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Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by whyrightmeow, Nov 18, 2008.
Medical terminology is a non-science course. What department is the medication dosing class in?
Mathematics unfortunately...I need more classes to take to boost a GPA but also want to be available for working basically whenever, the struggle
Math isn't included in the science GPA, so it wouldn't count. I believe some schools use a combined math/science GPA so it would count for those.
That is quite true! Did not realize that you would be looking towards Boston. Rents in/around Boston are substantially greater (3 to 4 times greater). Not sure what field your husband is employed in, but if he does not already have a job, perhaps he could look outside the city. (a little west).
Okay I need a lot of help. I am deciding on which schools I want to apply to. I have narrowed it down to NCSU, UF, Virginia-Maryland, and UGA. NCSU is my IS and I have visited several times. I would appreciate any information you can give me on the other schools. i.e. how scheduling works, class size, clinical rotations, etc. Give me every and anything you can think of
Hello again, I'm back with another question. I'm a South Dakota student and I was accepted at both the University of Minnesota and Iowa State. I'm interested in swine medicine and pathology. I just recently received my contract from the state of South Dakota and I did not realize that attending Iowa State with one of these slots would obligate me to practice veterinary medicine in South Dakota after I graduate (foolish on my part, I guess). The problem is....I'm not interested in living in South Dakota for the rest of my life, nor am I particularly interested in clinical work (at this time, at least). I don't want to spend my four years of vet school thinking about how I have to go back to South Dakota and risk turning down a job offer for something I would like (I would have to repay SD if I don't work in the state for all four years, which would double the cost of attending school). So the UofM is an option, but it's pricier than ISU. Almost all of my extended family lives in Minnesota so I'd like to live in that area later on. I think it's also worth mentioning that by the time I graduate and finish four years of work in South Dakota I'll be 34. I'd like to already be established where I'd like to live by then.
I'm really hoping for input from a South Dakotan who attended either of these schools. If you know anyone who did can you please point them in my direction?
I'm also wondering, in general, how many students have job offers before they graduate? This could help me decide.
Thanks for your time. This decision is stressing me out big time.
If I were you I'd go to ISU. I have no experience with either school, but I know Minnesota is one of the most expensive schools, and you'd probably have higher cost of living there as well. Did you get a contract seat at Minnesota as well? Even if so, according to the VIN cost of education map (Cost of Education Map - VIN) that's a tuition difference of over $50k, not accounting for cost of living or interest. Coming from someone going OOS who's going to have over $250k in debt when I graduate, I think you'd be foolish to turn down Iowa State. If you had to practice in South Dakota for the rest of your life that would be one thing, but it's just four years.
Is the cost of attending ISU without the SD contract more than the cost of attending UMn? Several of my ISU classmates already have jobs in MN after graduation.
I know you've probably heard this before, but it only gets said so often because it's true... go with the one that's the lowest cost. And in your case that means NCSU. Especially since you're in state and NCSU has one of the best rates for in state students (at least they did when I was applying 4 years ago), you have the chance to pay a fraction of the cost that many others have to for vet school. Plus, NC State is a fantastic and very well-respected school. These decisions seem so difficult and like you have to compare every tiny difference between each school, but I promise once you're in vet school the differences are so small and absolutely not worth doubling your tuition for.
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Thanks for that link, I've seen it before but haven't been able to get it to work properly until now. I'd be in state at Minnesota, but as you said they are still pretty pricey.
Yes, without the contract the price of attending Iowa State is higher than Minnesota. Did they find jobs after graduating or did they have offers before that?
Before. I find it odd you are fixated on this. A lot of students find jobs before graduating. Cost of attendance should really be the primary factor in your decision. The amount of debt is just staggering.
Sorry, guess I'm just anxious. Luckily I have no current debt so that's one less thing to worry about. Thanks for the input.
I'm currently trying to decide between Illinois and Iowa, any insight would be greatly appreciated! There are things I really like about both of them!
Which one is cheaper? You can get a great education at both schools, and the end result is the same: you're a DVM! with lots of debt!
If you have specific questions about what it's like to go to ISU, feel free to message me. Finishing up my clinical rotations now!
I'm going to add to the requests of help deciding between schools: I am trying to choose between Iowa State (my IS) and the University of Edinburgh's 4 year grad-entry program.
Despite being more expensive, I like Edinburgh for its multiple-country accreditation (I think I would like to work abroad at least for some time in my career), its EMS program (which I hope to shape to my interests in conservation, wildlife, and exotics medicine, as well as an opportunity to travel), and the location as well (I did my undergrad in Iowa and as much as I love Iowa, it would be nice to live somewhere else for a while). They also don't do tracking and have a required exotics course that I think would really play toward what I want to do, career wise. Downsides, obviously the price and while I've visited the city, I've never visited the vet school in Edinburgh. I am also kind of concerned that some students have said they don't get much surgery experiences there, breaks are stressful because of EMS requirements, the class size sounds pretty large (like +150), and the idea of younger students (like 18-19 year olds) is less appealing from a maturity-level perspective.
In contrast, Iowa State is much cheaper in the short and long run, has equivalent or maybe stronger research opportunities (I already have work contacts with the USDA in Ames as well), and I know its a good school overall. But downsides would be that they track and I worry I wouldn't get as rounded of an experience there (especially for my interests in exotics/wildlife) as a mixed-track student, they don't have any requirements for externships/clinical experiences/etc. during breaks, and I honestly don't really like the vet campus or Ames in general.
I don't know if I should follow everyone else's advice to go with the cheaper option, even if it might be harder to get to my ultimate career goals, but also worry that I will be forever paying off my vet loans even if I do get a dream job as a conservation veterinarian, etc. Any advice?
I think what is important to remember here is that vet school is only 4 years... but the debt (in most cases) lasts so much longer than that. It is absolutely terrifying how quickly that number shoots up and how bad even the interest alone on those loans are. Realize, too, that this debt has the potential to severely impact your quality of life down the line. And I don't simply mean not being able to go out for drinks super often or not being able to purchase luxuries... I know newly graduated veterinarians, even with good to excellent credit scores, who are struggling just to be approved for things like a car loan or a mortgage because their debt burdens are so high and the income just doesn't match up with it. You're lucky in that ISU has one of the cheapest IS COAs in the country and IMO I really don't think that you should turn that down. Particularly because you're looking to enter a sect of the profession that generally does not pay well.
There are plenty of opportunities for gaining experience in wildlife and exotics here. There are several elective classes in these areas as well as a rotation at the Blank Park Zoo should you choose to go for that. Additionally, we have the Wildlife Care Clinic which, from what I have been told, is actively seeking out more vet student volunteers (right now as I understand it most of their volunteer base consists of undergrads)---I personally have not signed on to do so myself, but I know several of my classmates have and they speak quite highly of it. You'd definitely be in good company if you come here; there's a decent chunk of students who I know for a fact are looking to pursue careers in wildlife, zoo, or exotics. We also have a very healthy and large ZEW Club and they do a lot of wetlabs.
Also, keep in mind that wildlife medicine is very difficult to break into. That is to say, it might not work out for you in the end or you may even decide to pursue something else. Vet school is hard, things can happen, and interests do sometimes change. I still think that you'd be doing your future self a tremendous favor by going to ISU, paying IS tuition, and taking advantage of clubs and wetlabs, the Wildlife Care Clinic, school breaks, and your open rotation blocks to get as much wildlife and exotics experience as you possibly can while you're a student. Especially so since it sounds like you already have some connections and are already pretty established here.
ETA: I just would like to throw out there, too, that I also applied and was eventually accepted to a UK vet school---Glasgow, specifically. I seriously contemplated going there because, I mean... I am going to be knee deep in debt anyway, right, and at least that way I could go somewhere new and experience Scottish culture. Once it came out that I would qualify for IS tuition at ISU I opted for that instead. Now I'm less than a month from being finished with my first year of vet school and words cannot even express how thankful I am that I made the decision that I did and did not doom myself to $100,000+ in additional debt unnecessarily.
I don't understand where this idea that ISU does tracking, and tracking = bad comes from. I've seen this a few times on this forum now. ISU does tracking in the 4th year only, so you're forced to get a well-rounded education up to that point. NAVLE tests on all species, so you've got to learn it all, no matter what school you go to.
4th year tracking is a way to specialize if you know for sure you only want to work with a particular species/production environment. You can track large animal, small animal, equine, or mixed at ISU. Even with these tracks, there is a core set of courses that all students are required to take that ensures everyone gets some small animal, equine, and large animal hands-on experience. I am actually tracking mixed animal, so if you have questions about how tracking works at ISU, feel free to message me.
A few comments:
Is the process of getting accreditation in a different country that difficult? I am not well informed in this regard. Also, would the place you wish to practice internationally be included in this?
Conservation/wildlife/exotics is a very difficult field to get into. It's really not about what classes you have, it's about how well you are able to network.
If the AVMA has accredited the university, they believe that you will receive enough surgery experience to be a competent vet.
With respect to the EMS program, is this essentially engaging in externships during your free time? You will always have the opportunity to do things like this at Iowa too, you just would have to be motivated to do so.
I personally agree with you on the younger students bit. With that said, Mizzou has one of the younger classes in the U.S on average, and everyone seems to be fairly mature here.
Having contacts already here is very powerful. But does the USDA contact reflect your interests appropriately?
Not liking the vet campus/the area should be fairly low in your decision list for choosing a school. As many will say, you can do anything for four years.
For those that track, I am fairly confident that each one has a tracking system that resembles a nontracking vet school (mixed animal). I know this likely varies by school, but you can modify your experience to more accurately go after your interests.
Once again, that is simply a motivation problem. Whether it's required or not shouldn't matter. If you want to pursue exotics, then do externships for it during your off blocks.
How do you feel that being in Iowa present you from doing exotics?
And people will likely swarm you about the tuition aspect. But it really is a big deal, more then most people comprehend before getting into vet school, and more then most comprehend while in vet school (my sister is a vet with a solid 300k of debt)
I'm having a hard time deciding between Purdue, UF, and Michigan state. I'm OOS for all the schools and I would like to specialize in small animal dentistry. Any advice would be greatly appreciated
And SandstormDVM too:
I think I definitely understand the concern about the money, and that is the main reason why I am still not decided at this point; Edinburgh would be 60,000$ more in loans than ISU by graduation (including all living expenses, interest, travel, and everything) and that is a lot to me. I also have paid for all of my undergrad myself and will be paying for all of vet school by myself, hence all the indecision about the money particularly.
I definitely don't think of tracking super-negatively, and you absolutely need to understand all species well to pass the NAVLE. I guess I just worry that, because they don't offer specific classes in exotics at ISU, for example, it will be harder for me to network within my interests in this way, because I must seek it out on my own then and lack advisers in that regard. Especially because, from what I understand, the NAVLE doesn't really test on exotics, and so the school would have no incentive to really support students' interests in exotics, as it doesn't improve their test pass rate (I know this is a really shallow way of thinking, but my worries...) But I guess there are no schools that track exotics so I will have to seek these experiences on my own to some degree anyway, but Edinburgh does require a section on exotics. I don't think ISU would prevent me from doing exotics, exactly, but I do worry that it will be harder. If it is all about who you know, would it not be worth some amount to go somewhere that has those first networking connections?
I find it strange that, of the two times I visited campus, neither the ISU students or the admission staff ever mentioned anything about a wildlife care clinic or zoo/exotics-oriented clubs, even when I have clearly indicated my interests in wildlife/conservation med. I also have worked with the enrichment/keeper staff (and loosely the vet staff) at the Blank Park Zoo all throughout undergrad, so while I have that strong connection, I also am unsure how much more I could gain from that relationship, per se. I know the general tasks/events that the ISU rotation students do while at the BPZ too (and honestly it's not a whole lot, as much as I LOVE all the staff and vets there).
For international accreditation, I have done some research on the process and it seems to be very long and expensive in some cases, especially if you have to go to the country for any reason for the testing/accreditation process, but it depends on the country. And one benefit to Edinburgh is that it is accreditation in the US, Canada, the UK, EU, Australia, parts of Asia, and South Africa (where I studied and researched abroad for 8 months and have wildlife vet and researcher contacts at), of which I would love to work in any of these places but strongest in South Africa. I do have contacts in Ames with the USDA but more in agricultural (swine) research, which I don't think I want to do in any long term capacity, but I also have strong contacts with the Kruger National Parks in South Africa (including one of their wildlife vets there) and a loose connection to the WWF there (which I would LOVE to work with somehow, someday). This is why I know I want to do wildlife medicine, and one of the main reasons I'm worried about ISU being a good fit.
And yeah, the EMS is basically required externships, of which I could travel to different places/countries/zoos/wildlife preserves to accomplish. I like the idea that they are required because 1) it makes you get that out of class experience, which I feel makes you more prepared to hit the ground running day one out of vet school, 2) you have 26 weeks of required clinical EMS, which is way more than it sounds like is available at ISU (theirs is like 10 weeks max for credit), and 3) it means the schools is more prepared (maybe?) to make those connections between its students and organizations/etc. in the students' specific fields of interest. I could also easily use it to go back to South Africa, or go to any number of other countries for these experiences, giving me a wider range of experiences and species. I also really place a value on international education and experiences, especially coming from an small-liberal arts undergrad with a student body specifically interested in social justice and engagement.
Yeah, all the confusion in my head right now, but I definitely welcome all the input. I don't know if there is anyone on here who could speak from the other side of things? Has anyone ever gone to the more expensive option, for whatever reason, and regretted it? Or if someone is at Edinburgh and agrees to go with the cheaper option, no matter what?
ISU does have a class in exotics, but it's more the small pocket pet type, not wildlife. It's a prerequisite for the BPZ rotation (which was a fabulous learning experience, btw, and very different from working as keeper staff). However, ISU (like other schools) also has elective classes in small ruminants, camelids, and horses, which you would probably need if you're planning to work with wildlife. Giraffes are basically really tall cows, with some special anesthetic concerns.
I'm not going to try to convince you to pick ISU though because it sounds like you really want Edinburgh despite the cost difference. No matter where you go, zoo and wildlife medicine is about putting in the effort to make the right contacts. Either you want it bad enough to do that, or you don't. And if you want it that bad, then going someplace like ISU is not going to be a barrier to breaking into the field.
@DVMDream went to Edinburgh for the first 2 years, maybe she can help you out a bit.
Honestly, I feel like you can get these experiences regardless of where you go... I am 100% sure you could get some awesome exotic experiences in your summers if you went to ISU. The opportunities and networking are very much there, you might just have to look for them.
To throw in my 2 cents on EMS... I recieved the first year AHEMS packet from RVC the other day, which I hear is very similar to Edinburgh, and I don't think it will support your interest in exotics as much as you think. There are 8 required weeks of AHEMS (and from what I've heard clinical EMS is set up the same) so you have to do 2 weeks in dairy, sheep, equine, and swine and then you can do 4 weeks of what you'd like (but a max of three weeks in 1 area).
If you're really looking to make exotic connections, in my opinion your better off with your breaks free at ISU to focus solely on exotics and making those connections instead of having 9-10 weeks of time off tied up working with other species.
The fact that it's cheaper is also better because you have to pay for travel and accommodations while you're on EMS so if you went to ISU you'd have more money to go and make connections in the exotic world over breaks. You could theoretically go overseas while on break from ISU to do an externship if you wanted to make some connections abroad.
In the end, if you want to move and work in another country once you're finished with school, you won't be spending $60,000 to be certified there, so I'd go to ISU and spend every second I could at my own choice of externships.
If I remember correctly from when I applied to Glasgow, EMS does have species requirements---yes, you can take advantage of a few of those 26 weeks to work with whatever species you'd like, but there you still must spend a certain amount of time doing bovine, equine, swine, etc. And, honestly, at that point it really is no different from using off blocks during clinical year at a US school to go and do the same thing. If @LabLuv004 is correct about the EMS time breakdown, then it looks like, between the 10 credits during clinical year and summers, you'd actually have more opportunities at ISU to get experience in wildlife and exotics. Especially so if you also join ZEW Club, do wetlabs, attend conferences if you can, and take the time to volunteer at the Wildlife Care Clinic (it is odd to hear that no one mentioned that we have that clinic during your tours, by the way... I'd figured it'd be fairly well known among the student body).
If you truly feel that Edinburgh is going to be a better fit for you... well, we certainly can't stop you from attending if that is simply where you would prefer to go. I just personally would have a very difficult time justifying the extra expense when not only does veterinary medicine as a whole profession not pay well but salaries in the wildlife field in particular, for the most part, are among the lowest. Also, it is important to keep in mind that, at the end of your 4 years of school, if you attend Edinburgh, you will owe quite a bit more than the additional $60,000 you calculated (and this still seems like a low estimate... are you sure that you are including everything?) due to the interest and capitalization on top of that principal amount. ~7% interest rate on these loans balloons up the total balance scarily fast. You are extremely fortunate in that you were accepted IS to one of the vet schools with the cheapest IS COAs in this country; there are many vet students looking at spending $250,000 to $300,000 or even more who would kill to be in your spot. I was in that spot, too, and I am so glad that I jumped on the opportunity and made the decision that I did.
I, as well as the overwhelming majority of other current veterinary students and graduated veterinarians on these boards, are going to urge you to choose the less expensive school. About the only people on here who will say otherwise are pre-vets not in vet school yet. I feel like that should say something. This kind of debt has the ability to really impact your future quality of life and absolutely shouldn't be taken lightly. It is difficult to comprehend and appreciate just how dire the entire situation is until you're smack dab in the middle of it and actually see with your own eyes on the NSLDS website how fast the money racks up.
Ultimately, it is your choice... and it does sound like you're leaning towards Edinburgh... but I agree with @genny. Breaking into wildlife medicine is all about connections and experiences outside of class, as no vet school is going to dedicate any significant amount of class time to those species since there is so much material that has to be taught about domestic animals alone that there is not enough time during the core curriculum to do so; if you choose to attend ISU, it is not going to put you at any kind of disadvantage in getting the experience in that field if you truly are dedicated. If you put in the time and effort, you'll find ways to make it work wherever you go.
ISU has a wildlife care clinic that looks pretty nice. It was actually one of the reasons I applied there.
Wildlife Care Clinic | College of Veterinary Medicine
Congrats on getting into those schools! I go to Purdue for undergrad and will be a first year student in the fall. I love the atmosphere here. Everyone is like one big family. All the faculty I've worked with have been amazing. And the small class size and tracking is a perk for me. When it comes so dentistry, I'm sure most programs have a solid program. I would go to the school where you feel most comfortable and costs the least amount of money to attend. From there, you can network with the dentistry faculty. Hope this helps!
I went to both schools....go to ISU. Pick the cheaper option.
Any particular reason, for the switch between the schools or for the advice, out of curiosity? Other than money, of course
Feel free to PM me and I can discuss in more detail.
Hey everyone, even days before the deadline, I am quite torn between PEI Atlantic Veterinary College and St. George's in Grenada. I will most likely be going the small animal route, possibly emergency. I know that St. George's has tons of hands-on experience which is what I need. Is anyone having a hard time making a decision? Any advice for me?
I don't know your situation, but I am also torn between schools. From what I have read, the overall consensus is to pick the cheapest school (or lowest cost-of-living option). While there are many factors to consider, you need to prioritize what is most important for you. For me, I am leaning toward picking the curriculum that I love. I wish I could mix and match, but I can't. I would say that it is important to picture yourself at the school. Where do you see yourself thriving and most happy (and is it reasonable in terms of cost)? Just a few thoughts for you .
My main issue is that I don't get into NCSU, and get in somewhere else, I really don't want to take that gap year. Based on my GPA, I may not get into NCSU the first time I apply.
I think @fractiousfeline may have misunderstood and thought you're trying to decide which school to attend.
oops. Sorry if my original post wasn't clear
Ooo yeah I totally did misunderstand that haha. Well on that note, I hope you get into NCSU!!
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It does make total sense to picture where I see myself thriving. I see myself thriving in both places (lol). Which schools are you between?
I'll PM you.
So I got very last minute notification that I got accepted to Davis. I was told they had a glitch in their system. I already put my deposit down at Mizzou so I have some questions for current Davis students. I loved both schools but wrote Davis off when I got rejected.
Can any of you comment on doing mixed animal in the curriculum? I'm interested in public health so the lab animal, wildlife, and food animal classes appeal to me and I wouldn't want to lose out on any of those included in small and large animal tracks due to accommodations being made to fit in small and large core classes.
Also, how do you feel about the environment there? Is it overly competitive? Do you feel like it's a family? Do you feel like professors go out of their way to help you?
Thanks in advance!
I am not a student there yet but someone answered some of those questions for me. The person I spoke with said you can do mixed animal, but it is not very well integrated into the system. Hopefully someone else will chime in, but it had something to do with losing clinic hours to do both large and small, or something like that. She said there was a good large or small animal tract, but not mixed animal. I had some of the same concerns you do when choosing schools and would be more than happy to answer anything I can via PM. Just let me know .
I'm sure you've heard this before, but which one will cost less? That's the one you should go to.
Yeah it pretty much evened out with grants given by UC Davis and the higher cost of living there and then being able to establish in-state residency after the first year at Mizzou and lower cost of living. Thank you! I ultimately decided on Davis . So much sticker shock though when looking at rent haha
You can change to IS tuition at UCD still right? As long as you jump through all their hoops?
Yep! I'm a CA resident though haha so that makes things a little easier
Sorry this is totally (kind of) random. But is it just me, or am I the only one that thinks that cost is NOT the number one factor when picking a school? I've been reading that everywhere, and it absolutely baffles me. If someone is trying to choose between two schools, and they move across the country for a cheaper one (let's say it's cheaper for this example's sake), that person is going to jeopardize their happiness for a little break in their loans? If I'm not absolutely 150% obsessed with something, than I would never do it. I think one's own happiness and personal quality of life are the biggest factors. In the end, you're going to have loans, wether you like it or not. You're going to be paying for years, wether you like it or not. I'm going to Western this fall, c/o 2021. Yes, it's practically the most expensive school. But their program is exactly what I'm looking for, as it suits my learning style and interest to the T; it was my number 1 choice. Yeah, loans are a b*tch. But in the end, I'm going to be doing what I absolutely love, and I never sacrificed my happiness or standards in the process.
Basically, what I'm trying to say is, I think we should be choosing a school based on what we WANT, not factoring in money as the #1 deciding issue. You want to live in New York for 4 years? GO FOR IT. You want to move to London? GO FOR IT. You want to stay in your home town? GO FOR IT. Just be happy, and everything else will take it's place. <3
Disclaimer: I'm also not trying to offend anybody. This is just my opinion. Of course, money is important, but I think my happiness and wellbeing are more important.
Also, an example. I once spoke with a girl who went to a specific vet school because it was the cheaper option. She went to school there for a year, and completely, utterly hated it. She was miserable. She dropped out of that school and reapplied, got in to one of her top choices, and had to start over from year 1, but she was so much happier. She ended up paying for 5 years worth of vet school. Hm. "cheaper option" lol.
I definitely see what you're saying and where you're coming from. You should definitely be happy. But in making that decision, you need to realize that if you make the decision to be happy now, you might not be happy in the long run. 20 years from now, when you're still paying off debt with a vet salary that doesn't pay enough, you're probably not gonna be happy. If we didn't have to repay debt, or we had a profession that allowed us to quickly pay off our debt, I would say go with what makes you happy. But $250,000 of debt plus interest is so hard to pay off when you're making $60K a year. That's why everyone says to go for the cheaper school. It does matter.
The way I see it is how much unhappiness total I would like to tolerate. I would much rather take four years of unhappiness on the front end of my career than an extra 10-15+ years of unhappiness due to loan repayments for the rest of my career. Going someplace cheaper also means I can be more able to move somewhere I actually want to live, or that I can pursue something like an internship or residency without wondering if I'm completely financially crippling myself.
As with all things there are exceptions (and, I would argue, exceptions that actually prove that a rule exists). If going to your IS is completely unsurvivable - then don't go. However I would say that for many people this isn't the case (not saying this doesn't happen at all, of course), and they are simply coming up with reasons why their IS is subpar and therefore the absolute worst possible choice to attend. This was obviously not the case with your friend, and it stinks that she had to go through that whole process. At the same time, this is very anecdotal evidence that you're presenting here, and that n = 1 isn't particularly convincing to me that this is such a common phenomenon that people should ignore the very real issue of cost of attendance.
I don't know. For me, personally, I would love for vet school to be the best thing ever but the reality is that it's going to suck a lot, a lot of the time, regardless of where I go. I want to go to a school that is not actively detrimental to my wellbeing, and would avoid doing so. At the same time I'm not paying for the wonderful experience of veterinary school, I'm paying to receive training and a degree that allows me to practice veterinary medicine as a competent clinician. If I know the school can get me to the end point then a lot of the middle is of less concern to me in a lot of ways. It's a lot like high school, you just have to get through it.
I'm glad that you are attending a school that you love - it's not something that everyone gets to do. I wish you success during your upcoming veterinary schooling and beyond.
I think what is important to note here is that for a lot of newly graduated vets, it isn't simply a case of having a bit extra in loans to pay off. For many of them, it's a situation of having such a skewed debt:salary ratio that they have difficulty getting approved for things like a car loan or mortgage. Some have a very difficult time just making it by at the end of the month when they account for bills, food, and their loan payments.
Contrary to what the general sentiment is, I do believe that money does have a factor in happiness. How much of a factor it is is going to vary by individual, sure, but it is still difficult to discount the difference on quality of life that dealing with $300k of debt vs. $100k of debt will have. And do remember that, at the end of the day, once interest + tuition increases + capitalization comes into play, the real amount owed back can be tens of thousands more than the principal.
Personally, I had a decent chunk of undergrad debt going into vet school. I thankfully got into the cheapest school I applied to; for a hot second, I contemplated going to Glasgow where I was also eventually accepted to. I mean, if I'm going to be in debt anyway, may as well do it in a new country right? But after ruminating over it, i made the decision to attend the cheaper school---I'm only one year in, but words cannot even express how happy I am that I made the choice that I did and didn't doom myself to so much extra debt unnecessarily.
It's... it's just really difficult to comprehend how much money you're actually spending until you're in the thick of it. Also, honestly? You're getting the same basic educational foundation regardless of where you go; there's very, very little actual difference between US vet schools. Certainly not enough difference, in my mind, to justify paying $100k+ more. Vet school is vet school. It sucks no matter where you go, but it's only four years of your life. The loans are (likely) to last much, much longer than that.
Ultimately, it is your choice and everyone does have different priorities coming into play. But I do think that, for the vast majority of applicants, cost needs to be the primary consideration. And I would think that most other vet students and vets would ageee with me on this (notice that the only people on this board arguing otherwise are pre-vets not actually in vet school yet? I feel like that should really say something).