Graduating this semester but need advice about my future! HELP!!

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ElizaThornberry

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If I am interested in parasitology/infectious diseases beyond what is taught as a part of the veterinary curriculum should I pursue a MS degree?? I have looked into pathobiology degrees at vet schools specifically and it is definitely right up my valley. If I do pursue the MS, should it be before veterinary school, as a part of a dual degree program, or after?? I wouldn't pursue the MS because it might look good to vet admissions committees but it might help in my case because I have a subpar gpa. If I do an MS should I apply to veterinary school while doing that degree & is it possible to obtain vet hours while doing an MS???
These are my options as far as I am concerned:
-apply right now to MS programs to attend in Fall '21, finish the degree and matriculate for vet school in '23 (maybe '22???)
-apply for veterinary school in 1 year and for MS programs simultaneously just in case (would give me plenty of time to accumulate more vet hours)
How do I decide???? Do any of you have experience with grad degrees besides a DVM???
It might be helpful to give you more details about myself so you guys can give me your honest opinions about what my best option is....these are the criteria I feel like might not look so good to veterinary schools
- I went to community college for 4 years (screwed around alot) and got my AS in 2017, transferred to a college I hated & transferred to another one a year later & am finally graduating this semester after 7 years of undergrad
-current cum GPA=3.19 (alot of B's but more A's than C's) 4 or 5 withdrawals...most being from community college
-I still need both semesters of physics (it scares me!!)
-1000+ animal hours mostly from my school's farm and working as a kennel tech) but like 30 vet hours...
-MAYBE 4 people I can ask for lor's....but 2 of them would just be average and that's IF I can get them all to agree
-Roughly 50 hrs of research that I don't even know if I can mention because it kinda just....stopped...didn't result in anything
Another question I have is If I include that I worked at a farm and kennel tech would anyone what the #'s of those employers to contact? I ask because I quit both of those jobs and they probably wouldn't have great things to say about me....(both are long stories). Sorry if this is scattered guys....but tbh that's how my brain feels right now...I feel a bit short on time because I am 26. :lame: I appreciate any advice about my situation and TIA!
 
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JaynaAli

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What are you hoping to do with parasitology or infectious diseases? Your goals will influence what you should and should not pursue. I don’t know enough to say whether you would or would not need an MS. I know people working in parasitology that are vets and some that are non-vets with MSs and PhDs who are all very knowledgeable and respected. So you may or may not even need vet school or the MS depending on your goals. Once you figure out what you want to do, then you can figure out how to best pursue it. I will say you’re very low on vet hours right now (which you seem aware of) and your GPA is currently below average as well. I’m not saying it’ll be impossible to get into vet school by any means, but if vet school is your goal, you need to focus both on getting your grades up if possible and maximizing your experience hours. Many grad degrees are very competitive to get into the program (GPA wise) and I expect would require references too, so improving your grades and references may be necessary for both an MS OR a DVM. To be quite blunt, I’d worry you’re really not yet ready to apply for either this year. I guess my advice would be to figure out what you want to do, research exactly what schooling successful people in that field are doing, look into program requirements for both, and focus on excelling in courses while getting vet experience in the meantime.
 
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ElizaThornberry

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What are you hoping to do with parasitology or infectious diseases? Your goals will influence what you should and should not pursue. I don’t know enough to say whether you would or would not need an MS. I know people working in parasitology that are vets and some that are non-vets with MSs and PhDs who are all very knowledgeable and respected. So you may or may not even need vet school or the MS depending on your goals. Once you figure out what you want to do, then you can figure out how to best pursue it. I will say you’re very low on vet hours right now (which you seem aware of) and your GPA is currently below average as well. I’m not saying it’ll be impossible to get into vet school by any means, but if vet school is your goal, you need to focus both on getting your grades up if possible and maximizing your experience hours. Many grad degrees are very competitive to get into the program (GPA wise) and I expect would require references too, so improving your grades and references may be necessary for both an MS OR a DVM. To be quite blunt, I’d worry you’re really not yet ready to apply for either this year. I guess my advice would be to figure out what you want to do, research exactly what schooling successful people in that field are doing, look into program requirements for both, and focus on excelling in courses while getting vet experience in the meantime.
I don't even know how to start getting more vet hours right now though bc of the pandemic tbh...I feel like it would be obnoxious to ask any clinics...? I am not as worried about getting accepted to MS degree because my letters of rec don't need to be as great. I have literally been told that just asking a professor who has taught a class you took is good enough.
I was considering pursuing the public health veterinary sector...possibly. But I am open to all fields of vet med...I really wish there were an ID specialist equivalent for the veterinary field. I have considered a grad degree in pathobiology just because I really enjoy learning about that kind of stuff.
 

Mythical

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I don't even know how to start getting more vet hours right now though bc of the pandemic tbh...I feel like it would be obnoxious to ask any clinics...? I am not as worried about getting accepted to MS degree because my letters of rec don't need to be as great. I have literally been told that just asking a professor who has taught a class you took is good enough.
I was considering pursuing the public health veterinary sector...possibly. But I am open to all fields of vet med...I really wish there were an ID specialist equivalent for the veterinary field. I have considered a grad degree in pathobiology just because I really enjoy learning about that kind of stuff.
CSU has a one-year MS in Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology (MIP). Quite a few people who did that degree are now in vet school. May be worth looking into.
 

ElizaThornberry

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CSU has a one-year MS in Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology (MIP). Quite a few people who did that degree are now in vet school. May be worth looking into.
Thanks! Do you know if you get a stipend or is it more of like a postbacc kind of thing?
 

Mythical

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Thanks! Do you know if you get a stipend or is it more of like a postbacc kind of thing?
I doubt there’s a stipend. Not a lot of stand alone Masters degrees have them. I think a lot of people who do the program are just out of or only a few years out of college. You should go to the website and see if there’s a coordinator in the department who you can email for more info!
 

britzen

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I was considering pursuing the public health veterinary sector...possibly. But I am open to all fields of vet med...I really wish there were an ID specialist equivalent for the veterinary field.

My MPH concentration is in infectious disease and pretty much everyone in my program is gearing up for some type of career related to it. You can also go at it with a DVM, MS, and/or PhD in whatever subfield interests you most.

VMCVM also has an infectious disease research facility geared more toward people who want to do research. I imagine other schools have similar things on their campuses.

I know some MS programs here pay for their students (I know someone who got tuition + a stipend doing poultry stuff), but you'd have to reach out to admissions for specific programs to figure out if they have funding and how it works.
 
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Musicandhorses

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My colleagues have said they are very busy lately across the country. We have been too at our clinic. Many places are hiring. Even if it’s for reception at least it would get you a foot in the door? This would help your veterinary hours if you work your way to assistant.
Masters and graduate school are all very different from program to program. And...Some people hate grad school and some love it. People do not realize that writing and computer work are big time sinks with a thesis or dissertation. Some masters have a thesis and some don’t. Talk to people in the programs you are interested in before committing yourself. Reflect on your interests and goals. Talk to faculty at your school that you trust and can give you honest feedback. Maybe just a post bacc until you can apply. All the programs are different even in regards to admissions.
 
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Musicandhorses

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I know our local university my undergrad university has an online mph. I think it’s like $5000 a year or something. Maybe working and doing an online program? Just thinking of options for you but your veterinary hours need to be higher for most of the DVM schools. And that can be easier to fix than a lower gpa. And it seems schools are looking at candidates more holistically of late. Which means if you get your vet hours up it will really help you.
 
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sheltermed

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EB73674

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My colleagues have said they are very busy lately across the country. We have been too at our clinic. Many places are hiring. Even if it’s for reception at least it would get you a foot in the door? This would help your veterinary hours if you work your way to assistant.
Masters and graduate school are all very different from program to program. And...Some people hate grad school and some love it. People do not realize that writing and computer work are big time sinks with a thesis or dissertation. Some masters have a thesis and some don’t. Talk to people in the programs you are interested in before committing yourself. Reflect on your interests and goals. Talk to faculty at your school that you trust and can give you honest feedback. Maybe just a post bacc until you can apply. All the programs are different even in regards to admissions.
Strongly agree here - we’ve hired 5 new staff during COVID due to our increased caseload, and we don’t really expect it to diminish even when things open back up. TONS of places are hiring!
 
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ElizaThornberry

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I have actually looked into this, unfortunately....I think I have to pay for it. I want to stray away from grad degrees that are coming out of my pocket. Thanks though!
 
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sheltermed

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I have actually looked into this, unfortunately....I think I have to pay for it. I want to stray away from grad degrees that are coming out of my pocket. Thanks though!

If you are not doing thesis-based scientific research, it will be coming out of your pocket.

eta: even if you are, many master's programs will still charge tuition and/or not provide a stipend. it depends on the school. if getting a master's is on your horizon, plan to pay for it.
 
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ElizaThornberry

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If you are not doing thesis-based scientific research, it will be coming out of your pocket.

eta: even if you are, many master's programs will still charge tuition and/or not provide a stipend. it depends on the school. if getting a master's is on your horizon, plan to pay for it.
Well my point was that I am NOT looking at grad degrees I have to pay for. I am willing to teach and get a stipend. I already owe plenty of money bc of my 7 years in undergrad....I don't need to owe more. I mean no offense by this...bc to each their own...but to me if you are doing it right, in STEM you should absolutely not be paying for a grad degree and they should be paying you. Again, if someone wants to do a postbacc program or a 1 year master's that comes out of their pocket and this works for them, so be it, nothing wrong with it per se....I just won't be partaking in it.
 

CoffeeQuestionMark

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I don't even know how to start getting more vet hours right now though bc of the pandemic tbh...I feel like it would be obnoxious to ask any clinics...?
that depends on where you live and who you ask
have you tried popping on indeed to see any veterinary listings in your area?
when I was searching for a summer job, I applied to an ER clinic, got hired and had my first day all in the time frame of a week
those big hospitals always need people. My coincided with someone else who was there for the summer and had no vet experience, so they don't even necessarily need people that know what they're doing.
 

ElizaThornberry

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that depends on where you live and who you ask
have you tried popping on indeed to see any veterinary listings in your area?
when I was searching for a summer job, I applied to an ER clinic, got hired and had my first day all in the time frame of a week
those big hospitals always need people. My coincided with someone else who was there for the summer and had no vet experience, so they don't even necessarily need people that know what they're doing.
I check Indeed everyday....lol. I recently applied to an ER clinic which I have applied to before but I haven't heard anything back. I actually asked the same clinic if they allow shadows and they said no. However, when I was in prevet club 2 ER vets who worked there came in for a Q&A session and said that if anyone is interested in shadowing at the clinic that they can talk to them about it and set something up...?
I have applied to plenty of vet assistant jobs with little luck....it seems like at least where I am at there is always someone with more experience.
I also have anxiety about annoying people....I don't want to ask and have somebody think I am obnoxious for wanting to get hours during a pandemic
 

EB73674

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I check Indeed everyday....lol. I recently applied to an ER clinic which I have applied to before but I haven't heard anything back. I actually asked the same clinic if they allow shadows and they said no. However, when I was in prevet club 2 ER vets who worked there came in for a Q&A session and said that if anyone is interested in shadowing at the clinic that they can talk to them about it and set something up...?
I have applied to plenty of vet assistant jobs with little luck....it seems like at least where I am at there is always someone with more experience.
I also have anxiety about annoying people....I don't want to ask and have somebody think I am obnoxious for wanting to get hours during a pandemic
Where are you located? If you are anywhere near a Banfield hospital (inside Petsmart stores), they are often very willing to train VAs with little to no veterinary experience, so long as you have some animal handling skills. I started there 4 years ago as a part-time VA, and not only have I learned enough there that I'd feel comfortable applying to any GP assistant position, they've also been incredibly accommodating about my school schedule. Corporate practice isn't for everyone (especially long term), but it can be a more accessible route than your average private practice.
 
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ElizaThornberry

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Where are you located? If you are anywhere near a Banfield hospital (inside Petsmart stores), they are often very willing to train VAs with little to no veterinary experience, so long as you have some animal handling skills. I started there 4 years ago as a part-time VA, and not only have I learned enough there that I'd feel comfortable applying to any GP assistant position, they've also been incredibly accommodating about my school schedule. Corporate practice isn't for everyone (especially long term), but it can be a more accessible route than your average private practice.
I applied to a Banfield last month for a veterinary assistant position and had an interview. I was not contacted after that.... :( I live in central Illinois....not far from U of I actually.
 

EB73674

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I applied to a Banfield last month for a veterinary assistant position and had an interview. I was not contacted after that.... :( I live in central Illinois....not far from U of I actually.
Ack, I think I'm remembering your previous posts now, sorry that didn't work out! Are you close enough to regularly go to UIUC for some sort of volunteering? I don't know if they have the same thing, but the large animal hospital at UPenn has the option to volunteer for foal-sitting in the NICU. Essentially, you will spend time doing basic care and physical assistance for critical neonatal foals, and there aren't any obvious qualifications other than being over 16 and having some degree of animal experience (which you do). Maybe you could reach out to them to see about volunteer options? Not sure how that will work in COVID times, but never hurts to ask.
 

EngrSC

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Haven't read all that's been said in this thread ... just wanted to say that I'm 32 and a first year vet student. My cumulative GPA was less than yours, though I had a strong last 45 GPA and diverse veterinary experiences. Anything's possible and you're definitely not too old! :biglove:
 
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ElizaThornberry

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Ack, I think I'm remembering your previous posts now, sorry that didn't work out! Are you close enough to regularly go to UIUC for some sort of volunteering? I don't know if they have the same thing, but the large animal hospital at UPenn has the option to volunteer for foal-sitting in the NICU. Essentially, you will spend time doing basic care and physical assistance for critical neonatal foals, and there aren't any obvious qualifications other than being over 16 and having some degree of animal experience (which you do). Maybe you could reach out to them to see about volunteer options? Not sure how that will work in COVID times, but never hurts to ask.
Probably not close enough for regular volunteering..I am about an hour away...
 
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