Junior in college. I don't know where to start. Looking for advice.

Aug 10, 2015
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I graduated from community college back in June with a liberal arts degree - 3.84 gpa. I would say about 70% of my classes were based in Biology (intro to chem, cell bio, AP1+2, microbio, orgo, zoology) and the remaining are just core classes that my 4 year college wants. I'm starting at a 4 year college as a Junior in their pre-vet/Biology progam and am going to complete my Bachelors in 2017. I have plans to continue on to veterinary school but I have no professional experience in dealing with animals (however my GF owns a cat, my dog now lives with my uncle so I have adequate nonprofessional experience). I have 2 years experience as an EMT with 700+ hours in volunteer work with major hospitals. I did this because my dad is a physician assistant and my mother is a nurse so I wanted to get a sense of what they do before I continue on with my aspirations to become a DVM (they were also pushing me to be a Nurse).

I'm thinking about applying to Veterinary Assistant positions in the city but I'm not sure if they'll take me due to my lack of experience dealing with animals. I'm hoping my medical knowledge and hands-on experience in dealing with dying/terminal patients makes up for it. What should I do guys? Volunteer work? Paid position as a Vet Assistant? I'm 22 so technically I should have already a Bachelors and it's hitting my confidence pretty hard. I would love it if I can get paid, even if it's low wage so I can at least pull my weight in tuition costs.

Everything is just stressing me out because there is no way in hell I'm getting into vet school with a background in dealing with human patients and a Biology degree.
 
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LuckySpartan

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May 17, 2015
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Well thankfully you have a bit of time. If you can't land a paid position you need to start getting observation hours. It's never to early to meet with an admission advisor at your vet school of choice. They will help you put together a realistic plan to help you become a competitive applicant. That is where I would start.
 

thecatastrophist

Illinois c/o 2019
Oct 16, 2014
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Veterinary Student
I graduated from community college back in June with a liberal arts degree. I would say about 70% of my classes were based in Biology (intro to chem, cell bio, AP1+2, microbio, orgo, zoology) and the remaining are just core classes that my 4 year college wants. I'm starting at a 4 year college as a Junior in their pre-vet/Biology progam and am going to complete my Bachelors in 2017. I have plans to continue on to veterinary school but I have no professional experience in dealing with animals (however my GF owns a cat, my dog now lives with my uncle so I have adequate nonprofessional experience). I have 2 years experience as an EMT with 700+ hours in volunteer work with major hospitals. I did this because my dad is a physician assistant and my mother is a nurse so I wanted to get a sense of what they do before I continue on with my aspirations to become a DVM (they were also pushing me to be a Nurse).

I'm thinking about applying to Veterinary Assistant positions in the city but I'm not sure if they'll take me due to my lack of experience dealing with animals. I'm hoping my medical knowledge and hands-on experience in dealing with dying/terminal patients makes up for it. What should I do guys? Volunteer work? Paid position as a Vet Assistant? I'm 22 so technically I should have already a Bachelors and it's hitting my confidence pretty hard. I would love it if I can get paid, even if it's low wage so I can at least pull my weight in tuition costs.

Everything is just stressing me out because there is no way in hell I'm getting into vet school with a background in dealing with human patients and a Biology degree.
Focus on your own timeline. You've got the right idea. Search for vet assistant positions. If you can't land a paid opportunity, volunteer. A lot of these volunteer and shadow positions can become employed positions eventually if you stick around. But beyond the veterinary field, just focus on getting some handling experience. Volunteer at a shelter, horse barn, or university farm. Get a depth of animal AND veterinary experience.

Don't think "oh, I'm 22 years old... I SHOULD have a bachelor's degree". That's a bad avenue to go down. The age at which you have your first degree says nothing to your qualifications or capabilities. Yes, before you apply to vet school you should definitely have more vet experience. You do have time to get that. Apply yourself, be awesome while you finish your degree, get experience, and you'll be all ready to apply for vet school.
 

Lupin21

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Huh? How does having a girlfriend with a cat and a dog that lives with an uncle count as adequate animal experience? I am also not understanding where the veterinary school desire is coming from as you have not mentioned any understanding of the profession that has led you to this moment in your life. Why are you not pursuing the MD side of medicine?
 

wheelin2vetmed

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I'm 22 so technically I should have already a Bachelors and it's hitting my confidence pretty hard. I would love it if I can get paid, even if it's low wage so I can at least pull my weight in tuition costs.

Everything is just stressing me out because there is no way in hell I'm getting into vet school with a background in dealing with human patients and a Biology degree.
Dude, you're way to old now!

I'm 28 and graduating with my BSc in December. You're a baby, don't even worry about it. Regardless, there's no need to compare yourself with others, because life takes us all in different directions. School is always there, so the fact that you're getting it done a little later is better than saying "Well, I'm too old at this point, so I'm not even going to finish."

If this is the path you want to go down, find some places to volunteer and show you're committed. Then you could likely get a paid position, I would think.
 

pinkpuppy9

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Pet ownership is typically not going to count for any experience hours on VMCAS. You can certainly list it, but it's kind of a sticky situation. If you've got a pet with a chronic condition, or keep horses/livestock, those might be worth listing. Owning dogs and cats, not so much. It's really up to you though. Owning a pet wouldn't net you more than an hour or so a day (if that).

Paid vs. volunteer: Neither type of position is 'worth' more than the other. You just need to determine what kind of work you'll be doing. A veterinary assistant whose main job is kennel work will be less valuable than a volunteer who is able to watch exams and surgeries. You want to make sure you'll be working with the doctor a lot so you get to see what he/she does day to day and if it's for you or not. It's always nice to get paid, but with zero veterinary experience, you might have some trouble finding it. Don't be afraid to search farther away, and do call clinics and drop by. Be persistent. A lot of volunteer/shadow positions turn into paid positions eventually, too.
 

WildZoo

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Some clinics would be willing to train you despite your lack of experience, but that would be pretty rare in private practice (I've seen it happen with vet assistant positions at shelters). However, if you need a paid position, it would probably be easier to get a kennel tech job to start out. That will give you an opportunity to be in a veterinary setting and if you make it clear that you are interested in the medical side of things they may let you observe procedures and stuff in your free time, and even progress to helping out. Most of the vet assistants at the clinic I worked at last year started out with zero experience, working in the kennel, and were eventually trained to do more assistant work. It would also give you more hands on opportunities since a lot of private practices don't have insurance to cover volunteers amd shadows, but of course they do for employees.

Personally I would recommend doing some shadowing or volunteering first though before you commit to anything, because as Lupin said, it doesn't seem like your desire to do vet med is based on anything concrete just yet.
 
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LetItSnow

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Just to add a note of info for you ...

Have you looked at vet-school pre-reqs? It's possible/likely that your undergrad Bio degree did not contain all the pre-reqs necessary. You possibly/likely will need to pick up a few classes before meeting the requirements.

You're not really any different than anyone else starting down the path. You need primarily two things: experience (veterinary, not pet), and academics (pre-reqs). So, look at vet school websites to deal with the latter (pre-reqs). Find volunteer or employment opportunities within a veterinary context (clinical practice is most common, but research is fine, too) and start building the 300-400+ hours you'll need to be a reasonable applicant. Building those hours will give you an appreciation for what you're getting into, at the same time.

Sometimes people overthink this stuff. It's not that complicated. You just need to take the long view of realizing that it's a lengthy process.

P.S. I got my B.A. degree at ... uh ... 37, I think. Something like that. So don't take this as rudely as it sounds, but .... chill on the "22 and don't have my bachelor's degree" thing. For real. Kk? :)
 
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