cozycleo

10+ Year Member
May 7, 2008
172
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Pre-Veterinary
I am very new, so please bear with me.

I'm wondering if there are a lot of non-trad students here, and what kind of advice they can offer to a mid-20s career changer? I actually thought about pursuing vet school many years ago, but for various reasons I did not. Now I'm strongly considering it again.

Also wondering how you're handling it with family obligations, mortgages, etc.

Any advice (good or bad) appreciated. :)
 

alliecat44

KSU CVM Class of '11
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 23, 2007
1,439
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Hi, cozycleo, and welcome!

If you click on the "Google custom search" box at the top right of your screen, you can type in a search for "non-traditional veterinary" and see what discussions have come before. There have been a LOT--there's a bunch of us on this forum, and people have some excellent advice! It'll probably take you a while to sift through, but it's a gold mine. :)
 
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cozycleo

10+ Year Member
May 7, 2008
172
0
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Thank you!
 

hoodle

UC-Davis DVM/PhD
10+ Year Member
Dec 18, 2006
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Davis
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Pre-Veterinary
There's also "search this forum" right over the "views" on the right hand side of the screen.
 

ccrose3

10+ Year Member
May 5, 2008
62
0
Austin, TX
Status
Pre-Veterinary
I'm in the same boat, although I'm in my late 20s. I have to admit, my undergrad so far has been difficult but somehow I've made it work. Definitely do some searches on this board and on the internet, as there are many, many people in our same situation that are pre-vet or vet students.

There is also another board that is helpful, but I don't know if I'm allowed to post links to other boards here so email me if you're interested, or google women in medicine; that may pull it up.

Also look into any free or low-cost classes your school may provide on the subject. Many universities and community colleges offer these; I'm planning to take one in the fall that specifically addresses how to balance work, family, relationships and education. The best advice I received also was to study smarter, not harder, and have been able to get great tips from my school counselor and instructors on the most effective ways of learning and retaining information, which has helped.

I'm also planning to work as much as possible in the summers and take out student loans in the fall and spring so that I can concentrate on my education, which seems to help not just my grades but stress level, and subsequently everything else in my life.

It's never easy, but it can be done if you are provided with the tools and knowledge to do it.
 

FelineFanatic

New to Mizzou
10+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2008
22
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Pre-Veterinary
I turned 30 recently and am getting my undergraduate degree on Saturday and headed to University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine in the fall. It's been a long, windy road to my final career choice, but I wouldn't change it for the world.

I bounced around jobs for 8 years after graduating HS and also traveled quite a bit. I always knew I would go to college, I just didn't anticipate I'd take so long to do it. I was always an outstanding student, so I would say undergrad came easy for me (for the most part). Not that I didn't struggle w/ organic or physics, but I took advantage of programs that offered extra help when I needed it.

The beginning of my sophomore year, I decided to declare a major (animal science) and pursue vet school. I have always been around animals and decided I wanted to give back to animals for all of the joy they have brought me. I spent the next 3 years busting my butt to gain experience in a wide variety of fields. It convinced me I had the passion and intelligence to become a good vet.

I guess my advice to you would be to get out there and start working with vets (if you haven't already) to make sure this is the right choice for you. I would then get the pre-reqs out of the way and familiarize yourself with the application process. It is quite hairy and expensive! Start early! There is some great advice on this forum about the process.

As far as balancing family obligations and mortgages, my fiance of 6 years (yeah, I know. Shut up! :)) has been entirely supportive and pretty much works 60+ hours most weeks, so I had plenty of quality alone time to study. Thankfully I don't have kids yet, although I will be past ready in 4 years! Oh, and no mortgage for another month or so. We've lived in apartments close to campus so I can walk to school, but we'll be buying a house this summer in Columbia.

I'm not sure how much advice my post actually offers, except to say it can be done. If you decide to go for it, go all the way and find a way through your experiences to set yourself apart from the rest of the (much younger) applicants. I did an internship in Scotland last summer!

Go non-trads!!!!!!!:laugh:
 

david594

The-OSU CVM c/o 2013
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7+ Year Member
Aug 20, 2007
2,126
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Resident [Any Field]
Advice.

(assuming you already have a degree) Figure out where you want to apply to. Figure out the requirements for all of those schools. (some schools have odd-ball requirements)

Determine if they offer the courses you need at night, or if you are going to have to take them during the day.

See what formal options the schools offer. Without being a matriculated student you will be given no advance enrollment for classes and they may fill before you ever have a chance to sign up. Becoming a second bachelors student is a good option and usually allows you advance registration before all the undergrads for classes.

Determine if that schedule will work with your current life/work commitments.

Figure out you options for vet experience, which is different than just animal experience. You need to be working under a DVM, or a PHD(for research) for it to count as veterinary experience. It can be difficult(near impossible) to find hands on veterinary jobs if you don't have experience. Receptionist/kennel tech can be good ways to start. Shelters take volunteers, but not all shelters have vets. Private clinics are hit or miss about accepting volunteers(the liability issue). 24 hour emergency clinics employ lots of people and can be a good place to look.(they also offer weird hours that can be more conducive to taking classes during the normal business hours.

Come up with a time line for everything. Figure out a good time to fit the GRE's in there.

And remember the summer is a semester too and usually is a good opportunity to complete a 2 course series you will eventually need. So if you have the time, try to find something for this summer. It will be a good opportunity to get your feet wet again with school work if you have been out a while.
 

Jeterfan1

10+ Year Member
Sep 9, 2007
50
0
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Good for you!

I STARTED my path to career change at 35 and it has been the best thing I've ever done. It's been a little bumpy (flippin orgo!) and I do have a husband, mortgage and all that goes with, but I just take it one step at a time.

Look at the "big picture" first to see what you will need to get done - pre reqs, experience, GRE's, etc. - then do what you can semester-by-semester. It's easy to get overwhelmed and try to rush. DON'T! Have faith; don't let others discourage you and keep your eye on the goal.

I wish you the very best of luck!
 

Pomona2006

UC Davis SVM c/o 2013
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May 5, 2008
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San Francisco Bay Area
www.lifeinvetschool.com
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Hi Cozycleo -

I'm in a similar boat. I'm a mid-20's career changer. Vet school was something I thought about up until college, when I got distracted by my liberal arts education (doh!). Since I've graduated, I have worked in my field, and gone back to grad school in my field, but nothing clicked. In fact, I found the field I was in was completely contrary to my lifestyle and values. So I returned to my hopes for vet school.

While I do not have a mortgage or kids like some non-trads have, I do have a SO of 9+ years who is in a doctoral program in LA. Given his situation and the fact that we really don't want to move and separate (we did that for long enough during undergrad!) - I'm applying locally - to Western.

Unfortunately because of my liberal arts education, I didn't have the massive amount of science classes under my belt, so I've been working to get those. I went local for those credits - to a local community college. Fortunately the local community college is great in that it offers a huge variety of courses that are already cleared as pre-reqs with Western. When you decide on a school to do pre-reqs (if you need them), you might want to find out where they will accept courses from because you might be able to save some money going the community college route.

More than anything, if you're thinking about the change - make sure it's the right decision for you. To me, that means getting involved with vets and seeing if vetmed is really something that fits you as an individual.

Much Luck!
 
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cozycleo

10+ Year Member
May 7, 2008
172
0
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Thanks everyone for the tips! I appreciate it. I'm just starting on my pre-reqs. The good news is that I pretty much only need science courses, and everything else should transfer just fine. I have pretty much just started and will be registering for some classes this fall. I have plenty of years of college under my belt, but it was mostly english based and not science, so I have some catching up to do.

I plan to take my time on the school part so I can keep my grades up. It's gonna take about 2 years before I can even apply to vet school. I also just landed a good volunteer position, so I'm somewhat of a newbie in that aspect. I have worked with shelters and rescues before, but not the vet-supervised as is recommended.

Back to night classes for me! A year ago I would have said you were crazy and no way I was going back. Now I can't wait.
 

Badger Girl

10+ Year Member
Feb 28, 2008
153
0
New London, WI
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Cozycleo- glad to have you here! :D You and I are pretty much in exactly the same spot. I'm in my mid-twenties pursuing a career change into vet med. I'm just finishing with Genetics, but have most of the science classes left to take. I figure that the first time I could be admitted will be in the fall of 2011. Sounds like a long ways away, but I know it will go fast.

I don't have kids (besides furry ones), but have a mortgage and a SO of 3.5 years. He works at a local bank and has been moving up there, so I have decided that we will cross that bridge when we come to it in terms of living arrangements. I just wouldn't feel right about him moving 2 hours away (I'm hoping that Madison is where I will end up) with me if he is successful in his job and is happy with it. I know everyone says that vet school is a "relationship killer," but I think that's debatable b/c there are lots of different kinds of "relationships" and levels of commitment.

Hope you are finding lots of info on here; everyone has been great so far. :)
 

purplebunnie

kicking the coke machine
10+ Year Member
Mar 16, 2008
46
0
Ithaca, NY
Status
Veterinary Student
I started out as a non traditional applicant, coming out of a music performance background. The advice I pretty much got out of my advisors from day one of pre-req classes was to be sure I did everything well. While a different background can help catch the attention of the admissions committee while sifting through the stack, they get concerned that the non-traditionals can't handle a full science courseload. They like to hear about your struggles to adapt in your essays and your interviews, but paper application-wise, they want to see that you did it.

Though I did find it was easier to focus in the pre-req classes since I already got the irresponsible college partying out of my system the first four years and grew up quite a bit. Easier to study when your major concern is the exam and not your first time away from home.

I did finish a science degree in the long run so I would have more time to plan. It took some extra time but it was worth it. Gave me a chance to pursue a pretty cool research project and work my way into a tech and laboratory jobs. :D
 

Cornish

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Aug 6, 2007
55
0
Status
Veterinary Student
I graduated with a business degree and then decided I wanted to be a vet. However, I decided to apply to the school in Edinburgh, Scotland and was accepted for this September. Since they take people out of high school (locals, not U.S. citizens), they do a 5-year program where they do pre-reqs for a year. Many are accredited by the U.S. so when you return you can practice the same as any other vet without any extra tests. Some overseas schools even have a 4-year program for Americans who have done all their pre-reqs already. There are accredited schools in Scotland, England, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia and they all must meet the standards of American programs.

Its a huge thing to move overseas, and the costs will be higher, but its something you might want to keep in mind. If I stayed in the States, I'd be looking at 2 more years of pre-reqs, trying to bump up my GRE, working as much as humanly possibly in the animal field, and still being out of state everywhere! So for me it worked better. Good luck!
 

LynnKat

Member
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5+ Year Member
Jan 27, 2006
66
0
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Veterinary Student
Just wanted to say that as someone who was in the same boat 3 years ago (yikes!), that it is definitely doable. Balancing a job and pre reqs is tough. I decided to quit the career and get a clinic job while taking pre reqs. The pay was scary, but it allowed me to rack up the experience hours, while finishing up my courses. I had some savings and I used those for the car and the insurance and the rent. If you can do it, it definitely worked well.

Family stuff? I'm not sure if I want non furry kids :) , but we'll see. . . There are people in my class with kids and spouses. The balance is tough, but you prioritize. Pre req and work craziness helps (a little) to prepare you for the giant mass of Vet School classes and the feeling of being time crunched