Nontrad Choices During Pre-Veterinary

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by Pawll, May 12, 2014.

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  1. Pawll


    Nov 12, 2012
    So, I start my pre-reqs this fall. I currently work as a shelter veterinary assistant, managing animal care staff and assisting our two veterinarians with examinations, surgery, heartworm treatments, vaccine clinics, etc. What I'm trying to figure out now is, should I:

    a) attend school part-time, about 8 credit hrs/semester, while working full time at a job that takes up 50-60hrs/week, and complete my pre-reqs in 2.5-3years...


    b) talk to the boss about going down to part-time, attend school full-time, and take out loans to cover the cost of pre-reqs and make up the difference in lost income, and be done with prereqs in 1.5 years.

    The first option is appealing because it means less loan debt, and the fewer loans the better, since the loans will pile up once I start veterinary college. The problem with the first option is that my job is extremely demanding and so is school. I'd have less debt but also more stress, and with that, less sanity ;-). Then again, if I can handle that, then maybe that proves I'll be able to handle the stress of vet school. But if all I prove is that I can't handle school plus a demanding job, will it have been a waste of money? What if I spread myself too thin and fizzle out? Or would this prove my mettle as a potential veterinary student, who is going to experience a great deal of stress in the future?

    The second option gives me time to focus on school, prepare for the GRE, and to shadow with different types of veterinarians, will take less time, BUT taking out loans. Also, once I make that decision, it would be difficult to go back, in case, for whatever reason, this doesn't work out.

    Thoughts? I've been considering becoming a veterinarian since I was 23, I'm now 27. I've shadowed at a regular practice and have gotten lots of experience at the shelter, and I really want to pursue shelter med as a specialty, and public service loan forgiveness might be a possibility (and that's if the new proposal to cap it doesn't pass and it still exists by the time I'm done), but I don't want to rely on that.
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  3. that redhead

    that redhead 7+ Year Member

    Feb 26, 2010
    I can see either option working out just fine. The first option's biggest appeal is less debt, because (as you pointed out), you'll be racking up quite a bit during vet school. I'm not sure what your veterinary hours are currently, but if they're on the lower side and you have GPA issues, it may be worth it to extend your time to get more vet hours and give yourself more time to study for fewer classes at a time (and hopefully improve your cumulative, last 45 and pre-req GPA) via option 1.

    However, schools will only get more expensive, new schools will be accredited and class sizes will probably continue to increase at least somewhat making it appealing to get in and out of school as quickly as you can manage, via option 2. It would likely be more favorable to certain schools to see you doing a more full-time academic load versus part time, but plenty of people get accepted with part-time coursework while working. It would be beneficial to seek out at least some large animal and/or equine experience in addition to whatever you've got now, which would probably be more feasible with option 2.

    I think I'd probably start off with option 1 and see how the courses go for you. If you find you're having trouble with them or just keeping up, probably best to stay at a part-time course load and continue to work full time (keeping in mind the further you go, the more difficult the pre-reqs will become). You can always accelerate things if needed but it would maybe be a little sketchy to explode out of the box and then taper down - adcoms might see that as unable to handle the load - whereas the opposite would appear more favorable.
  4. allygator13

    allygator13 SGU/UTK c/o 2018! 2+ Year Member

    Jan 23, 2014
    I would say the second option. Vet schools like to see that potential students can handle a decent amount of credit hours per semester since the workload in vet school is huge. You also mentioned being able to shadow various different vets if you went with this option which would also be great to have on your application rather than a lump sum of hours at one place.
  5. equineconstant

    equineconstant Purple & Gold 2017 2+ Year Member

    May 16, 2012
    I've gotten the impression that adcoms like to see a more academic heavy load of full time coursework rather than full time job + part time coursework because they're different types of stress, and vet school is the former. On the other hand, finances are definitely a big issue. I like redhead's idea of starting with option 1 and cutting down on your job for more classes later. That way you show that you can handle a full courseload, and that full courseload will include upper-level science courses.
  6. EngrSC

    EngrSC 5+ Year Member

    Jul 25, 2012
    Left Coast
    I feel like it's a very personal decision. I've opted for a scenario more like #1 - I work full time as an engineer, part time in a vet hospital, do some shadowing and volunteering in other areas, and go to school part time. It's not easy but it's not impossible (I tend to be a high energy person so that's a huge factor). I love vet med and pursuing vet school is super important to me, BUT I also don't want it to destroy me financially. Who knows whether or not that will be looked upon favorably by adcoms but I'm choosing not to worry about that right now. If there's one thing I've learned from SDN, there's no 1 right way to get into vet school ;)
  7. dovelover

    dovelover Minnesota DVM/MPH c/o 2017 2+ Year Member

    Jan 9, 2013
    The Land o' Lakes
    I'm going to kind of reiterate what others have said and say start with choice #1 and go from there. You're getting good experience, and it is the more financially reasonable situation. Your working enough hours per week that taking courses only part time is not necessarily going to be frowned upon. However, after you get a certain amount of courses in, you may want to cut back on work hours and try to finish up the rest of your prereqs full time and get them done a little faster and illustrate that you can handle a full time courseload, even if just for one semester. You'll also want to find time to add in some other vet experiences to add a bit of diversity to your app. If you can't swing adding that to your current work load, you may want to consider finding a new part time vet experience job instead of cutting back on your current one.
  8. I am just starting pre reqs as well, but I choose option #2 I want to finish pre reqs asap lol . I am a single parent to 1 child and he is about to start prek(I am so excited because now while he is in class I will be as well) I am a little part time job at night from home. My pre reqs are going to take atleast 3 years
  9. Pawll


    Nov 12, 2012
    Thanks for your input everyone! Getting up the nerve to attend has been nerve wracking, so is thinking through all the what-ifs.

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