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Season for Self Doubt!

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by rl1234, Mar 25, 2007.

  1. rl1234

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    I applied this cycle and was not fortunate enough to even receive an interview. I know my gpa downright sucks. But I am now in grad school and have maintained a 4.0 for close to 50 hours, bringing my overall from a 2.57 to a 2.9 ish. Some of these classes were prereqs I never took as an undergrad. My GRE was V610 Q660 A4.5. My experience is very well rounded, and includes thousands of combined hours in SA/LA, exotic, zoo, aquarium, research, and government agencies. This summer I am working in a vet clinic abroad. I also have held several leadership positions in teaching and as a volunteer for non animal related areas. I have worked full time my entire college career, and overcome illness (hence the gpa). My letters are solid (I have read them).

    What do I need to do to attract the attention of admissions? The GPA is crap, yes, but I feel I have done all I can to redeem myself academically. Carrying a 4.0 in all upper division and graduate courses for 50 hours is not an easy feat. My apologies for the pity party, but I am truly at my wit's end!

    I would appreciate some insight.
     
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  3. ri23

    ri23 OSU CVM Class of 2011
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    It looks like you are an excellent candidate, except for your GPA. You will have to look into schools that look at the "whole" candidate and apply to those schools. Also, you may have to petition a few schools to get an interview (schools with a 3.0 minimum may interview those with 2.9 if they send in a petition). How long are those courses from undergrad? After some years (10 for Ohio) you can get those grades waived. Good luck.
     
  4. Emio

    Emio Fudge Bane
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    does that include spring semester '07? were those 50 hours full time student? you've made a strong case for youracademicself since your applications were due in october, so it looks like you'll have a better shot for fall '08 admissions. i hope this doesn't sound pretentious, but if you pull off that 4.0 for one more semester (you can do it!), you'll most likely be able to convince adcoms that vet school will now be a piece of cake since undergrad!

    provided your varied experience is substantial and of good quality, and your personal statement has an explanation, your grad grades will overshadow (just barely... 2.57 is hard to overshadow) your undergrad. and like ri23 said, if it was a while ago, some schools will not consider those poor grades. good luck, rl1234!
     
  5. rl1234

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    Thanks for the replies.

    The 4.0 over 50 hours was full time. It does not include this semester..but as things are, I hope to continue the trend.

    How should I address my shortcomings? In my personal statement? How can this be done without sounding whiny or like I'm making excuses?

    Does a petition for an interview with a 2.9 at a 3.0 cutoff school really work?
     
  6. ri23

    ri23 OSU CVM Class of 2011
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    I would address your GPA in the explanation statement that is after the Personal Statement part on the VMCAS form. I would explain why you got low grades and explain how you've improved. I don't think your PS should dwell on it, but I think the explanation portion is the perfect area to mention it. I know that petitions have worked at Ohio for interviews for some people, but I guess I would call the individual schools, they are usually pretty honest about things like that.
     
  7. wivet2011

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    I would highly recommend calling the schools that you applied to this year and asking if there is anything you might do to improve your chances for the next application cycle. It sounds like you have everything else going for you. Who knows, maybe the schools were looking for something else and weren't that concerned about your GPA (especially since you've done so well in grad school, congrats). You never know til you ask!

    Good luck :luck:
     
  8. kate_g

    kate_g Senior Member
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    I would only add that you might want to *not* mention the undergrad GPA in your personal statement - talk instead about your wide variety of experience, what inspires you, where you're going from here, etc. Then in the hardships/special circumstances section on the VMCAS application, give a straightforward explanation like "I battled a serious illness (give as much detail as you think is necessary to justify your case, but don't sound like a whiner) which caused me to be unable to concentrate on my studies (or caused me to miss some exams I couldn't make up, or whatever) and resulted in grades that really aren't reflective of my capabilities." At the end explicitly point out your much-improved graduate/postbacc record, say you're cured (or your condition is well under control) and you're ready to kick ass in vet school.

    You should also check, as you're deciding where to re-apply, what courses each school counts toward your GPA, especially if they have a cutoff. Some schools (I think) don't count graduate classes in the "cumulative" GPA, because grad classes are by and large graded more leniently than undergrad (the undergrad courses you've taken for prereqs while you're a grad student should still count).
     
  9. hoodle

    hoodle UC-Davis DVM/PhD
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    I agree with kate_g: that sounds very mature and nuanced, and totally dodges the whole "poor me" schpeil that looms over the PS otherwise.

    You could also do things like retake chemistry/bio/physics/math classes at community college nearby, if only just to show how much you've improved, how hard you'll work, what you're capable of, and that you're willing to put in the legwork.
     
  10. cyrille104

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    A lot of schools are far more concerned with your undergrad GPA than your grad GPA. I don't think many schools will average your undergrad GPA in with your grad school GPA; they look at them separately. I know you said you've done everything you could to improve your GPA, but I would strongly suggest retaking these class - to some schools your GPA is still a 2.57...
     
  11. ZoeyBay

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    And also a note to keep in mind, I talked to the school I applied to (VA-MD) about the "explanation statement" that is after the personal statement on VMCAS, and the admission woman said that that statement is only seen by your interviewers - meaning it is not even read, much less taken into account during the initial review of your application. So I agree, that a quick, mature explanation in your PS could work, just don't dwell on it.

    Again, this probably varies with each school (how they handle the explanation statement), but it doesn't hurt to check. Good Luck!!!
     
  12. rl1234

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    Yikes! I need to check with my schools, then...
     
  13. anc84

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    I find this very hard to believe since some schools' interviewers do not even see any part of the application- it is entirely behavior-based and they know nothing about you going into the interview.

    I'm not sure about other schools, but at Illinois, you can petition to have some semesters removed from you record for admissions purposes. If there are some specific semesters that really brought down your gpa due to the illness, you could petition to have them removed so that your gpa goes up. Obviously that would be impossible if it were the majority of you undergraduate degree or something, but it's worth a try. By the way, the petition is part of Illinois' supplemental.

    I'd talk to the admissions people where you applied and find out what they have to say. Most schools have people who will give you a break-down of exactly why you didn't get in. Mary Kelm is a great person to talk to at Illinois. She will tell you exactly what your application is lacking as far as what Illinois is looking for anyway (even if you didn't previously apply to Illinois- she will usually go over your materials to help you get in there).
     
  14. ZoeyBay

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    This is what I was told directly by the admission woman at VA-MD when I called her to ask about it. It is true that some of the interviewers don't see any of the application, but some do, and those would really be the only people who would get to read you explanation statement - at least this is how it works at VA-MD. Sooo, my point was, just check with your schools first!
     
  15. kate_g

    kate_g Senior Member
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    Reading this just reminded me of another option... rl1234, since you've already graduated I'm not sure you can do this now, but for anyone else who might face similar circumstances... You should go to whatever office on campus handles disability/health issues. I know someone who basically got two entire semesters erased from her record - didn't even appear on her transcript - because she had uncontrolled depression (that was later brought under control). I don't know how the nature of the disability/illness affects determination of this kind of thing, but basically the idea was that her disability prevented her from being able to perform in the class, and the school is required to accommodate disabilities, so her grades were unfair. Or something.

    Anyway, this is pretty extreme, because of course you'll have to repeat whatever of the erased classes are pre-reqs or graduation requirements for your major. But if it really was a transient health problem you had no control over, and you're really serious about getting into vet school, it might be well worth it. (For the missing semester/year, all you have to do is say you took medical leave.)
     
  16. anc84

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    Sorry ZoeyBay...I didn't mean to imply that I didn't believe you and that you were wrong...I just found it in general hard to believe that any school would not look at the special explanation section since it is implied on VMCAS that that's your chance to explain something about your record. It seems unfair for us to believe that the admissions committees are seeing what we write and for that to not to actually be true.
     
  17. ZoeyBay

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    Thats alright :) - I understand what you mean now, and I too found that a little disturbing. If that section isn't really going to be read by anyone, then what was the point of my putting it in - especially when it is probably most likely going to be used most to explain poor grades, lack of experience, career change, etc. - and all that stuff is important when determining if one should even GET an interview.... i guess its just something that varies with school, and another little detail that makes this process so darn close to impossible to figure out.
     
  18. TurboVet

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    from experience: i had a 2.87 cum and was denied everywhere for 2 application cycles. i was thrown out of an app cycle after i then brought it up to 2.98 because i didn't have a 3.0. some schools are very strict about their cutoffs. i then went back and got a 4.0 for a year straight to bring it up. that said, the most important and best thing you have going for you is bringing up the GPA, writing the GRE exam yourself (or getting perfect scores) and KEEP REAPPLYING! the applicant pool changes every year and dramatically. it can go from 200 in state apps to 500 instate apps. if you happen to apply in a low app year, your chances improve dramatically. get the vet school admissions handbook with the previous years' stats and be realistic about your numerical chances of getting in based on number of applicants. and then, there is ross university and i know a great vet from ross and she loved it and i'm sure they'd be happy to have you if you can afford it. ;)
     
  19. rl1234

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    Thanks for your input, everyone!
     
  20. twosoakers

    twosoakers Addict & Western U '11
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    hey turb, have you heard from any of your alternates yet? hope you get in.
     
  21. TurboVet

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    hey twosoaks, thanks for the luck. no word yet. but hey, i still have 4.5 months to hear, right?
     

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