Mar 27, 2010
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I'm a junior at a private women's college in Massachusetts. I've been pre-med since I can remember, but have always had the itch to consider veterinary school. It was on my mind since around freshman year, but I was so hooked on past ideals of being an MD that I kind of just thought of veterinary science as something "I would like to do if I could." Well, now I'm realizing I can and it's not too late. I think what really pushed me over the tipping point was a study abroad trip to the Galapagos Islands last fall.. let's just say I was completely amazed at everything there was to see there. So eagerness to go: check, pre-vet classes: check (sort-of, I have pre-med classes but there are a few random pre-vet classes that some schools would like that I haven't taken), experience and whatever else: nothing. What do I DO from here? I have two years of research experience- logging about 1000 hours in two research labs (quantum chemistry is the first, neuroscience lab is the second) by next fall. I will be writing a thesis and am one of the few students in my department doing this. I have ER experience, I've volunteered in a Bronx inner city school for 400 hours, but as far as vet-type things go, I have zilch. I already plan on taking a year off after I graduate to just catch up to everybody else, but what should I be doing between now and the end of that gap year? I will be working FT in my neuroscience research lab this summer, and am going to try to contact a local vet for shadowing experience. I have one in mind who does wildlife rescue but I don't know where that is headed. We don't really have a pre-vet association here, but there is one at a nearby state school. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Oh, and I have a 3.8 GPA, 3.65 sGPA.. hoping to raise both next year.
 

Whyevernot55

OKSU 2016!
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Hello and welcome! There is a TON of good info here on previous threads - check out the accepted students' stats thread to see what other people have been up to.
Also, check out the AAVMC website to see what schools require in terms of pre-reqs, experience, and recommendations. http://www.aavmc.org/

Your biggest thing is going to be getting experience in a variety of animal and veterinary fields. Start shadowing as soon as you can, even if it is just one day a week. Call around to local clinics and see if they are accepting people to shadow, or even hiring - a lot of us start out as kennel staff and work up to vet assistants. Personally I think the way to go is to find a combined animal practice where you can spend a couple days a week in the small animal clinic and a couple days out on farm calls to see horses and livestock.
You can also get animal experience by volunteering at animal shelters, equine rescues, and places like handicapped riding centers - try to get as much diverse experience as you can! Sometimes volunteering can turn into a job, or help you make connections with the vets that work with those animals and you can shadow or work with them. I got a job working for my equine vet in college. I was managing the equestrian center and we got to be friends, and after a couple of years of helping with the barn's and my own horses, he hired me to help pay my own vet bills. It was a great experience, I ended up getting paid, and he wrote one of my recommendations. We're still good friends!

And take a deep breath. A lot of us get a late start. I didn't decide to pursue vet med until my senior year of college, and I was an English major, so forget about having any pre-reqs out of the way.
You'll also need to take the GRE (general test), though check with the schools you want to apply to and see what they require.
 

david594

The-OSU CVM c/o 2013
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I take it your at smith.

Through the 5 college consortium or whatever its called you should be able to take courses at umass for free. So if you could fit them in your schedule you might try and pick up a couple of the intro level animal science couses from umass.

Would give you some large animal exposure if you don't have any yet and ansci-101 was generally a pretty interesting course.

Again though, only if you have the free time to do it. I wouldn't be skipping out on other classes to take it. It would be helpful if you decide you wanted to apply to some of the vet schools that required an intro level ansci course like Florida.
 
Mar 27, 2010
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I take it your at smith.

Through the 5 college consortium or whatever its called you should be able to take courses at umass for free. So if you could fit them in your schedule you might try and pick up a couple of the intro level animal science couses from umass.

Would give you some large animal exposure if you don't have any yet and ansci-101 was generally a pretty interesting course.

Again though, only if you have the free time to do it. I wouldn't be skipping out on other classes to take it. It would be helpful if you decide you wanted to apply to some of the vet schools that required an intro level ansci course like Florida.
Does Animal Physiology count for anything? I took that. The thing is that my schedule is maxed out for senior year. I was thinking I could take microbiology over the summer but one class is about all I can handle/afford. And why not Mt. Holyoke?
 

lalzi22

The OSU CVM c/o 2014!!
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She could be at MoHo also.

Anyway, your cGPA and sGPA look great. You do need HOURS though. Hours are dispensed between animal experience and vet experience. Animal experience is where you are working with animals, but there is no vet present. This could include working on a farm, working at a conservation center or a shelter. Vet experience is shadowing, kennel work etc... that you do under the supervision of a vet. Both are important to get (although you do need at least 1 LOR from a vet, so I would argue vet experience is a teensy bit more important). The key things to remember is breadth and depth. You want a variety of experiences- small animal large animal, exotics etc..., but you also want at least one of those experiences to be more than 100 or 200 hours. You need to show you have seen and experienced a great deal of veterinary work, from surgery to client-dr relations to lab work- all of this can be shown with a depth of experience. So, when getting experience, your mantra should be "breadth and depth". Good luck, and welcome. This place is SO helpful!
 

cowgirla

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^^^ What they said

And BE PREPARED to talk about your reasons for switching to vet, why vet appeals to you, why you chose pre-med in the first place, etc, etc. Be able to put reasons into "words," It will come up, if not on your application itself, then definitely in interviews.
 

david594

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Does Animal Physiology count for anything? I took that. The thing is that my schedule is maxed out for senior year. I was thinking I could take microbiology over the summer but one class is about all I can handle/afford. And why not Mt. Holyoke?
Mt Holyoke is the school I always forget.

As I said, its a good class if you could fit it, but if you can't I wouldn't worry about it unless you are shooting for a school that requires it.

I had done all of my pre-reqs at umass, so their class offerings are what I know best. Do any of the schools even offer microbio during the summer? GPA wise your's is pretty strong, so while improvements are always good, I wouldn't fret over it. Definitely try and get experience as that will probably be the biggest hurdle for you at this point in the game.
 

cowgirla

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UNH usually offers Micro in the summer, if you're prepared to live up here for a few weeks. I think we're about 2.5-3ish hours from MoHo.
 
Mar 27, 2010
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Haha I actually DO go to Smith and was wondering if david's guess was just a lucky one. I was planning on taking micro at a community college. It's not great, but it's close and I am working two jobs this summer + volunteering so I can't go too far. Thanks for the advice everyone- this is really helpful.
 

lalzi22

The OSU CVM c/o 2014!!
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Haha I actually DO go to Smith and was wondering if david's guess was just a lucky one. I was planning on taking micro at a community college. It's not great, but it's close and I am working two jobs this summer + volunteering so I can't go too far. Thanks for the advice everyone- this is really helpful.
I would check with schools you plan to apply to first. Some schools will not accept upper level bios (microbio, cell bio, biochem etc...) from CC, while other schools will. DEF. check first, because you don't want to waste your time and money taking something that may not count for you.
 
Jan 31, 2010
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I think what really pushed me over the tipping point was a study abroad trip to the Galapagos Islands last fall.. let's just say I was completely amazed at everything there was to see there.
The Galapagos got me that way too. There must be something magical about those islands that makes visitors come back pre-vets :p

I second what cowgirla said - one thing you'll need to do is be able to express your reason for switching to adcoms. I strongly suggest going beyond just coming up with a few interview answers. Instead, sit down, preferably at the start of hashing out your personal statement, and craft a strong narrative that starts where you started and ends with you in vet school. Tease out all the motivations and tipping points and boil it down to a story that you feel is a comfortable representation of what happened. That way you can ensure that all your answers to the question of why you switched or why you want to be a vet (and trust me, you'll get asked that a lot in a variety of ways by many forms and people) are cohesive and support your ultimate goal.
 

purplesaurus

I'm still waiting...
Mar 5, 2010
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I would check with schools you plan to apply to first. Some schools will not accept upper level bios (microbio, cell bio, biochem etc...) from CC, while other schools will. DEF. check first, because you don't want to waste your time and money taking something that may not count for you.
Also, some (all the ones I've looked at) CCs don't even offer upper-level science courses, so double-check that, too. And if you've already said it would be upper level (I forget all the details from earlier posts), then ignore this.


For other, more knowledgeable people: I feel that the point I make here is not often brought up. I was able to do general physics and chemistry through a CC (yes, I checked; they counted!), but all the ones I've looked at have not offered, well any, upper-level courses. Is this an exception rather than a rule?

It seems most people don't point this out when someone asks about upper-level sciences at a CC. If more CCs offer those courses than I think, then I'd feel like a moron to keep pointing it out.
 

DVMDream

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Also, some (all the ones I've looked at) CCs don't even offer upper-level science courses, so double-check that, too. And if you've already said it would be upper level (I forget all the details from earlier posts), then ignore this.


For other, more knowledgeable people: I feel that the point I make here is not often brought up. I was able to do general physics and chemistry through a CC (yes, I checked; they counted!), but all the ones I've looked at have not offered, well any, upper-level courses. Is this an exception rather than a rule?

It seems most people don't point this out when someone asks about upper-level sciences at a CC. If more CCs offer those courses than I think, then I'd feel like a moron to keep pointing it out.

Nope. You are not a moron. Most, if not all, of the CC's around me do not offer upper-level sciences either.
 

ckd816

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Also, some (all the ones I've looked at) CCs don't even offer upper-level science courses, so double-check that, too. And if you've already said it would be upper level (I forget all the details from earlier posts), then ignore this.


For other, more knowledgeable people: I feel that the point I make here is not often brought up. I was able to do general physics and chemistry through a CC (yes, I checked; they counted!), but all the ones I've looked at have not offered, well any, upper-level courses. Is this an exception rather than a rule?

It seems most people don't point this out when someone asks about upper-level sciences at a CC. If more CCs offer those courses than I think, then I'd feel like a moron to keep pointing it out.
I think you're right because I've never heard of upper divisions at a CC. I believe what was meant is that taking the class at a CC means it'll be lower division when the particular class might be required as upper division by the vet schools so it wouldn't be wise to take the course from one.
 

MAbovines

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If you have time during the semester, you could try joining one of the animal clubs at UMass. I know for sure the Dorset sheep group used to be open to anyone, maybe still is. The groups usually meet in the evenings once a week between 6-8 or 7-9pm. I did my undergrad at UMass and spent alot of time involved with the groups. I think it's a great way to get some experience with food animals.
Also, Umass has 2 vets on staff you could talk to and see if you could volunteer with if you can't find anything else. One is an equine repro guy, and he really likes to help students get into vet school.
 

ORvetgirl

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Yay, another Smithie! Feel free to message me if you have any Smith-specific questions (how classes transfer, etc.) I will warn you that though Smith considers 200-level courses as intermediate level, and I was told by someone (I think Prof. Anderson) that they would work for upper division, they won't count as upper division courses at some schools (like Oregon State). So make sure you get in at least one 300 level bio course if you plan to apply to schools that require upper divison bio.

I know that you are definitely busy, but there are clinics in the area that will let you shadow if you can find the time...you kind of need a car to get to them though. Anyway, I'm glad to see another Smithie on the forum, and let me know if you have questions.
 

eventualeventer

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Besides getting vet experience, don't forget that you have to take the GRE, not the MCAT, for almost all vet schools. A couple even require the Bio GRE (OKSU and ???).
 
Jan 31, 2010
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Besides getting vet experience, don't forget that you have to take the GRE, not the MCAT, for almost all vet schools. A couple even require the Bio GRE (OKSU and ???).
I was under the impression that some schools accepted either the MCAT or the GRE. Given the choice, I'd still take the GRE, of course.
 

HandD42

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I was under the impression that some schools accepted either the MCAT or the GRE. Given the choice, I'd still take the GRE, of course.
I was surprised by how few schools will accept the MCAT only, I took both, got a better score on the MCAT and then couldn't use it anywhere.

I was a pre-med/pre-vet waffle for a long time.
 

quantized

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I was hoping you were an MHCer! Tragic, tragic.

I'd try to get involved at UMass if I were you. I came about this a bit after I was out of the area, but I did quite a few courses and clubs at UMass through their EE dept, and always had good experiences. It's also refreshing to meet people outside of the women's college bubble.
 
Jan 31, 2010
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I was surprised by how few schools will accept the MCAT only, I took both, got a better score on the MCAT and then couldn't use it anywhere.

I was a pre-med/pre-vet waffle for a long time.
Wow, my advisor misled me. Lucky I went for the GRE.