Countdown to Vet School

I’ve been in Colorado since the start of the summer (June 1). I moved back up here after completing my MS at Texas A&M, I subleased through the summer and boarded my horses about 30 minutes North of the school. Right now I’m in between housing as I needed to vacate my sublease before my lease for my new place begins. I’m excited to be all moved into the home where I will spend my first year of veterinary school.

This summer I took a job working at an equestrian barn where we do several summer camps teaching children to ride. I’ve been out in the sun hanging out with horses every day, it’s been great but the anticipation of orientation is definitely setting in; I’m so excited!

I also resumed riding along with one of my favorite veterinarians this summer, Dr. Wheeler. It has been quite the reunion and it has been great hearing him introduce me as a veterinary student! I’ve learned even more this summer from him!

In addition, I’ve also started meeting some classmates as they have been trickling in since the beginning of summer. We have gone out to breweries in Fort Collins and went tubing down the Poudre River. We are all anxiously awaiting the journey ahead!

Until next time!

Erika

Poudre River float!
Poudre River float group!

 

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(The) Ohio State University c/o 2019

Hello all!

My name is Kathrine and this is my very first blog post to Destination Doctor! I hope that what I write on this blog will help to provide perspective into veterinary school.

I am a rising third year at (the) Ohio State University and have two dogs. I moved to Ohio from Colorado for vet school and it’s definitely been an interesting journey so far. Right now, I’m interested in pursuing radiology (x-ray, ultrasound, CT, MRI) though that has not always been the case. In high school, I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon because I shadowed at a specialty practice and got the chance to see many surgeries. Then in undergrad I did research on dairy cows and spent time on a sheep farm during lambing season. I fell in love with both species so I decided I actually wanted to be a large animal veterinarian. After some experience in veterinary school my interest has now shifted to radiology. At the heart of it I love anatomy, which is what drew me to orthopedic surgery first then radiology. But at the moment, the thought of 4-5 more years of training once I graduate seems daunting. My plan is to survive the next two years of veterinary school and, at the very least, be a doctor then figure it out from there. I’ve heard from many practicing veterinarians that what they set out to do in the beginning of their career is not what they ended up doing which gives me hope. It’s all about being open minded to the many possibilities that vet med has to offer.

Tips for getting in to veterinary school

Applying to veterinary school is a very exciting time in every aspiring DVMs life! It’s a great milestone, you’ve either finished a degree, prereqs or gotten experience hours finished up. Or maybe you’re on your way there and need some tips for getting in!

There are many, many things that each veterinary school considers during the selection process so this list is by no means exhaustive; there are things we don’t even know!

  1. Achieve a good GPA. While you can get into veterinary school with a less than perfect GPA a good one will help you tremendously and so GPA is #1 on this list!
  2. Be involved in shadowing, volunteering with veterinarians and any other hands on experience involving animals you can get! You should keep an accurate record of your hours, what you did and what type of animals you saw. This will make your application so much easier to fill out! Also, keep good record of contact information for anywhere you volunteered or worked.
  3. Get involved in the community! Having a diverse background is really helpful and will make you a more well-rounded candidate. The selections committee will want to see that you have pursuits outside of vet med, this includes school clubs. Bonus: When you’re a vet these outside pursuits will probably help you stay sane!
  4. Apply to more than one school, if possible. One tip for getting in is casting as wide of a net as you can. Research schools and find out what they are looking for in a candidate, this will help you select which schools to apply for. Check out their websites, most of them have a page dedicated to what they look for. I’ve used several methods over my 4 applications and this year I went with schools that took a more holistic approach, and now I’m starting vet school! (If you want help/advice please message/comment!)
  5. This goes along with #4, make sure you have the right pre-requisite classes for each school. If you are missing a pre-req but took a similar course E-MAIL THE SCHOOL. Don’t be afraid to contact a school you are interested in, they have teams dedicated to answering these questions. ASK!
  6. Write an awesome personal statement, and have as many people read it as possible. This is important, don’t just have vet affiliated people read it, everyone who reads it should come away thinking you absolutely NEED to be a vet!
  7. Have good recommendations. Don’t just ask anyone to write you a letter, make sure the people who are writing your recommendations know you well enough to talk about your talents and skills. I recommend at least one vet, a college professor/advisor (or both!) and an employer if you’ve had a job through school.
  8. Make sure all transcripts make it to VMCAS or TMDSAS early, when I applied this year the first thing I did was request transcripts. On my third application one school threw out my app because I requested transcripts about two weeks before the deadline and my school didn’t get it sent on time! Same goes for GRE scores, send them as soon as you can.
  9. Submit your application as early as you can. I don’t think this gives you an advantage for many schools but some do start looking at applications as soon as they come in, and schools like Ross and St. George have rolling admission, so they start interviewing as soon as 2 weeks after you submit!
  10. If you get an interview, don’t wear heels! This won’t affect your admission (as far as I know) but most schools have a tour before or after interviews and you don’t want to miss something because your feet hurt!
  11. If you get an interview, be yourself! If you try to edit yourself you will probably seem uncomfortable or unconvincing; it’s always best just to be yourself! The school wants a good fit and you should too!
  12. If you get multiple interviews, go to as many as you can! You never know what school will be the one to accept you. I was accepted to CSU out-of-state and they are known to be “harsh” on out-of-state students sometimes because they take so few.
  13. MMI interviews: if you have MMI interviews I recommend googling some practice questions (even ones not vet related). You can’t guess the content of the questions you will see, but you can get comfortable with talking for 5-6 minutes.

14. The final tip: if Vet Med is really what you want to do in life, don’t give up if you are          not accepted on your first or even second try. It is extremely competitive to get into            a school, it says nothing about what kind of vet you will be if you have to keep                    trying.

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“The difference between success and failure is, most often, not quitting.” -Walt Disney



Royal Veterinary College c/o 2021

image.pngHi! My name is Alli and this fall I’ll be trading in my New England life for 4 years in the original England! London to be exact.

A little about me: I am 25 years old from Eastern CT. My family has always had dogs, lots and lots of Labradors (currently at 6). While I was in high school we even bred labs for a few years. Even with all my crazy dogs, I always wanted to be a teacher. Once I started freshman year of college I realized it wasn’t for me, so I transferred schools and changed my major to Animal Science and worked with as many 4 legged friends as I could. It took me an extra year to finish my undergraduate degree thanks to my full time job and organic chemistry 2, then I ended up not applying for vet school in my last year of undergrad. In the end it was for the best; I got a job as a vet tech at a small animal practice and gained TONS of experience. I learned to love small animal practice, which I never thought I would say. I had always imagined a mixed animal practice, with lots of horses and I thought small animal only would be boring… it’s not!

Even though I love my job as a tech, I couldn’t give up on being a vet. So after a great year at my current job, I completed the VMCAS. I applied to 11 schools, and I was offered 5 interviews, attended 4, and recieved 1 offer first, then 2 offers off the waitlist. After days of debate, I couldn’t pass up my wildcard first offer at RVC.

I will be leaving everything that won’t fit into two suitcases as I head off for a crazy adventure in England. I’ll be even be leaving my 11 year old lab with my mom because she can’t fly :(. Still, I am looking forward to all the opportunities I will have in and out of school while I work towards being a real vet! I am simultaneously scared out of my mind and jump-up-and-down excited, but there is so much to do before I leave, I should be keeping pretty busy this summer!

So you want to be a Cow Vet (OSU c/o 2019)

Hello fellow future veterinarians,

My name is Jackie Lee and I’m a rising third year at “The” Ohio State University. I would like to start by thanking Erika for the invitation to author some veterinary school ramblings. I am looking forward to chronicling my path to becoming a full fledged cow vet and to sharing my experiences with other vet students.

So to begin, a little bit about myself. I am a ruminant person – specifically, all things dairy cattle and sheep. I am going to talk about how I became one of those crazy cow-vet-wannabes and offer some advice to those who might be considering a career in dairy medicine.

I am originally from a (used-to-be) farming town in northeast Connecticut. Our little town is known for having the largest number of dairies of any town in CT. I became familiar with some of the CT dairy industry when I worked on a dairy during the summers of my undergraduate career. Actually, working on that small 70 cow dairy and riding along with one of our local cow vets is what first inspired me to consider dairy medicine. Not only was I fortunate enough for that experience but I also grew up on a small hobby farm where we raised beef cattle. I am  engaged to a dairy farmer and professional sheep shearer – hence how I become acquainted with a fondness for those wooly four legged devils. We have a profitable sheep business together selling breeding stock, market lambs and quality wool. So, if you ever wanna talk sheep, let me know!

Now is probably a good time to say – I do NOT think that you need a farming background to be a large animal vet. However, you need to be motivated enough to learn on your own because vet school does not prepare you to know the farming way of life.  I would highly recommend visiting farms as well as riding with a cow vet if possible. It is often easy to visit dairy farms – many times, a simple phone call to the dairy to ask if you can visit is all that it takes. Another option is to get a farm job part time if you can manage it. I got a job during my second year of vet school on our university dairy and I’ve continued to learn there. It is also great for my sanity because I love working there with the cows and it provides me with a break from vet school. Finally, join a food animal club if your vet school has one. OSU has a very prominent food animal club that offers lectures and wetlabs on a variety of food animal topics which really helps supplement core curriculum. Basically, it really helps to immerse yourself in the farm environment one way or another – you can’t learn the farming way of life entirely from a book or sitting in class.

And it truly is a way of life. When you are a dairy vet, your job is to help make it a well managed, profitable business through the health and welfare of the cows. You are married to the dairy and their problems are your problems. Even if its 3 AM on a Sunday morning or during Christmas dinner. In my opinion, farmers have one of the most honorable professions in the world with some of the highest responsibility – feeding the people of this earth. Dairying is perhaps the most difficult way of farming compared to beef ranchers, poultry and pig growers though each has their own set of challenges. They work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year and you should expect to do the same if you are on their team.

Ok, down off my soap box now.

Another piece of advice that I can offer to you is to get hands on experience during your free summers. It is so incredibly invaluable especially in the large animal field because we don’t always have as many large animal clinical opportunities in school as we do compared with small animal. For example, my first year summer I externed at four mixed animal practices. I started to learn basic cow vet skills that you need to know such as palpation and DA surgery. This summer, I have six externships which are mostly dairy exclusive or large animal mixed practice. I will be blogging about some of those as the summer goes on.

Finally, be as proactive as possible about your physical health if you want to be a cow vet. It is a physically demanding career, more so than small animals many times so you need to be strong. To clarify, I’m not talking about being hulked out, could-be-a-WWE-wrestler strong. You can be a small person (like my 5’4” self) and still be a good cow vet (trust me, I’ve seen it), but you really need to have some reserve strength. You also need to think smarter than say a 6 foot tall, 200 pound male cow vet. What I mean is, be more creative when we are not strong or big enough to get the job done the traditional way. We sit in class all day and see our muscles atrophying before our very eyes so when we get to the summer it can be a little bit of a shock to our body. I took up long distance running to establish physical endurance and I maintain core strength through my work at the dairy. It has truly helped me maintain physical strength so far this summer so I’m going to stick with it.

Well, that is all the advice I can think of for now for other aspiring cow vet wannabes. My first cow vet-student chronicle will be on my bovine externship in New Mexico – stay tuned!

 

 

SGU c/o 2021

Hey guys, my name is Colleen!

A little about me: I obviously love animals and all things medicine. I also love the outdoors. I’m an equine enthusiast, but when I can’t get to the barn I love riding my dirt bike around off road. I am also an avid reader and not ashamed to admit that I am obsessed with Harry Potter to the point where it may actually be weird. (Go Ravenclaw!)

My past and plans

I will be living in the Caribbean for the next three years starting in August. I just graduated from my undergraduate institution after 5 years instead of the traditional four. I spent the first two years of college in engineering and found it really wasn’t for me. All that math and coding and sitting at a desk all day just didn’t suit me.

I managed to squish all of the required shadowing hours and extracurriculars into the next two years. Now I am headed to the Caribbean! Not much of a beach person (I’m from Florida) but I think I can swing it. I will be bringing my bunny Pickett with me. At home I have a dog and cat.

I am keeping my mind open, but I have interests in exotic animal medicine, oncology, pathology, and various other areas. My dream job would be a zoo vet but we will see where I end up.

I do have a significant other, but he will not be accompanying me to Grenada because he is in Australia finishing up his master’s program in engineering. This next adventure is for me to face on my own and I am very excited!!

Please let me know if you have any questions about being an international student, caribbean vet schools,  admissions, or life in general.

Oklahoma State c/o 2021

Hello!

My name is (also) Emily, but for the purpose of avoiding confusion I’ll refer to myself as Em in my posts. I’m happy to be representing Oklahoma State University’s veterinary school on Destination Doctor and will be glad to answer any of your questions as they come up. I will begin veterinary school as a first year this upcoming August.

A little about me.

I was one of many who knew that they wanted to be a veterinarian from a young age. I was fascinated with animals and the outdoors and was known for domesticating strays and feral kittens in my backyard before re-homing them. I also once, as a ten-year-old, tried to rehabilitate a half-drowned grasshopper that was essentially paralyzed by hand-feeding it blades of grass and droplets of water on leaves. Needless to say, I was a little strange. But I’d probably still try to rehabilitate an insect if you brought one to me, though I do prefer mammals at this point. When I’m not doing veterinary medicine related things, I’m usually spending time with my large family of eight. I’m also an avid reader of fiction, preferably set in the Victorian Era, because who doesn’t love a romantic, 1800s kind of guy and elaborate gowns with giant hoop-skirts and corsets?

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See what I mean?

My path to veterinary school.

I hadn’t really seriously considered veterinary school until my freshman year of college. Before then, I had just viewed it as a distant dream. But once college began, I really started to focus on gaining experience (as I started out with zero) and spent a lot of time at a veterinary hospital near my home where I worked, and continue to work with, the greatest mentor in a veterinarian I could have ever hoped for. I probably would not have made it this far without her. So find yourself a good mentor! It’s important. I also have spent many, many hours as a med tech at a kitten rescue which has been an invaluable experience and also a great stress-reliever. Just last week I sat on the floor in one of the rooms and was swarmed by nineteen kittens. Yes, nineteen. If that’s not heaven, I don’t know what is.

These kittens are from another day. I love how the two kittens on top are tapping my head to make sure I’m still alive and wasn’t smothered by their adorable roommates.

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I devoted most of my time to academics and took a relatively high course load in order to be on track to enter veterinary school after three years, rather than four. Although skipping senior year is not for everyone, I felt like I had experienced all of undergraduate that I needed to and was ready to move on to bigger and better things, i.e. vet school (and, of course, avoiding an extra year of accumulating more debt).

And so here I am! I’m looking forward to blogging through these crazy four years.

Em