Kam325

5+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2014
2,343
1,691
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Veterinary Student
Hello all! I'm getting ready to officially submit my applications, but before I do I wanted to take one final look and make sure the programs I've picked are my best bets for admission.

I've found a few threads about schools that tend to emphasize depth/breadth of experience over GPA, but haven't seen any that explore the reverse. I was hoping the community might have some ideas about the best programs to apply to if your academic stats are strong but your experience hours are on the lower side.

I'm a career changer who recently made the switch to veterinary medicine (and the sciences in general). I feel like I have enough experience to have gained an understanding of the field, but nowhere near the years of varied and in-depth experiences that I've seen many applicants have!

I'd planned to apply to Tufts (my #1 and my IS), Penn (my #2), Colorado State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Tennessee, Georgia, VMRCVM, and Washington. I'm starting to feel like Illinois may be a poor choice, since it sounds like they don't factor academic stats into the admissions decision if you pass a certain cut off. Any insight into which programs might be better or worse bets for my circumstance?

I posted my stats in the what are my chances thread, but here they are again for reference, if it helps. Thanks to everyone for your help and suggestions!

Cum/Science/Last 45 GPA: 3.9 (across the board)
GRE: 170 V, 161 Q, 5.5 AW

Veterinary Experience:
-1100 hours SA clinic (combination reception/client care and veterinary shadowing/technician's assistant)
-100 hours equine and small ruminant shadowing at a LA ambulatory practice
-8 hours lab animal shadowing (arranging now, will ideally continue after apps go in)

Animal Experience:
-60 hours non-releasable wildlife care
-30 hours SA kennel
-180 hours shelter volunteer (although this was almost 10 years ago!)

Teaching:
-2000 hours as a high school Life & Environmental Science teacher in American Samoa

Social Science Research:
-600 hours of water security field research in Jodhpur, India (including some minor analysis of the effects of drought conditions on livestock health and survival rates)

Non-science employment:
-6 months as Marketing Director for an education start-up
-2 years in Political Consulting
-1 year (in Marketing & Govt Relations) at an organization serving individuals with developmental disabilities
-1 month research program at the United Nations in Geneva
-3 months of volunteering in an English Literacy lab
-3 years as a Lifeguard in HS (certified in CPR, emergency oxygen administration, first aid, and AED)
 

LetItSnow

Skipping the light fandango
7+ Year Member
Jan 13, 2011
19,171
18,048
Plymouth, MN, USA
animaltracks.wordpress.com
Status
Veterinarian
Hello all! I'm getting ready to officially submit my applications, but before I do I wanted to take one final look and make sure the programs I've picked are my best bets for admission.

I've found a few threads about schools that tend to emphasize depth/breadth of experience over GPA, but haven't seen any that explore the reverse. I was hoping the community might have some ideas about the best programs to apply to if your academic stats are strong but your experience hours are on the lower side.

I'm a career changer who recently made the switch to veterinary medicine (and the sciences in general). I feel like I have enough experience to have gained an understanding of the field, but nowhere near the years of varied and in-depth experiences that I've seen many applicants have!

I'd planned to apply to Tufts (my #1 and my IS), Penn (my #2), Colorado State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Tennessee, Georgia, VMRCVM, and Washington. I'm starting to feel like Illinois may be a poor choice, since it sounds like they don't factor academic stats into the admissions decision if you pass a certain cut off. Any insight into which programs might be better or worse bets for my circumstance?

I posted my stats in the what are my chances thread, but here they are again for reference, if it helps. Thanks to everyone for your help and suggestions!

Cum/Science/Last 45 GPA: 3.9 (across the board)
GRE: 170 V, 161 Q, 5.5 AW

Veterinary Experience:
-1100 hours SA clinic (combination reception/client care and veterinary shadowing/technician's assistant)
-100 hours equine and small ruminant shadowing at a LA ambulatory practice
-8 hours lab animal shadowing (arranging now, will ideally continue after apps go in)

Animal Experience:
-60 hours non-releasable wildlife care
-30 hours SA kennel
-180 hours shelter volunteer (although this was almost 10 years ago!)

Teaching:
-2000 hours as a high school Life & Environmental Science teacher in American Samoa

Social Science Research:
-600 hours of water security field research in Jodhpur, India (including some minor analysis of the effects of drought conditions on livestock health and survival rates)

Non-science employment:
-6 months as Marketing Director for an education start-up
-2 years in Political Consulting
-1 year (in Marketing & Govt Relations) at an organization serving individuals with developmental disabilities
-1 month research program at the United Nations in Geneva
-3 months of volunteering in an English Literacy lab
-3 years as a Lifeguard in HS (certified in CPR, emergency oxygen administration, first aid, and AED)

I think you're overthinking it. 1200 hrs is at least twice as much as I had (also a career-changer), and I applied at a school that - at least when I applied - placed everyone on equal footing if they got past the 'academic' hurdle.

I don't know what those GRE scores mean (I was on the old system), but with a good GPA and a reasonable number of hours, and the teaching background.... should potentially be a good fit for most schools.

That's not much of answer to your specific question ("which schools are best?"), but .... I think you'll do fine.
 

DVMDream

DVMNightmare
10+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2009
38,658
26,153
The Dragon School
Status
Veterinarian
I don't know of a vet school that has experience higher than GPA.

GPA seems to be weighted the most at all schools, it is just that some schools weight GPA at say 40%, GRE at 15%, experience at 25%, and interview at 20% while another school will increase GPA bit more but decrease the others.

I honestly can't say I recall a vet school that had experience weighted at more than GPA. Just that some schools have experience as more of the evaluation (10% vs 15 or 20%) than other schools do.
 
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Kam325

Kam325

5+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2014
2,343
1,691
Status
Veterinary Student
Thank you LetItSnow, it's really comforting to hear that from someone who's made it through to the other side! I have a feeling application season has left me a bit high strung. It can be nerve-wracking to scroll through the Successful Applicants threads and see people who have 5,000+ hours in every discipline imaginable! I was feeling a bit behind the curve. I'll try to stop comparing myself to other applicants and focus on what I have to offer. I appreciate the perspective, thank you!
 

thecatastrophist

Illinois c/o 2019
Oct 16, 2014
219
94
Status
Veterinary Student
I think all over, you look like a pretty strong candidate. You've got a great GPA, and I think you're experiences are pretty sufficient. You're likely a competitive applicant to most places where you might apply.

To elaborate on Illinois' admissions procedures--I still think you're competitive. If you'd still like to apply there and are still unsure about your changes, you could possibly call the school's admissions department. But I think that you have a strong non-academic background. Combined with your GPA and GRE scores, I think you'd, at the very least, have a good chance of landing an interview.
 
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Minnerbelle

Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2009
5,279
3,118
Status
Veterinary Student
Oh dude, tufts weighs gpa/gre as like 70% of their criteria (or at least they did). And really I wouldn't worry about your experience. It's sufficient. It's more a matter of how you showcase yourself on your app. But paying IS tufts tuition is a joke, as is OOS penn and CSU. I say that as a MA resident who chose between those three schools thinking, whatever, it sucks just as bad whatever I choose. Well... I mean yeah, but there are other choices that are cheaper...
 
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Kam325

Kam325

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Mar 7, 2014
2,343
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Veterinary Student
Thanks everyone! Thecatastrophist, that's a great suggestion, I think I'll call Illinois's admissions office tomorrow to make sure I'm in line with what they look for in successful applicants. And Minnerbelle...tell me about it! IS tuition at Tufts is truly the short end of the short stick. But if I'm accepted, my husband will be finishing up his last year of medical school in Boston during my first year of vet school. So even though I can't call it a small price to pay with a straight face, I suppose it would be worth not having to spend that year long-distance!
 

Minnerbelle

Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2009
5,279
3,118
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Veterinary Student
Is he planning on ranking only MA residency programs though? I mean it's a great state with a ton of great programs, so it's not the worst state to be geographically restricted in. If I were you though, and I was prioritizing staying together, I would personally delay applying 1 year so that I could choose a vet school based on where he matches. But I guess that's a very personal decision.
 
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Kam325

Kam325

5+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2014
2,343
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Veterinary Student
Yep, we've gone through all the options, and it is a bit of a risk. Ultimately, we decided we were better off identifying exactly where I'll be admitted and having him only rank programs in the area, rather than waiting for him to match and then relying on me being successfully admitted. Either way we could run into hiccups, of course. Getting through it on hope and lots and lots of optimism! We've focused the list of schools where I'm applying down to the cities where there are enough residency options in the surrounding area that he can safely rank only those programs when the times comes. That's why Penn is my #2....plenty of programs in the Philadelphia area!
 

Teepster87

MSU c/o 2020
5+ Year Member
Sep 22, 2013
1,846
3,056
The Mitten
Status
Veterinary Student
UC Davis is almost entirely GPA and GRE based admissions. I believe it's last 2 years GPA, science GPA, quantative GRE, and PPI score. I saw you were applying to CSU as well, so I'm assuming you've already got a PPI done for them as well. I think you've got a good shot at UCD. They also only have 180 vet hours as minimum requirement, though you seem to have more than enough to me.
All that should be good enough to secure an interview (MMI).
 
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pinkpuppy9

Illinois c/o 2019
5+ Year Member
Oct 20, 2013
5,588
3,891
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Veterinarian
Hello all! I'm getting ready to officially submit my applications, but before I do I wanted to take one final look and make sure the programs I've picked are my best bets for admission.

I've found a few threads about schools that tend to emphasize depth/breadth of experience over GPA, but haven't seen any that explore the reverse. I was hoping the community might have some ideas about the best programs to apply to if your academic stats are strong but your experience hours are on the lower side.

I'm a career changer who recently made the switch to veterinary medicine (and the sciences in general). I feel like I have enough experience to have gained an understanding of the field, but nowhere near the years of varied and in-depth experiences that I've seen many applicants have!

I'd planned to apply to Tufts (my #1 and my IS), Penn (my #2), Colorado State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Tennessee, Georgia, VMRCVM, and Washington. I'm starting to feel like Illinois may be a poor choice, since it sounds like they don't factor academic stats into the admissions decision if you pass a certain cut off. Any insight into which programs might be better or worse bets for my circumstance?

I posted my stats in the what are my chances thread, but here they are again for reference, if it helps. Thanks to everyone for your help and suggestions!

Cum/Science/Last 45 GPA: 3.9 (across the board)
GRE: 170 V, 161 Q, 5.5 AW

Veterinary Experience:
-1100 hours SA clinic (combination reception/client care and veterinary shadowing/technician's assistant)
-100 hours equine and small ruminant shadowing at a LA ambulatory practice
-8 hours lab animal shadowing (arranging now, will ideally continue after apps go in)

Animal Experience:
-60 hours non-releasable wildlife care
-30 hours SA kennel
-180 hours shelter volunteer (although this was almost 10 years ago!)

Teaching:
-2000 hours as a high school Life & Environmental Science teacher in American Samoa

Social Science Research:
-600 hours of water security field research in Jodhpur, India (including some minor analysis of the effects of drought conditions on livestock health and survival rates)

Non-science employment:
-6 months as Marketing Director for an education start-up
-2 years in Political Consulting
-1 year (in Marketing & Govt Relations) at an organization serving individuals with developmental disabilities
-1 month research program at the United Nations in Geneva
-3 months of volunteering in an English Literacy lab
-3 years as a Lifeguard in HS (certified in CPR, emergency oxygen administration, first aid, and AED)
Commenting on Illinois specifically: You'd easily pass the academic round and get an interview invite. Your experience isn't that low, IMO. 1,000 hours tends to be the number you should try to hit, although more is always better. I don't think you should toss out Illinois if you like the program. Also, Michigan State is almost entirely academics if you're interested in checking them out. I'm not at all familiar with medical programs in either area, though.
 
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Kam325

Kam325

5+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2014
2,343
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Status
Veterinary Student
Thanks for the advice, everyone, I'm going to go ahead with Illinois and think I might add Davis as well. I appreciate all the help and encouragement!
 
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