jqpub

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Mar 15, 2010
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My daughter has always wanted to be a large animal vet. She has been accepted to Cornell Ag in the Animal Sciences major and to Wellesley College. Although she had previously been gung ho on Cornell, she is currently very interested in the excellent liberal arts education at Wellesley where she would likely major in biochemistry and possibly a double major in a social science.

Is there a major advantage to her in going to Cornell? Do vet schools appreciate "diversity" of education, or would they prefer someone who shows her commitment by majoring in animal sciences?
 

ekchad

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Jan 18, 2010
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I attended a small liberal arts college in New England and I know several others from my school that have gone on to multiple vet schools including UPenn, Cornell and Davis.

That being said, if she's planning on applying to schools that require animal nutrition, she needs to be aware that it won't be offered at a LA college.

In the end, she should go where she feels the gut instinct. Who knows in four years she may change her mind and choose another field....or not :)
 

zeebra44

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Apr 13, 2008
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My daughter has always wanted to be a large animal vet. She has been accepted to Cornell Ag in the Animal Sciences major and to Wellesley College. Although she had previously been gung ho on Cornell, she is currently very interested in the excellent liberal arts education at Wellesley where she would likely major in biochemistry and possibly a double major in a social science.

Is there a major advantage to her in going to Cornell? Do vet schools appreciate "diversity" of education, or would they prefer someone who shows her commitment by majoring in animal sciences?
I graduated An Sci from Cornell..amazing program, helped me immensely. And if she is interested in large animal, the coursework/animal handling experience would be like a dream come true for her, haha!

PS: She can explore her interests in social science at Cornell as well. We have excellent programs for that. My very good friend graduated with a degree in Developmental Sociology, and always spoke very, very highly of the courses/faculty/students in her program.
 

Minnerbelle

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Apr 2, 2009
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I can't comment much on Cornell Ag, but I'm a Wellesley alum, and I can't say I felt hindered at all by my college choice in terms of getting into vet school. In fact, I heard that at some point there were 9 Wellesley alums at UPenn vet school AT ONCE! Considering how few pre-vets there are at Wellesley every year (though I heard there was a record high this year)... that's a lot!

Your daughter will want to make sure that Wellesley is a good fit for her though before she goes. It's definitely not for everyone. I knew a lot of very unhappy first years. But, it is an amazing place optimized to facilitate learning (though most people don't appreciate it until AFTER they've graduated). The actual cost it takes to educate each Wellesley student (total cost divided by number of students) is over $80k/year, and it shows. Students are always taught by professors, not TA's/grad students, and the professors are focused on teaching. Professors also go out of their way to help (and admittedly sometimes coddle) students so that they can succeed. Facilities/equipment are also readily available for student use, especially in the sciences. The lab courses are amazing!

Also, just in case your daughter decides NOT to go to vet school (I know a lot of pre-vets who changed their minds), I think a liberal arts education allows her to keep more doors open with minimal effort on her part. I decided to get a research job for a couple of years after graduating, and the school's reputation in the sciences really gave me a leg up. I had 0 research experience during undergrad, but no one cared. Given the number of lab courses you have to take for a science major (almost all science courses have a mandatory lab so I took a good 16-17 lab courses), they figured I must have be solid in lab skills.

I know I'm being a bit repetitive, but the professors are amazing. When I needed rec letters ASAP during my job search, I was able to have 4 professors send them in within 2 days! It's not unheard of at all for students to cultivate very strong relationships with their professors, where they'll talk over dinner or coffee about their studies and/or life. They generally expect a lot from you in terms of academic performance, and that can be very stressful, but it definitely pushes you. Of course whatever relationship your daughter will have with faculty depends mostly on her, but there's lots of opportunities for that. I personally didn't take advantage of that as I should have and rarely went to office hours (or lectures :p)... but even then, I felt I got a lot of personal attention from my professors.

The diversity of students at Wellesley is also mind-blowing, and everyone is generally very helpful and friendly with each other (except for the econ people... they can be kind of scary sometimes). Before a major exam, there's usually at least one student in the class who breaks down because they are hopelessly lost... but as long as they are willing to ask for help, there's usually a whole group of students who will happily explain things throughout the night.

Anyways, that's my plug for Wellesley. I have to admit, your daughter will probably succeed wherever she goes if she's meant to succeed so my opinion would be for her to go wherever she feels most comfortable. But in short, no, vet schools won't ever penalize a prospective student for getting a liberal arts education. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions! As of the beginning of senior year, I was 3 classes away from completing neuroscience, biochem, and biology majors, so I can tell you a lot about the curricula for those if you're interested.

Only downside to Wellesley is that it's rather difficult to get meaningful experience during the school year just because of the intenseness of the curriculum, and you're pretty much on your own in terms of finding animal/vet experienece. I did get funded by the college to take on a non-paying wildlife internship for a summer though, so that was nice.
 

cupolovet

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Dec 10, 2007
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Is there a major advantage to her in going to Cornell? Do vet schools appreciate "diversity" of education said:
I was an animal science major at Cornell Ag with a minor in Biological sciences. I am not sure if any required courses have changed within Cornell as a whole, but the animal science major has only a few required classes, which will greatly benefit anyone interested in any science-based field. I did nutritional biochemistry research for four years under a faculty member within animal science allowing me to earn many grants and awards that greatly bolstered my vet school resume.
Although I chose to follow a path that many deem stereotypical of pre-vets I had several friends double major in other strong fields at Cornell that had nothing to do with animal science. I know some that double majored in linguistics, history, and various other subjects and that diversity is considered a boon to admissions panels. The dean of Cornell's Veterinary College was an undergraduate English major. In fact, I believe that being an animal science major can often hurt many applicants chances of admission if they fail to distingush themselves beyond being just another an sci major. Fortunately, the animal science program at Cornell goes out of its way to help students find interesting veterinary experience whether in terms of its strong ties to people and programs in australia, new zealand, and Africa or to its multitude of connections to competitive practices within the United States. I am an equine focused veterinary student at Cornell and gained the vast amount of my veterinary experience with other Cornell trained (undergrad and vet) veterinarians. Within the veterinary world the animal science undergraduate major at Cornell is highly regarded.
Although I am admittedly biased as a CALS alum I would say that having the access to animals within the curriculum has helped me in veterinary school as have some of the classes in animal endocrinology and theriogenology often not available at small liberal arts colleges. In order to get into vet school I think either school would do more than an adequate job for that purpose. I would say that being able to interact with animals on an often daily basis made classes more fun and interesting. I wish your daughter luck in making this decision and would encourage you to ask these same questions if possible at the cornell veterinary college open house next weekend. Feel free to private message me with more questions or more info about that event, in which I will help run some student info sessions.