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Getting into Vet School as a Non-Traditional Student...What are the Chances?

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by jakeandsadie, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. jakeandsadie

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    Hi,

    I would like everyone's input on my chances of getting into Vet School as an older, non-traditional student. Here's my background:

    The positive things:

    BS Degree in Animal Science from Univ. of Wisconsin (GPA=3.6/honors)
    Some graduate work at Ohio State University in Animal Digestive Physiology (GPA=4.0)
    GRE of 1200
    Taught Equestrian Studies/Animal Science at a Prep School and College for 5 years total
    Strong communication skills (I've written 20 computer books and have taught extensively in business settings)
    Have worked for a small animal vet and have had many years of hands-on experience with horses (foaling out mares, training, etc.). I've also written articles for horse magazines and have a small sporthorse farm.
    Most of all, a very strong interest in vet work for many, many years.

    Now for the downside:

    As you can imagine, all this experience has taken years to acquire. I've always been extremely interested in vet work, but have never had a life situation that would allow me go to vet school. However, my daughters are going to college themselves and I would love to pursue my dream of becoming a vet.

    Is it impossible to be accepted to vet school at this point in my life? I will be 50 at time of application! Even though I'm a strong type-A person in very good health (and am quite focused) I don't honestly know if vet schools will be open at all to an older student.

    Thoughts? I would really like a realistic idea of my chances.
     
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  3. twelvetigers

    twelvetigers stabby cat
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    If your age is all you have "going against" you... there's nothing really going against you at all. Of course you'd get asked lots of "why now, why not 20 years ago" type questions, but if you are prepared to answer those, I don't see why it would be a huge obstacle.

    One thing that you might not have is real veterinary experience. That would be working with a vet, usually in a clinical setting. Also, you'll probably need to take most/all of the pre-requisite courses for vet school at an undergrad institution. Make sure you do well in order to prove that you can still handle coursework!

    I'm sure others will be here to give you lots more advice (maybe some people closer to your age ;) ) but I have to go to work. :)
     
  4. robeezy08

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    Hi there!
    Wow sounds like you have an impressive resume!!! Well, i'm at work right now (prob shouldn't be on this thread but I just can't help it :laugh:)...so this'll be a quicky: I think your chances are just as good as any other student applying to vet school. How old are your pre-req sciences courses? Most schools would like these courses taken w/in 7-10 (I think I've seen one that said 6 years) of matriculation so do some research on which schools you'll be applying to. Also, depending on how old your hands on exp is, you'll need more recent exp - again try changing it up a bit - emergency/small or large animal specialty practice.
    Good luck, hope this helps a bit. Again, kudo's to you for pursuing your dream! I worked with a lab animal vet who was prob around your age when he went to vet school. I think he went to OK State. He was an awesome person to work with !
    Ok gotta get back to work!:luck:
     
  5. DVMorBust

    DVMorBust UW SVM Class of 2013
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    http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P3-638785501.html

    Definitely wouldn't be the first person!

    Like someone else said, you'll probably get a lot of 'why now', but you would certainly bring diversity to any class. Besides, you don't know until you try, right?

    Good luck!
     
  6. KittyRex

    KittyRex UC Davis SVM c/o 2013
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    Wow. Sounds like you have a great and interesting background! And I bet your life experiences and maturity would be a asset to the field.
    I'm not an adcom, but in my humble opinion, I don't see any reason why your age would deter you from being accepted, as long as you can provide thoughtful, logical answers to any questions they may have concerning this. For example, a question that an adcom might ask: How will you pay for veterinary school? And how will you handle potentially being 100K+ in debt at the age of 55?

    I admire your passion and bravery and I salute you for pursuing something you've always dreamed of! I'm rooting for you!!!! :D Good luck. :luck:
     
  7. twelvetigers

    twelvetigers stabby cat
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  8. jakeandsadie

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    Hey Everyone,

    Thanks much for your advice and encouragement. I really appreciate it!

    I do understand why the committee will ask why I didn't pursue vet school harder twenty years ago...I actually strongly considered doing so after getting my BS, but was busy getting experience teaching equestrian studies (which included teaching lameness/disease), working on my masters, etc. However, I never really had the life situation where I felt I could make it a priority, especially after I got married and had children. Instead, I pursued consulting/writing from home so that I could spend time with my family and help my husband build up his business. I don't regret one bit of that at all (I have an amazing family!), but it did require putting further schooling on hold.

    We now live near a vet school and my daughters are almost through high school, which leaves me with more of an opportunity to pursue my dream.

    Do you think the committee will feel that they should give preference to vet students who will potentially spend more than 10-12 years practicing? (Although I know of a couple vets who only practiced one year before quitting--go figure that!)
     
  9. JustCats

    JustCats UC Davis SVM c/o 2013!
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    No. I think they're only concerned with your potential to make it through vet school and contribute to the field.

    I, too, am a non-trad and you should know that from a statistical standpoint people over 35 are less likely to be successful in vet school. Make sure you provide enough positives to overcome that negative and then go for it! Good luck!
     
  10. david594

    david594 The-OSU CVM c/o 2013
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    I'm really curious, but what sources do you have to back that up?

    I just can't see what would cause older applicants to be less successful during vet school. Too many years outside of structured higher education and just unable to handle it?
     
  11. JustCats

    JustCats UC Davis SVM c/o 2013!
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    I'll see if I can find the link--it's somewhere here in the forum. Someone had posted a link to the journal article in reference to why schools place emphasis on GRE scores; it showed a positive correlation between top third GRE scores and success in vet school. Since I'm almost 40, I noticed there was a negative correlation between age (over 35) and success.

    I believe the authors came to the same conclusion that people over 35 tended to feel disconnected in the collegiate environment. They suggested that these students were more likely to succeed if there were programs in place to make them feel more connected. I felt weird when I first went back to school to do my post-bac work, but at this point I don't give it a second thought.
     
  12. CatVet2Be

    CatVet2Be OSU CVM c/o 2013
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    Western graduated 2 people in their early 50's during 2008 so age won't necessarily keep you out. What you may want to look into though is whether the school you want will accept your classes if they were taken many years ago. Some schools require that certain prereqs be completed within the last 6 years and GRE scores can't be more than 5 years old.

    Aside from that I'd say your resume will definitely make them look twice. :)
     
  13. JustCats

    JustCats UC Davis SVM c/o 2013!
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    Here you go David. This is a link to the abstract. You have to pay to download the entire article. I think I've lost my hard drive since I downloaded it but if I find that I have the entire article I'll PM you.
     
  14. jakeandsadie

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    I'm sure you're right. I figured that they would want to see current college work, so I was planning on boning up on Organic and Biochem (as well as retaking the GRE)...I just didn't want to do all of that if there wasn't a pretty reasonable chance of getting in.
     
  15. BrumleyVet

    BrumleyVet Oldie but a wanna be!
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    I'm 41 and a junior undergrad. YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD

    let me repeat YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD!!!

    As one of the adcom's told me during an open house at the vet school, you may not be practicing in the field at 80, but you can wheel yourself into a class to teach or up to a microscope to find a new discovery! They well know that some vets graduation and a) don't like the job and never practice b) start a family and quit working until the kids are grown c) go into another field of work.

    Just a quick Google check will show you that us older non-trads are becoming common in every class.

    Be sure to contact the school you are interested in applying to for their time limits on classes. Some are only like 8 years.
     
  16. SpayLady

    SpayLady UGA CVM c/o 2013!
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    I worried a lot about that, too. Don't! I am in your age range and will be starting vet school with the Class of 2013. Just decide for yourself what you can contribute to the veterinary profession given your unique skills, abilities, and experiences. Explain that in the application when the time comes. Meanwhile, do whatever you need to do to show that you are still competitive in all the key areas (academics, GRE, veterinary experience). Good luck! :thumbup:
     
  17. JustCats

    JustCats UC Davis SVM c/o 2013!
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    DVMorBust posted a link to an article about the 56 year-old DVM grad from A&M but I couldn't download it from Highbeam. I found a free article about her at this link. What an interesting life and what an inspiration. I'm a little more resolved to the idea that if I don't get in this year, I've still got time. Still, getting in this year would be better than not. ;)

    One more.

    And here's what she's doing now.
     
  18. pressmom

    pressmom Third year!
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    There is a woman in my class that I believe is 55. You're definitely not too old!
     
  19. flyhi

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    I am also a more 'mature' non-trad with hopes of going to vet school this Fall. I very much admire you for pursuing your dreams. As many reasons as there are for vet schools to admit traditional students, i think there are for them to admit non trad students. We have a lot to offer in the life experience department and are probably less likely to change our minds about this avenue once we are in the profession. I hope and believe that adcoms see the value of non trads. I personally know that because i've experienced some success in my career, i am more inclined to be able to donate my time and services as a veterinarian than if i had gone to vet school straight from undergrad and had loans to repay for 20-30 years.

    Your experience and stats are impressive. Follow your dream!!

    Best of Luck and keep us posted! :luck:
     
  20. Hopeful07

    Hopeful07 SGU SVM c/o 2012
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    Your stats are certainly VERY impressive. I agree with flyhi, follow your dreams! It is never too late. My mother went to medical school at 45, and now she's a fantastic doctor.
     

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