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Hi All, non-traditional pre-vet....opinion?

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by Olddodger, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. Olddodger

    Olddodger Member
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    Hi Guys,

    I posted this over in the non-trad forum, but here's my story:

    Had my primary career implode (bad, bad time to be in aviation)...

    But I currently have the "time off" and financial resources to go back to school full time...ideally, I would like to persue a DVM.

    I didn't do so hot in undergrad (bleah, 2.5, but showed MUCH improvement over the 4 years in a hard degree), but later got a MS in a psuedo technical subject with a 4.0. I didn't take ANYTHING remotely biologically related (no bio, organic, genetics, nothing). Undergrad was 1989, and MS was 1999. According to most Vet schools' admissions departments, my few pre-recs accomplished (calc, chem, physics) are "stale", or more than 10 years old...so retaking them is a requirement.

    When I was still working full time, I found that getting pre-recs were impossible via distance learning. I also discovered that vet schools, more so than med schoos it seems, are fiends about requiring you to jump through their hoops their way. See the above thread about attitudes towards non-trads, and multiply it. As much as I tried to get the pre-recs another way, I got trounced on by everyone at the merest mention of it (oddly enough, pre-vet students are the most voiciferous).

    Anyway, fast forward to today...now I have the time to go back to school to do pre-recs. I have a local university (Nova Southeastern), that I have applied to. They have a almost all of the pre-recs and a pre-med program (biology)...its not Harvard, but it isn't a community college either. My plan? Take a semester of Bio and maybe Chem to see if I still have any operable brain cells. If it goes well, knock out the pre-recs, and go for it. Knock out some time working as a vet-assist or volunteer work along the way.

    So, for those who may have gone this route...should I:

    1) Forget it...call Truckmasters at 1-888-for-getit

    2) Have hope, it's a possibility.

    3) Practice, over and over, the phrase: "hot apple pie with that?"

    Thanks for any input!

    Best,
    Oldie
     
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  3. loo

    loo Always Sleepy
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    If you want it bad enough, you'll find a way to do it. Opinions of others are just that--opinions. Take 'em with a grain of salt.

    Sounds like you have a plan. I would definitely get some animal experience to see whether it is the right decision for you and to fulfill vet college experience requirements.

    My hat's off to you---go for it if it's truly what makes you happy ;)
     
  4. JIKJen124

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    Hi,

    I too am a non-trad student, trying to go to vet school. My time in the working world only lasted 2 years, but it was long enough to convince me that I never cared to see the inside of a cubical ever again.

    My advice - GO FOR IT. Yes, I'm not going to lie - these classes suck. They are the worst that undergrad has to offer (mind you my organic 1 final is in 48 hours and I'm a little stressed). But, as long as you keep your eyes on the prize and not bail when the going gets rough (which it will), I think it will work out fine.

     
  5. Truth74

    Truth74 DVM
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    Hey olddodger,

    I'm a non-trad as well.
    It is definitely a good idea to test yourself out before going full time.
     
  6. vet_to_be

    vet_to_be New Member

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    Hi Oldie-

    I'm a returning student as well. I spent many years in corporate world and then went back to school to take the science classes I never took before. I applied to schools last year and am currently enrolled in Cornell for DVM. The first thing I want to say is that once you get in you will realize it's really a very tough program. The reason I am saying that is because I wouldn't shy away from the tough science classes now. I would jump in head first and see if you sink or swim. I'm happy I am here but it's hard, it's a lot of work for a non-academicy type (me) and you just need to know that once in you still are going to have to deal with a lot of new material that is very complicated for the first two years. After that I'm told it settles down as we move into the clinical curriculm. So if this is your dream and what you really want to be doing and you are sure just go for it and don't listen to what everyone else has to say about numbers and statistics. If I listened to what Cornell told me on the telephone I never would have applied. There is a whole world of self promotion that exists around the admissions process that can be discounted by about 35%. Good Luck, another Oldie













     
  7. Olddodger

    Olddodger Member
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    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for the encouragement. I'm going to go for it.

    I would really like to hear some in-depth, back to school stories. How should I start the pre-reqs? Start with Bio 101 and hit the biologicals (geneitcs, micro B) first, or should I combine it with re-takes of chemistry or physics.

    Some of the places I'm looking at require humanities. Do you think the 10 year "stale" rule applies to those as well? I mean, it's not like I can't write (webboard postings notwithstanding).

    Besides making a big checklist of pre-reqs to take, should I bother with a second undergrad degree? I've already have one, and it really matters not to me.

    The one place I'm shooting for is U of F, basically because it's in-state. I'm not particularly concerned with the ranking of institutions.

    Beyond banging out the pre-reqs and volunteer/animal work (plenty of needy animal places here). What else should I be doing? Any place to turn to for the straight poop (besides the catbox)?

    Thanks!

    Oldie
     
  8. Truth74

    Truth74 DVM
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    A lot of schools look fondly at research, so if you can get an internship, or an opportunity to check out research, that will look good on your application, too. Professors are generally very helpful in that area.
    Oh, and organic chemistry is usually the bain of any student’s existence, so I would try to go sequentially with that stuff. No pauses or skipping a semester between classes. I did that, and boy did I suffer.

    As far as stale grades are concerned, where I plan to go doesn’t have a problem with my ten or so year old electives (or coursework for that matter). You might want to speak to an admissions advisor in person. You might get a different answer than in writing or on the phone.

    Good luck.
     
  9. macula_densa

    macula_densa New Member

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    What year are you? I'm a third year at Cornell.

     
  10. JIKJen124

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    I would (and did) start with Gen. Bio and Gen. Chem and a math review course my first year. Over the summer, I did biochem and intended to take genetics (the prof was SO bad I dropped after the first class). This year, I'm doing organic, physics, and calc. this semster and in the spring I will do organic 2, genetics, and microbiology. Over the summer, I will finish up with stats and physics 2. I will start applying in the late summer. I hope this helps.

    Jen

     
  11. Olddodger

    Olddodger Member
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    Hi Jen,

    It's a tremendous help. Thanks!

    My other wrinkle is that UF wants to see 2 classes of Animal Studies, one intro to animal sciences, and another in animal nutrition. I know I can do the nutrition course via distance at OkSU, but I'm at a loss on the other one. Niether NSU or U of Miami have anything like it.

    NSU does have some pretty interesting Marine Bio courses, which includes stuff on Manitee Physiology and another on Marine Vertibrates. I wonder if those would work as subs.... Heck, I might even take them as electives...even though I'm shooting for a feline care specialty (Dr. Oldies Kitty Kare Klinic, or some such nonesense :laugh: ). A friend of my ex-wife was an exotic/marine vet, and she was always pretty busy.

    Thanks again!

    Oldie
     
  12. loo

    loo Always Sleepy
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    Oldie--
    As far as old prereqs go, email (don't call) the admissions' offices of the schools you are interested in to see if they can be waived or substituted. get official copies of your transcript to send to them for review. Make sure you keep copies of their response--some schools have a tendency to "lose" things, thereby jeopardizing your application.

    As far as sequencing your prereqs, try not to overload yourself because you need to do as well as possible on them. As other posters have said, organic is a major weed-out course. Make sure you are refreshed with your chemistry before you tackle this monster.

    Also, start to get familiar with the GRE or MCAT--you'll have to take one of these.

    What was your original undergrad degree in?
     
  13. Olddodger

    Olddodger Member
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    Hi Loo,

    I'm already reviewing the GRE material.

    My previous degree was in Mechanical Engineering...with a not too stellar GPA. I think I'm going to try to ace a few basic pre-recs, that I know have to be done, before trying to get waivers or getting them to look at classes from 15 years ago.

    Sort of a "ok, I know my previous grades were crap, but here is a bunch of new course work, all 4.0, so please, just ignore the rest". I figure if I can go in with a nice stash of recent, quality work, they won't laugh me off the email server.

    First semester is going to be VERY part time. Two classes max, probably Bio/Chem or Bio/Physics.

    Best,
    Oldie
     
  14. loo

    loo Always Sleepy
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    My bad! I meant to say that you may be able to get required humanities/social science/mathematics courses waived upon review of your transcript.

    I bet your essay will be fascinating, given you have had a previous career in aviation!
     
  15. peppermintgal

    peppermintgal Member
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    hihi...

    i am not sure if you have thought of this.. how bout going to australia to study at a AVMA recognized veterinary school?

    You could do away with studying all the pre-reqs and jumping straight to veterinary school.

    Saves time..living expenses are also not that expensive.

    There is no cost for application to Murdoch university. Why don't you try and see how it goes..
     
  16. Pennbound

    Pennbound VMD hopeful
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    Where are you in Florida? I did pre reqs in South and Central Florida so I may be able to help. First semester I would do Bio 1 and Physics (because of your backround). Get off to a straight A start. As for the Animal science classes, I believe you can take those the summer prior to starting vet classes at UF. Biochem is going to be tough in Florida no matter where you go. Good luck and stay strong. It is a long and hard road ahead but perseving through is what makes you a doctor. It is a process.
     
  17. PAThbrd

    PAThbrd LA Surgery Resident
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    I differ, I would have to say you would want to start with Gen Bio I and Gen Chem I. Chem I and II are prereqs for OChem I and II and OChem is often a pre-req for Biochem making it potentially a 5 semester sequence whereas Physics isnt generally a pre-req for anything so its only a 2 semester sequence that you can squeeze in later. The Gen Bios also are often prereqs so I would knock them out in the beginning too...
     
  18. youthman

    youthman Senior Member
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    I agree with PATHbrd, start with gen chem. If you haven't had any chem for 10 years you'll be surprised how much you've forgotten. Sounds like your math skills may still be fresh. If not, start with pre-calc before ANYTHING. Good math skills can carry you through gen chem.
     
  19. giles

    giles Junior Member
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    Good point, pmg. Same applies for Massey University in New Zealand. Also AVMA-accredited degree and cheap living ($NZ1 = $US0.70) There is a half-year pre-selection semester (chem, bio, physics papers) followed straight away by a 4.5 year vet degree (called BVSc but equivalent to DVM).

     
  20. Olddodger

    Olddodger Member
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    Hi guys/gals,

    Thanks again for the great advice.

    As exotic as it sounds going to another hemisphere to study, I'm tied to SoFL for at least the next 2 years.

    My plan for my first semster is Bio/Chem. My MechE degree was all about physics so, I'm not too worried about that. I mean, I can just close my eyes and visualize it...its not that big a deal to me..after all, "all you need to know is F=MA" (this is actual quote from one of my MechE proffs). .

    OTOH, I sat down for one of my chemistry exams when I was an undergrad (the first time), looked at the exam and said to myself "huh? Is this in English? Am I in the right exam? Did I even take this class?" As they say, hilarity ensued ;) .


    Ok, on to the next question...for those who went back to take undergrad classes...what was it like to be back with the 18 YOs?

    Best,
    Oldie
     
  21. JIKJen124

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    I started in a special post-bacc program my first year, but it wasn't working out very well for pre-vets. It would have taken WAY too long to finish - full time was considered 2 classes and 2 labs. Now I'm living with my folks, saving money and going to school with 19 year olds. At first I was really apprehensive about it, and felt rather old and like I had nothing in common with them. As the semester has progressed, I've gotten to know them and they have really warmed up to me. If you allow yourself to get know them, you'll probably find they are quite interested in how you've gotten back to trying to go to vet school after doing other things, and hearing about how things used to be when you were an undergrad.

    Does that help? Let me now if you need more advice.

    Jen

     
  22. quakk

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    the university of texas has an extension program, where i could take night courses with ut profs in ut buildings, get ut credit, but i didn't have to enroll at ut. it was a lot cheaper, and it didn't look like i was going to school (great for residency purposes). i was in classes with a good mix of non-trads and college kids. i migrated more toward people closer to my own age (i'm 33). largely, the student constitution of my courses had little effect on me - i did what i needed to do and didn't focus too much on them. i did find it useful to form study groups, though. helped me learn what i didn't know, and share what i did.

    the other wonderful thing about the extension classes was their focus on understanding. last spring i enrolled officially in the university and took a bio class and inorganic chemistry. i was very displeased to find multiple choice exams in chemistry and biology - none of my original undergrad courses offered multiple choice exams - how do they foster learning and understanding? the chem prof came in and talked to the overhead projector for 50 minutes, and he was condescending if you asked questions. the extension profs i had were very accomodating, very approachable, and all-around good people. those classes were interesting and fun. the university classes were weeder classes, and i hated them.

    i tried to consolidate the requirements for all the schools i was interested in and plan my prereqs accordingly. i looked at what i needed to take, what was a prereq for each course, and i came up with a 5-semester plan for completing all the prereqs at utexas. i didn't want to get another degree, and i wanted to get into vet school as quickly as possible. that's what i followed. you can see the result here:
    http://studentorgs.utexas.edu/prevet/vet_school_info.htm
    -> http://studentorgs.utexas.edu/prevet/proposed_course_schedule_tamu.htm

    i planned to try to get them to waive the 10-yr requirements for calc and physics, as well as english and humanities. not sure if it would have worked, but it was what i planned. as a reference point, i earned an msee in 1995 (thesis emphasis in computer-aided design), and have worked in the semiconductor industry for 10 years.

    then i applied to murdoch university (i'm not really tied down), and was admitted. suddenly all my concerns were rendered moot.

     
  23. medtechv79

    medtechv79 Senior Member
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    Hi OldDodger,

    I'm a non-trad as well. Is it true you have to retake the humanities courses again if its more than 7 or 10 years old? I hear at some schools its just the sceince courses you have to retake....I mean what is the point of retaking all those public speaking/english courses again if you already have a college degree???
    I looked at the VA/MD DVM requirements in this really good book: Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements from Purdue Univ. press....(I got it from Amazon.com). And my state school only requires the science courses to be taken again.....if more than 7 years old.
    I really hope not....than its llike trying to get another undergrad degree all over again right?
     
  24. Olddodger

    Olddodger Member
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    Hey Medtech,

    Thats a hard question to answer from my perspective...I'm taking some pre-recs over because my original undergrad grades stunk, so it really doesn't matter to me if it's required or not.

    I agree on retaking the humanities, however. Someone mentioned that perhaps you can get a waiver if there is a time restriction. I had several classes in English, Spanish, and Economics, not to mention a masters degree that required reams and reams of techincal writing. I'd hate to think I'd have to go out at retake Writing for Dummies 101...I mean, shouldn't a Thesis count?

    The news is that I got accepted to NSU starting January 4th, so here goes!

    Best,
    Oldie
     

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