mainecoon

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As motivated undergraduate students, we have worked hard and achieved high grades that reflect the amount of effort we put into studying. However, I think many of us have been forewarned that maintaining the same GPA we were used to as undergraduates is not as realistic in vet school.

I am sure the first few low grades will be disappointing, but I think that as long as I feel I'm learning what I need to become a competent veterinarian, I will feel that I'm doing the best I can. What I was wondering (from either current vet students or anyone in the know) was, how do vet school grades impact your future career? I am pretty sure I've heard they are used in internship/residency applications; however, if someone wasn't interested in completing an internship or residency, what impact would vet school GPA have?

Thanks for any information you can provide, and Happy early St. Patty's Day! :luck:
 

New Foundland

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if someone wasn't interested in completing an internship or residency
Why would this be the case?
I am a bit naive to these issues... so I'll ask the question:
Isn't an internship or residency required to attain your DVM?
 

skkyy1329

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If you want to get a residency you need a higher GPA ~3.5. I think the recommended GPA for an internship is based on the internship. However, if you intend to go right into private practice I have heard from veterinary students that C=DVM. Meaning as long as you maintain a C GPA you will graduate and get you DVM. Of course the most important part of graduation is passing the NAVLE. Hope this helps :)
 

sumstorm

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You may also find that GPA affects some grants (not federal financial aid) and scholarships, and may be used to determine access to funds for travel, projects, etc. That probably varies from school to school.
 

Coquette22

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No. At least not in any state that I know of. Other countries may be a different matter.
Not in Canada either. AVC offers two year Master's programs for those who want to do a residency in a particular field, but it's not required.
 

gilch

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I had heard somewhere (probably sdn...spend way too much time here :laugh:) something about "the vet school curve." I haven't found anyother reference to it. Did I imagine this or is it school specific or do vet schools curve differently than most undergrad schools?
 

karmapple

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I had heard somewhere (probably sdn...spend way too much time here :laugh:) something about "the vet school curve." I haven't found anyother reference to it. Did I imagine this or is it school specific or do vet schools curve differently than most undergrad schools?
Curve? What curve? I can't speak for other schools, but here the grade you earn is the one you get. (Well, except for this one pathology class where the professor has to curve or else way too many people would fail, but I think that is the only one.)

They don't curve because they don't want us competing against each other.
 

gilch

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Curve? What curve? I can't speak for other schools, but here the grade you earn is the one you get. (Well, except for this one pathology class where the professor has to curve or else way too many people would fail, but I think that is the only one.)

They don't curve because they don't want us competing against each other.

That's a relief! I was thinking there might be a downward curve. I hope it is the same for other schools! Thanks.
 

BlacKAT33

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i think i heard someone ask in the penn thread about curving and they said they dont, but thats the only school i can speak for
 

sumstorm

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I had heard somewhere (probably sdn...spend way too much time here :laugh:) something about "the vet school curve." I haven't found anyother reference to it. Did I imagine this or is it school specific or do vet schools curve differently than most undergrad schools?
So far we have no curves. Occasionally, a question will be thrown out, along with the points for it. That only really happens if everyone is so confused by the question that no one gets it right. I think we have had 3 omited this year.

One thing I wasn't prepared for is the length of our exams. 12-17 pages is common in some of our classes for a regular exam.
 

StartingoverVet

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So far we have no curves. Occasionally, a question will be thrown out, along with the points for it. That only really happens if everyone is so confused by the question that no one gets it right. I think we have had 3 omited this year.

One thing I wasn't prepared for is the length of our exams. 12-17 pages is common in some of our classes for a regular exam.
Just curious how much time you get to complete that 17 page exam?
 

BlacKAT33

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So i've heard that some exams are 3-4-5 hours long. ? can someone please explain how the exams work in vet school. do they set aside full days for certain exams so you can have more time since they are long. do they happen during the regular class hour so you have these super long tests in 1-2 hrs? Is it different for each school?
 

Ben and Me

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So i've heard that some exams are 3-4-5 hours long. ? can someone please explain how the exams work in vet school. do they set aside full days for certain exams so you can have more time since they are long. do they happen during the regular class hour so you have these super long tests in 1-2 hrs? Is it different for each school?
Can't speak for other schools....but:

No. In general we have 1.5-2 hours to complete an exam. Oftentimes there are 3 hours blocked off on the schedule, but that's usually because there will be 2 groups taking the exam (A-M from 9:00-10:30, M-Z from 10:30-12) if it is a practical.

Our exams can be pretty long as well, but they usually consist mostly of short answer and multiple choice questions, which take up a lot of space without much corresponding writing. I am a fairly slow test-taker and I have finished all of my exams.

Blackkat - have you looked at a class schedule yet? If so, I'd download the 1st year schedule if you can find it - every day is different, no rhyme or reason really. I think just looking at it will give you a good idea of what to expect next year. If you can't find it, let me know and I'll email it to you.
 

dyachei

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So i've heard that some exams are 3-4-5 hours long. ? can someone please explain how the exams work in vet school. do they set aside full days for certain exams so you can have more time since they are long. do they happen during the regular class hour so you have these super long tests in 1-2 hrs? Is it different for each school?
I can't speak for other schools, but at UTK, tests have an allotted 2 hour time frame. If you have a medical reason, such as ADHD, you are allowed to take up to twice that (I think - you get extra time, not sure how much). Although some of our tests are 12-17 pages like sumstorm's, most are at the 5-10 page mark. I read fairly quickly and the only tests I have had to stay anywhere near the full time for was radiology in order to read the radiographs. Most people here are done with their tests within an hour to 1.5 hours. With the exception of finals, tests are scheduled before or after classes. Up until this year, we always had tests on Monday or Friday mornings from 8-10. Then, there is an hour break scheduled afterwards most days with the next class being taught at 11 am. Now, we take tests on Monday afternoons (3pm), Tuesday mornings (10-12), Thursday mornings (8-10), and Friday afternoons (3-5). The monday and Friday tests are right after classes. The others are before or after electives, so not everyone has a class before or after, depending. During finals week, there is 1 test a day for 4-7 days, not including weekends.

Hope that answers some questions
 

Willowhand

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One thing I wasn't prepared for is the length of our exams. 12-17 pages is common in some of our classes for a regular exam.
What question type(s) are there? Do you have 12-17 pages of multiple choice, or 12-17 of short answer? The latter sounds like it would take a very long time.
 

karmapple

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I'm sure every school is different. We usually get 2-3 hours to take an exam, depending on what it is. Our schedule is a little bit different every day, so it's just scheduled in there somewhere. We'll have class before or after (although attendance is definitely lower at those!).

Of course during finals weeks it is just a week of nothing but exams. I have heard that starting second year, we switch over to a format of having a "midterms weeks" and "finals week" of just exams, and no class, and those are the only exams we take.
 

david594

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Our path midterm was 35 pages and our final was 32. A bit on the long side for an exam with no pictures.
 

BlacKAT33

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I know this schedule is super hard, but I am just so relieved after seeing the exact times on the calendar. I was thinking I'd be in class from 8-5 officially and 5-8 unofficially. I know you said second semester is easier...but i am still feeling a little better like i wont fail out haha. its just nice to know that on some days you have more time open for studying. In order for me to wake up early, i have to sleep early too. and i was freaking out a little bit about how i will fit all of my studying in each night if i want to go to bed early.
 

karmapple

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Our path midterm was 35 pages and our final was 32. A bit on the long side for an exam with no pictures.
Why must you scare the crap out the incoming OSU class? We are supposed to keep that a secret, and not unleash it on them until their second quarter. :smuggrin:
 

Ben and Me

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I know this schedule is super hard, but I am just so relieved after seeing the exact times on the calendar. I was thinking I'd be in class from 8-5 officially and 5-8 unofficially. I know you said second semester is easier...but i am still feeling a little better like i wont fail out haha. its just nice to know that on some days you have more time open for studying. In order for me to wake up early, i have to sleep early too. and i was freaking out a little bit about how i will fit all of my studying in each night if i want to go to bed early.
Definitely count on 9-5 for at least the first 2 months of 1st semester (we don't have 8 am classes :) ) and for 2nd year. 2nd semester is definitely easier (schedule wise, at least!) though, which has been awesome!
 

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BlacKAT33

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Definitely count on 9-5 for at least the first 2 months of 1st semester (we don't have 8 am classes :) ) and for 2nd year. 2nd semester is definitely easier (schedule wise, at least!) though, which has been awesome!
maybe i should think about not taking wildlife...that would free up at least a couple hrs lol
 
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If you want to get a residency you need a higher GPA ~3.5.

*headdesk* no....not true all the time, not at all.

Not all residencies are like that. I got quite a prestigious residency (and I am not bragging, just making a point) and I have a 2.9 - because I had research exp, pubs, tons of extracurricular path exp, etc. Grades are NOT everything for every residency.

They don't care that I got a D in Optho *eyeroll* or that my class rank isn't impressive, LOL they care that I have hundreds of hours necropsy experience and tons of histology work and can immuno stain and western blot and pcr like a pro, haha.

So no, a 3.5 is NOT a prerequisite for residency - you make up for it in other areas. Grades help, sure. Not denying that. And for extremely popular residencies, they may do a a grade cut to throw some people out (which i think is ridiculous....). But for heavens sake, you are not up the creek without a paddle if you have a 3.0....


*and if anyone says it is because oh, pathology is not competitive....(sorry, a few of my own colleagues have said this).....lord, let me assure you otherwise, considering the number of residencies offered nationwide (tiny) and how fiercely the big schools are contended for**
 

lalzi22

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Why must you scare the crap out the incoming OSU class? We are supposed to keep that a secret, and not unleash it on them until their second quarter. :smuggrin:
Ditto this. Just decided I dont want to be a vet anymore. Perhaps trophy wife... I don't recall needed a 35 page midterm to be a trophy wife...
 

karmapple

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Ditto this. Just decided I dont want to be a vet anymore. Perhaps trophy wife... I don't recall needed a 35 page midterm to be a trophy wife...
If it makes you feel any better, this is the aforementioned class that is curved and everyone generally passes, even if the class average on the exam is a D.
 

gilch

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If you want to get a residency you need a higher GPA ~3.5.

*headdesk* no....not true all the time, not at all.

Not all residencies are like that. I got quite a prestigious residency (and I am not bragging, just making a point) and I have a 2.9 - because I had research exp, pubs, tons of extracurricular path exp, etc. Grades are NOT everything for every residency.

They don't care that I got a D in Optho *eyeroll* or that my class rank isn't impressive, LOL they care that I have hundreds of hours necropsy experience and tons of histology work and can immuno stain and western blot and pcr like a pro, haha.

So no, a 3.5 is NOT a prerequisite for residency - you make up for it in other areas. Grades help, sure. Not denying that. And for extremely popular residencies, they may do a a grade cut to throw some people out (which i think is ridiculous....). But for heavens sake, you are not up the creek without a paddle if you have a 3.0....
You are graduating from VMRCVM in May, right? How easy is it to get research experience there while in school? Did you get some of this before attending, do you do most of it during the summer, or is it manageable during the school year?

Congratulations on getting the residency!
 

lalzi22

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If it makes you feel any better, this is the aforementioned class that is curved and everyone generally passes, even if the class average on the exam is a D.
Yea, I guess I'll still come. I must love to torture myself.
 

Ben and Me

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If you want to get a residency you need a higher GPA ~3.5.

So no, a 3.5 is NOT a prerequisite for residency - you make up for it in other areas. Grades help, sure. Not denying that. And for extremely popular residencies, they may do a a grade cut to throw some people out (which i think is ridiculous....). But for heavens sake, you are not up the creek without a paddle if you have a 3.0....

And really, all you can do is your best. You can't compare yourself to your classmates - everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. I may have a lower GPA, but I also worked reception at a customer service-oriented clinic for a year and a half - so I know how to talk to clients. You just have to remind yourself of your strengths in order to make it through. :)

I know it's tough when they put up that graph of the test scores, and you see your score down towards the bottom (been there!) but honestly, everyone in vet school is really, really smart and what comes easily for someone is tough for someone else.

I could probably spend more time studying - but then I wouldn't be able to walk my dog or go out to New Bolton and do emergency shadowing - and those things keep me sane. I'd rather graduate than have a nervous breakdown!

I would love to do an large animal internal medicine residency - but if it doesn't work out and I don't match, then that's okay - I'm sure I'll make more money as a practice owner, and at least I'll have made it through vet school still in 1 piece! ;)

As for internships, there are all levels of internships. For equine, many of the private practice internships go unfilled each year - so don't let that be the straw that breaks your back!

PS - It is much easier to be positive and upbeat about all this when on spring break. After the last 3 weeks of the quarter, I felt like I had been sucker punched in the gut repeatedly. ;)
 
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You are graduating from VMRCVM in May, right? How easy is it to get research experience there while in school? Did you get some of this before attending, do you do most of it during the summer, or is it manageable during the school year?


Yep I am and thanks :) I did my research during summers and breaks (more due to my own time than having trouble finding someone to work with)...I have been in and out of all types of lab since late high school lol from doing nanomaterials to fish and wildlife stuff.

I did have various part times jobs during school though. I was a lab animal care tech on weekends and some evenings for a year, and worked a year and a half as an emergency/after hours technician at the clinical pathology lab at school (getting called in at all sorts of crazy hours to run bloodwork etc) . True research is very difficult during the school year because the amount of time you need to devote to method development etc just does not work well with school. There are lots of summer things though, I did an NIH funded project through my school one summer esp. that was cool.

I'd be happy to talk more about it via PM if you want. Are you a *hushed voice* lab rat too?? LOL (kidding)
 
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I'd rather graduate than have a nervous breakdown!

I cannot emphasize this enough. I have seen it happen. To me, having a functional life ouside of school is JUST as important as school itsef. You do not need to be studying 6 hours a day. No, seriously, you don't. I will take a B over and A ANY day if it means I am healthy and happy, have time to walk me dog, run, lift weights, watch bad TV, etc. I think a lot of students forget that and let me tell you, burnout (which happened to me second year because I did not take my own advice) is bad.


PS - It is much easier to be positive and upbeat about all this when on spring break.


I don't get spring break *cries* I am sitting here reading a paper entitled "A Higher-Order Complex Containing AF4 and ENL Family Proteins with P-TEFb Facilitates Oncogenic and Physiologic MLL-Dependent Transcription" ;) OMG....
 

nyanko

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I don't get spring break *cries* I am sitting here reading a paper entitled "A Higher-Order Complex Containing AF4 and ENL Family Proteins with P-TEFb Facilitates Oncogenic and Physiologic MLL-Dependent Transcription" ;) OMG....
As a graduate student I am completely and utterly befuddled as to this foreign concept of which people speak, "spring break." As far as I can tell, it's when undergrads disappear into some magical dimension and the gym is a little less crowded.

So I guess I approve!

(Congratulations on the residency!!!! :love: )
 

david594

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As motivated undergraduate students, we have worked hard and achieved high grades that reflect the amount of effort we put into studying. However, I think many of us have been forewarned that maintaining the same GPA we were used to as undergraduates is not as realistic in vet school.
Back to the original question. The majority of people in vet school were in the top 5-10% of their undergrad class and were all probably very used to sitting a good 1-2 standard deviations above the average.

When you get to vet school there is going to be a bell curve grade distribution, and the majority of students can no longer be in that top most portion. Is it possible to stay at the top of the class? Sure! But the amount of effort it takes to be there is going to be much much greater than when you were in undergrad.
 

StartingoverVet

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As a graduate student I am completely and utterly befuddled as to this foreign concept of which people speak, "spring break." As far as I can tell, it's when undergrads disappear into some magical dimension and the gym is a little less crowded.
The other one I don't understand is that thing called summer vacation. What happens for 3 months? I think the magnetic field of the earth stops deflecting all the charged particles from the sun and all the undergrads get annihilated.

Oh wait, maybe I am getting confused with my Physics study. Perhaps I need a few months off. :laugh:
 

sumstorm

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Just curious how much time you get to complete that 17 page exam?

The only exam we are time crunched on, really, other than finals, are the anatomy exams (written and practical). Combined it is a 3.5-4 hour exam (depending on switch from written to practical.) I swear I miss questions on that exam just because I have to breath! Physio's are our longest ones, we have up to 4 hours. Most of us finish by 3....but by the 9th or 10th page you start to get pretty fatigued. After a recent immunology exam, the professor said she could tell when students started falling off, because they missed questions they obviously knew.

The harder the class, longer the test, the more likely the test is short answer (single words up to a paragraph with diagrams, not complex essays.)

Even in classes where tests have multiple choice, or there is matching, it is rarely simple stuff. Lots of multiple-multiple choice, multiple matching, which is greater, T/F with correct the False, or generally confusing options for multiple choice/matching. Oh, we also have ‘fill in the diagram’ and ‘fill in the chart (muscles especially)’

I don’t mean to make it sound impossible…it just wasn’t what I had mentally prepared for. The first hour of an exam isn’t bad, but when you get past 2 hours, unless the info is really ingrained, mistakes start to crop up, even on material that you know.

As for grades; I strive to do well, but I do not kill myself. I try to exercise, I spend time with my pets, I try to eat well, and I take weekends off for my husband at least once a month. We do have students who are Acing it all, but for the most part, they are not folks you want to hang around; they have friends, but it tends to be cliques of gunners. There are other students who do really well (but not A’s on everything) that are friendly and such. I am a B average student, but I do alot outside of class, including extra classes. I hope that what WhtsThFrequency says is true in zoo med as well, but my understanding is that GPA matters in some residencies (ie surgery) more than others (though Path is a competitive residency, congrats!) I remind myself regularly that C is what I need…but sometimes you are bashing your brains just to be sure you can maintain a C.

One thing I have noticed is the better grounding you have in the basics, the easier it is to build on it. Being out of school for a decade is proving extremely difficult.
 

sumstorm

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As a graduate student I am completely and utterly befuddled as to this foreign concept of which people speak, "spring break." As far as I can tell, it's when undergrads disappear into some magical dimension and the gym is a little less crowded.
Here it means time to cram in job searches for the summer, get research done, finish off projects, and sleep a little! At least 1/3 of our class was in anatomy reviewing today.
 
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Thanks for the outpouring of responses! Lots to think about.. especially from sumstorm and those marathon anatomy exams, since I just found out I will be attending NCSU! But glad to hear you sill make time for things you enjoy. Hoping I will continue to do at least some of the things I love, like playing soccer every now and then. :)
 

GellaBella

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As a graduate student I am completely and utterly befuddled as to this foreign concept of which people speak, "spring break." As far as I can tell, it's when undergrads disappear into some magical dimension and the gym is a little less crowded.

So I guess I approve!

(Congratulations on the residency!!!! :love: )

As a fellow grad student I am befuddled by these mysterious "breaks" as well. I don't understand "spring break", "summber break", or "breakfast". I am, however, well versed in "breakdown".
 
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I hope that what WhtsThFrequency says is true in zoo med as well, but my understanding is that GPA matters in some residencies (ie surgery) more than others

That is true, only because of the volume of applicants I believe...not so much, they are meanie perfectionists, but they have to trim down the number of applicants somewhere and GPA is an easy way to do so. Then they can start looking more closely. Of course I am not on committees so I cannot say for sure, but generally the more "popular" the residencies the more they have to make cuts in superficial areas like GPA cutoffs.

I don't know about zoo med...but from the friends I have that are interested in zoo and international med, GPA is not the biggest issue - NETWORKING and experience are, by far. Zoo specialties are hard to come by - the more people you know and the more you can say hey, I didn't do so hot biochemistry, but I spent a summer at a zoo doing xxx etc...the better your chances. it is a very tightly knit group (like path in a way) - everyone knows everyone. You cannot just send a resume out into the blue. So like your momma told you in college, network, network, network!!!
 

Pomona2006

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Back to the original question. The majority of people in vet school were in the top 5-10% of their undergrad class and were all probably very used to sitting a good 1-2 standard deviations above the average.
I'm can only assume that this is true for most students. Definitely not for me. I was not in the top of my undergrad even with a high GPA (and no grade inflation). Despite the fact that I was way above the average GPA of accepted students at Davis, I am not in the top of my class and that is totally fine with me. I have the lowest GPA of my life, but who cares?! Two years ago I was starting my first science pre-reqs at a community college and now I'm finishing up my second term at Davis. I'm impressed I'm surviving. Understand that I am not exactly studying 24/7. I am constantly up to something -- skiing, rock climbing, baking, traveling. In other words, I'm having FUN! My goal is to enjoy these 4 short years while doing the best I can to learn the material and become the best veterinarian I can be. My stress level is minimal...even now, during finals week. :)

And :clap: to WhtsThFrequency for clearing up the misconception about GPA and residencies! :thumbup:
 

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If you want to get a residency you need a higher GPA ~3.5.
I have mixed feelings about this statement. To some extent, it is true. Many internships/residencies in the match (especially academic programs) use GPA (and some GRE) as an easy cutoff, and 3.5 is a generally recognized target to be a "competitive" applicant. However, you can definitely still match with lower, or if you're going into a smaller field (lab animal, ophtho, path, zoo), it is FAR more likely that your connections are going to speak louder than your grades. With those specialties, everyone knows everyone, and if you've got someone strong gunning for you and solid experiences in the field, you've got a good shot even if your GPA isn't your strongest attribute. (My GPA is certainly less than 3.5, and I'm very happy about where I ended up.)

That said, if you're going into private practice and have NO intention of doing an internship, C (+ NAVLE) = DVM. The job search levels the playing field - practice owners are definitely going to be more interested in who plays nicely with clients, staff, and other associates than who lived inside their textbooks and asked the most questions in class for 4 years.

Oh... and happy St. Patty's Day!:luck:
 
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CSU

Dec 15, 2009
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If you want to get a residency you need a higher GPA ~3.5.
And for extremely popular residencies, they may do a a grade cut to throw some people out (which i think is ridiculous....).

Is emergency medicine considered an extremely popular residency? I am interested in an internship but not continuing on to a residency program. SInce residencies require internships first, do they get taken up by the super high GPA applicants?