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WAMC? non traditional applicant

Ariel-Li

UC Davis C/O 2025
May 30, 2020
301
423
66
  1. Pre-Veterinary
Hi all, looking for some suggestions improving my application for class of 2025!

I'm a bit non traditional...29 years old, with bachelor and master's degree in Sociology, undergrad cGPA=3.65, graduate school cGPA = 3.83, very mediocre publications in sociology. Finished 52 credit hours of science prereqs recently as non-degree graduate-at-large student with GPA=3.92.

Small animal technician with very limited exotic animal experience (2 of our doctors see exotic pets), appr. 3000 small animal hours and counting, 80-ish exotic animal hours. 200 hours volunteering in shelter and veterinary outreach programs. Currently interviewing for ER tech job, hopefully can get a year of that...

160 hours of animal experience, observational volunteer in the zoo.

Worked 15 months in a pathology lab, first volunteer, then part-time employed, with mouse experience. Had one paper accepted in a microbiology conference but got canceled due to Covid.

0 large animal experience, unless counting the time spent with my uncle's sheep and cows when I was grade schooler...sounds pathetic, doesn't it?

Will the lack of large animal experience severely limit my chances? Is there any way I can mend on that? I live in the city and don't drive. Anybody have experience shadowing a zoo vet or something like that? How do you get such opportunities?

I'm also considering applying to a couple DVM-PhD dual programs, with the limited research experience (in science), do I stand a chance at all?

And any school especially recommended for my situation?

Thanks guys!!!
 

Ariel-Li

UC Davis C/O 2025
May 30, 2020
301
423
66
  1. Pre-Veterinary
What's your IS? What schools are already on your list? What other experiences/awards/volunteering do you have? Why do you want to do a DVM-PhD? What's your sGPA and last 45?

I'm in-state Illinois. Not a big fan for UIUC, I heard they're more into large animals. But will definitely apply.

My current list is CSU, UC Davis, Cornell, UPenn, UIUC, Iowa, Ross, and UW if they waive TOEFL for me. Don't have calculus or animal nutrition prereq (have stat) so cannot apply to about half of the US schools.

Other experiences include voluntary teaching in rural China during college, a year of full-time employment in a Chinese LGBTQ non-government organization, 2 years of teaching assistant in a university, 1 year of part-time research assistant in Uchicago Sociology Dept., seasonal (summer) job as a planetarium facilitator in US.

Some random research awards and dean's lists during college, again it was in Hong Kong, don't know whether that meant anything in the US.

sGPA 3.92, last 45 credits 3.91

I enjoy research to the extent that can bear 4 years of PhD work for tuition waiving purpose, and at least right now aspire to work part clinical part research after vet school.
 
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MixedAnimals77

Trash Panda C/O 2022
5+ Year Member
May 16, 2016
3,435
5,011
196
with the livestock
  1. Veterinary Student
I'm in-state Illinois. Not a big fan for UIUC, I heard they're more into large animals. But will definitely apply.

My current list is CSU, UC Davis, Cornell, UPenn, UIUC, Iowa, Ross, and UW if they waive TOEFL for me. Don't have calculus or animal nutrition prereq (have stat) so cannot apply to about half of the US schools.

Other experiences include voluntary teaching in rural China during college, a year of full-time employment in a Chinese LGBTQ non-government organization, 2 years of teaching assistant in a university, 1 year of part-time research assistant in Uchicago Sociology Dept., seasonal (summer) job as a planetarium facilitator in US.

Some random research awards and dean's lists during college, again it was in Hong Kong, don't know whether that meant anything in the US.

sGPA 3.92, last 45 credits 3.91

I enjoy research to the extent that can bear 4 years of PhD work for tuition waiving purpose, and at least right now aspire to work part clinical part research after vet school.
paging @batsenecal for UIUC

Something you have to think about is all vet schools will have LA to a pretty standard degree because you have to take NAVLE which covers all species. So I would highly encourage you to disregard that type of thinking.

I saw you're an international applicant so I would just make real sure what the school considers you as from my knowledge you would be considered international unless you've gotten your citizenship, but I'm sure you're already on that.

Include all of your activities and awards no matter where they are from.

I think your GPAs are pretty solid. If you can get some vet LA that would be beneficial.

I don't love your reason for wanting to do a PhD. It sounds like it would be a chore to do the PhD. Just to be clear the tuition is waived only for the PhD portion and not vet school. I would really work on your presentation for why a PhD and vet school as those applications are usually MORE selective than the general applicant pool.
 
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Ariel-Li

UC Davis C/O 2025
May 30, 2020
301
423
66
  1. Pre-Veterinary
If you can get some vet LA that would be beneficial.

I was planning to shadow a LA vet this summer near my in-law's place. But with Covid going on I don't think that's plausible anymore.

If I can manage to shadow a lab animal veterinarian for a couple hundred hours, will that help diversify the experience? Or is large animal still a must?
 

MixedAnimals77

Trash Panda C/O 2022
5+ Year Member
May 16, 2016
3,435
5,011
196
with the livestock
  1. Veterinary Student
I was planning to shadow a LA vet this summer near my in-law's place. But with Covid going on I don't think that's plausible anymore.

If I can manage to shadow a lab animal veterinarian for a couple hundred hours, will that help diversify the experience? Or is large animal still a must?
I think anything you can do to diversify your experience is beneficial and just do what you can that's allowable during this time.
 
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battie

U of I c/o 2021
7+ Year Member
Nov 22, 2013
5,582
9,307
226
Perpetual state of disarray
  1. Veterinarian
4th year UIUC OOS student from CO

If you don't want to be a large animal veterinarian, don't worry. The large animal department (IFAMS and Equine Med and Surg) is pretty active with our Production Medicine Club, AAEP student chapter, research, and case load (and some up-and-coming additions to the hospital). But for those that want to never touch a large/production animal following graduation, FARMS/EQUINE will be 2 whole weeks of your first and/or second year clinical rotations, then 6 weeks of your 4th year clinical rotations. We don't have "extra" production medicine lectures in the classes beyond what other schools probably have, except for maybe some extra camelid stuff here and there very infrequently. We made be a Midwest school with a decent large animal case load/student interest, but it's not heavily emphasized if you don't want it to be.

Our small animal hospital is currently under construction for massive improvements pretty much everywhere and for every service; we're talking doubling our surgery suits, a linear accelerator, expanded ER/ICU, increased space for all services, new pharmacy, capability of compounding, possibly the addition of a nutritional kitchen, etc). Several years ago we were gifted a new building which was reconstructed to house the Wildlife Medical Clinic, ZCAMS, Primary Care, and Shelter Med (with their shelter med truck). Wide variety of clubs and job opportunities that I can get into if you have specific questions.

Otherwise, you would be a very solid applicant for Illinois, but I will answer specific questions below.

Will the lack of large animal experience severely limit my chances? Is there any way I can mend on that? I live in the city and don't drive. Anybody have experience shadowing a zoo vet or something like that? How do you get such opportunities?

If I can manage to shadow a lab animal veterinarian for a couple hundred hours, will that help diversify the experience? Or is large animal still a must?

Based on the rest of your app, I don't think not having large animal experience will be a deal breaker. The only way you can mend that is by diversifying your experience in other ways (lab animal, shelter med, exotics, zoo/aquaculture med, etc). You get these opportunities by going out and asking or applying for them. Shelter medicine would be an easier grab (particularly if you're where I think you are) than zoo or lab animal med, but you lose nothing by trying other than the time it takes to write up an email. But emailing these places (with the caveat of starting when social distancing allows) and asking for the opportunity or the application is the first step.

I'm also considering applying to a couple DVM-PhD dual programs, with the limited research experience (in science), do I stand a chance at all?

Not a DVM/PhD student, but friends with several. There are anywhere from 1-5 per class and the program takes however long it takes for the most part. You go through year 1 of the DVM program for sure; then you can choose to do year 2, then start your PhD, and enter third year with whatever class is starting third year; or you can do year 1, PhD, then join whatever class is starting 2nd year. It sounds like most people take 3-4 years, but I've heard it take up to 5 or 6 depending on the project. If you want to know about the application process and such, you'll want to contact ASA.

I would *strongly* encourage you to only do the PhD program during vet school (rather than after) if you're really passionate about research. The PhDs I know in my class specifically want to be research clinicians or work for the CDC or anything along those lines. If you're not sure you're *that* passionate, there are plenty of research opportunities around vet med to get your feet wet, including our summer research program and clinicians just needing help.


Let me know if you have any questions!
 
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Ariel-Li

UC Davis C/O 2025
May 30, 2020
301
423
66
  1. Pre-Veterinary
4th year UIUC OOS student from CO

If you don't want to be a large animal veterinarian, don't worry. The large animal department (IFAMS and Equine Med and Surg) is pretty active with our Production Medicine Club, AAEP student chapter, research, and case load (and some up-and-coming additions to the hospital). But for those that want to never touch a large/production animal following graduation, FARMS/EQUINE will be 2 whole weeks of your first and/or second year clinical rotations, then 6 weeks of your 4th year clinical rotations. We don't have "extra" production medicine lectures in the classes beyond what other schools probably have, except for maybe some extra camelid stuff here and there very infrequently. We made be a Midwest school with a decent large animal case load/student interest, but it's not heavily emphasized if you don't want it to be.

Our small animal hospital is currently under construction for massive improvements pretty much everywhere and for every service; we're talking doubling our surgery suits, a linear accelerator, expanded ER/ICU, increased space for all services, new pharmacy, capability of compounding, possibly the addition of a nutritional kitchen, etc). Several years ago we were gifted a new building which was reconstructed to house the Wildlife Medical Clinic, ZCAMS, Primary Care, and Shelter Med (with their shelter med truck). Wide variety of clubs and job opportunities that I can get into if you have specific questions.

Otherwise, you would be a very solid applicant for Illinois, but I will answer specific questions below.





Based on the rest of your app, I don't think not having large animal experience will be a deal breaker. The only way you can mend that is by diversifying your experience in other ways (lab animal, shelter med, exotics, zoo/aquaculture med, etc). You get these opportunities by going out and asking or applying for them. Shelter medicine would be an easier grab (particularly if you're where I think you are) than zoo or lab animal med, but you lose nothing by trying other than the time it takes to write up an email. But emailing these places (with the caveat of starting when social distancing allows) and asking for the opportunity or the application is the first step.



Not a DVM/PhD student, but friends with several. There are anywhere from 1-5 per class and the program takes however long it takes for the most part. You go through year 1 of the DVM program for sure; then you can choose to do year 2, then start your PhD, and enter third year with whatever class is starting third year; or you can do year 1, PhD, then join whatever class is starting 2nd year. It sounds like most people take 3-4 years, but I've heard it take up to 5 or 6 depending on the project. If you want to know about the application process and such, you'll want to contact ASA.

I would *strongly* encourage you to only do the PhD program during vet school (rather than after) if you're really passionate about research. The PhDs I know in my class specifically want to be research clinicians or work for the CDC or anything along those lines. If you're not sure you're *that* passionate, there are plenty of research opportunities around vet med to get your feet wet, including our summer research program and clinicians just needing help.


Let me know if you have any questions!

Thank you so much for your reply!!!

My mentor in veterinary medicine graduated from UIUC some 30 years ago, and my impression on the school was severely influenced by his student experience ;) Glad to know we're improving the small animal hospital, this makes my decision so much easier.

If I plan to specialize in small animal internal medicine (of course that may change in the course of 4 years), do any specific schools give me a head start on that career goal? Or it doesn't really matter as long as the grades and letters are good when it comes to internship application? I have no access to any non general practice veterinarians and am at a loss here.

I have some 300 hours of shelter medicine (shadow then assist in spay/neuter services in shelter, low cost vaccine clinic in shelter, and two RAVS trips). I'll try to reach out some more this summer for LA or lab animal. I plan to submit my application 6-8 weeks prior to deadline because of my international transcript, really dreading something would go wrong somewhere along the application process. That also means whatever new experiences I may get will be cut short by weeks.
 

battie

U of I c/o 2021
7+ Year Member
Nov 22, 2013
5,582
9,307
226
Perpetual state of disarray
  1. Veterinarian
If I plan to specialize in small animal internal medicine (of course that may change in the course of 4 years), do any specific schools give me a head start on that career goal? Or it doesn't really matter as long as the grades and letters are good when it comes to internship application?

No, not at all. At least 25 people in the class of 2020 got internships, many of them at their top choices. A group are super interested in zoo med and all 5 of them interview at the same institution in a zoo med battle royals. Lol. There are possibly other that got internships or residencies outside the match as well. Further, at least 5 people from 2019 got their top 3 choice of residencies this year too. Where you go has very little influence (if any).

As for the experience, any is better than none and you gotta do what you gotta do for your application :)
 
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Ariel-Li

UC Davis C/O 2025
May 30, 2020
301
423
66
  1. Pre-Veterinary
No, not at all. At least 25 people in the class of 2020 got internships, many of them at their top choices. A group are super interested in zoo med and all 5 of them interview at the same institution in a zoo med battle royals. Lol. There are possibly other that got internships or residencies outside the match as well. Further, at least 5 people from 2019 got their top 3 choice of residencies this year too. Where you go has very little influence (if any).

As for the experience, any is better than none and you gotta do what you gotta do for your application :)

And a stupid question - I've searched VMCAS and SDN but I guess it's too stupid to be asked before: in the VMCAS experiences section, to describe "key responsibilities", am I expected to itemize the responsibilities like in a resume, or write a short paragraph possibly with stories like the mini essays?
 

silverrains

Inextricably Linked
5+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2015
2,232
5,290
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Missouri
And a stupid question - I've searched VMCAS and SDN but I guess it's too stupid to be asked before: in the VMCAS experiences section, to describe "key responsibilities", am I expected to itemize the responsibilities like in a resume, or write a short paragraph possibly with stories like the mini essays?
Not a stupid question, and in actuality it's a very common one.

Applicants have had success with both approaches in the past, so general consensus is that it doesn't really matter which you choose so long as you remain consistent. Personally, I went with a more narrative/paragraph style.
 
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