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Do you think I have a chance?

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by ponio, Dec 15, 2008.

  1. ponio

    2+ Year Member

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    I realize that there are several of these threads, but it is finals time, and I always start to panic about vet school during finals and instead of stressing about my exams I stress about the fact that it is pointless because I will never get in to a vet school anyways....

    So basically, I just want you to give it to me straight. Do you think I have a chance of getting into vet school?

    I am am at one of the top liberal arts schools in the country, but my GPA is pretty atrocious. My cumulative GPA is 3.14, same in my major (biology). My prevet GPA is 3.05. I haven't taken the GRE yet, so I am hoping that I can do really really well on that. But basically, I have REALLY struggled with chem, and obviously I have a bunch of Bs in bio too. to make it worse I am pretty much out of time in terms of bringing it up. My only explanation for my sub-par grades is the fact that I have worked 15-20 hours a week throughout my college career, but I'm sure other "more qualified" candidates have too...

    In terms of experience I have about 2000 hours small animal/exotic and 2000 hours equine. The experience is a combination of working for 2 different vets, volunteering for shelters, therapuetic riding, and work as a riding instructor. I am taking a year off after school to work and save up some money for school, but I will hopefully be getting some farm animal experience too.

    I think I have some really good LORs and I am from MA, so I will be applying IS to Tufts (my dream school...), but I doubt that that is enough.

    Do I have a chance? What can I do?!
     
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  3. hopefulvet21

    hopefulvet21 Edinburgh c/o 2013
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    I think you are doing great in the experience department! Can you give me some of your hours please;)? But if you want it straight, your GPA needs boosting! I don't think it will be high enough for Tufts. But if you went back and did a masters, which I know lots of people with poor undergrad GPA's have/are doing, then you can prove that you are academically strong too. And a high GRE score will help with that too. Also, I think you should come up with a better explanation for the low GPA, because I've worked that much per week too and I think it would have taken a lot more hours to bring down my GPA a lot.
     
  4. feadog

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    I sent a PM with a little more detail, but I second the Master's suggestion. Some schools will not factor graduate grades into GPA calculations, but many do.
     
  5. DVMorBust

    DVMorBust UW SVM Class of 2013
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    What's your GPA for your last 45 (or is it 30?) course credits? (i.e. is there an upward trend there? Sometimes that helps).

    Giving it straight - I'm going to second the work not being a reasonable excuse. I've (and many people I know) work (much) more than that each week, and it's not a high enough number of hours to make anyone say 'ah. That explains it.' But it sounds like you already know this.

    That being said, there are many reasons for a lower GPA that may not seem like a 'good excuse'. I have a friend who's shooting for Med school, and when she met with her advisor to switch to pre-med, her advisor had some issues with the GPA situation. She asked my friend what the problem had been, and my friend said 'Honestly? I needed to grow up quite a bit.'
    Since then, she's been pulling near-4.0s, so she has the GPA to back it up now. But most advisors I've talked to are refreshed by that kind of honest answer - as long as you can show that you make a change and have an upward swing.

    I'd suggest taking some extra upper-level bio courses to show you can master the material (maybe a seminar course in gene transcription or something), but if it's going to take too long to get the GPA up, looking at some post-bach work or a masters like others have said.

    As far as experience goes, you are pretty set. How many of those hours are animal experience and how many are veterinary? (veterinary=supervised/working with a DVM).
     
  6. ponio

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    Ok. Thanks for the honesty. Basically my GPA is all over the place. I had a really good junior year, but this semester is destroying me. Next semester I am taking 3 upper-level bios and my last semester of physics. I usually do well with seminars, and I don't have a problem with physics, so I am anticipating ending on a good semester. I also carefully picked my seminars to be in bio subjects I didn't do as well in so hopefully I can demonstrate that I do know the material.

    As for my last 45 hours... well, as it stands now it is a 3.11, but if all goes according to plan (;)) it should be more like a 3.33 (still not great, I know...) Pretty much this semester has done me in. I was always on the fence GPA wise, but this semester was not a good one, and I really have no excuse. I know my job is not one, but I was just trying to think of ANYTHING to justify my rotten GPA, but there is no reason, except for the fact that I am at a hard school taking hard classes, but vet school is hard too and they want to know I can handle it.

    The hours experience are pretty much 1/2 and 1/2, so 1000 of the 2000 small animal/exotic and equine are working with a vet...
     
  7. DVMorBust

    DVMorBust UW SVM Class of 2013
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    Finishing off on a good note would definitely be an improvement. The experience you have is solid (I'd trade some of my GPA for some of that experience!) Even finishing on a solid GPA will probably keep you below the cutoff for schools that automatically decline applications for students based on numbers, but if you buckle down (I know you've been buckling, but you really do need to show you can do the coursework) and learn *how* to study for hard courses so it works out, that's half your personal statement right there. :)

    I don't know how you've been approaching school, but do everything possible - tutors, meet with professors, whatever it takes - to finish on a good note.

    I'd still recommend more classes, but that's not feasible for everyone. If you do well enough on the GRE, some schools have a formula for calculating points and then place you on a scale system - i.e. a higher GRE can help compensate for a lower GPA - but that would most likely only help you out if you did *way* above average on the GRE. I'd do some research on how different schools calculate, look at schools that do interviews (coming in as a not-great-on-paper candidate, if you can at least get an interview, it would help a lot in upping the chances that you can show your better side to adcoms), and study your hiney off for the GRE.

    There's a few threads on how to study for it - what books are best, etc. I would personally recommend the Princeton Review's 'Cracking the GRE' book, as I found it most helpful. Do a search and some stuff should come up.

    Have you always known you wanted to go to vet school? Or was it a more recent decision? Sometimes it's understandable for grades to be a bit lower if you're in that 'I don't know what I want to do' phase, and when you focus on something the dedication shows through in a higher GPA...
     
  8. sambone

    sambone Cornell 2013
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    I just wanted to acknowledge that when you're attending a top school where the academics are really vigorous, working 15-20hr/week makes a big difference...like Bs vs As! (though it's still not a good explanation for vet schools.) I worked ~15hr/wk throughout undergrad, and boy could I have used a few extra hours here and there.

    Occasionally people on this site are a little quick to say..."oh i worked 40hr/week and did this and that and blah blah blah and still have a 3.999" well, don't let them make you feel less capable than they are. Where I attend school now (a decent state school) one could work fulltime & attend school fulltime and still get As, but there's NO way I could have done that where I did my undergrad work.

    Nevertheless, you'll still need to boost that GPA ...I just thought a morale boost was in order too. Oh yeah, and in the grand scheme, a B average isn't bad...just for applying to vet school :(
     
  9. Gordo

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    I am not much help. But I think you and me are twins or something. Like everything you said matches my life and situation, weird. Anyways good luck.
     
  10. rachroo

    rachroo OSU CVM c/o 2013
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    Please note, I am NOT a vet student (yet!).

    I'd just like to mention, that if your school is known for having a rigorous curriculum, that MAY be taken into consideration. It depends on the school you attend now and the vet school you would be applying to.

    In my vet school interview I was told that a GPA @ my undergrad school is comparable to being .2-.4 times more than some of the other schools (not my words, just what I was told). If this would similar at all to your school (or yours may be even higher) Ex: your 3.1 GPA is really a 3.3-3.5 in comparison...(or more!)

    Also, even if you only worked part time, that's still 20 hrs a week you could have spent studying. So IMO, that says something: If you could have had those 20 hours to study instead, I would venture to say that your GPA would be higher. So, I think you mentioning that it lowered your GPA somewhat, is fine.
     
    #9 rachroo, Dec 16, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2008
  11. ponio

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    I wish! Sadly I don't think that this is the norm...

    I have been looking into the masters option... Do you think that it matters whether the masters is researched based or not? I was looking at some public health and animals and public policy programs (this is a MS)... I'll probably end up retaking orgo too.

    This is so frustrating. And stressful.

    Boo.

    Plus its finals and I just want to be done!!
     
  12. CBRGrl

    CBRGrl CSU PVM c/o 2013
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    I was in much the same situation as you last year. Though my GPA was a little better, I still applied to Vet school and was rejected. At my file review I sat down with the dean and she told me that, though my last 45 hours were fantastic, I had some making up to do in terms of GPA (I was 14 when I started college...and have been making up for that first year ever since!). I also held down a full time job waiting tables at night to pay my entire way through school as an undergrad (no help from parents).

    Though that was listed on my application, the dean wasn't impressed. She said that she understood the need for a job, but that to get in, I needed to take a full-time load of upper division classes and pull all A's. So, I embarked on a master's degree (coursework based at HER suggestion...because I had plenty of research experience and I really just needed to prove I could handle the rigors of upper division courses). Tomorrow is my last final and I'm proud to say I pulled off a 4.0 this semester. It was INSANE, 18 hours, plus time in the lab, but it will be worth it.

    I guess what I mean is, that in your case, I think a coursework based masters could be just the ticket because it can allow you to prove you can handle full time science courses and pull good grades. I know people look down on coursework based master's programs, but they really are a good way to boost your GPA if you're committed to it. This semester was really hard, but it was also really great because I now know what it will take while in vet school. Hope this helps!!
     
  13. Skillet9886

    Skillet9886 UFCVM c/o 2013!
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    The only thing that I would add on top of what others have said is that if you really want to go to Tufts and you're not too far away from it (can do it in a day trip), I'd definitely suggest making an appointment with the Dean. Most of them are very approachable and happy to advise potential students. I don't think that just the meeting would help your chances, but he/she should be able to offer you advice that no one else can.

    I've been told by professors at UF CVM that below average grades can be fixed to some degree with a stellar GRE score. A high GRE score shows that you have the necessary intelligence to get through the curriculum, even if your grades don't necessarily demonstrate it. Like someone posted previously, a lot of people (not saying this is necessarily the case for you) are just not mature enough to handle college right when they get in, and their GPA suffers. If you finish on a good note and get a good GRE score you should have at least a fighting chance.

    I also wanted to add my two cents to what someone said before about putting your grades into your personal statement. Obviously, this is just my opinion, but I tried to highlight my strenghts in my personal statement. I would save any GPA excuses you want to offer for the explanation statement.

    That being said, I agree that a master's is a good avenue to pursue. The public health degree would be a good choice, I think, and it would give you an insight into part of the field that not a lot of applicants have. Angles are always good!
     
  14. vnair2

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    Hello,

    Im going to quickly borrow this thread with a mostly unrelated question. I apologize in advance.

    While my overall GPA is good, my second semester junior year GPA took a hit and I ended up doing mediocre in some core science classes (Chem1). I was tempted to put a comment in my explanation section (I got pretty bad mono that semester), but when I wrote up a draft version, it sounded too much like a bad excuse, not an explanation. I ended up cutting it from the App, just out of curiosity, do you think I should have included it?

    Thanks
    V
     
  15. Emio

    Emio Fudge Bane
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    if that spring semester junior year was way out of character, yes, i think you need to say something about it, because they're definitely going to notice it. be as succinct as possible to avoid being whiny, and just let them know health issues came about. hopefully your fall transcripts were back up to par. on second thought, did you apply already? if so, just have your answer ready for them when they ask.

    ponio, i'm sorry, i'm not very good with the whole master's options things. however, and i haven't read all the responses (i'm sure they were good advice), i wouldn't take this next year to get more farm animal experience. you're already experienced with large animals (horses); i'd take it to get that GPA up as high as you can. why take a year to improve on something that's fairly solid to begin with, and leave the part that needs work alone? assuming of course, you already have several excellent letters of rec.

    i would also do some more volunteering and/or working while taking those courses. by all means, working 15-20 hours a week is a poor excuse for poor grades.

    you sound sincere... act on it!
     
  16. loo

    loo Always Sleepy
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    I would do the following: (GPA-wise)

    1. Do a file review with schools...should you get a rejection.

    2. Based upon your file review, retake classes you did poorly in and/or take upper level classes in the hard sciences. Aim for all A's. I'm not a fan of obtaining a masters degree for the sole purpose of gaining admission to vet school. It's just too expensive and labor-intensive. Then again, it's your choice.

    3. Retake the GRE.


    I worked while I was in college---not because I wanted to, but because I had to. If you can pull A's and B's while working, I don't think it will hurt you. If you pull C's and D's, well...you're showing adcoms you have difficulty balancing your priorities.

    Wishing you luck for whatever may happen...:luck:
     
    #15 loo, Dec 18, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2008
  17. mstweetie

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    hi CBRgirl -- i am also looking into a masters if i don't get in somewhere this cycle... may i ask where you're doing it at, and how long? i've believe ive seen a non-thesis masters thread before...the one-year option. anyone have any rec's on schools/programs and/or is in one right now? thanks!
     
  18. Skillet9886

    Skillet9886 UFCVM c/o 2013!
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    V, I wouldn't worry too much about it. I think that one could go either way. If you included it in the explanation statement, mono is certainly a valid excuse for lower-than-normal grades. I think it would be possible to word it in a way that sounded like a legitimate explanation, rather than just pulling at straws trying to come up with excuses.

    That being said, I have heard from adcom members at UF say that a majority of people leave the explanation statement blank. I was very concerned when I was doing VMCAS that I didn't have anything to put there, and everyone I talked to said that it was fine not to write anything. If I were in your situation, I probably wouldn't have written it in the explanation statement either, unless it was something like usually getting 3.8 and that semester ending up with a 2.1. Personally, the only thing I would put in an explanation statement would be things like having to work full time throughout college, having a parent die during college, having to withdraw from a semester, etc.

    Remember, VMCAS will hopefully not be your last chance to convey information. Mono might be easier to discuss in an interview. A lot of schools might ask you why your GPA is lower that semester than others, or ask whether you think you have any blemishes on your application. Those would be perfect opportunities to bring it up. Even in my Ohio State interview last week they asked at the end if there was anything I wanted them to know that hadn't been conveyed on my application or during the interview. That might also be a time to mention it.

    In general, I tend to think that trying to explain bad things from my application just draws attention to them more than anything else.
     
  19. ylrebmik

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    Your experience is great! take the GRE, get your gpa is high as possible, like everyone else said. I tried looking for stats for tufts accepted students and all it said was that the mean gpa was a 3.6. :(
     

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