For anyone who has applied to Veterinary (or Medical) school multiple times, I’m sure you’ve thought about giving up a time or two. I’m on my fourth cycle of applying to veterinary school, and after every rejection there’s always the question: do I keep trying? Is it worth it? Am I really okay with putting my life on “hold” another year to go after this dream that may never happen?
I’m sure many other students have had these same thoughts, and some do decide to give up. However, something I have learned in my M.S. program is many of us don’t give up; we keep trying. We try to improve our applications. Some people will even enter the workforce and continue to apply.
I’ve been asked a few times why I haven’t given up, what draws me back to filling out the VMCAS every year? The truth is, I don’t know for certain, but I think being a doctor of veterinary medicine has ingrained itself into my identity to the extent that I am willing to keep having that feeling of rejection because I know once I do finally get in, once I am finally accepted somewhere that I will be able to make it through the academic rigors and become a great veterinarian. I think that belief is key to making it through multiple cycles, if there’s any doubt it’ll discourage you from further applications.
I know quite a few veterinarians who I consider to be awesome doctors, who had to apply multiple times, so a rejection from veterinary school is in no way a reflection of how good of a doctor you will become. So if you’re in that stage of your application that you don’t know whether you should try again, or maybe you’re discouraged from the last cycle, and know you want to be a doctor: sign in to VMCAS and start again! Do what you can to improve your application, and make sure to include everything that’s happened since your last application. If you were ready to give up you would have already done so.
As one of my very favorite veterinarians (and mentor) has said several times to me: Keep on truckin’!
Even after being rejected the first two times, and completely expecting to be rejected again (none of my M.S. work was on this application since applications are submitted before the fall semester ends), it does not make reading rejection letters any easier.
I applied to five veterinary schools this past cycle and did not get an interview with even one; most schools didn’t even read my personal statements, evaluations, or look at my animal and vet hours. It’s discouraging that literally your GPA can keep you out, but as disappointing as the rejection for entering Fall 2016 was we just keep trucking along.
One really great thing about finishing my M.S. and being able to stay at Texas A&M over the summer is that I was able to join in on a cardiovascular research project. It has been an incredible experience, originally I was asked to be on the project because of my past swine experience (hey, look- the job experience actually helped!). I began on the project as a surgical assistant in the surgeries that took place to begin the study, then once they were finished I began exercise training a pig and was put in charge of managing the other exercise trainers, in addition now I’m doing laboratory work and performing experiments!
The reason it ended out okay with not staring in the fall is the project runs until November, so I’ll be able to see the conclusion of the study and thus the fruits of my labor. Not to mention I’ll have some pretty awesome research experience to talk about when I finally do get that interview! It’s funny how things just kind of happen, originally I was just going to assist with the surgeries and then be off the project, now I’m a main person and have a lot of responsibility (but it’s great! I wouldn’t change it).
My M.S. overall is going quite well; my GPA has significantly improved and continues to do so, no 4.0 yet but I was very close this past semester. I’m hoping that the GPA improvement, new experiences, and maybe a certain level of maturity will strengthen my application enough to warrant an interview this upcoming cycle.