you, if you don't have the research background. Or maybe getting a job as a technician in a lab at a university to get research/bench experience might help. (Sidenote: Just saw that this isn't an option. Just like vet school, there are "additional comments" essay areas. Address this concern be saying that you realize you are lacking in research experience, but are eager to learn techniques or such. To be honest, it would be VERY difficult to get into a PhD program without doing some primary research -- unless someone can give some aneccdotal evidence otherwise).

    (c) You raise a good question that adcoms will ask when you mention "I'm afraid that if I applied in something I don't already have tons of experience in, the adcoms will say "How do you know you like this specific aspect of biology? You've never done hands on research in it." You can prove interest by taking classes in the subject, if you haven't already (and doing well in them). Without knowing your background, I would say this is the best way to demonstrate interest.

    I'm not sure how much you've researched into this, but check out a few PhD applications -- several ask for you to submit a writing sample or example of research done. Theoretically it should be possible to get in without ANY research, but, well .... it will probably be difficult. I would ask the admissions department of even a local university's graduate program to maybe do a 'file review' (they tend to call it a prospective applicant review, or something similar) to see what your chances are.

    I really wish you the best of luck, and think that this is a great idea; I just don't know how much "easier" it will be to get into a grad program over vet school. Take home message: call and talk to an admissions counselor of a local university with a grad program you potentially would be interested in. That's what they are there for -- and find out if you could be a competative applicant.

    Hope that's helpful, and I don't mean to offend if I did/do. I'm really just trying to give some advise. :oops:
     
  7. Pandacinny

    Pandacinny VMRCVM c/o 2013

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    Thanks, Wi Girl - this is exactly the kind of info I was looking for!

    And you didn't offend me in either response. If I sounded a little grumpy in the second one, it was because I was *very* annoyed with my work's email client and had spent the last two hours trying to read/retrieve a couple of messages - and I still can't access them.

    Next question: do you have any tips on finding research experience? Like I said, I only got a little in undergrad and now that I'm out of school, I'm not sure if it's possible to get more experience.
     
  8. wi girl

    wi girl Wisconsin SVM c/o 2012

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    Several of the lab jobs for cornell are posted online in a job-search type area, so try a local university's jo page maybe. Or, you could go with biotech companies, doing research with them --- in which case lab positions might be listed in the newspaper.

    From what I've seen, it seems like "meaningful" research experience is the important aspect. A bench job might not do this, as its less .... academic, if you will. I still think the masters is the best shot. Further, you could always apply to vet school after that, when you apply to PhD programs (after a 3 year master program). At this point, however, I'm just speculating, so I still say ask an admissions counselor.
     
  9. Electrophile

    Electrophile Working Dog Doc

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    I've applied (successfully) to grad school, law school, and vet school. I had a guarantee thing with the law school (had to graduate with a certain GPA, ACT, had to take the LSAT, etc) and applying to grad school wasn't too bad as I had already worked with my faculty adviser in grad school for over a year in doing research before starting my masters. I started working with him because he was an awesome professor for our undergrad mammalian reproduction class and one day after class, I asked him if he or any other professors he knew were looking for students for the summer. He did need someone to run a big project, so that started it all. :)
     
  10. Pomona2006

    Pomona2006 UC Davis SVM c/o 2013

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    Interestingly, grad school is what brought me back to vet med after many years. After graduating from college, I took a year off to work before I began a masters in Psychology and was going to transfer into a PhD program in Clinical Psychology. Although I really didn't like my job because it was an office job that required me to sit at a computer for 9+ hrs a day, I thought I would find it refreshing to be in the masters program. Unfortunately, that was more of a confirmation that psych was the wrong field for me. It didn't fit my lifestyle - I want to be up and moving during the day, not stuck to a chair for hours on end.

    While I can understand that you're looking for back-up options in case the 3rd time isn't the charm, I'd recommend you consider your lifestyle and your values. This is something I overlooked for a while. If you are like me, and want to be up and moving around throughout the day, make sure you find alternative careers that would make that possible, otherwise you might end up dissatisfied.

    Good luck!
     
  11. SweeTeaPie

    SweeTeaPie Cornell class of 2012

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    Because my main interest is in Equine Sports Medicine and Imaging, I started looking at some radiology programs. There's a VERY good one at Jefferson University, and while it was actually just a second bachelors, I decided to apply to it as well as vet school for a number of different reasons:

    1) It's an important aspect of veterinary medicine for both large AND small. While you will be exposed to some aspects of it in Vet school, you won't learn enough to be really specialized in any certain technique. Therefore this might be considered an application booster as being a valuable skill that not everyone necessarily has. Of course you already said you don't want an application booster, so onto the next positive aspect of the degree...

    2) I know that many animal hospitals actually employ technicians with a human radiology degree. This is because they are better trained and like I mentioned eariler, more specialized when it comes to specific techniques like Nulear scintigraphy and echogardiograms, etc. So potential even if you get a degree for working with humans, you could still possibly manage to get a postion working in a veterinary hospital.

    3) It pays REALLY well! Coming out as an entry level radiologist, you'll be making ~60K. And since you already have your bachelors, all you'll have to do is take the 1 year fast track program! So one year tuition at ~20K, get out and you'll be making as much as a first year vet without the tons of debt! That is of course, if you go into human medicine. Check it out, it's worth a look http://www.tju.edu/jchp/di/
     
  12. alliecat44

    alliecat44 KSU CVM Class of '11
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    Panda, I'm not sure where else you have applied or where you might be willing to go to vet school. However, I had difficulty getting into VMRCVM (and I went to VA Tech undergrad)...there are plenty of schools out there that take a more holistic view on admissions, not just your "numbers." (As a former officer in the Pre-Vet club down there who attended maybe a dozen admissions counseling sessions while I was there, I am pretty familiar with how they do things.)

    Perhaps broaden your search this time around? If possible, maybe apply to KSU! I'm a bit biased, but they welcomed me with open arms when VMRCVM wouldn't give me the time of day. (You can see my stats on the "successful applicants class of 2011" thread.)

    Of course, it's always good to have a backup plan. When I got accepted, it was my last time, applying, too--my fourth. I had pretty much resigned myself to giving up on my lifelong dream and was looking at programs in everything from microbiology to psychology to forensic science...but nothing clicked with me. I would be briefly interested, then imagine going to work day after day for years on end in that field and would feel depressed...it was awful! Thank god I got in this time around, because nothing else "sang" for me.

    However, you might very well be different--best of luck! Those are the top fields I was considering. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions about what I wrote. :luck:
     
  13. projekt

    projekt UGA c/o 2012

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    When I was feeling discouraged this winter I started looking into MBA programs, because that would possibly bring me to another career that I would be interested in if Vet School didn't pan out. I decided not to apply but to apply next year if I didn't get in this year, after making sure I was doing the right thing.

    Well, I got into vet school, so it's moot now!
     
  14. fargeese

    fargeese VMRCVM Class of 2012

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    After I got rejected last year, I applied to a PhD program down at VCU in Richmond, and they all but fell over themselves trying to get me as a PhD candidate, offered it tuition free, decent money for living, no requirement to teach and my choice of programs, and I didn't have a lick of research experience, though I had worked in some commercial labs in the past. I think you will find that getting into a graduate program is a lot easier than vet med, and I would concentrate using my free time to get more vet experience and not worry about research experience, UNLESS you were told in your exit interview that they want more research. I know you're in Maryland, let me know if you want the contact info for VCU, they were very nice and it was a sweet deal, and one I would have taken if I had not gotten in this year.

    And before everyone gets all huffy, I recognize that some PhD programs are quite competitive, but since there are more than 28 of them, you have a much better shot at getting into one of them and some of them are pretty easy to get into, especially with the grades/GPA most of us have.
     
  15. CanadianGolden

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    Doesn't you research in commercial labs count? Or were you not doing research there? If not, then I am shocked that any PhD program would admit you. The concept of a PhD program accepting someone with no research is insane.

    I applied to PhD programs this cycle as well, and they were extremely competitive. Of course, there are more than 28 of them as you said, but don't think that quality PhD programs hand out admissions to someone with no research experience at all. Everyone at my interviews had multiple years of experience. Some had Masters. Most had completed their own projects. I don't know anything about VCU, but what you just said about it speaks volumes IMO (assuming you were not doing research there).
     
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  17. nyanko

    nyanko 360noscope squidkid
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    I absolutely agree with CanadianGolden. I applied for PhD programs last year with a pretty decent amount of research experience and only got into 3/5, 2 with no funding at all. The reasons given for my rejections and lack of funding were "not enough research experience". My boyfriend had been published 2 times in his field with another article being reviewed at the time of application and had a rec letter from someone very big in his field. He also had a >3.8 GPA, 90th+ percentile GRE scores and a 4.0 over the last 2 years. He got accepted to 4/5 schools, 2 with no funding. I'm sorry but if you really did have no research experience (like, your commercial lab experience was cleaning dishes or something) and this place was offering you a spot in a PhD program it can't be too good of a program.

    I would absolutely never recommend trying to apply to good PhD programs with no research experience. That seems like a huge waste of money.
     
  18. CanadianGolden

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    To add: my boyfriend and I both applied to really top PhD programs this cycle. Me in microbiology and he in bioengineering. My stats are in the successful applicants thread, but to summarize: 3.78 GPA, 760Q, 630V, 5.5AW, 2+ years of research and co-authorship on a manuscript (not published yet, due to red tape type stuff, but it will be). His stats: 780Q, 630V, 4.0AW, 3.6ish GPA, a couple years of research, third author on a published paper and a second manuscript too I think, plus biomedical engineering design team work (more research). I applied to Hopkins, Harvard, MIT, and Tufts for PhDs (and Penn's VMSTP of course), and he applied to Hopkins, Harvard, MIT, CMU, and Penn. I got interviews all around but was rejected from MIT and Harvard (my theory is that they saw my interest in veterinary med and thought I wouldn't be committed to the PhD--don't know why they interviewed me then, but whatever). He got interviews at CMU and Penn and was accepted at both--rejected without interview from the others.

    Granted, these were top programs, but if we got rejected from them (and I was accepted at all the vet schools I applied to) then I imagine that mid-range PhDs are rejecting perfectly good candidates as well.
     
  19. hoodle

    hoodle UC-Davis DVM/PhD

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    While I totally 100% agree with CanadianGolden, I just want to put a word out there to people who are applying to grad school and/or have significant others applying to grad school. My partner applied to microbiology at Wisconsin, Cornell, MIT, UNC-Chapel Hill, UC-Davis, etc, and was accepted and heavily recruited everywhere she applied, with lots of extra scholarship money on top of the tuition and stipend. She has about a 3.7 GPA and GREs of 720 verbal, 700 math, 5.5 writing. She had a summer's worth of molecular biology research and a senior thesis in synthetic organic chemistry, no papers/posters or any other publications. double major in Biology and chemistry. Very good letters of rec. So... clearly she's a good (but not bombproof) candidate applying to very good schools, but it worked out perfectly for her.

    my point is that you should apply to wherever you're interested in going. Don't get bogged down in competitiveness of institution, etc - just give it a shot. Of course be realistic - you won't go to graduate school without research experience- but not everyone needs multiple papers and a 4.0 GPA to still be extremely competitive!
     
  20. Rac Umich

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    I haven't been on this site in a few weeks, but I saw this thread and figured it might be worth posting. I am heading to vet school this fall, but right now I'm finishing up my PhD (defending in July).

    I served on the admissions committee for my PhD program at the University of Michigan - a top 10 research institute, so I can give you a good idea of the typical applicant vs successful candidate profile, etc or answer any questions you might have. Just send me a message. :)
     
  21. VAgirl

    VAgirl UC Davis SVM c/o 2012

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    Rac, I'd be curious to read about this, if you have the time and are willing to post some more general info up here for the rest of us. For me it's just idle curiosity since I won't be applying to any more school (I hope!!), but still...I'm curious. Thanks. :)
     

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