Dec 14, 2013
7
3
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Hello everyone,

I'll try to keep this short. I'm in need of some advice, of course, which is why I'm here! :)

I have recently decided that I want to be a vet. I knew that was what I wanted when I was little, but decided against it because of the "what if"s... what if I lose a patient, or make a horrible mistake? I've always been sensitive and I just didn't think I could handle it. But now that I'm a bit older, I realize that the lives I save will make the failures and sadness worth it. So, here I am, preparing! Who knew I was smarter at 5 than I am now at 23! :rolleyes:

Essentially, my problem is this: due to medical problems (car wreck 2 years ago - back problems since then that have finally been resolved, YAY!), I essentially failed my last 2-3 semesters of college (maybe not completely- I got a few Cs.. cringe!). I WAS an A/B student, with a solid 3.5 GPA and an even higher science GPA - about 3.8. Then my accident hit... and because I withdrew/failed the same lab twice due to my back problems, they kicked me out of my chemistry degree. Enter horrible spiral and appealing to get back into school and documenting everything from A to Z in the most official manner possible. It's been... yuck.

But that's not the point. The point IS... I'm appealing one last time to get in to finish my BS in Chemistry - I was only 7 credits away when they decided they didn't want me anymore. (AHH!) Except now, it's sort of a blessing in disguise, because I realized - I'm actually 28 credits worth of prerequisites short for vet school, and it would've been much harder to do that post-degree, right? Ha. So it's got me thinking.. instead of fighting my stupid school (okay, I don't mean it - I know they had good reason, I don't blame them, I'm just sad over how everything worked out), why not just transfer to the undergrad side of the vet school I want to get into? (A&M, in case you're wondering! I've been planning on moving to TX and how convenient that they turn out to have a very respectable vet school!)

What is everyone's opinion on this? Would it be better to just transfer, do maybe 1.5-2 years at A&M undergrad to get my chemistry degree and all my prerequisites, and up my undergraduate GPA in the process? (It's about 3.0 now, even with all my failed classes... but my last 45 hours GPA is ghastly, I'm sure.) I plan on getting a job at a vet clinic to jump start the "experience" portion of my application as well, as it would seem I'm woefully behind in that regard!

Sorry for the length... I DID try to keep it short, but I tend to write a lot. Thank you so much in advance for your replies. :)
 

epivetlove

Texas A&M c/o 2018!
5+ Year Member
Feb 25, 2013
1,448
1,242
Status
Veterinarian
Howdy! Sorry to hear about your medical problems, that's never fun to deal with, especially while you're in school (I was in a bad car wreck my senior year, so I've been there). I thought I'd give you a bit of advice, or what I'm hoping is advice, since I'm currently a PhD student at Texas A&M, obtained my B.S. from A&M, and have applied to their vet school for the first time this cycle. I think I'm a little attached to the school, haha.

First, it depends on what courses you're needing. A&M tends to have kind of weird or additional pre-reqs compared to most other vet schools. Taking them at A&M would be great, since you know they'll transfer...but A&M also isn't super cheap. Blinn offers a great deal of lower-level courses that will transfer easily and for much cheaper (if money is a concern, that is). The vet school is very numbers based when granting interviews/acceptances. They like their GPAs and GREs to be high. They do not accept higher grades for any retakes (must have at least a C in all pre-reqs), which is a bummer. Luckily, they do weigh Last 45 Hour, cGPA, and sciGPA equally. So if you can bring up your Last 45 Hour GPA that can really help. Scoring 75th+ percentile on the Quantitative and Analytical section of the GRE will also be very beneficial. The Verbal section is not weighed as heavily. They like to see a lot of experience, as well as varied experience (exotic, equine, large animal, small animal, etc.) or experience under different doctors. That said, finding a veterinary job in College Station is a nightmare. And even more of a nightmare if you want to support yourself in any way--or at least that's been my experience. It is very competitive given the amount of people that want to get into vet school around here, despite the amount of clinics in the area. I think it may be easier to secure a position at the end of Spring term since a lot of students leave for summer...at least that's going to be my plan unless my research has me traveling.

Check to see what your science GPA is, as that and the Last 45 Hours are going to be the easiest to bring up. If you've taken a lot of credits, it gets harder and harder to move the cGPA. And you need to try your best to make As from here on out to give yourself the best shot.

If you have any other questions about A&M in general, I'd be happy to answer them if you PM me or you can ask here. I'm sure there are other students on this forum that will be glad to give you some advice...probably better than what I've been able to offer. :)
 
OP
A
Dec 14, 2013
7
3
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Hi epi! Thank you so much for your reply! I'm sorry to hear you were in a wreck as well; it sucks! Seems like you bounced back well though, which gives me hope. :D Good luck getting into vet school! I'll cross my fingers for you!

I would actually be living in Dallas, and am thinking of attending A&M-Commerce for the rest of my undergrad. I assume everything would transfer well since it's still technically A&M, correct? Would there be any downside to this? I hear it's more reasonably priced as well. I'd be going to College Station still for actual vet school, of course, but I figure I can stay around the Dallas area while I can. My boyfriend's mentioned a vet clinic I may be able to get a job with so I'm very hopeful!

As for specific courses - I have naturally done all the chemistry and physics requirements (being a chemistry major), but am missing biology, microbiology, biochemistry, animal nutrition, genetics.. and then technical writing and speech communication. (I think I remembered all the ones I'm missing.) I have about 28 credits to go, but most of the classes sound either easy (writing/speech aren't a problem for me usually) or fun (genetics! microbiology! I am such a nerd! lol), so I'm not terribly worried. Since my back isn't an issue any longer, I'm sure I won't have trouble with the coursework, as I didn't really before my accident. I do really well on GRE-type tests as well so I'll be sure to study and I should be able to hit 1400+. I tend to be a bit better with verbal than math, but I score highly in both. (Usually. All this confidence is going to jinx me, I'm sure!) Does A&M require your GRE scores for the first time you've taken it, or can you take it multiple times? I'm hoping to knock it out of the park my first try, but you never know!

As far as experience goes - there's nothing for it but to get a job at a vet clinic, I suppose? I seem to be able to find small animal clinics much easier than large animal vets/clinics. I have extensive horse experience (riding since I was 5, owning since I was probably around 10... have trained my own horses and others' horses, and recently got a job working as a groom/rider with a string of show stallions), but no veterinary experience. (I've had dogs & cats as pets as well, of course!) Does that count for something, or should I be pushing to get large animal veterinary experience as well as the small animal clinic experience? Where would you suggest I look for something like that? I'm hoping I'll be able to click with my horse's vet when I move her over there with me, and maybe s/he will have ideas or be willing to take me around a bit. Apart from that, I really have no idea how to find a position I'd be qualified for. All the large animal hospitals are already teeming with their own vet students!

Thank you again for your insight!
 

epivetlove

Texas A&M c/o 2018!
5+ Year Member
Feb 25, 2013
1,448
1,242
Status
Veterinarian
It was not a fun year and my grades suffered for it, but I did indeed bounce back eventually, haha. And thank you! I'm sure I'll have to try several times given my cGPA and sciGPA, but I'm committed!

--Commerce should be fine. Though unless you're living on the outskirts of Dallas, I would not envy you the 1-hour long commute! Here's a list of prereq equivalents if you haven't found them already: http://vetmed.tamu.edu/dvm/future/equivalent-prerequisites/texas-am-university-at-commerce. New to the 2014 cycle is the requirement of Psychology and Statistics. If you're not taking 15+ hours a semester (preferably with 2+ science courses a semester), it will hurt your Rigor score, so keep that in mind, as the points for Rigor are pretty significant at 24 points.

--Finding a position in Dallas shouldn't be a problem! If you haven't held a position in a clinic before, though, you may have to start out as a kennel technician...which I think may still count as vet experience...maybe. Not exactly sure. Oo, or reception! If you show an interest in assistant/technician duties, most vets will be happy to integrate you into those positions (that's how I did it).

--They take whichever test will accumulate the most points, so you can take it as many times as you see fit. I believe the averages for last cycle were 155V, 156Q, and 4.0A. Cumulative GPA average was 3.7 and science GPA was 3.6.

--When I was 15, I worked as a kennel technician while still in school. When I got to A&M, I shadowed through the Pre-Vet Society's Shadow Program, worked as a student technician at the wildlife center, and did some cold-calling to various clinics to see if they'd let me get some observation hours. You definitely want to have more than just small animal experience if possible. If you're out around Commerce, there should be some large animal/mixed/equine vets in the area that you can ask to shadow. There's a lot of liability associated with volunteering though, so be prepared to hear some "no's." Within Dallas proper, there isn't much going on for large animal or equine, except maybe the Lone Star Park Equine Hospital in Grand Prairie. Your horse's vet may be willing to let you get some observation time in. I have 2 horses of my own and that's how I was able to shadow a mixed practice vet in Louisiana. It never hurts to ask!

--Also, as far as pets--you can count 100 hours toward animal experience. Unless you've bred or shown dogs or cats (or birds or snakes, etc).

Hopefully I answered all your questions satisfactorily. :) And that my answers actual make sense, lol. Let me know if there's anything else you'd like to know!
 

Posey

5+ Year Member
Nov 12, 2012
236
136
Studying Somewhere
Status
Veterinary Student
Akaella, Since you're talking about living in Dallas, have you considered UT Dallas, UT Arlington or UNT? All three have well-respected science programs and may be a shorter commute depending on where in Dallas you live.

There are tons of veterinary practices in this area; so, you should be able to find a position somewhere if you are persistent. If you are looking for equine experience, look in Denton County (north of airport), rural parts of Collin County (north of Dallas), or Parker County (west of Fort Worth). There are a number of therapeutic riding centers in the metroplex, and they always need volunteers. That would get you animal experience rather than vet hours, but that may be a way to network into a vet practice for equine vet hours. Another option is to volunteer at the Dallas or Fort Worth Zoo to get exotics experience. One of the girls at school volunteers or works under a vet at the zoo.

Epi, I was curious about your comment that "They do not accept higher grades for any retakes." Do you mean they do not substitute the higher grade for the lower (i.e., both go into your average), or do you mean that the higher grade doesn't count at all? I'm in the process of re-doing my pre-reqs because the credits expired, and as a Texas resident A&M is the logical target school.
 

epivetlove

Texas A&M c/o 2018!
5+ Year Member
Feb 25, 2013
1,448
1,242
Status
Veterinarian
Epi, I was curious about your comment that "They do not accept higher grades for any retakes." Do you mean they do not substitute the higher grade for the lower (i.e., both go into your average), or do you mean that the higher grade doesn't count at all? I'm in the process of re-doing my pre-reqs because the credits expired, and as a Texas resident A&M is the logical target school.
All attempts at a course are considered when calculating GPAs, as opposed to taking only the best attempt. I don't know if that would apply when retaking expired courses, though. I was under the impression from an AdCom that all grades that appear on transcripts are used in calculations. That would be a good question to ask Yolanda. :)
 

Posey

5+ Year Member
Nov 12, 2012
236
136
Studying Somewhere
Status
Veterinary Student
All attempts at a course are considered when calculating GPAs, as opposed to taking only the best attempt. I don't know if that would apply when retaking expired courses, though. I was under the impression from an AdCom that all grades that appear on transcripts are used in calculations. That would be a good question to ask Yolanda. :)
Thanks for the quick response! This information is consistent with my understanding of how A&M looks at grades - everything counts unless you do Texas Fresh Start. I was unclear whether you were saying the new grades simply wouldn't count, which would have meant I needed to call or email them again.
 
OP
A
Dec 14, 2013
7
3
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Hi everyone! Thank you very much for your replies. Sorry for the delay- my cat decided to knock over a drink onto my keyboard and break it, so I had to go get a new one tonight. Felines! :rolleyes:

To epi: Thank you for the heads up about my 'rigor' score! I did not know that. Do they take into account whether or not you're working part/full time to support yourself while in school, or not? As far as vet clinics - yes! I am excited. I've found several places around where I want to live that are hiring, so I'm very hopeful! I have no issues starting out as a kennel technician or receptionist; I have experience with secretary-type work (I'm currently a paralegal) so no problems there.

As for large animal experience: I am VERY experienced with horses - I have one of my own, have trained for myself and others, and have almost 20 years combined experience including riding lessons, showing, and I am currently working with an all-stallion show. The catch is finding a large animal veterinary clinic that wants to take me on! Like I said, I'm hoping that Reina (my horse) will open up some connections in the horse world and perhaps land me a job working somewhere in a large animal facility later on down the road. Without the 'horsey' connections, though, I think it'll be a lot harder to find large animal work than small animal work. I've looked around for some clinics around/outside of E. Dallas and can't seem to find much, and nobody is hiring. :( I'll have to work on getting my foot in the door once I'm over there!

Now, what about equine showing experience? Handling and showing stallions? Things like that? Would that count as simple "general horse experience" or would I be allowed to give that its own mention? And rescuing animals... does that count as general ownership experience, too, or do you get extra props? My pesky feline kid who broke my keyboard is a rescue, and I bottle fed her. I love her to pieces!, even when she breaks my stuff. :D

Posey - thank you very much for the suggestions! I will be in E. Dallas, but not far enough to make the commute much more pleasant... I looked into the schools you mentioned and it looks like UT Dallas would be the easiest, closest option. Does anyone know if A&M tends to prefer A&M graduates, or does it not really matter so long as you're a Texas resident? Thank you for the suggestions of therapeutic riding centers - it sounds interesting! I think I'll probably have my hands full with my own girl when she moves over there with me, and I'm hoping she'll be able to provide some connections. I have quite a few already here in Florida and I'm crossing my fingers that someone possibly 'knows somebody' in Dallas, if you know what I mean! haha!

Thanks everyone! I appreciate the help and the sounding board. It's a little bit overwhelming as I just dove in head-first so the direction I'm getting from this board is lovely! :)
 

epivetlove

Texas A&M c/o 2018!
5+ Year Member
Feb 25, 2013
1,448
1,242
Status
Veterinarian
Re: Rigor. This is what the CVM defines rigor as: "Academic rigor and course loads are based on the rigor of the institution where the student did the majority of his or her undergraduate work, whether or not they took honors courses, the number of credits averaged per semester, and the average number of science courses carried per semester." I did not see anything about working at the same time...but it would be nice, since I averaged 40+ hours a week while taking 15-19 credits for my Master's degree. :shy: I realize that's not undergrad, but maybe it'll still count. I guess we'll just have to see...

It was impossible for me to find vet work in Dallas for horses. I was dead-smack in the middle of Downtown and there were no clinics within a reasonable driving distance to me. There was Park Lane Equestrian (stables) near me, but they were never helpful when it came to finding out which veterinarian (if any) came out for service. I assume they must have had one come out, since all boarding facilities I've ever kept my horses at have had a vet that comes out bi-weekly or monthly. I did volunteer with ManeGait, a therapeutic riding center north of Dallas (in McKinney), but I never asked about veterinary care since I always too busy horse wrangling or leading kids around. It's a very nice program and I'd recommend it since it's animal and community experience. :)

As far as I'm aware, any non-ownership hours can count as animal experience. So riding professionally, training, showing, etc. should count towards your hours. When you fill out TMDSAS, you'll see that you can list and explain your hours. And as far as A&M preferring A&M graduates...I don't think that's the case. I think most people end up attending A&M for undergrad, but I haven't seen or heard anything that suggests preference.
 
OP
A
Dec 14, 2013
7
3
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Thank you, epi! You have been so, so helpful! :D

Yes- I suppose it was wishful thinking re: rigor, but oh well, haha. :) I hope I'll be able to find a vet tech job (or just something vet-related.. even if it's a kennel or secretary position) once I get to Dallas. I'll look into ManeGait, but chances are I'll have my hands full with my current rescue girlie so unless it's vet-related... well! :)

I think I'll probably end up doing the rest of my undergrad at UT-Dallas in that case, as it'd be MUCH closer. I guess we'll just see who wants me!
 

Frozenshades

Naps > School
5+ Year Member
Oct 15, 2012
2,884
1,923
Thank you, epi! You have been so, so helpful! :D

Yes- I suppose it was wishful thinking re: rigor, but oh well, haha. :) I hope I'll be able to find a vet tech job (or just something vet-related.. even if it's a kennel or secretary position) once I get to Dallas. I'll look into ManeGait, but chances are I'll have my hands full with my current rescue girlie so unless it's vet-related... well! :)

I think I'll probably end up doing the rest of my undergrad at UT-Dallas in that case, as it'd be MUCH closer. I guess we'll just see who wants me!
For large animals, yeah maybe not without getting out of town. But if you're cool with a small animal gig and you're a determined job seeker, you'll find something, trust me. It's a big metroplex. Now, you may end up stuck driving a little farther than you'd like, but there are lots of clinics in the DFW area, and that includes quite a few specialty ones that I'm aware of.