Retake classes or complete a graduate certificate in biology?

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Oct 19, 2020
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Hello there! So this year marks my second round of applying to vet school with little success. I was able to score a waitlist seat last year but I never made it off and so far I have been rejected at 3/4 of the schools I applied to this year and I am still waiting on the final response from the school I interviewed at last month. To give you some background I majored in Biomedical Science and graduated with a cGPA of 3.08 and sGPA of anywhere from 2.78-2.98 depending on the school and what they took into account. I knew those gpas were looooow so I tried to make sure my application was fat elsewhere. This year I had 5 letters of rec (2 from vets, 1 from clinic office manager/cvt, one from old kennel employer, and one from a lady I used to dog sit for privately. As far as exp. goes, I worked for 2 1/2 years as a kennel tech at a dog kennel (freshman-junior years), and 11 months as a veterinary tech (post grad). I also worked for a year in undergrad (senior year) as a nursing lab tech at the school's nursing program and about 5 months as a cashier at a thrift boutique (also senior year) run by an animal shelter. I volunteered 2 summers (sophomore-junior) in a row at the wildlife center in my hometown, and I spent two school years (junior-senior) that I was oos as a volunteer in the cat room of the same animal shelter that owned the thrift boutique I worked at. I also have equine experience as I was competitive on the hunter/jumper circuit for over 10 years. As far as research I had very little. My school had just started research the year I was graduating and there was little opportunity to participate. I did do my own research project in my senior level biostatistics class so I gave myself 16 weeks for a few hours each week.

I know my grades are a major issue. Classes I did poorly in were Ochem 1 (got a C but then somehow managed to get a B+ in Ochem 2 XD), Calculus (C), Biostatistics (C+), Biochemistry (D then C+ after retake), calc based Physics lectures 1 and 2 (C and C+ respectively), Genetics (C+ 79.95...teacher was a jerk who didn't believe in rounding), and Microbiology (B-). I've considered retaking the majority of these classes in hopes to get an A but the problem is most of these classes I was frankly quite happy that I even passed. I struggle with mathematics, and that was a large portion of the major I stupidly chose (there was no BA option and I was told by my advisor that I had to have a science major to get into vetschool... little did I know that's not true). I'm and struggling to find all of these courses being offered at other schools online as non degree-seeking options, so I considered showing that I can handle rigorous courses another way. I was considering getting a graduate certificate in biology but I am not sure if that is the better option.
 
Dec 17, 2020
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  1. Pre-Veterinary
Hi! I'm nearly in the same boat, but this is my 1st cycle applying (graduated in '18 after 5 years undergrad and have been working full-time since then for experience). I have about a 3.0-3.1 depending on calculations. I retook only the courses that didn't meet the prereq requirements for vet school (ie if I had failed or gotten below the required C-). I have been doing these classes one by one while working full time, thanks for COVID making everything online so I can watch the classes at night LOL! Anyway, my take on it, for what it's worth, is to focus your efforts on taking new classes (such as master's or higher level Bio/Chem/etc as long as your prereqs are there) to show that you're now capable at achieving higher grades at a more difficult leve, rather than redoing things you've already attempted.
 
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Oct 19, 2020
60
86
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  1. Pre-Veterinary
Hi! I'm nearly in the same boat, but this is my 1st cycle applying (graduated in '18 after 5 years undergrad and have been working full-time since then for experience). I have about a 3.0-3.1 depending on calculations. I retook only the courses that didn't meet the prereq requirements for vet school (ie if I had failed or gotten below the required C-). I have been doing these classes one by one while working full time, thanks for COVID making everything online so I can watch the classes at night LOL! Anyway, my take on it, for what it's worth, is to focus your efforts on taking new classes (such as master's or higher level Bio/Chem/etc as long as your prereqs are there) to show that you're now capable at achieving higher grades at a more difficult leve, rather than redoing things you've already attempted.
That's kind of what I'm thinking...I passed all the prerequisite courses, unfortunately, most of the math-based classes I passed with C's or C+'s. I felt like I have seen such mixed reviews on whether or not going for grad-level classes are worth it. To me, it made more sense to take grad classes as I don't think getting an A in a different undergrad physics class for example is going to tell someone what kind of vet I can be. I also want to rip my hair out because I wish I had picked a different major where I was allowed to take a regular 100 level stats class or a 100 level algebra-based physics class, but what can ya do I guess!
 

EngrSC

VMCVM c/o 2024!
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Jul 25, 2012
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Your best bet is to do file reviews with the schools you applied to and see what the recommend re: graduate courses vs retaking prereqs. They can also advise you as to whether or not you need to or should rewrite your essays, get more experience in XYZ field, or choose different letter writers.

And just going to copy/paste what I posted in another thread recently:
I was also a lower GPA applicant and felt like every other aspect of my application had to be on point. I worked super hard as a post-bacc student and waited to apply until my last 45 GPA was a 4.0, I had trusted friends critique my essays, I sought out diverse experiences, and I chose letter writers from various aspects of my life that I knew would say great things about me. I feel like a masters program will help you boost your GPAs but I think it would benefit you to be honest with yourself about why you haven't made more As so you don't repeat the same pattern as a graduate student. Find out where you're going wrong or what you can do better because you're only going to further solidify your GPAs if you continue making Bs, making it that much harder to get into vet school. It can be done but not without a little self-reflection first :)
 
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