Nov 15, 2010
27
0
Maryland
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Speaking as a high school senior who's been pouringgg over college applications for months, I'm trying to reground myself with the goal of using my undergraduate years to the best advantage to get into a vet school.

So, my question is this; What missed opportunities do you regret most about your undergraduate years? Whether it be things that would have better supplemented your vet school app or just your peace of mind in general.

Also, I'm particularly interested in the vet schools at UC Davis and my local one, the Maryland-Virginia shared one. Any insight on those would certainly be valuable.

Thanks so much for your time :) I've been lurking around for a bit now and I figured I'd join in as much as possible so I can go into college with the best mindset :]
 

SocialStigma

OVC c/o 2015
7+ Year Member
Dec 24, 2009
600
147
Midwest, US
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Resident [Any Field], Veterinarian
I'm still an undergrad (3rd year) but my biggest regrets in university thus far has been a) taking organic chem in a semester where I was already overloading (and they were all science courses) and b) not partying enough in first/second year. I was so burnt out at the end of second year from school that I forgot what it's like to go out and have fun with friends. It's important to work hard, but to play harder!
 
Jan 18, 2006
16,858
14,871
Status
Veterinarian
Super busy this week sooo can't respond too much..but if you have any specific Qs about Va/Md, that was my vet school. Am always willing to help with questions ;) just send a PM my way. Also did my undergrad at Tech so I know the area well.

And yes...make time for yourself. Do NOT kill yourself academically during the school year. Use your summers well - externships, jobs, etc. Make contacts in the school if you can.
 

sumstorm

10+ Year Member
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Apr 5, 2008
3,331
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NC
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Veterinarian
the things I regret couldn't have been changed; due to family choices (ie lack of any support) I had to work full time throughout undergrad. So I didn't get to use my summers because I needed to make money, and I didn't get to participate in as much because I needed to make money.

I personally do not regret not partying, and despite a heavy employment load (60+ hours a week) I had really great friends in vet school who are still my friends despite living on opposit ends of the earth. We are all in some level of a professional program, and it is great to be able to check in and compare notes. Plus they sometimes have a great piece of info that helps me with what I am learning. So my advice would include meeting people and forming strong friendships with people that you respect and admire. I would extend this concept beyond students as well; seek out mentors among staff and faculty. These can be lifetime relationships as well. When I decided to apply to vet school a decade out of undergrad, my mentors were the first calls I made and were enormously helpful.

Beyond that, my other advice is:

Pursue what interests you; don't try to fit into a particular 'pre-vet' mold. If you like music, theater, astronomy, etc....explore it.

Think for yourself; listen to advisors, but do not assume they have the answers or know what they are talking about, especially in terms of pre-vet requirements, graduation requirements, etc. Keep an eye on these things yourself since you are the one who suffers if you miss a requirement.

Keep an eye on the pre-reqs at the vet schools you are interested in (and realize you may be interested in more as time goes on) and keep some space open in your Sr year if possible just in case a school you want to apply to adds an unexpected pre-req.

Take risks and explore your life, both inside and outside of school and work. When someone says 'hey, I'm going kayaking/visiting another school/enjoying a festival/seeing a production/etc' you may find some new interest or something a future interviewer relates with.

Finally, develop decent study habits and avoid cramming and dumping material. The more you really learn now, the less you will need to relearn later and the more likely you are to understand how the details fit together in upper level courses.
 

nitheninny

Ohio State CVM c/o 2014
Jan 19, 2010
114
0
Status
Veterinary Student
I didn't read any of the responses, so this may be repetitive.

As hard as you need to study, as well as you need to do, ENJOY COLLEGE. Make sure you do things that have nothing to do with vet school. Take a break here or there and go out. Play sports or join a club, do something to give yourself breathing room and to make friends who don't know anything about animals except that they love their dog. Obviously your priority is to get into vet school, but college only happens once, and you're going to be there for probably four years.
 

hunterjumper12

NCSU c/o 2015!
Aug 4, 2010
310
0
Status
Veterinary Student
I agree with everyone else. I don't know if this applies to you, but my biggest regret is that I didn't do hardly any extracurriculars. My freshman year, I was still dating the guy that I had been dating in high school, who lived in my hometown (an hour away from my university). Therefore, even though I technically lived in the dorm my first year, I spent most of that first year at his house and would just wake up in the morning and drive back for my classes. Sure enough, we broke up after my first year and what do you know, I didn't have too many friends at said university. After that first year, I found it really hard to make friends, making my university experience a not-so-great one.

So in a nutshell, my advice is to join extracurriculars, make friends, and don't waste your time on one guy :D
 

twelvetigers

stabby cat
10+ Year Member
Mar 12, 2008
18,578
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Agreed - get involved with some activities and make some new friends!

But, at the same time... be careful not to overdo it and let your grades slip. Or, um, don't be so excited to have cable TV and high speed internet that you spend all your free time watching Adult Swim and writing on your Xanga.

Not that I know ANYTHING about that. :hungover:

But seriously, once the grades slip enough, it is .so. .hard. to get them back to where they should be. So... balance!
 

canis13

Tufts V'15
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jul 1, 2008
202
1
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Veterinary Student
I'd say probably the thing I would've changed the most was just getting started on vet experiences earlier. I didn't decide on vet school until halfway through my sophomore year, and didn't start shadowing a vet until the winter of my junior year (although I did have 600 hours as a kennel attendant before that). I also gave up shadowing a vet who dealt with a a lot of llamas and alpacas in order to take a paid position as a vet assistant in a small animal clinic; I enjoyed the llamas more than doing laundry.
I wish I had figured out vet school sooner so that I could've planned better in order to take more classes that I enjoy - I wish I could've taken more upper level music theory courses, I really wish I could've taken Spanish or another foreign language. I also wish that I hadn't ended up taking organic chemistry my senior year while working on my thesis. Finally, I wish I had taken better advantage of my summers - there are so many amazing summer internships for pre-vet students (here is a good starting point: http://people.rit.edu/gtfsbi/Symp/vetag.htm), plus opportunities to work with professors at your school, and instead I spent one summer as a kennel worker and another summer pet-sitting (the last 2 summers I've spent in summer school/doing summer research).

But there are a lot of things about undergrad that I would not change. I am super glad that I ended up being a psychology major - my psych courses have been SO much more interesting than any biology or chemistry course I've taken, and I really loved getting to do behavioral neuroscience summer research and thesis. I do not regret going abroad - it definitely made it harder to fit in pre-reqs and graduation requirements, but I spent a semester in Amsterdam the spring of my sophomore year, and it was absolutely amazing.

So yeah, to summarize: major in whatever you find most interesting, go abroad if you can, and plan ahead for your summers.
 

heylodeb

Small Animal Medicine & Surgery Intern
7+ Year Member
Oct 22, 2009
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97
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1. Realize that one experience at one veterinary clinic does not define the entire profession
2. Getting a couple C's is not the end of the world - you don't need to change your major and give up the dream (just don't get ALL C's, lol)
3. Start getting VARIED experiences early while still maintaining a consistent experience load with the area you are most interested in.

*sigh*
 

lei325

Pseudo-adult
7+ Year Member
Jan 7, 2010
301
22
Connecticut
Status
Veterinarian
1. Realize that one experience at one veterinary clinic does not define the entire profession
2. Getting a couple C's is not the end of the world - you don't need to change your major and give up the dream (just don't get ALL C's, lol)
3. Start getting VARIED experiences early while still maintaining a consistent experience load with the area you are most interested in.

*sigh*
:thumbup:

Especially on 2. I got 2 C's in undergrad and I still managed to get in to vet school.
 

NittanyKitty

NCSU CVM c/o 2014
10+ Year Member
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Feb 5, 2008
659
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psu.facebook.com
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Now that I've finished undergrad, I really wish I had studied abroad at some point and that I'd taken foreign language classes (pursued another major or minor). Also, I wish I'd had the guts to speak and hang out with my boyfriend sooner than senior year! :rolleyes:
 

sumstorm

10+ Year Member
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Apr 5, 2008
3,331
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:thumbup:

Especially on 2. I got 2 C's in undergrad and I still managed to get in to vet school.
LOL. I had close to a half dozen C's. (chemistries primarily) but got in with a decade break.

I'd say that is another thing. if you are thrown a curveball, don't panic.
 

LivestockDoc

I speak 4 the cows!
10+ Year Member
Sep 27, 2008
691
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Obviously your priority is to get into vet school, but college only happens once....
I got a BIG chuckle out of this. :rofl: I've attended 8 colleges over the past 27 years, and I'm going to start at college #9 in Fall 2011. Apparently, I didn't get the memo!
 
May 24, 2010
51
0
Status
Pre-Veterinary
I'm going to be a junior next semester and I wish I'd started on shadowing earlier... I'm starting shadowing at an equine clinic on friday but I'm going to have to do a LOT of shadowing this summer if I want enough hours to apply in the fall (that's the other thing, sometimes your advisors throw you curveballs like "Oh, did you realize you can apply for the first time next fall? You'll have all the prerequisites finished.").
 
OP
hollabackcat
Nov 15, 2010
27
0
Maryland
Status
Pre-Veterinary
So I'm definitely prepared to take every advantage of college. During high school I've been really limited as far as extra currics go, because of my family situation. Now, as a senior, I work 30-40 hour weeks and so there's even less I can do. I kinda look at undergrad, and forgive me for the oversimplification, as the high school years preparing for an Ivy, since basically every vet school feels that selective.

I'm really happy for all this input though :) Some of the top things I've been worried about were getting started shadowing and experience as soon as possible. As soon as I hear back from colleges (I'm dreaminggg of Purdue), I'll start researching more thoroughly.

As far as picking what you like- Classics and Animal Sciences definitely fit the bill for me. I also want to study abroad and maybe, minor in a language for some peace corps opportunites or just the knowledge of itself. But now, I'm worried about adding the minor on, I'm not really sure it's feasible with pre reqs for vet school and all..
 
OP
hollabackcat
Nov 15, 2010
27
0
Maryland
Status
Pre-Veterinary
I got a BIG chuckle out of this. :rofl: I've attended 8 colleges over the past 27 years, and I'm going to start at college #9 in Fall 2011. Apparently, I didn't get the memo!

Sometimes I'm pretty sure I'd be happy being in school forever, lol.
 

heylodeb

Small Animal Medicine & Surgery Intern
7+ Year Member
Oct 22, 2009
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OP
hollabackcat
Nov 15, 2010
27
0
Maryland
Status
Pre-Veterinary
:thumbup: I love being in class. Graduating was the worst idea I ever had. ;)
i suppose that's a beautiful reassurance if i have to apply to vet school more than once, lol.
 

GreennWhite

C/O 2014!!!
Jan 19, 2010
135
0
MD and VA
Status
Veterinary Student
One major suggestion from me:
Find something that makes you unique! And I mean REALLY unique!
I firmly believe that's what got me into vet school, my grades were below average, my GRE average. I really think my personal statement sealed the deal for me!
I had two unique things in my application:
1. Breeding and showing chinchillas since '01
2. Working for a summer at a zoo on one of the Channel Islands of the UK

I definitely recommend finding something that will stick in those application reviewers minds!
 
OP
hollabackcat
Nov 15, 2010
27
0
Maryland
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Okay, everyone will totally have to forgive me, but I HAD to bring back this thread for a couple of reasons. And, of course, if no one finds these reasons compelling, it will eventually die off into the abyss anyway, so no worries.

These suggestions ended up shaping me so much! Like I didn't realize, because I completely forgot about the thread until recently, but upon re-reading it I've found that so much of my dedication sprouts from things people on here said and I have apparently remembered unconsciously :)

I ended up being accepted to UIUC (turned down Purdue, go figure, lol).
I made it my number one priority to take Greek 100 first semester because I fully intend to have an outlet from animals. Although after trolling this forum for so long, it hardly seems necessary.
I also kept experience forefront in my mind and have been searching endlessly- finally I got a call, and will be volunteering at Washington Animal Rescue League soon! (*fingers crossed for their vet hospital, omg*) But even just getting some animal experience in will be tremendous.
I have literally poured over my schedule (personal fluke of having ridiculous attention to detail) and planned it out over the next four years so I have a good idea of what I want to accomplish, and when I will. It helps me keep track of my OWN pre reqs for both undergrad and some vet schools. Obviously I don't plan to adhere to it without question, but I took knowing my own goals and exactly what was necessary to achieve them seriously.
I've already been looking around for study abroad opportunities- Illinois offers a great one to a Farm School in Thessalonki, Greece. (<-- I basically took that as a sign that Greek and Animal Sciences made perfect sense as a double major)
I'm planning (emphasis on that) to go into large animal/equine now, although that's always been the truth.
And lords above, I am so ridiculously excited.

Just wanted everyone that contributed to have the satisfaction of knowing that yeah, you definitely had a huge impact :)

Thanks so much :]
 

LetItSnow

Skipping the light fandango
7+ Year Member
Jan 13, 2011
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animaltracks.wordpress.com
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I've already been looking around for study abroad opportunities- Illinois offers a great one to a Farm School in Thessalonki, Greece. (<-- I basically took that as a sign that Greek and Animal Sciences made perfect sense as a double major)
It sounds like you have an awesome, fun plan in place... I have to admit to a bit of envy. With regards to Greece, I think that sounds like a *fantastic* choice. I've lived overseas (Brazil, primarily), but never traveled as part of school - I really, really wish I had taken the opportunity to do that when I could have.

G'luck!!

(This was a great reason to drudge up an old thread!)
 

alliecat44

KSU CVM Class of '11
Moderator Emeritus
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Jan 23, 2007
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Great to hear--glad folks could help you. :)

Have fun at WARL--what an amazing and wonderful place! I completely love them and all they do. Such wonderful people and a FANTASTIC set-up!

You should definitely have time for the minor. :thumbup: I double-majored in biology and philosophy--you can totally do a humanities minor w/ vet school pre-reqs--in fact, if you want, you may even be able to double-minor. ;)

Also big :thumbup: for studying abroad. My six months in England remains the best six months of my life!!

Congrats for good planning and good luck in undergrad! You're doing great! :luck: :love:
 
OP
hollabackcat
Nov 15, 2010
27
0
Maryland
Status
Pre-Veterinary
hahah thanks! yeah, i've always been so happy to know what i want to do so early! that's basically my best (and maybe only) advantage in this rat race we got goin' here. and illinois has a huge study abroad program-- i actually got a 10k scholarship from my specific college that tacked on another 1k JUST so I would use it for study abroad. i'm really happy with my choice (although, admittedly, i don't start til fall, haha)

and i just thought a lot of people give great advice all the time on this forum, and so rarely get to hear of its affects.

hopefully in four years i'll be back to say i got into vet school :) and credit it in large part to all the support this place (and all the great people) provide.

:D
 
OP
hollabackcat
Nov 15, 2010
27
0
Maryland
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Have fun at WARL--what an amazing and wonderful place! I completely love them and all they do. Such wonderful people and a FANTASTIC set-up!

You should definitely have time for the minor. :thumbup: I double-majored in biology and philosophy--you can totally do a humanities minor w/ vet school pre-reqs--in fact, if you want, you may even be able to double-minor. ;)

Also big :thumbup: for studying abroad. My six months in England remains the best six months of my life!!

I AM SO EXCITED FOR WARL. I started looking for veterinary related internships so late in my year because I got sidetracked with school work (read: avoiding school work). WARL coming through for me really brought me back from the brink of despair haha.

My Greek Classics is definitely intended to become a major :) Philosophy though, omg. I absolutely love that area, and will probably dedicate a lot of my electives for the major to phil classes (learning from the originals, ykno ;))

your feedback is compounding my excitement. i might burst.
 

heylodeb

Small Animal Medicine & Surgery Intern
7+ Year Member
Oct 22, 2009
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Is it strange that I love reading posts that we wrote before acceptances rolled in and then I get all nostalgic?
 

Minnerbelle

Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2009
5,209
2,898
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So, my question is this; What missed opportunities do you regret most about your undergraduate years?
hmmm... I wish I'd played beer pong at least once.

Edit: haha, I didn't realize how old the OP was. And after answering, I was very confuzzled about why everyone was talking about Greece. So much for hitting reply before reading the whole thread.
 

Ottergirl

VMRCVM Class of 2015
Sep 14, 2010
26
1
Status
Pre-Veterinary
I also kept experience forefront in my mind and have been searching endlessly- finally I got a call, and will be volunteering at Washington Animal Rescue League soon!
....
Illinois offers a great one to a Farm School in Thessalonki, Greece. (<-- I basically took that as a sign that Greek and Animal Sciences made perfect sense as a double major)
Yes, definitely study abroad! Once you have a full-time job and a dog, taking off to travel for several months is just not a realistic option. I passed up an offer to study in Greece for a summer and kicked myself about it for years.

If I could do college over again, I would take that semester in Greece. (I have no idea what it was I was supposed to study. Frankly, I don't think it matters.) I'd avoid falling in love with that loser (because once you're in love with a loser, it is too late, you are stuck) and spend more time choosing and developing friendships. I wouldn't join a sorority, because there are SO many rules and requirements and meetings, and the benefits I personally got out of being in a sorority were minimal (your mileage may vary).

Also, WARL is fantastic. if you do get a place volunteering at the med center, make sure you tell the vets early on that you'll be asking for a LOR, and don't be afraid to be all up in their grills asking questions. That is not the place to politely stay out of the way.
 
OP
hollabackcat
Nov 15, 2010
27
0
Maryland
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Ahh I'm really encouraged to hear such great things about WARL! My phone interview is tomorrow, so I'll know my placement for sure then I would guess. Thanks for the suggestion about handling LORs, I'll be sure to make that clear. And good to hear I'll have opportunities in the hospital, if there are spots- I was kind of worried I would actually just kinda be there, and unnecessary.
 

secretaryiga14

WSU CVM C/O 2014
Apr 23, 2011
38
0
32
Pullman, WA
www.facebook.com
Status
Veterinary Student
My biggest regret was probably just...not working hard enough in the first two years.

Coming out of HS as a 4.0 student, I felt like I "had it in the bag". Not that I walked around with my chest puffed out proclaiming my superiority everywhere, but I had this idea that I didn't have to work very hard to do well. I skipped classes and got grades that were less than what I really could have achieved if I worked as hard as I could. For some reason, I had too much faith in the "plan" that I would go from undergrad straight into vet school without any problems.

I ended up with a 3.49 GPA, which, granted, isn't bad, but it landed me square in the dreaded Tier II. Yes, even by 0.01. I was rejected one year, wait-listed the next, and accepted in my third application cycle. I clearly underestimated what it took to get into vet school, and didn't push myself hard enough.

So my advice would be to never let your guard down. Never assume you're going to sail through right into vet school. Strive for A's and just work your tail off. Good luck! :thumbup:
 
OP
hollabackcat
Nov 15, 2010
27
0
Maryland
Status
Pre-Veterinary
right that makes sense. i know my own ego is kind of something to overcome as well-- constantly being on guard has definitely proved necessary.

for instance, i basically stalked my schools pre vet club site until i found an old notice for a clinic requesting help. shot them an email, and actually got a call today asking me to set up an interview when i got to campus.

thrilled :) but trying to build up options and not let anything ride, definitely.
 

Bigcatlover

Iowa State class of 2015!
Jul 27, 2010
102
0
Status
Veterinary Student
I remember my Dad's advice for me going into college, " just make sure you go to class, and you'll be fine" lol, but he was right, skipping classes can really lead downhill. Just going everyday really helped me keep up my self discipline, which I have a big problem with. As long as I keep myself busy and on some kind of a schedule I can keep the momentum going and get stuff done.
Since I was very lucky financially, I was able to do a lot of unpaid internships and try to "get my foot in the door" so to speak. I got a part time job in a research lab and did internships at the zoo and even in Kenya during the summer.
I kind of regret not living in the dorms at all, or at least not getting more involved in clubs and what not, I feel like I missed out on some of that stuff
 

TXvet

7+ Year Member
Apr 5, 2011
46
2
Status
Veterinarian
I went to school many years ago but I think my advice would still apply. I personally would go to undergrad. where you plan to go to vet. school. Get involved-have as many extracurriclar activities as possible but without affecting your grades. I took a light course load my first semester so I could get use to college-made a high GPA from the start. I then began to increase my course load and continued to add on activities outside of class. I also got to know my dean and worked in the dean's office for the summer. I applied my junior year and was accepted-best decision I ever made. Graduated at 25 and have not looked back. Good luck!