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WAMC? A bit lost, looking for help!

aquaticanimals8

Full Member
May 16, 2020
29
33
21
  1. Pre-Veterinary
Hi! I am 23, resident of MA, graduated from a competitive school in 2019!

Applying to definitely: Tufts, Colorado State, Cornell, University of Florida, Ross, UC Davis
Applying to maybe: UGA, Purdue, Midwestern, St. Georges, Guelph, Wisconsin, Illinois (open to suggestions)

I don't have any in-states, so tuition is gunna stink no matter what!

Cumulative GPA: 3.54
science GPA: 3.52
last 45: 3.77
(I got much better my last 2 years)

Any degrees achieved: BS Biology

GRE results: Q/V/W- Taking late June

Veterinary Experience:
~40 working as vet tech and receptionist once a week from Feb-March 2020, had to stop for now cause of COVID, was hoping to get elor from them :/ Will hopefully go back in June and work until next summer!
~80 hours shadowing in college from 1 practice (3hrs/week during 2 fall semesters)
~60 hours shadowing in spring semester from a different practice
~100 hours from high school internship for a month shadowing a vet

Animal Experience:
~320 hours working at a shark conservancy (probably like 100 hours were research, can I separate these?)
~220 hours worked at nature camp (440 hrs total), probably half of the time I was handling/working with aquatic and land animals
~200 aquarist intern (worked with vets for some days, could this go into vet?)
~50 hours WAG walker

Research Experience:
~2000+ (working as research tech currently)
~150 undergrad research
~co-author of paper
~100 hrs from the shark conservancy

Awards/scholarships:
-deans list many times
-several athletic academic awards

Extracurriculars:
-college athlete (2500+ hours during college)
-volunteering

Employment:
-my employment is really research
-camp counselor (also in animal experience)
-other jobs I had in high school (do people include these?)

Letter of Recommendations:
-my current PI
-professor I did research with in undergrad
-trying to get vet from practice I work at now, may be awkward
-athletic coach?

Questions
-I have hours from my animal experiences where I worked with veterinarians, can I split it up in between the two groups? (The same goes for my animal experiences vs. employment I had while a camp counselor, and research vs. animal experience for the conservancy?)
-I work with mice at my job, give vaccinations, do procedures, etc. How much should I highlight this? And in what section?
-Do some schools only look at 3 recommendations? Or is it worth it to ask my coach to write me one (they knew me better than anyone)?
-My parent's dog that I grew up with had a lot of problems (auto-immune disease, alopecia, uveitis, seizures) and I am comfortable taking care/administering meds/etc, do they look for this kinda stuff in applications? Should I include it at all?
-I feel a bit lost at which schools I can apply to since I have no in-states. I really like UF and their aquatic program, do I have a chance there at all?
-How much can I highlight my athletic experience in college? It took up way more time than classes did, and I was a contributor and we were highly successful. It was a huge part of my life, and I couldn't do as many vet hours as I wanted to because of it, although I loved my team!
-VMCAS apps ask for an end date for experiences... what if it hasn't ended?
-Does anyone have any resources for VMCAS essays? I do not know anyone else in vet school/or applying now so I have nothing to go off of. And my pre-health advisor doesn't help at all.

Sorry, I know I'm asking a lot of questions! If they are answered anywhere else on this site, a link is fine for me :) Looking for any help I can get! Thank you!
 

JJ Bittenbinder

c/o 2024
2+ Year Member
Apr 24, 2019
375
345
116
  1. Pre-Veterinary
Hey! I’m also from MA and applied to a few of the schools you’re planning to apply to as well. I applied to PEI, Tufts, Cornell, NC State, Wisconsin, UGA, and Florida. Didn’t get in at Florida or NC State but did everywhere else. Cornell/UPenn have a program called Aquavet that I’ve heard is very popular (I think it’s summer classes at Woods Hole and elsewhere) but people from any school can apply so you may want to consider that! PEI has a big emphasis on their aquaculture program if you’re interested in looking outside the US as well.

I think emphasizing research experience is great, it’s AWESOME you have a co authored paper. I think research is one thing that made me stand out. To answer one of your questions, you can put an experience under veterinary experience if you worked under a veterinarian. Otherwise it’s animal experience. I think you should aim to put things under vet experience and try to beef that up if you can. I gained a lot of hours the summer before I applied working as a tech and also doing an internship at a wildlife clinic. I know it’s COVID-19 times, but try to get more hours if you can. (Another person may be able to comment on your likelihood of getting in with x hours. I’m not sure. I think that is one of the weaker points of your application at this time)

ALSO I would look into which schools let you become a resident after 1 year, which is huge. NC State is one of these but I know there are others. Otherwise vet school is REALLY expensive. I wish I had applied to more schools that allowed this as a MA resident. Tufts tuition break for in state is pretty lackluster. (I came down to UGA/Cornell partially for money reasons and ended up choosing Cornell).

Many people on here also recommend looking into schools that more heavily emphasize the last 45 GPA hours, which you may also want to do because that is a stronger GPA. Here is a link if you want some help with people reviewing your personal statements! I’m not sure about VMCAS resources for those but SDN has that helpful resource! Essays will be a good chance to highlight your athletic experience which I think is impressive when you had to balance it and difficult science courses.

I had 4 recommendations: 1 from a vet, 1 from a prof I did research with, 1 committee letter, and 1 from my old lab manager. I added the last one to fit Georgia’s rec criteria.... and the pre vet advisor said she thought it added a dimension to my app. I think it could be a good idea to use 4 if you think your coach will very strongly advocate for you!

I tried to answer most of your questions! Let me know if there’s any other way I can be helpful! Good luck again :)
 
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aquaticanimals8

Full Member
May 16, 2020
29
33
21
  1. Pre-Veterinary
I tried to answer most of your questions! Let me know if there’s any other way I can be helpful! Good luck again :)

Thank you so much for your detailed response! It definitely helps :)
Yeah, I am trying to get more vet hours and hopefully can go back into the place I work in about a week, we shall see! Do you know if schools take into consideration hours you are going to work with vets in the future? Like I will hopefully be at this job once a week until next June, so will give me ~300 more hours in a vet setting before I start school (if I get in!).

Also, not sure if you or anyone else knows, but should I highlight that I grew up with dogs/my experiences with them or is that pretty useless on an application?

Thanks again, I really appreciate it!
 
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WildZoo

Illegal in all 50, Unyeetable Wolf
7+ Year Member
Apr 18, 2013
57,826
90,785
226
The doll factory
  1. Veterinarian
Thank you so much for your detailed response! It definitely helps :)
Yeah, I am trying to get more vet hours and hopefully can go back into the place I work in about a week, we shall see! Do you know if schools take into consideration hours you are going to work with vets in the future? Like I will hopefully be at this job once a week until next June, so will give me ~300 more hours in a vet setting before I start school (if I get in!).

Also, not sure if you or anyone else knows, but should I highlight that I grew up with dogs/my experiences with them or is that pretty useless on an application?

Thanks again, I really appreciate it!
I believe you can put expected hours onto your application, whether they take that into consideration or not... :shrug:

I know it sounds like you already have a job set up but one thing you could consider since you're a resident of a state that doesn't have a public in-state school or contract seats would be moving to a state with a school that matches up with your stats. In some instances being in the in-state pool rather than the OOS pool will help you, and in most cases it will give you a lower cost of attendance option. Of course this would mean delaying your application a year as well.

Most schools are going to have an average accepted student GPA in the 3.6-3.7 range, but there is going to be some variation in how schools calculate GPA and how they weigh things (like cumulative vs last 45). You're certainly not far off from that, but often the average accepted OOS GPA is a bit higher - that data can be harder to find, you may have to look at individual school websites or contact them. When your objective stats are average, often subjective stuff would be the thing to focus on to help you out, but that is understandably a little difficult right now with the pandemic - hard to keep getting those varied vet experience hours. So in your shoes I might go through things with a really fine toothed comb, see if you can get an idea of what schools are interested in heavy research experience, because that is where you stand out. You can also definitely split experiences between categories - if you spent time under the supervision of a vet in one of your animal experiences, you can include that time under vet experience and keep the rest under animal.

Another thing to consider is the competitiveness of the OOS applicant pool - how many seats there are compared to the number of applicants. Based on objective stats I'd consider Colorado and Cornell to be reaches for you both in terms of where your GPA is at compared to their average and in terms of the competitiveness of their OOS applicant pool (the ratio of accepted OOS students to applicants is about 0.02 for both. Florida is similar).

I would look over the schools you are considering adding and see whether their average stats seem to match up well with yours. This is not to say that you can't apply to schools that are more of a reach, it's an average for a reason and the application process is complex and multifactorial, it is just to say that it is a good idea to have at least a couple schools that are less of a reach.

From a financial perspective, you're also applying to some of the most expensive schools (Colorado, Cornell, Ross, and Tufts are all in the >$300k cost of attendance range). It sucks being out of state for sure, especially if moving isn't an option, but there are lower cost of attendance options.

Depending on how many schools you want to apply to, I might consider bumping Cornell and Colorado from your list and looking at schools that have a less competitive OOS applicant pool, more heavily consider last 45 GPA, and have a lower cost of attendance. Iowa comes to mind as one that has a lower COA and historically uses last 45 more heavily (this may have changed so do your research!) though I'm not sure of how competitive their OOS pool is. Mississippi State is another you could look into.

It can be hard balancing all these things for sure, and no one school is going to check off all the boxes. For instance, Davis tends to have lower vet experience hour requirements and the total cost of attendance is nice, but their average accepted OOS GPA is a 3.9! Again, not to say that means you shouldn't apply, and I actually think they will like your research background, but it's something to keep in mind when you are rounding out all the schools you are applying to.
 
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WildZoo

Illegal in all 50, Unyeetable Wolf
7+ Year Member
Apr 18, 2013
57,826
90,785
226
The doll factory
  1. Veterinarian
Oh, and as for advice on the VMCAS essays, this thread is from before the statement was split into three questions, but I think it is still valuable. The questions are all part of what the prior prompt was anyway. You can also definitely contact people from the helpers thread that JJ linked once you have a draft!
 
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that redhead

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Feb 26, 2010
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Questions
-I have hours from my animal experiences where I worked with veterinarians, can I split it up in between the two groups? (The same goes for my animal experiences vs. employment I had while a camp counselor, and research vs. animal experience for the conservancy?)
You can split it up; I would put as many hours under vet experience as you can manage.

-I work with mice at my job, give vaccinations, do procedures, etc. How much should I highlight this? And in what section?
Are you doing all of this under supervision of a vet? You may be able to get away with classifying it as vet experience if so.

-Do some schools only look at 3 recommendations? Or is it worth it to ask my coach to write me one (they knew me better than anyone)?
Some only look at three, some will accept more. I think asking your coach to write one is fine, as long as any other letter writer requirements are met.

-My parent's dog that I grew up with had a lot of problems (auto-immune disease, alopecia, uveitis, seizures) and I am comfortable taking care/administering meds/etc, do they look for this kinda stuff in applications? Should I include it at all?

Nah, not really. You can include pet ownership with a mention for involved care but most schools aren't going to put much (if any) weight on that. Or you can work it into an essay if you really want.

-I feel a bit lost at which schools I can apply to since I have no in-states. I really like UF and their aquatic program, do I have a chance there at all?
You can apply to any schools! I don't know much about UF, sorry.

-How much can I highlight my athletic experience in college? It took up way more time than classes did, and I was a contributor and we were highly successful. It was a huge part of my life, and I couldn't do as many vet hours as I wanted to because of it, although I loved my team!
I would absolutely highlight it! It shows that you can successfully do more than one thing (time management), communication/team work, etc.

-Does anyone have any resources for VMCAS essays? I do not know anyone else in vet school/or applying now so I have nothing to go off of. And my pre-health advisor doesn't help at all.
What kind of resources are you looking for? You're writing essays based off your experiences. There's a thread in the main pre-vet forum for essay readers if that helps :)
 
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