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Factors when picking a school

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by whyrightmeow, Nov 18, 2008.

  1. vetmedhead

    vetmedhead Allied to the landslide
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    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.
     
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  3. Elkhart

    Elkhart SDN Gold Donor
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    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).
     
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  4. WildZoo

    WildZoo Illegal in all 50
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    Perhaps it baffles you because you are not yet in the position where you are taking out those loans, nor in the position where you are trying to pay them back. It is all so hard to really comprehend until you are actually living it. I would challenge you to find a vet with >$200k in debt who wouldn't advise going to your cheapest option, or doesn't wish they had. Most of the time when we're talking to people about making decisions between schools, it isn't a "little" difference. It's the difference between their "dream" school that is $57k a year and their IS that is $25k. That isn't a little break in loans, that is huge.

    All of those things that you (general you, not you specifically) might think make a school perfect for you are temporary. Heck, some of them might not even be as awesome as you thought, or make as much of a difference as you believed. But the debt? That is real. That is guaranteed. And that will follow you through a big chunk of your career. Personally it baffles me that anyone would, given the option, choose to go into even more debt just for the idea of a "happier" vet school experience. That is also why I tell people to only apply to schools where they could see themselves actually attending and not being miserable. But, we are all just giving our opinions. Each person has to make their own choice and live with it.
     
  5. kcoughli

    kcoughli Lab Animal Resident
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    Many people have made some excellent points already, but just to chime in, vet school is 4 years. And it's school. Unless you have a really compelling reason to choose the more expensive school, don't! Instead, take the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars you've saved to move to your exciting dream location after vet school and start a life there. Or take a vacation or two or three there. Or buy a car, or a house, or something that will greatly affect your quality of life. Vet school is what you make of it, loans are real and binding and life-altering.
     
  6. dyachei

    dyachei vet robot pirate zombie
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    Most vet schools aren't vastly different anyway.
     
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  7. PRoseM

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    Again, I understand where everyone is coming from. I do have loans from my undergrad, granted they're no where near as much as I will have soon lol. I appreciate everyone's gentle oppositions, as opposed to straight up bashing me and my opinions. But when I mean we'll be happier in school, thats not just the 4 years. This is the type of person I am, but my schoolwork and determination will definitely be affected depending on my happiness. Yes, having debt does affect happiness; hell- having no loans would make me ecstatic. I have always had a really, maybe unrealistic, happy outlook on life. But the better I study in school, the more determined I am to be the best vet I can be, the better vet I WILL be; in turn yielding a better work outcome, and higher salary. yada yada. Idk, Money isnt everything; it sure is a lot, but maybe I'm just so "happy-go-lucky" or however that phrase goes. lol
     
  8. PRoseM

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    Also, I might add, that I am very financially conscious. I make budgeting reports every month and track everything, just so I know where everything is coming from and going. So I'm not naive and spoiled with money, not in the least. But with school, its an exception. If I graduate and, as one poster said, I'm making 60k, I would NOT be satisfied. Not in the least. I just graduated with a doctorate and I have all these loans and I'm supposed to work as a doctor and make 60k? HA! Loans or no loans, no. I would sure as hell I get the opportunity or make the opportunity to earn more than that. Specialize, change workplaces, do SOMETHING, to make sure I'm satisfied with my income. There is definitely not a surplus of vets around.
     
  9. SummerTheLynx

    SummerTheLynx The Bioinformatics DVM student
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    I guess some questions to ask yourself:

    Would you be happy still if you could not own a house for a significant period of time after vet school?
    Would you be happy being unable to get a car loan for a significant period of time after vet school?
    Would you be happy living in a location that may be less ideal for you after vet school to accommodate financial ventures you made based off happiness for four years?

    I will be honest, I am very much a big picture person. Happiness in the moment is irrelevant to me. My fiancé is pretty much he opposite.

    With that said, I think you may have a skewed outlook on how things may work with vet school. I will leave it at that, as I can say tons of things in that regard, but no one truly believes it until they are in vet school themselves.
     
  10. cdoconn

    cdoconn Cucumber with anxiety
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    @Filly Bay ;)
     
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  11. SummerTheLynx

    SummerTheLynx The Bioinformatics DVM student
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    I would say that you should definitely do some research into salaries for veterinarians. Usually higher salaries are correlated with higher cost of livings. Specializing is definitely an option, but that's just more time interest accrued, and 4-5 years of lost income potential.
     
  12. dyachei

    dyachei vet robot pirate zombie
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    do you think any vet that graduates and makes that much is satisfied? The answer is probably not. The truth is that recently there was a bigger issue with finding jobs and it was not uncommon for vets to have a hard time.

    Yes, your happiness in school will affect your grades. however, you may think that xyz makes you happy and is worth a difference of 20k before interest (which is a lot more after interest and when you pay it back). But then you may get into it and realize it doesn't matter as much as you thought it did, it doesn't live up to your expectations, etc.

    and again, many vet schools are not vastly different
     
  13. Trilt

    Trilt love doc + puppy snuggler extraordinaire
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    There is something to be said that every single vet that I know on this forums has echoed the exact same thing, while people arguing against are generally pre-vet who haven't stared at the loan payment:

    Go to the cheapest vet school you get into.
     
  14. Filly Bay

    Filly Bay Don't Panic
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    Specialize. Make >60k out of vet school. Not a surplus of vets. Does not compute.
     
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  15. WildZoo

    WildZoo Illegal in all 50
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    Ah you really don't know as much as you think you do...
     
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  16. dyachei

    dyachei vet robot pirate zombie
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    it's not as bad as it was in 2010. But it's still not good
     
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  17. Skimble

    Skimble With Beans
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    I'd be interested in how you feel in 4-5 years. Maybe choosing the more expensive option is right for you (maybe not), but I think for the vast majority of people, choosing the cheapest option is absolutely the best advice.
     
  18. Ashgirl

    Ashgirl Pokemon Academy c/o 2018!
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    So, I'm a little curious... what about this school do you think you are going to love so much above other schools? At this point I'm not trying to talk you out of it, because you are obviously going there, but I as STL said I'm a little concerned for rapid burnout if vet school is not what you think it will be. Honestly, I really thought I would adore everything about school because I had nothing but starry eyes coming into this profession and only thought I would get a good education and establish happiness at one school..... but I quickly found out vet school is vet school regardless of where you go. There will be stresses, anxiety, frustrations, class drama, depression, imposter syndrome, endless studying, wherever you end up. Which is partly why all of the seasoned vets say go to the cheapest school, because it isn't 4 years of school choice that will follow you for 25 years and not let you buy a house or a clinic....

    It might be good to have a realistic view of the next four years- have you talked to any upperclassmen about how school would be like? I think the only active one on this forum is @Rwwilliams, maybe it would be good to get some perspective from her. :)
     
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  19. Trilt

    Trilt love doc + puppy snuggler extraordinaire
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    There's also a good thread on PBL here that is worth perusing.
     
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  20. Lupin21

    Lupin21 Do Not Disturb
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    I think this post compared to those before says volumes. I am very glad we have her here to add her $350,000 though.
     
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  21. Rwwilliams

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    Thanks for thinking of me guys :) I try to be as blunt and honest as possible when it comes to choosing schools, both when posting here and in real life. That being said, I also try not to be too... critical or pessimistic because I do use my real name when posting here. Maybe I should donate to SDN and consider a name change ;)

    Let's be frank. I graduate in nine days. Nine. I have been through four years at Western University. I have been through the ringer at this school, and I think a lot of my classmates would feel the same. I've experienced gross misconduct at the hands of a professor that has been ignored repeatedly by the administration. This misconduct occurs year after year, and yet, every year, the faculty member in charge of those students (and thus, that professor) says she's never heard these complaints before.

    I spent four years counting every penny that went in and out of my bank account and researching how I could maximize exactly what I could claim on my taxes. I spent a good portion of those four years spending countless hours researching different ways to spice up beans, rice, and ramen because those were my cheapest meal options. I have classmates that have applied for food stamps in order to reduce their expenses. I had a faculty member ask me, two years ago, "little girl, do you need money for new shoes?" and jokingly offer me a $20 bill. My shoes had holes in the side so that my pinky toes stuck out, and I didn't want to fork over money I didn't need to when the shoes were still functional. My school just told the class of 2018 that even if they don't fly out for graduation, they have to pay for a flight to come out and just pick up their diploma. Are you kidding me? I've permanently relocated to the east coast as of a year ago, and while I'm lucky enough to have the desire to walk across that stage, it's still money I don't really want to be spending.

    My loans are a mortgage. I will never pay them off and I have to rely on my repayment plan to not be removed by the current or future administrations just so that I can have a somewhat normal life in 25 years. If that plan disappears, I am in so much trouble. Lupin overshot my student loan debt just a little bit ;) but isn't it frightening that she isn't that far off? Isn't it frightening that I have no undergrad loans and that's still the case? Isn't that frightening that my number is still much better than other classmates who didn't have undergrad loans?

    Congratulations on your acceptance to Western University, and welcome to what I think is one of the greatest professions to be a part of. I wish I could tell you that this school is worth the mounds of debt that you're entering, but I don't think it is. You will get an (approximately) equivalent education at any AVMA-accredited school. I think money is what should trump any decision making when it comes to choosing a school.
     
  22. twelvetigers

    twelvetigers no wake up time. sleepy time.
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    This. But, in the end, do what you want! It's your life. We aren't gonna like, refuse to speak to you or something! We just reserve the right for a mumbled "told you so" at some point in the future, if applicable.
     
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  23. dyachei

    dyachei vet robot pirate zombie
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    typically happens at the end of first year ;)
     
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  24. LabLuv004

    LabLuv004 RVC c/o 2021!!

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    Hi everyone, I was hoping for some advice as I now have a choice to make (NEVER thought that would happen!) and I'm at a loss. *Thank you in advance for reading my long post*

    I was accepted to RVC in January, and waitlisted at ISU, MWU, and LMU. I really got myself excited to go to London in the past 5 months. Tuition is surprisingly lower than most US schools, but COL is higher though especially for 1st year.
    Then I was just called today off ISU's waitlist and I'm looking for input about either school. Cost was going to be my deciding factor, but it turns out after costs of things like health insurance factored in, there is less a less than $1,500 difference (with the current exchange rate), and that includes keeping my car in the US while in London (which I may not do--saves $3,000/yr). I would be in the 4 year program at RVC so years of study are equal. I am thinking of staying with RVC because I really don't think I'll ever have the opportunity to spend that much time in another country and I really feel like I could love RVC. But ISU is a really good school with a low COL and I could bring my dogs with me, since my dogs are too old and skiddish to fly so they will stay with my mom. I could also try, potentially, to work a few hours a week at ISU since they have a bus company and I have been a bus driver for years. Overall I think it would be simple to go to ISU, no visa, no exchange rate, no setting up new accounts; but am I missing out on an amazing opportunity.

    I also love/hate the AHEMS/EMS. If anyone has any opinions about them I would greatly appreciate it. I feel like I could be saving money working on summer breaks vs doing AHEMS, but the hands-on experience is amazing. But then again, G&T year would be the only year I would be super busy with AHEMS and the rest I could work over the most of summer. Finally, due to the changes in start dates from RVC, my original plan to work until the end of August would change, and I would loose all that money I was saving for extra stuff at school.
    Any thoughts to help out my pro/con list?
     
  25. PRoseM

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    Lol, well we're all different. We all lead different lives, and different paths. I guess I'm lucky that I don't have to move for Western. But regardless, thanks everyone for your comments, although some were a bit harsh, lol. I know what I'm getting myself into, I'm not blind to the loans. But I'm just optimistic, I'll take whatever comes at me.
     
  26. Rwwilliams

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    I would definitely encourage you to reach out to some more of my classmates, perhaps not on a public forum, to get a better idea of what you're getting yourself into.
     
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  27. genny

    genny Cat not wolf
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    If you have specific questions about going to ISU, feel free to PM me. I just graduated. I don't want to write a whole bunch about the merits of the large animal program if you're a small animal person, or vice versa. So send me a message, and I'll answer questions to the best of my ability!
     
  28. TheGirlWithTheFernTattoo

    TheGirlWithTheFernTattoo West Coast Best Coast c/o 2022
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    A little late to the party here, and clearly I am not in vet school so I can't comment on that part, but I have a personal experience I think mirrors this decently well.

    When I was applying to undergrad, I applied to 3 schools. The one very near to where I live, and two on the other side of the country where there were vet schools. I had convinced myself that those 2 other schools were the dream schools for me and that I would hate my local school. Now, my local school meant that I could live at home, it had cheaper tuition, and overall was probably 1/4 the cost. I ended up getting accepted into all 3 and had to make that choice. For me the money won out and I stayed local, though at the time it was a very hard and disappointing decision.

    Despite how much I had convinced myself that those two schools were the best for me and that I would hate being at the cheaper one, after 2 years I adore my school and am so insanely grateful I chose to stay here. Besides just the loving life factor, I suspect my grades are better than they would have been if I had moved across the country. Plus I have saved a significant amount of money. This has put me in a much better position leading into my vet school application for this year. What I thought would make me miserable instead made me happy, and has also made my future finances look happier.

    Because of this, I tend to advise friends/people that ask to go to the local university, particularly if they can live at home while they go there. There are other reasons for that as well, but they are more school-specific to our vet school and not of importance in this thread. This is also why I am refusing to apply to any US/International schools, despite probably being able to start vet school earlier than I will now. The money is no joke.
     
  29. hygebeorht

    hygebeorht radiology is best ology
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    "Money can't buy happiness."

    "Money CAN buy happiness."

    Not trying to drag you, @PRoseM, or make you unhappy about your school of choice. I'm glad it is the perfect fit that you always dreamed of. I'll be interested in how things shake out for you.

    I stand by what @Trilt and others have said: GO TO THE CHEAPEST SCHOOL YOU CAN GET INTO. Unless someone else is paying your bills and/or you are independently wealthy, you need to think ahead.

    "But Hyge, I am going to specialize and I will get public service loan forgiveness!"

    Have you looked at VIRMP's stats lately? You got into vet school, yay. Then you got great grades etc., wow, you're awesome! So now apply for internships (especially extra-competitive academic ones...only ~130 positions available for ~1000 applicants)! OK, assuming you made that cut. Now you're looking at a residency...the most competitive ones have ~5% match rates.

    Specializing is a crapshoot. Also, many specialties are not paid that much higher than a GP - if they are paid higher at all (zoo med, looking at you). Let's say you get an internship but don't match for residency (many don't). Now your lifetime earnings are diminished significantly. You go into GP anyway. There goes your PSLF, unless you decide to work for the government or a shelter. Depending on your interests, this may not make you happy. But hey, you have exorbitant student debt - you practically HAVE to go the PSLF route (if it's still around - first forgiveness will take place this fall. The government will not be best pleased by the money they lose on this.)

    So now because of the decision you made when you were fresh out of undergrad, you're chained to extreme debt for your entire adult life.

    I repeat: GO TO THE CHEAPEST SCHOOL YOU CAN GET INTO. It is the ONLY factor, unless money is already irrelevant to your general life (see above re: someone else paying your way and/or independently wealthy).
     
  30. WildZoo

    WildZoo Illegal in all 50
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    The truth, it hurts every time :cryi:
     
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  31. psilovethomas

    psilovethomas fading
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  32. SummerTheLynx

    SummerTheLynx The Bioinformatics DVM student
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    As an aside the MPN guarantees PSLF for anyone who has started taking out any student loans prior to when this would be enacted. So even if you took out a couple of thousand dollars in undergrad loans, you are good to go.
     
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  33. Elkhart

    Elkhart SDN Gold Donor
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    Supposedly those who are currently enrolled or have already taken out student loans prior to July 2018 are safe and grandfathered into being able to apply for PSLF by their MPN. So only new borrowers would be affected if it passes. So PSLF would be potentially be gone for the c/o 2022 onward if they did not borrow for undergrad; everyone else is still eligible.
    On track for Public Service Loan Forgiveness? Good news, you’re not in danger from Trump’s budget.

    But yeah, for those applying this cycle and onward without any prior student loans... you need to be aware that PSLF may not be an option for you, unfortunately.

    Oops, STL beat me lol.
     
    #1032 Elkhart, May 27, 2017
    Last edited: May 27, 2017
  34. psilovethomas

    psilovethomas fading
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    Well, that's good news! I'm doubtful his budget will pass as is anyways, but it is important for new borrowers to keep this in mind as they look at different schools.

    As for the $60k starting figure- average starting salaries are definitely increasing, approaching mid $70's. The job market IS picking up as well! Quite a few of my classmates (2016) had salaries of $90k + in areas with average COL. However, this still does not justify taking on more debt than necessary.
     
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  35. batsenecal

    batsenecal U of I c/o 2021
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    Plus the increased spending on pets by numerous demographics. My dad swore he would never spend over $1000 on any dog ever, but then he goes and fixes a dog's eyes for $1600 :rolleyes:
     
  36. ukrainiandude

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    The problem is a boom in supply (that is, vets) and a decline in demand (namely, veterinary services). Class sizes have been rising at nearly every school, in some cases by as much as 20 percent in recent years. And the cost of vet school has far outpaced the rate of inflation. It has risen to a median of $63,000 a year for out-of-state tuition, fees and living expenses, according to the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, up 35 percent in the last decade.
    This would seem less alarming if vets made more money. But starting salaries have sunk by about 13 percent during the same 10-year period, in inflation-adjusted terms, to $45,575 a year, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. America may be pet-crazed and filled with people eager to buy expensive fetch toys and heated cat beds. But the total population of pets is going down, along with the sums that owners are willing to spend on the health care of their animals.
    ----
     
  37. tbirdd123

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    I would be interested!
     
  38. batsenecal

    batsenecal U of I c/o 2021
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    Definitely an ISU thing. We don't have regular SCAVMA meetings at UIUC. The only one I actually remember was for SAVMA.

    I'll add that to the ISU portion on the word sheet when I get home!!
     
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  39. kcoughli

    kcoughli Lab Animal Resident
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    You only have 3 SCAVMA meetings a semester? And they charge you a fine to miss?!? That is crazy! I swear we had like 10 meetings a semester at least and you just had to attend so many over the first 4 years to be "in good standing" when you graduate for the AVMA perks. (this was at UMN if anyone is wondering)
     
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  40. LyraGardenia

    LyraGardenia Kansas State c/o 2020
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    SCAVMA and SAVMA are basically the same thing. We have a few SCAVMA meetings per semester (basically just lunch and learns put on by SCAVMA) but I haven't heard of any minimum number we're required to go to, and definitely no fine! Although we don't get scrubs for joining either. :(
     
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  41. batsenecal

    batsenecal U of I c/o 2021
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    The meeting was about the SAVMA symposium. Otherwise, I don't remember any required meetings. I can't think of anywhere that would hold everyone, honestly.
     
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  42. twelvetigers

    twelvetigers no wake up time. sleepy time.
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    I only paid SCAVMA first year. Then I decided I didn't feel like messing with it after that. They stomped and pouted about my non-membership, but I never really felt like it mattered. I felt like the AVMA was doing a massive disservice to students by constantly upping class sizes and accrediting new schools while blatantly ignoring the huge debt issue, so not joining the SCAVMA or the AVMA is my way of saying, "yeah, thanks a lot."
     
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  43. WildZoo

    WildZoo Illegal in all 50
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    Every school handles SAVMA points and all that differently.

    We don't have SAVMA meetings that everyone is expected to attend, just ones for all the club presidents (we're an umbrella school - all clubs are under the SAVMA umbrella, you have to be a SAVMA member to join clubs). You get points for attending club lunch/dinner meetings and events. And if you have a certain number of points when you graduate you're in good standing and you get the perks from the AVMA that come with that (cant remember what they are). No fine if you don't meet that though.
     
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  44. batsenecal

    batsenecal U of I c/o 2021
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    Here's the new list with updated info for Iowa and Illinois!

    We're missing: Atlantic Vet, Calgary, Central Luzon, Copenhagen, Lincoln Memorial, Massey, Melbourne, Murdoch, Queensland, Ross, Royal Vet, Saskatchewan, St. Matthew's, Sydney, Dublin, Utrecht

    Need expansion: Midwestern, Oregon, St. George's, Tuskeegee, Washington

    Bolded some because I think they maybe the easiest to get info on.
     

    Attached Files:

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  45. Lupin21

    Lupin21 Do Not Disturb
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    These days you cannot be in a club if you haven't paid SAVMA dues.
     
  46. twelvetigers

    twelvetigers no wake up time. sleepy time.
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    I wasn't in any clubs.

    I was pretty serious about not giving them any money.

    Heh heh. Maybe I'm just a B.
     
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  47. SkiOtter

    SkiOtter c/o 2022
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    I know @Caiter92 goes to Washington state and @katashark is at Oregon state. I believe @WeimMama is at one of the island schools, might be Ross. @awesomenessity and @SARdoghandler are at one of the Canadas, I think Calgary? Not sure if any of them would be willing to do any positives/negatives of their schools or know anyone who would be :)
     
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  48. batsenecal

    batsenecal U of I c/o 2021
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    You're a rock star. :)
     
  49. Elkhart

    Elkhart SDN Gold Donor
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    And I believe that @dvmhopeful2018 is at LMU? Can't think of anyone else.

    I've seen some Tuskegee people in older threads, but I don't think any of them have posted in recent years.
     
  50. dvmhopeful2018

    dvmhopeful2018 LMU-CVM c/o 2018
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    Yes, I'm from LMU-CVM. Class of 2018
     
  51. batsenecal

    batsenecal U of I c/o 2021
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    It would be awesome if you could do a pros/cons list for LMU! :)
     
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