Is the debt worth it?

Biomajir

OKSU C/O 2013
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  1. Veterinary Student
    I realize this had probably been brought up before, but I figured what the heck. Today at work this preceptor was showing me an article from DVM magazine about how debt is rising but the pay of vets is not. So, almost every single graduate will be horribly in debt. So in debt that they will never be able to pay it off. Several of the other doctors at work talked about how they hate the debt and horrible pay they get. Everyday I am told not to become a vet and do something that pays more. What do you guys think of this? I am already 60,000 in debt from undergrad and know I will probably be more in debt from vet school. Is it worth it? I can't think of anything else I would rather do. Also, is the pay that bad? I just don't know.
     

    twelvetigers

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      There's nothing else I would rather do. No amount of money could change that.

      In state tuition at OKState is very affordable, thankfully for us. WHEN we get in :), we won't leave with $200k of debt. That said, some people do. Proper financial planning can help... so could marrying a rich man. (Or woman.) I guess it's just something that everyone has to deal with. Is it worth it to YOU to be in debt?

      Also, the pay is going to vary based on what you'd like to get into, where you move, how well you did in vet school, and last but not least... how nice of a person you are. I mean, if you go on preceptors and act like an a-hole, you won't be getting any job offers. But if you network, go on as many preceptors as allowed, research where you'd like to go, and make a good impression while you are there... you could potentially exceed the avg. starting pay by a good bit.

      In short, it's just a choice you have to make. Like I said, OKSU is a great price. It's not first choice on many people's lists, but for us Okies, it can't be beat. (And, you know, the OOSers that come here will still get a great education and their DVM, just like everywhere else... just so I don't sound all negative.)

      OKSU in state tuition = $12k/year. $12k x 4 years = $48k. Books etc = $5k ish? I noticed that you said something about $200k debt on the vet board... but if you go OKSU it would be closer to $115k with your previous undergrad debt. So, not as bad?
       

      cscip

      OSU CVM c/o 2012
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        First of all, I think it is totally legit to raise the question of whether or not becoming a veterinarian is worth all the debt. I have struggled with the same kinds of thoughts because I am going to Ohio State as an OOS, so we're talking around $200,000 in debt by the time I leave (even if I apply for residency, etc.)

        That being said, this has been my dream for so long, I honestly don't know what else I could possibly do. So I started looking at careers in vet med other than private practice, and there are actually a lot of options. I personally am interested in public health, so I am getting a dual MPH-DVM. Doing a specialized field in vet med can help you make more money, especially if you work for the government or industry.

        I also am looking at the Health Professions Scholarship and the Army Veterinary Corps. My parents hate the idea and don't want me to do it, but I told them it's not their decision and they won't be the ones $200,000 in debt and trying to start their life all at once. Plus the Vet Corps is pretty much devoted to public health with some clinical medicine and extension in there, which appeals to me. Looking at special programs like that might help you find a way to alleviate the debt... even if the situation is less than ideal for a few years.
         
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        turnandburn

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          I totally have had the same concerns as you.

          A couple summers ago while shadowing some large animal vets, I had some really sobering talks with them. Two out of three of them said they would have chosen a different profession (not gone into vet med at all). Vet #1 said the debt is too high and the pay is too low. He said he has seen some of his friends go get 2 year degrees in welding or whatever and earn what he is earning after 8+ years of school. Vet #2 was closer in age to me (in her 20s) and said she had wanted to be a vet her entire life, got in on her first try, and has been in practice a few years now, but said her priorities have changed now and she wishes she would have gone for something else that paid better and worked fewer hours. The third vet I talked to had only been in practice ~1 year.

          It was a pretty depressing talk, I have to admit! Definitely gave me a new perspective. It hasn't stopped me, but it has scared me away from paying OOS tuition. I don't want to be paying $1000 a month in student loans for the next 30 years! :(
           

          ElvisMarie6

          CSU PVM C/O 2012
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            Hmmm I don't know why but hearing about these veterinarians kind of gets to me and makes me wish someone else would have gotten in to school in their place. Of course I don't know them personally and I'm sure they are great docs, but it still irks me a bit. I'm like twelve tigers, no amount of money could change my mind. And the pay isn't that low, hell at least we are fortunate enough to be educated, I know a lot of people who couldn't get into college and are barley making a living. I currently work with a vet who is very lazy and seems to hate her job it is a source of daily frustration to me so sorry for the mini rant! :)
             

            ElvisMarie6

            CSU PVM C/O 2012
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              Hmmm I don't know why but hearing about these veterinarians kind of gets to me and makes me wish someone else would have gotten in to school in their place. Of course I don't know them personally and I'm sure they are great docs, but it still irks me a bit. I'm like twelve tigers, no amount of money could change my mind. And the pay isn't that low, hell at least we are fortunate enough to be educated, I know a lot of people who couldn't get into college and are barley making a living. I currently work with a vet who is very lazy and seems to hate her job and it is a source of daily frustration to me so sorry for the mini rant! :)
               

              VAgirl

              UC Davis SVM c/o 2012
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                Hmmm I don't know why but hearing about these veterinarians kind of gets to me and makes me wish someone else would have gotten in to school in their place.

                I don't think that's fair. It's impossible to say what our own views will be in 5, 10, or 20 years, after working day in and day out in the profession and trying to balance debt load versus the other things in life that we'd like to accomplish (take time off to have kids; buy a house; save for those kids' college tuition; take nice vacations; or perhaps just not work quite so much so we can spend time with family, loved ones, have some personal time, etc.). Saying that those folks shouldn't have been allowed to take those precious spots in vet school from others just seems off to me. Those theoretical other people, no matter how happy they might have been to get into school and have a chance at the profession, could easily feel exactly the same way as the vets turnandburn mentioned. I think it's a sign of a larger problem of skyrocketing educational costs, not a sign that those people just aren't thankful enough for their lot in life.

                Did you read the elephant in the room article that lalanni posted a while back? Perhaps you did and it just didn't strike you the way it struck me. But WOW did I find that an informative article! Tuition has been rising at somewhere around 10% per year (I think that was in state...OOS tuition is rising more, I believe). That's just insane. At that rate, no one (except the super rich) will be able to afford education in not-to-distant the future.

                No matter how much you love what you do, there are outside factors that can beat you down and make it not fun to do. Money is one of those things. If you're always scrambling to make ends meet and can never feel secure financially, that's one of those things that can zap your love for your job.

                I'm not trying to be down on vet med or any other route of higher education/professional school...I'm pursuing the profession despite financial concerns. But I'm just trying to make a plea for not judging people who say, "Wow, I wish I'd thought this through more (or my priorities have changed, or whatever it is), maybe I should have made different choices because I'm not happy now."
                 

                CalpardNY

                UIUC CVM c/o 2012
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                  If you know becoming a vet is the only thing you want to do then doing something else with less debt and/or more pay won't make you happy. The debt is something we all have to put up with, but we do because we have wanted to become vets for so long and its all we can see ourselves doing. And if you did something else that wasn't your dream, then no amount of money would appease you. But thats why a lot of times on this board people say go wherever you have the least debt.

                  Also you said people have been discouraging you from being a vet - realize that you can find that in any field. I found it entertaining that for a while in UG any vet i spoke to told me to go to human medicine and any MD i told i wanted to go to vet school told me it was the greatest decision and never to go to medical school...i was like if everyone's telling me the opposite how am i supposed to know what to do? But if you look hard enough you can find the people who love what they do and despite being grouchy at times, know they wouldnt be happy anywhere else!
                   

                  turnandburn

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                    I think it really depends on knowing yourself well and what your priorities in life are.

                    For myself, I have wanted to be a vet since I was a little girl. I still have that dream and am still working very hard to achieve that end. After my first year applying and getting flatly rejected, I started looking into possibly expanding my application and applying to OOS schools and even looking into going to SGU or Ross. But when I started plugging the numbers into a calculator and calculating my payments with interest for the next 30 years vs. salary... I kind of had to nix that idea. I love the profession but I want to be able to have a comfortable existence too... easily afford and have time for my hobby farm and my horses and all the other grown-up "toys" and family because being financially well off, and having free time, is also important to me. And to hear it first hand from those vets I was shadowing really got it through to me- and they were vets that had gone IS, I can't imagine what they would be saying if they had gone OOS and were making those payments.

                    I'm certainly not trying to talk anyone out of anything! And I'm also certainly not saying a vet can't be well off or anything like that! ;) I'm just trying to explain my personal thoughts and feelings on this subject, after having some really eye-opening discussions with some vets in my area. :oops:
                     

                    NittanyKitty

                    NCSU CVM c/o 2014
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                      It's scary and it's definitely a valid subject to talk about. Everyone needs to know the financial situation going into it and understand what it means for their future. For me, my work is practically everything to me. I throw myself into whatever is around me, and I couldn't be happier than when I'm super-busy. The only thing I really want for myself besides a career in veterinary medicine is a big happy family (corny, why yes, please). I don't need vacations or fancy clothes or a nice car. I want to be comfortable, and most vets I've talked to say that they DO live comfortably. Never RICH, but mostly happy and taken care of. Now, I know it's easy to talk about the future when you're young, but I really hope that my priorities don't change as I mature. If I still have these same desires out of life, I think I'll always be happy with my choice. :)

                      That being said, debt is really sobering to think about. It's something that's been on my mind more and more as applications get closer. I'm planning to go after anything that could make that final tally a little lighter, and the Army Vet Corps is an idea that I'm considering. Working with government or in rural medicine can get you loan forgiveness packages as well, so that's another decision to be made further down the line.

                      I'm also seriously considering taking a year off between undergrad and vet school and applying after my senior year of college (I'm a current junior, and this would be my "normal" upcoming cycle). Has anyone done this? Any stories, good or bad, about returning to school after a year? I'm hoping to get some additional experience, finish my thesis and senior classes, work more on my GRE, and earn some money working for a solid year. I just have to pitch it to my parents. :p
                       

                      whitefang2012

                      Iowa State CVM '12
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                        Yeah I took a year off - mostly because I graduated in 3 years and I hadn't taken my GRE between sophmore and junior year or anytime before. So I had applied and done all the tests as if I were in school for four years. Over the summer I worked on research I had to finish for undergrad. In the fall I did a three month internship at an amazing exotic animal sanctuary in Florida - best thing I have ever done. Then afterwards I took a month off for interviews and reapplying to places to work and what not. I ended up doing an animal tech job in a laboratory in New York next to where I had gone to college. I have since broke my arm and have left because it will be two months before I can work there again, and I'm back to working a desk job until I recover. However, I am thinking about going to do some large animal work before I go back to school in the fall (ISU). I don't regret it. It has given me time to relax. However, we'll really see how I feel about being out of the study loop once I have to get back to it. I'll tell you how it goes!

                        That being sad, about the debt and all - I do think it's something that I have been thinking about since even high school. Not that I have actually thought it would change my mind - but my family and my friends always asked me during my year off "why don't you just go to med school..you'll make so much more...you work so much less". And yeah, I know I would. But I also know that I would be miserable going into the office every day when I did work. Whereas here I know this is something I'll always want to do (unless I get a personality transplant). I mean, it's been hard and all even this past year having to work for free at internships after paying for a BS degree but I loved every minute of it. Working 12 hour grueling days in the Florida heat - and except for some intense drama between all the volunteers, I can't complain for a minute!
                         
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                        wi girl

                        Wisconsin SVM c/o 2012
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                          See, unlike a lot of the other posters, I HAVEN"T wanted to do this since I was little -- I learned about the field after deciding that law, human med, and a few others weren't for me. I made the decision knowing that I'll be in debt for a very long time -- and my mentor was trying to build a new clinic but couldn't because the bank wouldn't grant her a loan because her student debt was still too high -- 10 years later.

                          That being said, I really can't see myself doing anything else, so it's just something I need to deal with. :D
                           

                          Steelmagghia

                          TAMU CVM Class of 2012
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                          Feb 28, 2008
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                          1. Pre-Veterinary
                            I am definitely one of the "wanted to do this since I was a zygote" types, my first word was even "dog", but I definitely spent a good deal of time making sure that it is what I wanted to do.
                            For me, it is definitely worth the money, debt, and headache afterward.
                            However, I am doing some things, and I've looked at some options, to lessen my debt when I get out.
                            First, I chose an undergrad that I would never have picked given any other circumstances. However, my university works with me, so I have everything I need, and they have provided me with full funding. So I'm coming out of undergrad with only $2300 in loans.
                            Second, I'm going to my in state vet school, which is only going to cost me about $25000 a year with living expenses, books, and travel.
                            Now, I realize that for a lot of people this is just not an option. However, some of the other things I'm looking at will work for anyone.
                            1) I took finance classes in undergrad. I am also looking into the dual MBA/DVM program at TAMU (just looking right now). The finance courses have been really helpful for me even now (I currently have a higher credit score than anyone in my house, and I have two savings accounts. Once I get some loans, I will begin investing in a slightly more aggressive mutual fund).
                            2) I'm looking at externships which either pay or provide very good networking opportunities. While I am a bit on the fence about this, everyone should know that Banfield does offer loan compensations if you do a certain number of externships with them and work with them for a couple of years after school. That money is on top of your salary. Like I said, I'm not so sure about whether I want to join the Banfield monster for a couple of years, but it is something to think about.
                            3) I'm probably going to live like a college student for the first 4-5 years out of vet school. That is just how it will be. And I'm okay with that, quite honestly.
                            All of that being said, I can't say that the debt will be worth it for everyone. I firmly believe that some people are just not well suited for certain lifestyles, stresses, or professions. And I think that it is really important that each person really look at what is important to them before they spend four more years headed in the wrong direction. And you need to look realistically...I mean, if you want to have new cars, a nice house in a good neighborhood, spending money, etc. pretty quickly, be honest about that.
                            Well, I'm going to hop off my soapbox now. I'm glad someone brought this topic up as a thread, though. It's not often addressed in our mad rush to be vets.
                             
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                            NoleDevil

                            Iowa State CVM c/o 2012
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                            Feb 15, 2008
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                            1. Veterinary Student
                              Thanks to a 75% tuition scholarship from an IS school and awesome parents, I don't have any loans from undergrad. However, I am highly considering going OOS (especially to Iowa, as many of you know), which would mean that I would need mucho loans. One good thing about Iowa, and I'm sure other schools, is that you can apply for residency and pay resident tuition after your 1st year - you just have to pay taxes to the state for a year. This idea, obviously, entails getting a job. While that may seem impossible to do in vet school, it's not like you have to work 25 hours a week. At Iowa, some current students mentioned how they worked in the hospitals on campus, and the staff was really understanding and respected the students' study schedules - it sounded like some of them only worked a few hours a week. Or even if it's just working the front desk at the library or something... I think it's definitely possible to do.

                              So, while I might be able to obtain residency at an OOS school, I'll still have loans to pay back, but they won't be as bad. My dad is a human doctor, and he didn't pay back all of his loans until I was in middle school, I think! :eek: Personally, I'm not all about having oodles of $, a Victorian mansion, and fancy cars. As long as I have a great family and a comfortable lifestyle, I'll be made in the shade. :cool:
                               

                              tastrophe

                              NCSU c/o 2013
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                                I am a hybrid - I always knew I wanted to work with animals, but I did not apply to vet school out of undergrad for two reasons, the first one being that I did not want to be in debt for the rest of my life. (the second was that I had rushed through undergrad in 3 years, and I didn't do that just to jump right back in).

                                Well, 10 years later, I'm still poor, and have since gone back to school - so, essentially, I'm exactly where I said waaay back then that I didn't want to be. So, for me it's a no-brainer, might as well be poor and doing what you love than just poor by itself :laugh:
                                 

                                Whirr

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                                  The debt load certainly gives one pause, and I really hope that the trend in rising vet tuition will slow and stop in the not too distant future. I think that as prospective vets, it's very important that we take this seriously rather than jumping headlong into this without thinking of the future ramifications. It can be so easy to be just thrilled about getting into vet school, any vet school, because we work so hard to be there, but does that mean that we should ignore the financial consequences? Eventually, good vet candidates will be frightened off because of the high tuition and low pay. Money isn't the primary motivating factor for most of us who want to go into this profession, but if no one can afford to do it, that bodes ill for the future of vet medicine. Hopefully it won't come to that.

                                  I don't think it makes one a bad vet to consider how we will finance the education, and to wonder how we'll feel in 10, 20, or more years as we try to open our own practices or buy homes with outstanding school debt. If anything, I think being realistic about our limitations (financial and otherwise) makes us stronger candidates, and better future vets and potential business owners. It's not at all unreasonable (in my opinion) to expect a decent living considering the effort and hard work that it takes to be a vet. I don't expect a Ferrari, but I hope for a decent life, and I don't think that's unrealistic.
                                   

                                  turnandburn

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                                    The debt load certainly gives one pause, and I really hope that the trend in rising vet tuition will slow and stop in the not too distant future. I think that as prospective vets, it's very important that we take this seriously rather than jumping headlong into this without thinking of the future ramifications. It can be so easy to be just thrilled about getting into vet school, any vet school, because we work so hard to be there, but does that mean that we should ignore the financial consequences? Eventually, good vet candidates will be frightened off because of the high tuition and low pay. Money isn't the primary motivating factor for most of us who want to go into this profession, but if no one can afford to do it, that bodes ill for the future of vet medicine. Hopefully it won't come to that.

                                    I don't think it makes one a bad vet to consider how we will finance the education, and to wonder how we'll feel in 10, 20, or more years as we try to open our own practices or buy homes with outstanding school debt. If anything, I think being realistic about our limitations (financial and otherwise) makes us stronger candidates, and better future vets and potential business owners. It's not at all unreasonable (in my opinion) to expect a decent living considering the effort and hard work that it takes to be a vet. I don't expect a Ferrari, but I hope for a decent life, and I don't think that's unrealistic.

                                    Beautifully stated. :thumbup:
                                     

                                    lailanni

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                                      Is this a career that will make me very happy? Yes!

                                      20 years down the road do I want to live in a shack and drive a geo metro? No. Hell no.

                                      Hopefully I'll be able to get out of school with a manageable amount of debt. Some far off day, I will want a nice house (a nice house, not a McMansion) on a nice bit of land, room enough for a great garden and some animals. And I would like to have enough free time to actually plant that garden and play with my animals. I don't want to work myself to death. And I don't want to be 65 before I can actually afford that dream.

                                      As of now (I can hear my future self laughing at me) I'd like to go for an internship/residency and get boarded - there's quite the salary difference. I did read somewhere that this is an increasing trend. With the debt load more students are going for specialties to compensate.
                                       

                                      TrocarKarin

                                      WesternU 2014
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                                        I just looked at a student loan calculator - a $200,000 loan at 9% interest would have a repayment of $2500 a month for 10 years. If you started out with a salary of $60,000 a year, and assume you lose 30% to taxes, that leaves you with $3500 a month. After you pay the loans - You're basically making minimum wage until they're paid off.

                                        It helps make an argument for being careful how much you borrow, stretching them out to a 30 year payment schedule ($1600/month), or specializing in an area with a higher starting salary.
                                         

                                        Electrophile

                                        Working Dog Doc
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                                          I just looked at a student loan calculator - a $200,000 loan at 9% interest would have a repayment of $2500 a month for 10 years. If you started out with a salary of $60,000 a year, and assume you lose 30% to taxes, that leaves you with $3500 a month. After you pay the loans - You're basically making minimum wage until they're paid off.

                                          It helps make an argument for being careful how much you borrow, stretching them out to a 30 year payment schedule ($1600/month), or specializing in an area with a higher starting salary.

                                          Well, there's a couple issues here.

                                          First, I think it's financially foolish to pay 200K instead of 100K for OOS just to have the pleasure of being somewhere for slightly over 3.5 years. Heed my advice, pre-vets! Move somewhere instate for a year or whatever first if you really *must* go to your dream school out of state. Not only will you likely have an easier time of getting in with less tuition, but you can save to pay some of your tuition in cash. I don't care what kind of special programs there are. If you want to do a special program elsewhere, go do a summer there or an externship/preceptorship there.

                                          If you don't heed my advice, have fun paying off that enormous loan (plus a mortgage plus the loan it takes to buy into a practice and so on) while I'm having fun paying myself instead of the government or the bank. Or do the military thing, even though that only pays for 3 years currently. Bummer.

                                          Second, the sheer amount of money you save in interest by doing a 10 or 15 year loan instead of a 30 is just mind blowing. Especially if you want to eventually own your own practice or buy into a practice. Having a staggering personal debt from your education is not going to look good to lenders if you don't have the capital. You just have to be smart about it. Heck, even by paying an extra $100 our mortgage towards principle every month since we started it last July, we've trimmed 6 months off the total time of our 30 year loan. That's already a savings of $4000. Our next home loan will be a 15 year.

                                          Basically what it comes down to two key principles.

                                          1) For every dollar you borrow, you'll have to pay back approximately two dollars.

                                          2) Live like a doctor when you're a student and you'll live like a student when you're a doctor.
                                           
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                                          TrocarKarin

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                                            Second, the sheer amount of money you save in interest by doing a 10 or 15 year loan instead of a 30 is just mind blowing.

                                            For the scenario I described above (200k at 9% interest), if you take 10 years to pay it off, you pay $104,021.52 in interest. If you take 30, you pay $379,321.27 in interest. Ouch.

                                            If I get into CSU (my instate school) I'm probably going to owe about $150,000 with vet school+undergrad. Ouch. On the plus side, I've been getting grants, so I might not owe as much.
                                             

                                            reefervet

                                            OSU c/o 2012
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                                              Just like they say vet school is what you make of it, your career is what you make of it. Having a DVM and being a good business person are two separate things. I think what you are stressing out over is an extreme example, everyone I've talked to that has graduated from vet school was able to consolidate for much, much less than 9% interest. Several were able to get as low as 3% through non profit organizations specifically catering to grad students. This would make your payments $845/month. Of course, with only a $100,000 debt your payments would be $420/month.
                                               

                                              SillyFilly

                                              Tennessee CVM 2012!
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                                                It's sad, because it makes me ulcery just thinking about it. Electrophile, I would LOVE to go IS - but two years running, I didn't get into my IS school. My IS doesn't do individual reviews, and I got into 3 OOS schools. So... I'm going OOS. The money is astronomical, but what other choice do I have?

                                                Scary, considering I want to go into equine (notoriously low paying), but considering food animal/public health/etc and hoping I marry someone who happens to be a Vanderbilt, or win the lotto...
                                                 
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                                                hendo

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                                                1. Veterinary Student
                                                  I'm in the same situation as sillyfilly. My in state school rejected me twice already, but I've gotten into 4 OOS schools. I have to go OOS. Cause who knows, this might be my last chance. And I can't wait around for an unknown amount of years trying to get into my in state school...
                                                   

                                                  winglessflight

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                                                  Feb 16, 2008
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                                                  1. Pre-Veterinary
                                                    One of the financial aid women at an interview I went on suggested choosing the 30 year plan, but paying it off as if you were doing to 10 year.
                                                    While some people may be tempted to only pay the 30 year amount, I still think that this is good advice. Her justification was that with sacrifice/self control, you can pay off the debt in ten years. However, if something comes up where you can't afford the 10 year payment for a while, such as an injury, inability to work, children, etc etc, then you are only committed to the 10 year amount, and can go back to paying the higher amount when things straighten out.

                                                    Also, like electrophile said, live like a student after graduation. I had a vet come talk to a class, and he mentioned that he and a classmate left school with approximately the same debt (I don't know how much though). He lived as poorly as he could while still maintaining some comfort, and his classmate went out, bought a car and a house with her spouse. He was able to pay off his loans relatively quickly, and when he came to us, he said she was regretting her big purchases because she was still in debt, pregnant, and unable to take much time off to stay home once the baby came.

                                                    Obviously I'm not saying don't have kids until you pay off the money (or a lot of vets wouldnt, haha), but avoid the temptation to go out and make a big purchase with the first paycheck, and pay off as much as your can afford, even if its more than the minimum you have to.
                                                     
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                                                    Electrophile

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                                                      I'm in the same situation as sillyfilly. My in state school rejected me twice already, but I've gotten into 4 OOS schools. I have to go OOS. Cause who knows, this might be my last chance. And I can't wait around for an unknown amount of years trying to get into my in state school...

                                                      If this is the case and you know that your IS isn't going to let you in but you have gotten in OOS, I'd try to go to one of those that will let you be a resident after a year. Mizzou will let you do this, which I'm sure is a big draw for OOSers. Most won't. If I was in your situation, I'd either do the military thing or I'd move there for a year beforehand and establish residence. My home cost us 117K. I cannot even fathom taking out the equivalent of an extra house to do OOS tuition. It's just not a light thing to take on and a year of sacrifice will save huge money later on so you can actually enjoy yourself later on. Work to live, don't live to work.
                                                       

                                                      reefervet

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                                                        Ohio will let you become a resident too... but I have to say taking a year off in order to gain residency or reapply to one of those types of schools, or enlisting in the military, is also a huge commitment/risk.
                                                         

                                                        david594

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                                                          Ohio will let you become a resident too... but I have to say taking a year off in order to gain residency or reapply to one of those types of schools, or enlisting in the military, is also a huge commitment/risk.

                                                          It guarantees you another year making $20k a year before vet school versus that year being on the other side where you could be making $60k.
                                                           

                                                          hendo

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                                                            If this is the case and you know that your IS isn't going to let you in but you have gotten in OOS, I'd try to go to one of those that will let you be a resident after a year. Mizzou will let you do this, which I'm sure is a big draw for OOSers. Most won't. If I was in your situation, I'd either do the military thing or I'd move there for a year beforehand and establish residence. My home cost us 117K. I cannot even fathom taking out the equivalent of an extra house to do OOS tuition. It's just not a light thing to take on and a year of sacrifice will save huge money later on so you can actually enjoy yourself later on. Work to live, don't live to work.

                                                            That's exactly what i'm doing. A big reason I'm going to Illinois (besides the facilities looking actually pretty sweet) is because they let you do that... switch to IS residency after a year of school. Might be hard, but worth trying! And I'm not sure CSU will ever let me in! They just don't like me...
                                                             

                                                            CalpardNY

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                                                              That's exactly what i'm doing. A big reason I'm going to Illinois (besides the facilities looking actually pretty sweet) is because they let you do that... switch to IS residency after a year of school. Might be hard, but worth trying! And I'm not sure CSU will ever let me in! They just don't like me...

                                                              Are you sure about this - illinois letting you have residency? I remember them saying at the info session don't plan on it and the only/best way to do it is to marry someone from illinois! Cause thats a big difference in price and i remember them saying it doesnt happen at illinois! But if it is possible I'd love to know about it!
                                                               

                                                              david594

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                                                                Yeah david, but it doesn't mean you'll get in again.

                                                                Which supports my point. If you take a year off to establish residency somewhere else you are a year behind. If you dont get in the first time, you are then 2 years behind.

                                                                If you delay vet school by 2 years just so you don't have to pay OOS tuition rates the difference in education costs is pretty much offset by lost wages at that point.

                                                                Telling someone to move somewhere to get IS tuition essentially limits yourself to one school which goes against the advice everyone else on here gives about applying to multiple schools.
                                                                 
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                                                                Electrophile

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                                                                  Which supports my point. If you take a year off to establish residency somewhere else you are a year behind. If you dont get in the first time, you are then 2 years behind.

                                                                  If you delay vet school by 2 years just so you don't have to pay OOS tuition rates the difference in education costs is pretty much offset by lost wages at that point.

                                                                  Telling someone to move somewhere to get IS tuition essentially limits yourself to one school which goes against the advice everyone else on here gives about applying to multiple schools.

                                                                  The middle section is not true. Say you get a job vet related or non-vet related for a year. Say you get paid 30K after taxes, live frugally, and save 15-20K of that. Then you either 1) invest that 15-20K in a decent mutual fund that yields 8-12% or you put that 15-20K towards your first year (which will pay for tuition for most schools instate...I'm not counting living expenses, books, supplies, etc). The amount of money you'll either make in interest from the mutual fund or save in interest by paying for vet school in cash is something that will beat getting out of school a year or two earlier in the long run.

                                                                  That's actually part of the reason why people who are entrepreneurs and who invest smart and save smart early in their life (like early 20s) typically can build a LOT more wealth over the course of their life than say a doctor who makes 300K a year. They get started early and often and rely on the beauty of sound investment return. Doctors (and veterinary doctors) come out of school often needing to do internships, residencies, etc and they are in their early to mid 30s before they can start making a lot of money. An entrepreneur or smart businessman in their 20s can make fast because of smart investing. For more on this principle, try the books The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach, Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey, and The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley and William Danko.

                                                                  And unless your spouse is raking it in so your whole salary goes toward paying off your student loans, that one extra year of 60K isn't going towards paying the 100K+ disparity in IS versus out of state. It's going towards the 300K+ principle plus interest you'll probably end up paying by the time you're done. Have fun with that.

                                                                  I also find it highly unlikely that if you got in straight away OOS the first time that they would reject you IS the second time, especially with an additional year of real world experience if you got a vet/research/etc sort of job and/or volunteering experience. I'll give you an example. I was looking into do that for Colorado State. For the entering class this last year, 246 ISers applied and 75 were admitted. That's a 30% chance. Alright, not great, but not bad. For non-sponsored (and Missouri, where I'm a resident at, is of course not sponsored as we have our own CVM), there were 1146 (!!!) apply and only 19 got in. That's a 1.6% chance. Hmmmm...I wonder which is the better strategy... :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

                                                                  Anyways, I didn't say just move wherever just to go wherever. I'm saying if you *really* REALLY want to go somewhere as your dream school, you do what you have to do to get it done. I said the smart thing to do financial wise is to apply to your IS or contract schools and then if you want to take advantage of a cool program elsewhere, do it on a summer or a preceptor block so you can have the cool experience while still paying IS tuition.

                                                                  I also am not one of those folks who advocate applying to every single school out there either. I did that for undergrad (applied to 10 schools and got into 11, thanks Vanderbilt!). But it boiled down to where could I realistically go and that list was trimmed significantly. I think you should apply to schools that you will be fairly certain you'll be happy at and fairly certain you'll get into and limit it to that. It's not like in undergrad where there's a huge disparity between Harvard and Metro Tech Community College. You'll get a decent veterinary education wherever you go. Even though it currently seems like it's taking forever, it's only a little over 3.5 years of your life in one place. Otherwise all that applying and interviewing across the country to more than a small number of schools gets highly stressful and expensive. JMHO.
                                                                   

                                                                  laurafinn

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                                                                    Say you get a job vet related or non-vet related for a year. Say you get paid 30K after taxes, live frugally, and save 15-20K of that.

                                                                    Damn, do most people graduating from college these days make over $40-45K the first year out? And in a location with a low enough cost of living to allow them to squirrel away $20K? I shoulda waited 15 years to be born :p
                                                                     

                                                                    david594

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                                                                      Damn, do most people graduating from college these days make over $40-45K the first year out? And in a location with a low enough cost of living to allow them to squirrel away $20K? I shoulda waited 15 years to be born :p

                                                                      I was debating whether to say it or not... but yeah. $40k+ a year for people with maybe 1-2 years experience? In an area with a $10k per year cost of living. I am also open to suggestions for the mutual funds that will pay 12%.

                                                                      Or I could just move there after vet school, I would be able to pay off those loans in no time with a cost of living that low.
                                                                       

                                                                      SweeTeaPie

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                                                                        The middle section is not true. Say you get a job vet related or non-vet related for a year. Say you get paid 30K after taxes, live frugally, and save 15-20K of that...

                                                                        Wow, what science jobs are YOU talking about that pay that well?!?!?! I work at the country's #1 Children's Hospital and I get about 22K after taxes, which is actually more than you can get from other research centers in this city (aside from anyone LUCKY enough to get into industry; easier said than done) And even though I'm living as "frugally" as possible (i.e. living with my parents for the past THREE YEARS!), I still have jack squat to show for it. You have to take into consideration where people live. The cost of living in Philadelphia is probably 10 times that of Missouri. Working for three years has gotten me nothing but experience and way behind schedule. While your suggestion is theoretically a good IDEA, it's not necessarily realistic for everyone.
                                                                         

                                                                        VAgirl

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                                                                          invest that 15-20K in a decent mutual fund that yields 8-12%

                                                                          I think you'd be hard pressed to find many mutual funds with 8-12% return these days.

                                                                          Say you get paid 30K after taxes, live frugally, and save 15-20K of that.

                                                                          There are several areas in this country where it is just not feasible to live off of 10-15K per year. Maybe you could do 15K if you're really good, but 10K is extremely little to get by on, certainly for the DC area, even living as frugally as you can (barring living with one's parents or some other rent-free scenario). One could argue that salaries are adjusted accordingly for the more expensive areas to live, but that really has not been my experience (or that of my friends) down at the entry level.

                                                                          That's actually part of the reason why people who are entrepreneurs and who invest smart and save smart early in their life (like early 20s) typically can build a LOT more wealth over the course of their life

                                                                          This is true, of course, but maybe out of the reach of folks working towards professional schooling.
                                                                           

                                                                          laurafinn

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                                                                            I am also open to suggestions for the mutual funds that will pay 12%.

                                                                            He heh. I was going to say, check out the Fidelity Contrafund. But then I saw that it was -6% so far this year. Oops :) Three- and five-year still looking pretty good, though, +14% and +16%. Of course, past perfomance does not guarantee future results & etc etc.

                                                                            In short, cashwise, I think most peoples' best bet is to go straight from college to vet school.
                                                                             

                                                                            SweeTeaPie

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                                                                              I was debating whether to say it or not... but yeah. $40k+ a year for people with maybe 1-2 years experience.

                                                                              What? Where do you LIVE? You guys are really starting to depress me because I just got done listening to a Post-Doc in our lab outright REFUSE to pay a potential new employee more than 31K. In fact, she practically laughed at her and told her it was unrealistic to expect anything more than that around here. Which, in fact is true from what I remember from my job searching days (which was 2 years ago). While you guys may seem to have it lucky wherever you are (and I'm not saying that maybe you don't), don't exactly give everyone false hope and the impression that 40-45K is standard entry level salary. And yes, 1-2 years around here IS considered entry level.
                                                                               

                                                                              VAgirl

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                                                                                No worries. He was being sarcastic.

                                                                                Well, it does depend somewhat. 40-45K for an entry level lab tech? No way. For an entry level government contractor? Yea, doable. But still, that's not the route most people go, and outside of the DC area, the # of govt contractors really plummets. Plus, it's harder to find jobs in govt contracting that are relevant to vet med stuff, at least in my experience. Fortunately, I've found one. But there was a large measure of luck to it and it took me 4.5 years to find it. :)

                                                                                Oh, and by the way, if anyone has a current govt clearance and is looking for a sweet public health job, there'll be one opening up in July (when I leave for school), so give me a holler. :) [/promo]
                                                                                 

                                                                                Electrophile

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                                                                                  I could have made about 35-40K in a lab research job after undergrad in mid-Missouri. *shrug* Not to mention you don't *have* to get a job as a vet or lab tech making only 25K a year or something if you wanted more experience. A different higher-paying job with some volunteering would be fine too. I lived pretty comfortably off of 20K in mid-Missouri during grad school living in a place by myself. If I would have had a roommate or two, I probably could have done it for 15K or less. Consider the story of Oseola McCarty:

                                                                                  http://www.usm.edu/pr/oola1.htm

                                                                                  I think we could learn a lot by smart women like her. :clap:

                                                                                  And yes, if you are a smart investor, you absolutely can find good LONG TERM 8-12% performing mutual funds. Me and my husband's mutual funds have a track record right around there. You guys have to think long term though. Not every year is going to be roses. But real wealth building is about long term smart investing, not get rich quick schemes. Maturity is the delay of instant gratification in favor of the bigger picture. I'm not saying we shouldn't enjoy money, but we just have to be smart about it. Paying yourself first and working to live, not living to work is where it's at.

                                                                                  Anyways, y'all do what you want. But I'd like to retire nicely at a relatively early age sitting on the porch of our nice but modest house, sipping a cool half lemonade half sweet tea on a couple hundred acres with my dogs, (future) horses, and husband admiring the Colorado sunset because of saving money going in state, living below our means, paying off all debt ASAP, and smart investment choices. Not having to work 60+ hours a week until I'm 75 selling my soul to Banfield or something else just to barely get by to pay the student loan that is following me around like a lost puppy, a massive mortgage, two or more 30K+ car payments, etc. I won't be keeping up with the Joneses. Then again, we are the Joneses! (my last name is Jones) :cool:
                                                                                   

                                                                                  SillyFilly

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                                                                                    There's no guarentee that you can say "hey ____ school, thanks for letting me in, but I'll apply again in 2 years after I establish residency." And then reapplying and saying "yes, I have applied before - and didn't go." I just don't know how that would fly.

                                                                                    I tragically had a job I made very little on - less than $15k and supported myself on it. YIKES, no lie. Now I have a much better paying job - and am saving every penny. I am really, really poorly versed in saving and financial planning, but do what I can. It just all sounds like "blah blah high yield money poor blah blah zzzzzzzzzzzzzz...." The only thing I got out of my Econ classes was that my teacher drove a jetta diesel and got 60 miles to the gallon and owned a blueberry farm... and don't use your pin # at gas stations.
                                                                                     

                                                                                    Electrophile

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                                                                                      This is true, of course, but maybe out of the reach of folks working towards professional schooling.

                                                                                      I agree and that's what I mean...if you read books like The Millionaire Next Door, it explains that. People going into professional or graduate school (lawyers, doctors, veterinary doctors, etc) typically don't get out of school until their mid to late 20s and they usually do some sort of post graduate training where the pay sucks for several years (internships, clerkships, residencies, post doctoral training). So there you are, *maybe* finally pulling down 100K by the time you're in your early to mid 30s after all that schooling if you're lucky.

                                                                                      Compare that to someone who finished college or even just finished high school and started their own business as an entrepreneur small business owner at 18 or 22 and has been saving money prodigiously for over a decade. When they've got that much of a head start, plus little or no debt if they've been smart about credit, not buying too much house, little to no student loans, they've got a HUGE head start than the orthopedic surgeon who is finally getting done with their 4 years of undergrad, 4 years of med school, 1 year internship, 3 year residency, 2 year fellowship, blah blah blah. Yeah, they may be making 200K when they're 35 and double that when they're 45, but professionals like lawyers and doctors (and veterinary doctors to a lesser extent) have to look the part: nice suits, very nice cars, nice Rolex, nice extra large McMansion, nice private school tuition, nice country club memberships, and so on. They make a ton of money, but they spend it as fast as they make it ("big hat, no cattle") versus "the millionaire next door" who is frugal, probably owns their own business, lives in a modest home, drives a 5 year old Toyota Camry, etc. Anyways, the book explains it more in detail. Fascinating read.
                                                                                       

                                                                                      twelvetigers

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                                                                                        "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need" by Andrew Tobias.

                                                                                        Smart people are not necessarily smart about money, so if you aren't sure what you're doing, then it's okay to look for help. That's my book recommendation, from my consumer law teacher... I learned more about money and what to do with it (or what NOT to do with it) in those video lectures for a 1 hour credit class (that I only took because I dropped something!) than I have in... ever. Mutual funds. ROTH IRA. Vanguard or TIAA-Cref if you qualify (need to be in education or research I think? Very science oriented). I think that if these supposed rich folks went ahead and started their IRAs and 401ks once they finish working and pay in the maximum amount yearly, they'll still be fine for retirement. Thing is, you can't get the super awesome Roth IRA with higher incomes - there's a cap, andthey phase you out once you cross a certain amount. It's something like 89k single, or 160k married.

                                                                                        Uhh, point is... once you start living like an adult, you should start saving like an adult too. If at all possible. If nothing makes sense, read my book, or Electrophile's, or any book that's not full of get-rich-quick junk. Just the basics, how it works, and why it works.

                                                                                        Woo, finances! :)
                                                                                         

                                                                                        VAgirl

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                                                                                          And yes, if you are a smart investor, you absolutely can find good LONG TERM 8-12% performing mutual funds.

                                                                                          This presumes that you won't need that $$ you socked away in the near term. And given the scenario you're laying out (living off peanuts, working towards vet school), it's very possible that one would need that cash in a more liquid form.

                                                                                          I made the decision, with the help of my very financially savvy boyfriend, not to invest in my retirement funds (or other long term investments where you can't touch it till you're 60+) over the past 1-2 years for a few reasons. The first is that I wasn't going to be at any of the companies I was working at (two different ones) long enough to be vested in any of the $$ they would have matched (so I wasn't throwing away the free money by not contributing to my 401K since they just would have taken it back) and because I really needed to have liquid money. I've needed that for paying off grad school loans, vet school application $$ (VMCAS, supplementals, travel money, etc. etc.), class deposit, moving costs. Not frivolous expenses by any means.

                                                                                          It's not so much that I disagree with all of what you're saying, Electrophile. I absolutely agree with the message that you reap the results in your later years of financial decisions made in your earlier life, so be smart. What I disagree with is the implication from your posts that the strategy you're outlining for financial decisions is the only correct way to do things financially, and if you don't do it you're insane, no exceptions. This might be an implication that only I am reading into it, and if so, I withdraw the comment and you have my apologies. But some people don't have the choices that are available to you, or chose not to make them for valid reasons. Everyone should make their decisions with their eyes open, certainly, but it doesn't make them bad people or mean that have the wrong values if they make those choices, including going to school OOS.
                                                                                           
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