bigdreams97

2+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2017
8
0
Hello everyone!

I have been lurking in the forums for a long time now. I am a pre-nursing major (was just about enter clinicals) but I honestly have always, always, always wanted to be a vet. I always put it off because well, let's be honest here, it's very difficult. I work with animals as my daily job at a boarding/day-care facility and after getting my CNA and doing countless "pre-nursing" things to get into nursing school I have come to the conclusion that humans just aren't really my thing. It's not the medicine aspect I don't like (honestly medicine always appealed to me more than nursing but again, I didn't want to put into the work for med school but here I am thinking about going into vet school...go figure...but it just feels so different) it's just the fact that I'd rather be working with animals. Okay, enough rambling.

I have since decided to go the vet route. I've probably researched every last thing I could and have stalked these forums for a long time. But I still have many questions. If anyone could answer just one of them, I would be eternally grateful.

1) I reached out to NC State (my in-state school and my #1 choice for vet school) and they said that taking pre-reqs at a community college as well as online classes will not lower my chances of admission but I was wondering your opinion on this.

2) The university I plan on transferring to has a horrible reputation for its chemistry department. It's a large state school but I have heard from multiple people that the department is on probation for its high failure rate. Everyone I know that attends the school has failed chemistry (not even just organic) at least once. Should I accept the challenge or protect my GPA and take these classes somewhere else? Would it look horrible?

3) How in the world do I get research experience? Do universities offer it?

4) When trying to shadow a vet, would it be inappropriate to e-mail or should I approach in person? Is it generally difficult to shadow somebody?

5) Why do you want to be a vet? I swear if I had a $1 for every time someone told me I should just be a human doctor instead I would enough $ for vet school. But, it's also just a little disheartening to see actual vets regret getting into the profession themselves. So, what keeps you going?

Thank you so much everyone!
 

ResoluteMike

Iowa State c/o 2021
5+ Year Member
Aug 22, 2013
862
1,140
Status
Veterinary Student
1) I reached out to NC State (my in-state school and my #1 choice for vet school) and they said that taking pre-reqs at a community college as well as online classes will not lower my chances of admission but I was wondering your opinion on this.

I am in my first week of school and regretting taking anatomy at the local CC. It did not prepare me for the level of information they want in vet school.

2) The university I plan on transferring to has a horrible reputation for its chemistry department. It's a large state school but I have heard from multiple people that the department is on probation for its high failure rate. Everyone I know that attends the school has failed chemistry (not even just organic) at least once. Should I accept the challenge or protect my GPA and take these classes somewhere else? Would it look horrible?

I took organic chemistry at a different university. Just make sure you pass the class, if your GPA is good it doesn't matter where you took it.

3) How in the world do I get research experience? Do universities offer it?

Contact the administrative staff in your science departments. They will be able to point you in the right direction. Every professor is different and will have different things they want in an assistant. Contact them early if it is something you want to do.

4) When trying to shadow a vet, would it be inappropriate to e-mail or should I approach in person? Is it generally difficult to shadow somebody?

Shadowing isn't difficult. The hard part is getting your foot in the door to start. Best place to start is talking to your personal veterinarian. If they know you, they are generally more inclined to help. If that doesn't work you can try contacting your university pre-vet club or the VMA for your state. Just be persistent and more importantly grateful for opportunities you are given and it will all work out.

5) Why do you want to be a vet? I swear if I had a $1 for every time someone told me I should just be a human doctor instead I would enough $ for vet school. But, it's also just a little disheartening to see actual vets regret getting into the profession themselves. So, what keeps you going?

Not a vet yet, so can't really touch this one. I do love the idea of how much I will be able to do as a vet. Human medicine is way too specialized.

Thank you so much everyone!
 

cdoconn

I hover quickly
2+ Year Member
Jan 19, 2016
11,073
17,611
Status
Veterinary Student
I didn't want to put into the work for med school
I'm a week into vet school now and I just gotta say...



I know what you mean that human =/= animals, but I'd shadow a veterinarian before completely changing your life. (To answer your question, I showed up in person nicely dressed to ask to shadow. I didn't send an email because I knew that veterinarians get a lot of emails every day and I didn't feel that a random email from a random person asking for a favor would be sufficient). Sadly, being a veterinarian (or a veterinary student) doesn't mean you get to play with dogs all day ;) I mean, unless you're talking about anatomy in which we do mess with dogs but they're not nearly as fun as their living counterparts.
 
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batsenecal

U of I c/o 2021
5+ Year Member
Nov 22, 2013
4,043
5,520
Perpetual state of disarray
Status
Veterinary Student
1) If an admissions department has confirmed something in writing, their word is law. So if NC State is cool with online/CC credits, I'd say go to the cheapest undergrad institution you can. Most of vet school is so beyond undergrad classes that taking a class online/CC vs at a prestigious 4 year university is a negligible factor. The first week of vet school is your entire undergrad degree, basically.

2) Protect your GPA. Trust me. It took me three tries to get in mainly because of my GPA

3) Can't answer

4) In person with a resume and dressed as if you're interviewing that day.

5) I'm realistic that the next 20 years is going to be rough due to loans. Vets regretting their life career is an important perspective to have. I keep on by short term goals and saving money.
 
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MDB74

c/o 2020
2+ Year Member
Feb 18, 2015
42
60
Status
Veterinary Student
Hi dreams, I'm a current NCSU CVM student if that helps you at all.

1.) As others have mentioned, what school administration tells you is basically the letter of the law. If you get a specific answer from the admissions office then asking us is a bit silly, they're the ones that actually matter.

2.) Basically every school has this rumor and it's nonsense. People at ECU say their department is bad, App students think theirs are worse, UNCW students disagree, etc. If all your friends are failing general chemistry then they need to study harder. Chem (especially organic) classes going to be hard. Get used to it.

3.) Talk to professors about opportunities working for them through the semester or over the summer. Also, research experience is definitely useful but not necessary.

4.) In person or email will work. Honestly, this the thing you should be prioritizing most. Saying you want to be a vet while having never worked the in the industry is like me saying I love water but don't know how to swim. You NEED to get some experience working/shadowing before deciding this is for sure what you want to dedicate your life to. You say that like working with animals but you don't actually know that yet. My relationships with my personal pets is nothing like the relationships I have with patients.

5.) Based on my friends in med school, vet school is not much less difficult but obviously the financial payoff is much less. I think the bad debt:income ratio is probably the number 1 factor in depressing vets.

Since I went through the in-state process @ ncsu and possibly went to whichever state school you're thinking about transferring to let me know if you have any more questions and I'll try to help out.
 
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SocialStigma

OVC c/o 2015
7+ Year Member
Dec 24, 2009
609
161
Midwest, US
Status
Veterinarian
1) What everyone else has said.

2) You can take chem via distance ed or during the summer semester at another university if you wish. I took genetics online because my university didn't offer 1st year genetics for some reason (only 3rd and 4th year) and it was accepted as a prereq for vet school with no issues.

3) I worked in a research lab starting the summer between 2nd and 3rd year of undergrad until my graduation. I emailed profs that had ongoing research projects I was interested in, along with a cover letter and my CV. Some said they didn't have room to take on an undergrad research assistant, some didn't reply, and I interviewed with the rest of them. Keep in mind that you may or may not be paid as a research assistant.

4) I dropped off my CV in person to ~20 clinics in the area and tried to speak directly to the vet whenever possible. It's not inappropriate to email, especially if you don't live in the area, but it's more likely that you will send your info to a general clinic email and the vet(s) will never actually see it.

5) I love animals and medicine, so vet med has always been a natural career choice for me. And I've known since undergrad that I wanted to specialize - I like how I can practice all types of surgery (soft tissue, onc surg, ortho, neuro, cardio, etc) as a small animal surgeon vs. having to subspecialize as a human surgeon.
 
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Frozenshades

Naps > School
7+ Year Member
Oct 15, 2012
2,891
1,952
To add to the number three answers, yes payment for doing undergraduate work in a research lab is a maybe and may depend on your duties. If you are more of a student worker doing menial tasks, is there much real benefit to you without a paycheck? However getting taught to do research is another matter. And, if you are not getting paid, it's possible you could earn course credit for your work; one of my undergrad research jobs paid me, the other was for credit. So if you do get into a research gig that isn't paid, go ahead and ask the prof about that.

5. I love the science of medicine, and yes, treating cases and solving the puzzles and seeing patients recover is a great feeling. But I've never felt I'd be happy as a general practitioner. To be brash, I don't have the patience for obnoxious clients and being 'socially on' all the time like that takes a lot for me. Hence why doing a PhD. Just remember DVMs treat both the patients and their owners...your people skills are just as important as your animal doctoring skills if you want to keep happy clients and therefore a happy you.
 
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