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rosemma

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When applying to vet schools, do they consider the difficulty of your classes or just look at your GPA? For instance, if I took a lot of upper level difficult classes and got all Bs and someone else took a lot of blow-off easy classes and got all As, do admissions committees take the student that got Bs in difficult classes or the student that got As in easy classes? Just curious.
 

AuburnPreVet

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It does make a difference, I'd rather have B's in upper level science electives than A's in basket weaving any day - that is, assuming your overall is high enough to keep yourself in the running.
 

kate_g

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When applying to vet schools, do they consider the difficulty of your classes or just look at your GPA? For instance, if I took a lot of upper level difficult classes and got all Bs and someone else took a lot of blow-off easy classes and got all As...
Probably, but probably not as much as you'd like them to. :) It's hard to know which are hard classes and which are easy at any particular school - 'specially big schools that might have several versions of the same course. (I intentionally took one level harder Orgo class than I needed for my degree requirement, even though I would have gotten a better grade in the easier course. But there was still at least one level even harder than the one I took. What adcom is going to bother to look up how many levels of introductory Orgo there were at my undergrad?) And beyond that, I took a whole load of upper-level English and linguistics classes on top of my science degree. While some people might be tempted to lump those in the "blow-off" category just because they're humanities, I'd beg to differ... But how is any adcom going to honestly evaluate how hard *those* kind of courses are?
 
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rosemma

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That is what I was worried about. I took the advanced freshman English class (out of three levels of difficulty) as well as many "psychology" classes. The psych classes were actually all biology (and most animal) based but I don't want them to look at those and think that they were blow-off classes when in reality there was A LOT of scientific basis and biological processes. It was not blow-off. I also took the hardest biochem class and got a B when I could have taken the easiest one and surely had an A.

I just hope I am not looked down upon for taking psychology classes - even though they were completely science (and not socially) based classes.
 

dvm'08

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When applying to vet schools, do they consider the difficulty of your classes or just look at your GPA? For instance, if I took a lot of upper level difficult classes and got all Bs and someone else took a lot of blow-off easy classes and got all As, do admissions committees take the student that got Bs in difficult classes or the student that got As in easy classes? Just curious.

Unfortunately, admissions is more of a numbers game. As absurd as it may be - you are better off getting A's in easier classes, then Bs in harder classes. Your numbers are going to determine whether you get an interview or not.

This is always a tough thing to advise people on. I wouldn't advise you to take a bunch of really easy upper level classes - but by the same token, taking an absolute ball buster of a year is a pretty stupid thing to do too. You have to play the admissions game.
 

4theanimals

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That is what I was worried about. I took the advanced freshman English class (out of three levels of difficulty) as well as many "psychology" classes. The psych classes were actually all biology (and most animal) based but I don't want them to look at those and think that they were blow-off classes when in reality there was A LOT of scientific basis and biological processes. It was not blow-off. I also took the hardest biochem class and got a B when I could have taken the easiest one and surely had an A.

I just hope I am not looked down upon for taking psychology classes - even though they were completely science (and not socially) based classes.

I did a psych minor. In the majority of those courses I recieved one of the 2 or 3 A's for the class. Now, admittedly, I didn't let the warnings of the difficulty of these classes stop me and I'm sure there are many who chose easier classes. I'm not sure why you took psych classes but it's not like they are replacing Biochem or some other prereq. So long as your grades are similar across the board it shouldn't be a problem. And I see psych classes as a real benefit. Particularly for me with my interest in behavior medicine. But let's face it - a big part of your success as a veterinarian (in most cases depending on the business model) is going to be connecting with the clients and supporting clients through trying times. So aren't those psych classes a perfect building block for your future career. :D That's how I broached it in my personal statement and I was accepted this year.
 

Aninha

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If you read some schools' websites carefully about the application process some will clearly say that you should try to take upper level classes...because they WILL look at the overall difficulty level of your transcript...to see if you're actually able to handle the heavy academic curriculum that you'll find in vet school. So even if you get B's in hard classes that's still good...because even though your grade wasn't perfect you showed that you can handle it...while with easy classes anybody can get an A...it doesn't make you stand out...
 

ri23

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Yes, unfortunately it does seem that taking easier classes as opposed to the hardest classes is a benefit for most vet schools. They usually give you an objective score based on gpa/gre scores. Some schools will give you an extra point or two for being in an honors program, but in my opinion (and I've taken mostly honors classes), being an animal sciences major as opposed to an honors biology major would be a huge benefit for getting an interview. I think once at the interview stage they do look at your classes a little more, but your objective score does still play a factor. What you should really consider is the rigor of your classes will help you once in vet school. Though taking harder classes may give you a slight disadvantage in getting into a school, your are going to have an edge over those people that took the easier road.

Rosemma - If some of the psych classes you are talking about are neurobiology or psychobiology classes (I'm assuming they are from the strong science content) I'm sure the adcomms will look on that quite positively.
 

dvm'08

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Yes, unfortunately it does seem that taking easier classes as opposed to the hardest classes is a benefit for most vet schools. They usually give you an objective score based on gpa/gre scores. Some schools will give you an extra point or two for being in an honors program, but in my opinion (and I've taken mostly honors classes), being an animal sciences major as opposed to an honors biology major would be a huge benefit for getting an interview. I think once at the interview stage they do look at your classes a little more, but your objective score does still play a factor. What you should really consider is the rigor of your classes will help you once in vet school. Though taking harder classes may give you a slight disadvantage in getting into a school, your are going to have an edge over those people that took the easier road.

Rosemma - If some of the psych classes you are talking about are neurobiology or psychobiology classes (I'm assuming they are from the strong science content) I'm sure the adcomms will look on that quite positively.

just a side note... there are no hard classes in vet school. Nothing is conceptually difficult - its just volume. You'd be amazed at the amount of material they pile on you in such a short amount of time. If you are able to keep up with things and manage your time - you will be fine. So the argument that you are making yourself better prepared by taking a bunch of hard classes isnt that great. I think you'd be better served by making sure you've got a full course load, and maintaining your grades.
 

ri23

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Yes, I agree and understand what you are saying but I feel that taking an honors cellular biology course would benefit a vet student a lot more than an easier course in another major because you will need that material later and you've already been exposed to it in depth.
 

kate_g

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Now that I think about it, why choose one or the other? Why not just get perfect grades in the hardest courses? I mean, that's got to give you the best overall advantage, right?


Yes, I'm kidding... ;)
 

cyrille104

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I was in the same boat as you because I took all really hard classes at a difficult school and I was afraid they wouldn't recognize it. As I was told by CSU, however, they can tell if your program is rigorous by your GRE scores and your writing quality. So, I went out and got exceptional GRE scores, wrote really good essays, and wound up getting accepted (although, not to CSU...hmmm). Do what's best for you and don't feel like you have to play the "admissions game". I thought I was doomed for sure, but now I'm starting to feel like vet school admissions is hyped up to be harder than it actually is (not that it's easy by any means). As long as your GPA isn't in the dumps, and the rest of your application shows that you're prepared, you'll be fine.

As a side note, the VMCAS gives you 2000 characters (I think) to explain whatever you want. If you feel it is necessary, you can (briefly) mention in that section that you took the hardest classes available, and I'm sure they'll take that into consideration.
 

anc84

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I'm not sure how other schools work, but I have gone to lectures about the admission process at Illinois. They give rigor points that are part of your total score as an applicant for taking (and doing well in) hard upper-level classes. I'm not sure how they assess them from other schools where they don't know the curriculum, but they do give bonus points for harder classes. At U of I anyway, you can tell how hard the class is supposed to be by its number ANSCI 400's are upper-level courses. I'm assuming it's generally the same other places.
 
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