WAMC: First time applicant (low GPA)

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Jun 15, 2020
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Applying to: Tufts (although I know my GPA is not good enough to get in, I live in state and feel like its necessary), Western, Midwestern, MSU, UMN, UW, UPenn, UF, UGA, LMU, OSU, Purdue, U of I, NC State

What do you want to do? I want to go into small animal medicine with a concentration in genetics and hopefully run my own practice one day!

Cumulative GPA: 3.083
science GPA: 2.846
last 45: 3.143

Any degrees achieved:
BA in Biology 2021 from Boston University on the pre-veterinary track.

GRE results: Q/V/W- taking the test next week! will consider taking it again later this summer if I do badly although it seems that many schools are dismissing it as a requirement

Veterinary Experience:
MSPCA Angell-West (animal emergency clinic volunteer) 60 hours
Adventures in Veterinary Medicine at Tufts (camp) 80 hours
Westwood Veterinary Care (Small animal clinic shadow) 180 hours
Ambulatorio Veterinario Cozzi-Lepri (animal emergency clinic internship, Florence) 140 hours

Animal Experience:
Gifford Cat Shelter 40 hours
WAG dog walking 40 hours
I was supposed to be working on a wildlife sanctuary as an intern this summer but it was cancelled to due COVID-19. I'm hoping there will be a section of the application where I can explain that

Research Experience:
None. My school is incredibly competitive with research and I often got no response from faculty.

PALS (pre-veterinary and animal lovers' society) E-board Community Service Chair
Global House (diversity housing community)
Running Club

Ice cream scooper
Restaurant server
Ticket Office Assistant

Letter of Recommendations:
One from my veterinarian that I shadow- she went to Tufts and I know will write me an awesome letter
One from my manager at my job at an arena. She's the sweetest lady
One professor that I still have to choose. BU is such a big university that I never connected really well with any of my professors as they never took the time to learn 200+ names
If anyone has better ideas for recommendations please let me know

Summarize any concerns you have
I had a pretty rocky transition going into college. I didn't have to study much in high school and got pretty good grades. I had never experienced exams like they have at BU (consistent 40% class average on exams in chemistry courses). This got me feeling pretty low and along with being diagnosed with depression my freshman year, my gen chem grades and later my orgo grades hurt my GPA quite a bit. My general education GPA is a 3.7! Although my GPA has been slowly increasing, I'm pretty concerned that my low GPA will hold me back from getting admitted. My back up plan if I don't get in anywhere is an animal science masters from somewhere (preferably NYU as my boyfriend will be in medical school in NY) and then reapply. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! I know I don't have great odds but I'm a good writer so hopefully my essay makes up for it!


c/o 2022
7+ Year Member
Mar 10, 2016
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I would definitely reconsider a lot of these schools. See if you can find their incoming class stats and their minimum GPA requirements. I know Michigan state requires a MINIMUM of a 3.0 in last 36 and it’s either science or prerequisite GPA (can’t rememebr which) for them to even LOOK at the rest of your application. NC State also has a very high minimum and they will not look at your application if you don’t have above a 3.4 required course, cumulative, and last 45 GPA. I would definitely look on each school’s website to make sure that you meet their minimums and look for average accepted student stats for each school too. That will give you a better idea of where you will not be as competitive of an applicant.
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5+ Year Member
Dec 21, 2016
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Like SkiOtter said, I'd reconsider a number of these schools. First off, start a spreadsheet detailing each school's minimum gpa requirements, course requirements, and any accepted student stats you can find (from the school websites or AVMA etc).

NC State requires a minimum of 3.4 for all gpa categories.

UGA historically has accepted very few OOS students (15), although there is talk of an increased class size starting this cycle. Note that UGA only includes their science pre-req's in computing science gpa and does not use grade replacement. All attempts are averaged. A great score on your GRE might help overcome the lower than average gpa.

I'd look for schools that once you meet the minimum gpa it isn't considered and that might have a more holistic approach. Maybe consider adding Ross and SGU to your list. Except for Tufts since it's your IS, I'd seriously considering dropping the schools that are long shots/don't look like good fits with your application. The extra application fees add up and writing a bunch of extra essays will be a lot of work.

Check out the threads on masters programs. Several SDN peeps have successfully taken that route to get into vet school. Lots of options for that, as well as self designed post bacc programs. Goals would be to minimize cost and maximize the usefulness of the degree/program for future career possibilities.

Best of luck to you!
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c/o 2022
7+ Year Member
Mar 10, 2016
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One professor that I still have to choose. BU is such a big university that I never connected really well with any of my professors as they never took the time to learn 200+ names
Also, for this if you do apply this cycle, I would find a fourth letter writer. Some schools require 3 and will read which ones you pick. So if you had a fourth one that was better, that would be better for those schools than a bland generic professor letter (which can actually hurt you at any school). I know tufts requires the professor one, but not every school will.


VMCVM c/o 2024
10+ Year Member
Jul 25, 2012
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I had multiple acceptances last cycle with a 3.06 cumulative GPA and I will say this ... with a below average GPA every other part of your application needs to be strong. I didn’t apply until I was confident I’d have strong letters, had diverse experiences, and my last 45 GPA was high. So if your heart is set on applying this cycle I would probably only apply to a handful of your top picks so you don’t lose a ton of money if you’re not accepted anywhere. It would give you the opportunity to do file reviews and figure out where to improve for the schools you care most about.

Of your school list I didn’t apply to Western, Midwestern, UW, or NC State. I was rejected by Illinois, declined interviews to UMN and Tufts, was interview waitlisted at UF, and was accepted to UGA (my in state), Penn, LMU, and Purdue. Not sure which MSU or OSU you’re referring to. I would definitely drop NC State - I don’t think they’ll even look at your app if you don’t meet the minimum GPA - and UGA, which is notoriously competitive for non-residents (they like high GPAs).

Here are my complete stats if you’re interested:
Low GPAer with multiple acceptances! :hello:

My undergrad GPA was a 2.7ish so this goes to show that it’s never too late to reinvent yourself if you’re willing to work for it! Being an older student ready to move on with my life, I applied to a ridiculous number of schools. I was also super worried about how much my academic history would hinder me. I timed my application cycle with my husband being overseas on an unaccompanied tour (he’s career military), giving us the best chances of ending up in the same region of the country when he returns. Of course this would only work if I was accepted so that’s another reason why I applied to so many schools! I wouldn’t recommend being financially reckless (I have the GI bill and savings to pay for vet school so cost was less of a limiting factor), but ultimately you gotta do what’s best for you!

32 y/o female, non-trad, Georgia resident, 1st time applicant

Applied: Auburn, CSU, Davis, UF, UGA, U Illinois, Iowa State, K-State, LMU, LSU, Michigan State, UMN, Mississippi State, tOSU, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Penn, Purdue, SGU, Tufts, VMCVM
Rejected: Davis, Auburn, CSU, U Illinois
Interview waitlisted: UF, tOSU
Invited to Interview: SGU, LMU, K-State, VMCVM, Mississippi State, Purdue, Michigan State, UMN (declined), Tufts (declined), Penn
Waitlisted: Oregon State, Purdue, Mississippi State, Michigan State
Accepted: SGU, LMU, LSU, Oklahoma State, Penn, K-State, VMCVM, Iowa State, UGA
Attending: VMCVM :soexcited: :love:

Cumulative GPA: 3.06
Last 45 GPA: 4.00
DIY Post-Bacc GPA: 3.87 (84 credits, all science)
Science GPA w/o engineering: 3.63
Science GPA w/ engineering: 2.98 (thanks VMCAS)

GRE: 152 V / 160 Q / 3.5 <- don’t half-a$$ the writing portion like I did LOL

Undergrad degree: BS Aerospace Engineering (2010)

Veterinary Experience
- SA general practice with Chinese medicine: 2800 hours
- SA ER: 250 hours
- Avian, exotics & wildlife: 170 hours
- Equine/swine: 100 hours
- Equine/LA/internal medicine: 240 hours
- Low cost clinic: 140 hours

Animal Experience
- Therapeutic riding group for disabled children: 120 hours
- Farrier: 12 hours (corrective shoeing)
- Shelter: 55 hours
- Cat rescue: 300 hours
- Wildlife center: 30 hours
- Pet ownership (only included animals I’ve owned as an adult independently of my parents and super low-balled the hours)

- Nada!

Community Service/Volunteer Things
- 7 years as a board member and caseworker with a non-profit that provides financial assistance to owners and rescuers of dogs in need. We disperse funds to veterinarians directly to be used for non-routine treatment. I’ve worked some super interesting cases and this is where my interest in medicine began.
- 3 years as the Family Adoptions Director (board position) of a breed specific dog rescue. A group of us broke off because we wanted the flexibility to take in mixes of said breed so I was a founding member and the Applications Director for 2 years of the new non-profit. I really enjoyed working with potential adopters so managing the application and adoption process was a natural fit for me.
- Volunteer at an emergency women and children’s shelter

Non-Animal Employment
- 10 years for the same engineering company, first as an intern, then mechanical engineer, and finally as a systems engineer. The highlight was working software test on a really cool program that was awarded a Collier trophy (a pretty big deal).
- Also included the 2 jobs I had as an undergrad student: recycling center for 2 years and mechanics lien company for 2 years.

LORs (tried to pick people in different areas of my life that know me very well)
- SA vet
- Equine/LA vet
- Engineering boss
- President of non-profit I’ve been with 7 years
- A&P I & II and Neuro professor
- Infectious Diseases and Micro professor

Explanation Statement
I used this space to discuss GI issues I had from childhood through my undergrad years. I had a slew of medical tests done when I was an engineering student and, living alone, I developed some very disordered eating habits stemming from anxiety about my GI stuff, which resulted in me being super underweight. I struggled with the decision to include this in my application but ultimately I did. I used the first paragraph to outline the facts: this is what happened and this is what I did about it (cognitive behavioral therapy and working with a registered dietician). In the 2nd paragraph I talked about the things I do today (9 years later) to manage my GI issues and anxiety (basically putting self-care first and confronting the things that make me anxious, both food-related and not). And in the 3rd paragraph I was able to demonstrate how much more functional I am now by discussing the strong grades I’ve earned as a post-bacc student while juggling an engineering career, a cross country move, a periacetabular osteotomy (corrective surgery for hip dysplasia), and making time for veterinary experiences.
These days I’m super open about my struggles and how I got to where I am now. My inbox is always open to anyone struggling, needing a little encouragement, or whatever; and I’d be happy to share my explanation statement with anyone needing an example and/or help with editing theirs. I asked half a dozen people for feedback on mine to be sure it was conveying the right message ... I basically admitted to having anxiety and an eating disorder, which could’ve sunk my ship if not done right. Moral of the story, own what happened and make it a strength (but only if you can demonstrate how you’re a bada$$ now).


1 - Opened with why I studied engineering, talked about the development of my interest in medicine, included a major takeaway from each of my vet experiences, and closed by saying that I’m seeking an area within vet med where client relationship and continuity of care are valued, as this relationship is most fulfilling to me.
2 - Given my rescue background and having lived in states where shelters are understaffed and at max capacity, I talked about supporting my local shelter and/or rescue(s) in some capacity once I’m a vet. I emphasized that I want to improve the lives of the animals in my community through education, which I hope to do in clinical medicine. I also expressed an interest in teaching the next generation of vets as my contribution to the profession that benefits the community long after I’m gone.
3 - I went with commitment to learning, finding enjoyment and meaning outside of medicine, strong oral and written communication, and integrity.
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