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Wildlife veterinarian

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makemeawildlifevet

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I want to pursue a career as a global wildlife veterinarian. Ross university seems like my best option for acceptance but I cant find any info about opportunities they have for working with wildlife. Can anyone give me some information about conservation medicine/nontraditional DVM at Ross?
 

battie

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I want to pursue a career as a global wildlife veterinarian. Ross university seems like my best option for acceptance but I cant find any info about opportunities they have for working with wildlife. Can anyone give me some information about conservation medicine/nontraditional DVM at Ross?
@WildZoo
 
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WildZoo

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I do love being tagged in all the wildlife stuff :heckyeah:

Unfortunately I don't know any specifics about opportunities at Ross. You might pop into the c/o 2025 thread and see if any current students have posted in there, or even if any of the other applicants know. There might be a c/o 2026 thread floating around but I didn't find one.


I will say that generally if you're interested in wildlife medicine, you'll want to do your best to go to your cheapest school. In the immediate period that will give you some more flexibility for going out and doing some work in that field while you're in school without having to worry quite as much about how that will impact your finances during school (these things are often unpaid). Long-term it will mean less debt, which is great because wildlife vets don't tend to make a ton of money, and I've seen many people who were interested in the field end up having to do something else because it just didn't make financial sense for them. That being said, Ross is rarely if ever anyone's cheapest option. Why do you say it is your best chance at acceptance?
 
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makemeawildlifevet

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I do love being tagged in all the wildlife stuff :heckyeah:

Unfortunately I don't know any specifics about opportunities at Ross. You might pop into the c/o 2025 thread and see if any current students have posted in there, or even if any of the other applicants know. There might be a c/o 2026 thread floating around but I didn't find one.


I will say that generally if you're interested in wildlife medicine, you'll want to do your best to go to your cheapest school. In the immediate period that will give you some more flexibility for going out and doing some work in that field while you're in school without having to worry quite as much about how that will impact your finances during school (these things are often unpaid). Long-term it will mean less debt, which is great because wildlife vets don't tend to make a ton of money, and I've seen many people who were interested in the field end up having to do something else because it just didn't make financial sense for them. That being said, Ross is rarely if ever anyone's cheapest option. Why do you say it is your best chance at acceptance?
I have my heart set on Ross or SGU. Right now both schools are accepting applications without a GRE score because of covid so I am trying to apply quickly for that reason (I am absolutely horrible at standardized testing). I am not planning on completing my BS because it would take at least another year or two and Ross and SGU don't require you graduate as long as you have completed their required pre req classes. I will have completed all the required classes for Ross but SGU has more requirements that I wouldn't be able to complete in time. I also like how Ross seems to put more value in your experiences than test scores. Money isn't too much of an issue for me because my family is going to help me pay.
 

battie

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I have my heart set on Ross or SGU. Right now both schools are accepting applications without a GRE score because of covid so I am trying to apply quickly for that reason (I am absolutely horrible at standardized testing). I am not planning on completing my BS because it would take at least another year or two and Ross and SGU don't require you graduate as long as you have completed their required pre req classes. I will have completed all the required classes for Ross but SGU has more requirements that I wouldn't be able to complete in time. I also like how Ross seems to put more value in your experiences than test scores. Money isn't too much of an issue for me because my family is going to help me pay.
A lot of these aspects are true of many other, cheaper options that are state-side. Moreover, while plenty of Rossies/SGU students do get far in life (one of our ACZM clinicians and one of our ACVIM-cardio clinicians were both Rossies), they had to go the extra mile for networking and gaining needed experiences in vet school to get to their residencies purely because the school doesn't have those clinicians on the island (during their time there). You would just need to wait for this next cycle to open up.

Going into the wildlife world is tough cause it's high demand with low job numbers. Networking within your school and on school breaks is the number 1 way people get into those externship positions that eventually lead to positions after vet school. Can a student from an island school get it done? Absolutely. Do those island students have larger logistics barriers due to cost, time, and travel constraints compared to state side students? Absolutely.

For what it's worth, going to the cheapest school is still ideal no matter who is paying for it or how much they're paying. Life can suck sometimes and you never know if something bad is going to happen, whether it's during vet school or 10 years afterwards. When the difference is 100-150k, that can really change your life having that still sitting in an account. Just ask any adult who was a victim of the Enron scandal, cause that's a pretty fair comparison.
 
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Right now both schools are accepting applications without a GRE score because of covid so I am trying to apply quickly for that reason (I am absolutely horrible at standardized testing). I am not planning on completing my BS because it would take at least another year or two and Ross and SGU don't require you graduate as long as you have completed their required pre req classes. I will have completed all the required classes for Ross but SGU has more requirements that I wouldn't be able to complete in time.
Just in case you weren't already aware, the list of vet schools that are requiring the GRE is actually quite a lot shorter now than it has been in previous years. Many schools have either ditched the standardized testing entirely or have switched over to the CASPer exam (which I'll admit I know very little about, but from what I understand is more of a judgement test than anything else); at this point, only a small handful of schools are still requiring the GRE. It may be slightly out-of-date, so I would definitely advise that you navigate to the webpages of any schools you may be interested in to confirm, but there's a list of what schools are and are not requiring the GRE in this thread.

Additionally, the overwhelming majority of vet schools do not actually require a degree for matriculation. It's not incredibly common, but applicants can and certainly have matriculated to U.S. vet schools without a BA/BS. That said, I personally don't know that it is the wisest idea to go in without a degree as a backup, especially if you're truly that intent on attending Ross. What happens if you never get into vet school? What if you fail out (vet school is extremely difficult and Ross has a high attrition rate)? What if life circumstances change and, for whatever reason, you are not able to finish out your DVM and/or decide that you hate the profession? I don't ask these things to probe at you, but rather to remind you that life sometimes does not work out the way that we would like---and, trust me, it didn't in my case---so it's always good to keep alternative paths in mind.

I also like how Ross seems to put more value in your experiences than test scores.
Again, most schools have started to evaluate applications more holistically and are no longer so hyperfocused on the numbers. This is not unique to Ross. Ross does accept academically weaker candidates, yes, but as I mentioned in the previous point, there is a very real downside to that: Ross is kind of notorious in that they will admit a large number of students and lose a fair chunk of them, either because they fail out or they ultimately end up transferring back to a school in the states. This happens at SGU, too, but to a much lesser degree. Those who make it through are certainly capable doctors, but there is a somewhat significant element of risk there that warrants some consideration.

If you haven't yet, I'd recommend posting your stats in the WAMC subforum to elicit some feedback. I see many people apply to Ross and SGU thinking that they're their only realistic options at getting into vet school, but rarely does that actually seem to be the case.

Money isn't too much of an issue for me because my family is going to help me pay.
This is wonderful, and I am glad that you are in a fortunate enough situation for this to be the case for you.

However, I would still highly suggest attending the least expensive school that you have available. If you're in a state with a vet school, then chances are good that that school is going to be not only the cheapest option but also offer your best chance of acceptance.

Wildlife medicine is extremely competitive and difficult to break into; it seems like nearly everyone these days demonstrates an interest in it, which is awesome, but few of them actually end up making it their career. Pay is also generally quite poor in that sect of vet med. As harsh as it sounds, it's a terrible decision monetarily to attend an ultra-expensive vet school and take out $250k+ in loans with the intention of pursing wildlife medicine if you are not also at peace with the fact that you will, most likely, end up in small animal medicine because, frankly, that's where the jobs are. So, so many pre-vets go into vet school these days wanting to do zoo or wildlife; the sad reality is that exceedingly few will actually make it a full-time career. The few wildlife vets I do know largely do it on a part-time/volunteer basis as a side to their more lucrative small animal practices. That's not to discourage you if that's truly where your heart lies and I think you should absolutely still go for it, but just wanted to make you aware of this. Not to mention that many vet students' interests also just... change organically while in vet school. And, as I've already alluded to a couple of times, keep in mind that Ross has a much higher rate of attrition than other AVMA-accredited institutions, making that financial risk even more precipitous.

Yes, I realize that you said that you will have external help in funding your education, but this is just a simple matter of value. Even if you are accruing minimal or zero debt to do so, why spend so much more money for a DVM? So long as you're attending an AVMA-accredited school, you're going to receive an equivalent education no matter where you go, so why pay more than necessary? If you have an IS school, it's probably far wiser to consider applying there and, if accepted, taking the extra money that would have gone toward you attending Ross or SGU and putting it toward a down payment on a house or savings. Something actually tangible that will appreciate better than a DVM.

Think beyond the admissions process. Other than possibly an easier time getting in, what do SGU or Ross offer that make the intemperately much higher tuition costs worth it to you?
 
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makemeawildlifevet

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A lot of these aspects are true of many other, cheaper options that are state-side. Moreover, while plenty of Rossies/SGU students do get far in life (one of our ACZM clinicians and one of our ACVIM-cardio clinicians were both Rossies), they had to go the extra mile for networking and gaining needed experiences in vet school to get to their residencies purely because the school doesn't have those clinicians on the island (during their time there). You would just need to wait for this next cycle to open up.

Going into the wildlife world is tough cause it's high demand with low job numbers. Networking within your school and on school breaks is the number 1 way people get into those externship positions that eventually lead to positions after vet school. Can a student from an island school get it done? Absolutely. Do those island students have larger logistics barriers due to cost, time, and travel constraints compared to state side students? Absolutely.

For what it's worth, going to the cheapest school is still ideal no matter who is paying for it or how much they're paying. Life can suck sometimes and you never know if something bad is going to happen, whether it's during vet school or 10 years afterwards. When the difference is 100-150k, that can really change your life having that still sitting in an account. Just ask any adult who was a victim of the Enron scandal, cause that's a pretty fair comparison.
What state side schools do you suggest?
 

battie

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What state side schools do you suggest?
For GRE exception? No clue. You'd have to check the websites.

For not requiring a degree? I believe UC Davis is the only school that requires a degree.

For wildlife specific curricula?

1. Your in state school. Then spend the 25k/year you'll save in tuition to go do cool externships or conferences.
2. Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Tufts, Cornell, Louisiana, Florida, Colorado, Oklahoma all have some level of exotic/wildlife medicine that I know of. This is not an exhaustive list as my dreams of going into exotics/wildlife/zoo med were done several years ago. It's entirely possible more schools have added more to their curricula.

I recommend setting up some sort of excel sheet and start looking into the 34 state-sode schools to see what your options are.
 
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WildZoo

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2. Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Tufts, Cornell, Louisiana, Florida, Colorado, Oklahoma all have some level of exotic/wildlife medicine that I know of. This is not an exhaustive list as my dreams of going into exotics/wildlife/zoo med were done several years ago. It's entirely possible more schools have added more to their curricula.
(Tennessee :p )
 
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crockrise3

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A little off topic but are there any threads here that talk about the path to getting involved in wildlife medicine? I'm heavily interested in marine mammal conservation and research but know nothing about the process of diving into that kinda this would be. I've worked with marine mammals in the past but nothing super in depth
 

WildZoo

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A little off topic but are there any threads here that talk about the path to getting involved in wildlife medicine? I'm heavily interested in marine mammal conservation and research but know nothing about the process of diving into that kinda this would be. I've worked with marine mammals in the past but nothing super in depth
To actually answer your question though, there's a thread here

 
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WildZoo

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@crockrise3 There are several programs out there geared towards vet students who are interested in aquatics - Aquavet, Seavet, and Marvet. You do have to pay for them but (I have heard) they are great for getting some aquatics education that most vet schools don't offer in their curriculum. Otherwise just like with most specialty fields, it's all about looking for opportunities to get involved, making connections, etc. There are two aquatics-focused veterinary organizations that I know of, WAVMA and IAAAM. AAWV might also be a good resource since it's the broader wildlife vet organization.
 

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@crockrise3 There are several programs out there geared towards vet students who are interested in aquatics - Aquavet, Seavet, and Marvet. You do have to pay for them but (I have heard) they are great for getting some aquatics education that most vet schools don't offer in their curriculum. Otherwise just like with most specialty fields, it's all about looking for opportunities to get involved, making connections, etc. There are two aquatics-focused veterinary organizations that I know of, WAVMA and IAAAM. AAWV might also be a good resource since it's the broader wildlife vet organization.
Great thank you! I'm hoping to look into making connections and stuff when I actually get into vet school (this is my second cycle) but I've also had some contact with a vet working with NOAA when I was an undergrad volunteering at the long marine lab at UCSC with the stranding network. So I'm thinking about contacting them and even some of my old long marine lab mates to look for opportunities if this cycle doesn't work out for me again. I'll definitely look into those programs tho, those are great recourses thank you so much!
 
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lentilsmom

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Great thank you! I'm hoping to look into making connections and stuff when I actually get into vet school (this is my second cycle) but I've also had some contact with a vet working with NOAA when I was an undergrad volunteering at the long marine lab at UCSC with the stranding network. So I'm thinking about contacting them and even some of my old long marine lab mates to look for opportunities if this cycle doesn't work out for me again. I'll definitely look into those programs tho, those are great recourses thank you so much!
I went to UCSC! I worked at the pinniped lab during undergrad. Shoot me a message!!
 
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katashark

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@crockrise3 There are several programs out there geared towards vet students who are interested in aquatics - Aquavet, Seavet, and Marvet. You do have to pay for them but (I have heard) they are great for getting some aquatics education that most vet schools don't offer in their curriculum. Otherwise just like with most specialty fields, it's all about looking for opportunities to get involved, making connections, etc. There are two aquatics-focused veterinary organizations that I know of, WAVMA and IAAAM. AAWV might also be a good resource since it's the broader wildlife vet organization.
And AAFV - American Association of Fish Vets.
 
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katashark

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I want to pursue a career as a global wildlife veterinarian. Ross university seems like my best option for acceptance but I cant find any info about opportunities they have for working with wildlife. Can anyone give me some information about conservation medicine/nontraditional DVM at Ross?
May I ask what you mean by "global wildlife veterinarian"?
 

WildZoo

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This thread might also be helpful for people looking into wildlife medicine
 
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