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WAMC: first time applying and low GPA

nevadaalum2019

Full Member
Jan 13, 2020
13
15
36
  1. Pre-Veterinary
Hi everyone! I'm F, 23, Nevada resident applying for the first time this application cycle. I will be applying to a mix of dream schools (have to at least try) and schools that favor last 45 over cumulative GPA. I am interested in ultimately practicing wildlife or zoo medicine.

Cumulative GPA: 2.92 (undergrad only), a little over 3.0 with post-bacc classes
science GPA: depends on science classes included, but ~3.0
last 45: ~3.5 (in the process of taking some summer classes)

Degrees: BS in Biology (May 2019)

GRE (Q/V/W): 53%/80%/57% (I am retaking it in June)

Veterinary Experience:
3,000+ hours working as a veterinary assistant at three different small animal practices.

Animal Experience:
- Short internship at a sea lion research center in Moss Landing, CA (48 hrs)
- Volunteer at wildlife rehab center (36 hrs)
- Fostering very young kitten (50 hrs-Should I put this and how have other people calculated the hours?)
- Working with sheep (vaccines, body scoring, lambing, castrating, hoof trimming, etc.) (64 hrs- This was for a class in undergrad, but is my only experience with farm animals.)

Research Experience:
None

Awards/scholarships:
- Academic scholarship for the first few semesters of undergrad
- NHS in high school

Extracurriculars:
- Alpha Kappa Psi (business fraternity)
- Kappa Alpha Theta (social/philanthropic sorority)
- Cheerleader (high school)
- Member of student government ("Leadership" at my school) in high school

Employment:
- Veterinary Assistant positions at three different hospitals (also work as veterinary receptionist fill-in at my current job)

My main concern is my GPA. I was a 4.0 student effortlessly in high school and got my GED and started college courses at 16 years old. This meant I had zero study skills and after the first few semesters, it caught up with me. I started to feel like I was not smart enough to go to vet school and put the idea on the back burner for awhile. I felt like I had lost my purpose and one of my main goals and I became indifferent about school. I was also diagnosed with GAD and depression at 16, so all of these factors came together and I was basically just trying to survive undergrad (and I am on medication and did do years of therapy, so these have improved some). During senior year, things evened out, I got into a good relationship with someone who pushes me to follow my goals and told me that I was smart enough. I basically went from having a C, D, and W my first semester of senior year to having 4 As and a B for my last semester in upper division science courses. I have been continuing this trend and am now taking 4 more classes online over the summer (at least two of which are science, hopefully more but I'm on waitlists).

I am also working on getting a summer internship at another wildlife rehabilitation center to add some diversity to my hours.

So what are my chances? Thank you in advance :)
 

battie

U of I c/o 2021
7+ Year Member
Nov 22, 2013
5,582
9,306
226
Perpetual state of disarray
  1. Veterinarian
We'd be able to give you a better idea if we had your school list, though it's good to know that you're definitely putting last 45 as a priority. As a Nevada resident, which schools have contract seats with your state, or are you on WICHE? There are certainly schools we could advise for your list (K-State, Michigan, Iowa, Illlinois off the top of my head) and those we would advise against (TAMU, CSU, Georgia, LSU, NC State, Oregon off the top of my head) just based on your GPA.

Overall, you're correct in your GPA assessment. Honestly, the number 1 thing you can do right now this summer is get all As in your summer classes. Don't even worry about experience at all. At this point, Bs will make your GPA worse, not better, across the board. You already have a mountain to climb with you cGPA and sGPA. Making that last 45 as strong as possible, which means acing those classes this summer.

With COVID going on, getting experience this summer is already going to be an uphill battle. If you really want to add something to your application as some sort of experience this summer, consider doing something like window visits for old folks once to twice a week, or something of that nature. It's easy to do and set up with the facilities, not a huge time drain that will affect your grades, and will really make an impact on those your helping right now. The same could be said for sewing mask for high risk employees (local vet clinics, old folks homes, etc), signing up for neighborhood grocery shopping for at risk individuals, etc. As the summer goes on, this may become the only form of volunteering if there are large spikes in COVID cases as states ease restrictions and people stop caring altogether.

Make your letters and essays strong. These will also be your saving grace at schools that consider these *with* objective numbers, rather than after evaluating your numbers. These can mean the difference between an outright rejection and an interview invite. This goes doubly for the explanation statement. Use the explanation statement to drive home what happened with your grades, and how you solved the problem and have become a person using your solutions. If you have space, emphasize how you can use these new solutions to be successful in vet school.
 
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nevadaalum2019

Full Member
Jan 13, 2020
13
15
36
  1. Pre-Veterinary
We'd be able to give you a better idea if we had your school list, though it's good to know that you're definitely putting last 45 as a priority. As a Nevada resident, which schools have contract seats with your state, or are you on WICHE? There are certainly schools we could advise for your list (K-State, Michigan, Iowa, Illlinois off the top of my head) and those we would advise against (TAMU, CSU, Georgia, LSU, NC State, Oregon off the top of my head) just based on your GPA.

Overall, you're correct in your GPA assessment. Honestly, the number 1 thing you can do right now this summer is get all As in your summer classes. Don't even worry about experience at all. At this point, Bs will make your GPA worse, not better, across the board. You already have a mountain to climb with you cGPA and sGPA. Making that last 45 as strong as possible, which means acing those classes this summer.

With COVID going on, getting experience this summer is already going to be an uphill battle. If you really want to add something to your application as some sort of experience this summer, consider doing something like window visits for old folks once to twice a week, or something of that nature. It's easy to do and set up with the facilities, not a huge time drain that will affect your grades, and will really make an impact on those your helping right now. The same could be said for sewing mask for high risk employees (local vet clinics, old folks homes, etc), signing up for neighborhood grocery shopping for at risk individuals, etc. As the summer goes on, this may become the only form of volunteering if there are large spikes in COVID cases as states ease restrictions and people stop caring altogether.

Make your letters and essays strong. These will also be your saving grace at schools that consider these *with* objective numbers, rather than after evaluating your numbers. These can mean the difference between an outright rejection and an interview invite. This goes doubly for the explanation statement. Use the explanation statement to drive home what happened with your grades, and how you solved the problem and have become a person using your solutions. If you have space, emphasize how you can use these new solutions to be successful in vet school.
Thank you so much for the in depth reply! Kansas State, Iowa, and Michigan are already on my list. I’ll take a closer look at Illinois, too! I was considering the island schools as well but my partner and I were hoping to stay in the states.
I’ll check out some of those volunteer opportunities. I know I need to ace these summer classes and I’ll still be working at my usual SA hospital as well, so you’re probably right about forgetting the internship and focusing on less time consuming activities.
I had a dream last night about racing to meet the deadline for all the essays, so maybe I’ll get those finished in the next few weeks and start asking people to proofread them so I have enough time to make major tweaks if I need to.
Thank you again :)
 
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