Jul 21, 2009
2
0
Status
Hello,

I attended UC Santa Cruz in 1995 for 3 years. I have 103 credits (I think those are quarter credits, not semester credits). I finished all of my lower classes and some of my classes for a Biology BS Major. I plan on applying these credits toward another 4 year school in my current town, San Diego.

I want to work with animals, most likely as a veterinarian but I really just want to get out of the work I'm doing now, computer work. I've been doing IT systems work now for about 9 years. I'm ready to move onto something I'm more passionate about which is helping people, animals, and science.

I'm kind of torn on where to really start. So far I've got my official transcripts from UCSC, applied to almost all the animal shelters I could find with a google search in my area to volunteer. The one I've gone to so far, Helen Woodward, says you need experience with horses to volunteer in the equine hospital, I don't have any formal experience with animals on any job, other than just owning pets and riding horses as a kid. I really want to just get my hands dirty in the field and find out what interests me.

Is volunteering at animal shelters the way to start? There's also a Project Wildlife in San Diego that I put an app in to volunteer. I work M-F 8:30-5:30 so most of my volunteer work has to been nights or on the weekends for now. I also want to shadow an equine vet but...do I just look one up and call them and give them my story and ask to shadow?

Part 2. to my question is about schools. It seems like the only 4 year schools within my budget around here are UCSD and CSUSM. But it looks like I have to wait until Fall 2010 to start classes. That's over a year away! I REALLY want to start taking classess toward my BIO degree or even pre-vet as soon as possible. Where can I look to start doing that?

Thanks for any info you can give. If you have any further questions for me to clarify the direction I want to go, please ask. thanks
 

rileyroo

Auburn 2014
Jun 22, 2009
1,080
2
Status
Veterinary Student
hi, and welcome! if you are looking to gain hours during nights and weekends, i would recommend finding an emergency clinic with later hours to shadow a vet and gain initial experience.

as for gaining experience with an equine vet, i would call them as tell them you are interested in gaining experience in that field. when you say "tell them your story"...i would just tell them your interests in veterinary medicine and possibly what you are looking for/hoping to gain.

good luck!!
 

CatVet2Be

OSU CVM c/o 2013
10+ Year Member
Nov 26, 2008
327
1
Status
Veterinary Student
You shouldn't have to wait until 2010 to gt started. Look into the extension courses through UCSD. Usually you need to contact them the quarter prior to enrollment so you might still have time to get in this fall. As for equine experience you could also call horse coarding facilities and ask if you can shadow one of the vets they use. They may be able to put you in contact with someone. Helen Woodward is a great place, one of the nicest shelters around so if you get an opportunity to volunteer there you'll definitely enjoy it. Also there are local spay/neuter organizations that always need volunteers. Check out the feral cat coalition, they meet the second Sunday of every month in different places around the county. The first time you'll probably be in recovery watching the cats but after that you can get a position inside in the prep area. Neuter Scooter is also a great place where you can get tons of small animal surgical experience. In most places if you have limited animal experience expect to be cleaning surgical packs and doing other busy work until you build your experience and become good at restraining. Once you learn how todo that it will be much, much easier to get positions that require more hands on work. Good Luck!
 

quakk

10+ Year Member
Jul 19, 2005
84
0
Status
Non-Student
hi!

your situation sounds vaguely familiar - i found myself in almost exactly the same situation a few years ago.

i did start at an animal shelter, working saturday mornings. after i had worked there for a bout 6 months, i moved interstate to establish residency for my preferred vet school. while i was still working in engineering, i volunteered at a private practice and at the shelter. i also started volunteering at the 24hr emergency hospital, and a wildlife rescue nearby. in retrospect, some equine or production animal medicine would have been good, if only to see what's involved. i find vet school, the medicine component, in particular, to be very heavy on large animal. very heavy. i wonder if it's the same elsewhere?

i started with evening extension classes at the local university. they were cheap, at night, and quite well done. i wouldn't have hesitated to take courses at the community college if i couldn't fit the 4-yr uni classes into my schedule. i think it's important to honestly assess your situation and devise a plan that works for you. eventually i did take courses at the university in the mornings before work, and a lab course at another local university after work. whatever it took... either of the schools you mention should work nicely.

if you're going to go the route of community colleges, just make sure you earn top marks and get to know your instructors so they can write references. i really helped my case by asking a lot of why questions and really understand the material. these have helped immensely in vet school. i don't necessarily think it's where you go, but what you make of it. i found community colleges to be great - small classes, dedicated faculty, plenty of individual attention. everything that 400-person university classes aren't.

all the best!
 

quakk

10+ Year Member
Jul 19, 2005
84
0
Status
Non-Student
...
 
Last edited:

sumstorm

10+ Year Member
Apr 5, 2008
3,331
16
NC
Status
Veterinarian
one caution, your classes from 95 and earlier may not count for some vet schools as pre-reqs. they may have expired. varies from school to school. Just something to be aware of.

Volunteering can be challenging. If you really think you want to go into vet med, try to volunteer with veterinarians, whether that is at a shelter or a clinic. Generally, I would stop by with a letter of intent and/or resume and leave those with the receptionist at the vet clinic, then call a week later to arrange a time to speak with the vet. If you have pets, your vet is often the easiest to start a conversation with. If you are interested in equine, any connections you have to any stable/horse folk/etc might lead you into an opportunity.

I often 'traded' work; I offered to help them with some skill i had in exchange for the opportunity to observe. I offered to do book research, complete correspondence, balance books, etc. Any skill that I could do that required time/energy rather than money. Vocationvacation offers vet experiences for money.

If you only have evenings/weekends, you might do better with practices that have 'on call' where a willing set of hands at 2 am can be useful or with clinics with extended hours and weekend hours. Trying to juggle a demanding FT career with school while obtaining suitable vet experience hours can be difficult.... might require cutting hours at work, or requesting flex time.
 

Truth74

DVM
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Aug 16, 2003
639
0
Champaign Illinois
Status
Veterinarian
Wow, this sounds familiar to me. I have classes from 93 and 94 that were accepted at Illinois. Other schools may take those courses with a waiver for how old they are. I would discuss it with a counselor/s at the vet school/s you plan to attend.

Yes, volunteering on the weekend would be a great way to start building a relationship with a shelter or clinic. These relationships are important, because they can lead to work/letter of recommendation opportunities later. If you are aware of an equine rescue, you may be able to get the experience that the clinic needs through them. I would also check out dairies. You'd be surprised the kind of connections that a mid-scale dairy operation has to the vets in the area. They may even have one on-site.
 

rileyroo

Auburn 2014
Jun 22, 2009
1,080
2
Status
Veterinary Student
Wow, this sounds familiar to me. I have classes from 93 and 94 that were accepted at Illinois. Other schools may take those courses with a waiver for how old they are. I would discuss it with a counselor/s at the vet school/s you plan to attend.

Illinois accepted classes from the early 90's but won't accept GRE scores earlier than 2007? lol just found that to be ironic. :)
 

Truth74

DVM
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Aug 16, 2003
639
0
Champaign Illinois
Status
Veterinarian
Illinois accepted classes from the early 90's but won't accept GRE scores earlier than 2007? lol just found that to be ironic. :)
Illinois does not have a set deadline for grades, but they do have a firm deadline for GRE scores (august 31st of the application year). Yes, it is way earlier than most other schools.

I'm glad they do it that way, or I would have had to retake a bunch of gen ed requirements at the more expensive school.

There are other options for non-traditional students, if you check with the school you want to go to.
 

sumstorm

10+ Year Member
Apr 5, 2008
3,331
16
NC
Status
Veterinarian
Illinois accepted classes from the early 90's but won't accept GRE scores earlier than 2007? lol just found that to be ironic. :)
On some level, that makes sense to me. If you are working in a related field, you may have more practical experience daily with the material you learned 2 decades ago than the person who just aced the class. The GRE just kind of gives a current barometer reading (though I think the MCAT is a better measure in that circumstance, as was the VCAT.) I am pretty sure I know more about genetics due to serving on species protection plans that include breeding of endangered species within zoos than I learned in class.

Oddly, my score on the Bio GRE increased significantly last year, vs my senior year of college when the material was 'fresh.'
 
OP
R
Jul 21, 2009
2
0
Status
Thanks so much for all of the advice. I've put in several applications now at almost any animal shelter and clinic I can find that has a website and is taking volunteers. Once I start actually getting out there and volunteering I'm sure I'll start to see a path that I'm drawn toward and talking to people and getting more ideas and resources. I still haven't contacted any vets though to shadow. I still need to do that. Maybe I could trade my computer skills for shadown time. I don't do websites, but I could set up and support and computer/phone network in a larger hospital. hmmmm Thanks catvet2be: I'm signed up for the Feral Cat Coalition. Sounds awesome!

As far as schools, classes, requirements, etc...I spoke with UCSD admissions. At first they calculated my current units wrong and put me as a senior. They basically said "we don't take seniors", you can't go to school here. I said what if I retake my junior and senior classes, she said you can't. You can't ignore the fact that you have X amount of units toward a degree at UCSC (I think I have 103 quarter units so far...putting me actually as a junior, according to admissions on the phone...so I am allowed to apply. whew!). That put a whole new light on a few things for me though.

Particularly...if I want to get a B.S. in Biology, do I need to be careful about taking onesy twosey credit courses at "random" colleges before I apply to CSUSM and UCSD for Fall 2010? Seems like you can have have "too many" units. BTW...UCSD Education doesn't really have anything vet bio related. They have a lot of biotech stuff and maybe some general bio but classes I've already taken from UCSC. I can start those pretty quickly though if I wanted to. But then I may run into the too many unit thing, right?

I'm kind of more confused now as far as what classes I should start taking NOW and what the actual path is to getting the Bio degree...and if that's even what I should even do before I apply for vet school. The community colleges here are mostly just for your first 2 years or getting an associates degree. I already have that. Would I be better off getting a vet tech associates degree first...while working/volunteering in an animal related field and then apply to vet school?

How important is the actual BS degree?...important and often required, right? The only good online vet courses are the credit ones towards an associate degree for RVT or equiv. There are some cheesy intro type online courses that I might take...ed2go.com? anyone seen those?

Sorry for the long post. I guess now I just need help with making sure I'm on the right path school-wise for vet school requirements. My school situation is a little unique that's why I think it's so hard to find a cut and dry path of courses to take. But I'm sooooo ready :)

Thanks again.
 
Last edited:

robeezy08

10+ Year Member
Dec 11, 2008
358
1
Philly
Status
Veterinary Student
Thanks so much for all of the advice. I've put in several applications now at almost any animal shelter and clinic I can find that has a website and is taking volunteers. Once I start actually getting out there and volunteering I'm sure I'll start to see a path that I'm drawn toward and talking to people and getting more ideas and resources. I still haven't contacted any vets though to shadow. I still need to do that. Maybe I could trade my computer skills for shadown time. I don't do websites, but I could set up and support and computer/phone network in a larger hospital. hmmmm Thanks catvet2be: I'm signed up for the Feral Cat Coalition. Sounds awesome!

As far as schools, classes, requirements, etc...I spoke with UCSD admissions. At first they calculated my current units wrong and put me as a senior. They basically said "we don't take seniors", you can't go to school here. I said what if I retake my junior and senior classes, she said you can't. You can't ignore the fact that you have X amount of units toward a degree at UCSC (I think I have 103 quarter units so far...putting me actually as a junior, according to admissions on the phone...so I am allowed to apply. whew!). That put a whole new light on a few things for me though.

Particularly...if I want to get a B.S. in Biology, do I need to be careful about taking onesy twosey credit courses at "random" colleges before I apply to CSUSM and UCSD for Fall 2010? Seems like you can have have "too many" units. BTW...UCSD Education doesn't really have anything vet bio related. They have a lot of biotech stuff and maybe some general bio but classes I've already taken from UCSC. I can start those pretty quickly though if I wanted to. But then I may run into the too many unit thing, right?

I'm kind of more confused now as far as what classes I should start taking NOW and what the actual path is to getting the Bio degree...and if that's even what I should even do before I apply for vet school. The community colleges here are mostly just for your first 2 years or getting an associates degree. I already have that. Would I be better off getting a vet tech associates degree first...while working/volunteering in an animal related field and then apply to vet school?

How important is the actual BS degree?...important and often required, right? The only good online vet courses are the credit ones towards an associate degree for RVT or equiv. There are some cheesy intro type online courses that I might take...ed2go.com? anyone seen those?

Sorry for the long post. I guess now I just need help with making sure I'm on the right path school-wise for vet school requirements. My school situation is a little unique that's why I think it's so hard to find a cut and dry path of courses to take. But I'm sooooo ready :)

Thanks again.
Hey there! I'm non trad and from San Diego...and way way back in the day there was a program at San Diego Mesa College (use to be called Mesa Community College) where you can transfer to any UC school (like Davis!) given you obtain a B average at Mesa. Look and see if the program is still active b/c it might fit your current situation.
Hope this helps!