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  1. #1
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    Default Question about Vet School & Graduate School...does it matter where you go?

    Hello everyone,

    I am a rising senior in undergraduate school. I am trying to research the next logical step in my education, but I am really falling short on information related to attending graduate school in preparation for veterinary school. I figured there is probably someone on this board who went through this or is going through this now.

    I am currently attending a very difficult science-based undergraduate school and I know that my GPA is not up to par in order to apply straight to veterinary school. My advisor suggested I enter a graduate program, and still continue to apply to vet school.

    OK. That sounds like a logical decision.

    But when I asked my advisor for helping chose different graduate programs, he kind of drew a blank and directed me to research on the internet. Not a lot of help.

    So my question is.... when applying to veterinary school, does admissions really look at the school you received your masters/pH D from?

    Is it the same as undergrad...every high school student is trying to get into Harvard or Yale, because that is what we are told to do?

    Granted, I know if I receive my masters from Harvard or Yale, that will look a lot better...but if my choices are between two well known (but not ivy league) schools... one being a large state school and the other being a smaller
    (not as well known) private school... are vet schools going to take that into account? Or are they looking merely at your GPA and/or course load?

    I am asking this question because the smaller (private) school is 10 minutes from my door step and 30 minutes from the clinic where I am interning all summer. Also, after dumping nearly $200k into my undergraduate education, the smaller school is much, much less expensive than the state school. It is also easier to get into (which worries me). But if vet schools dont weigh as much on the school where you get your masters from, then Im not going to up and move 2 hours to the state school that is double in tuition and be absolutely miserable away from my horses and the clinic.



  2. #2
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    Personally? The issue would be whether you could handle the coursework in vet school. I would do a masters in a related field only to demonstrate that you are capable of winging through grad level coursework. But I would also consider working for a rescue/vet/researcher to enhance that aspect of your application. References are critical.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho" View Post
    Personally? The issue would be whether you could handle the coursework in vet school. I would do a masters in a related field only to demonstrate that you are capable of winging through grad level coursework. But I would also consider working for a rescue/vet/researcher to enhance that aspect of your application. References are critical.
    This is kind of what I was thinking. It shouldnt matter where I receive my masters, as long as its in a related field and I excel in the program. I would be going into the biology program at either university.

    I have the references, and I plan to improve them even more. The only part of my application that is lacking is the GPA. My GPA is good, but not quite top-notch where it should be for vet school. Hence the grad-school route



  4. #4
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    Yes it does. I prefer (and pay for) a board certified vet who went to vet school "up nawth" over local vets who went to school in the midwest and south.

    ALways check those diplomas!!!!

    (yes a great vet can come from that school in the carribean but why chance it when I can have a vet who went to a great school and is board certified?)



  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazadetbmare View Post
    Yes it does. I prefer (and pay for) a board certified vet who went to vet school "up nawth" over local vets who went to school in the midwest and south.

    ALways check those diplomas!!!!

    (yes a great vet can come from that school in the carribean but why chance it when I can have a vet who went to a great school and is board certified?)
    I completely agree with what you are saying. I would only want to go to an excellent vet school. Especially in my area, where the majority of vets are from UPenn or Tufts.

    But as a horse owner, are you going to check where your vet went to undergrad and graduate school? Or are you only going to look at what vet school they graduated from?



  6. #6
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    It is important to go to the best grad school you can get into (and afford). Not all programs are created equal, so a Masters from Fancy Pants State may well weigh more heavily with the admissions committee than a Masters from Not That Special U.

    That having been said, the best thing you can do is find a researcher who specializes in the sort of work you want to do. Go to that school and do your utmost best to get a research position with that guy. Lobbying from a Name who is interested in your career is worth its weight in gold come admissions time.
    According to the Mayan calendar, the world will not end this week. Please plan your life accordingly.



  7. #7
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    Yes it matters where you get your graduate degree. Forget about your clients caring where you got your MS from ( though some do believe it or not), U Penn will not really care if you have a 4.0 if it is from a mediocre program. Honestly- the grad programs like "Animal Resource Management" are not highly rated. Go to Lehigh or the best you can afford and get a "real" Masters degree and kick butt.
    Come to the dark side, we have cookies



  8. #8
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    I would do a masters, not the PhD. PhDs in the biological sciences typically take 5-7 years, which is overkill if you are getting the degree to enhance your GPA/prove you can do graduate level coursework. I am in the last few months of my PhD, and trust me when I say it's a long road.

    If the lesser known, smaller university has a well known faculty you can do research with (and nearly every school has SOMEONE who is nationally know) and get a reference from, then it can still be a viable option. Otherwise, 2 years at State U might be your best bet. Regardless of where you go, find someone with good publications who is INTERESTED IN MENTORING. I can't emphasize the interest in mentoring enough. In my current lab, I have the former but not the latter. Sure, I will get a letter of recommendation that carries a ton of weight in my field, but on the other hand, I'm writing my thesis and have not gotten ANY feedback close to a month after turning in the first chapter. And forget about conversations about career goals and how to reach them......

    Oh, and if at all possible, keep your horse(s?) during grad/vet school. Mine have absolutely been my sanity savers.

    Good luck,
    BES
    Proudly owned by 2 chestnut mares
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  9. #9
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    Feb. 24, 2010
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    Student loans.
    My friend who got her pharmacy degree several years ago, paid her horse's board at school with part of her student loans. Yes she does have to pay all that back, and has started doing so, but she kept her old eventer that she would otherwise have had to sell.
    As a professional, I put my diplomas on the wall in my office for all to see. (My parents paid all my bills and all bills for my horse while I was in school, and I thank them every day for doing that!)
    I always check where my doctor and the doctors for my dogs/cats/horses went to school. (having dated some doctors, I want to make sure mine didn't cut any important classes. oops don't laugh, some of them did.)
    Get the best education that you can afford thru loans or whatever. And then do a great job in whatever profession you choose, whether as a vet or otherwise.



  10. #10
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    Oct. 27, 2009
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    Thank you so much! That was exactly the kind of information I was looking for.

    I have a meeting set up on the 11th to meet with the smaller school's biology department head, so hopefully I can gather more information in terms of their level of research and faculty.

    I am a bit reluctant to go to the larger university for many of the reasons you stated. Although they do have a large biology section with some "big wigs" doing research, their department is much larger and much more heavily applied to. If I get into that department, I dont want to be stuck for 3 years with no direction and no help getting to vet school..or I dont want to get grouped into a large research lab with a lack of individual attention. (I guess I am spoiled going to my small undergrad school with a 4:1 student teacher ratio)

    I am hoping the smaller school will be more personalized merely based on the fact that they really only offer one masters in the sciences...and that is biology. I could be totally wrong in that assumption (which I probably am. lol)

    Honestly I am beginning to see that my decision will rely on the strength of the smaller school's department. At this point in time, I have no idea how it compares to the larger uni's. I am looking more at tuition cost and being able to keep my mare. (I know, not the best reason for picking a school....)

    edited to add...I guess it might help to include the programs I am looking at:
    West Chester University (the small program)
    Penn State University -- college park (the large program)

    several others that are on the list, but for various reasons are at the bottom:
    University of Delaware
    Temple University
    Bucknell
    Philly U



  11. #11
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    I'll say "it depends"

    If your goal is only to get into vet school, it may not matter much. Whether it matters depends on which school you are going to apply to. Some schools have very objective criteria which are based on GPA and test scores while other have more subjective criteria. Your best chance of getting in is at your own home school (if you have one in your state), so check their system. When I was applying, my own home state was set up so that 65% was objective and 35% was subjective. It turns out I had enough points from test scores and GPA alone to get in, so the subjective part did not matter at all in that case.... If you have less points in the objective area, than yes, school and experience will matter. I also applied to outside schools and ended up at one that better suited my needs than my home state, but they weighted things more subjectively... In general, it might be better to be somewhere you know you can get top grades..... And makes sure you have good test scores! prepare well for those exams!!!

    All that said, my undergrad was from a state school and I don't think it hurt me at all (since I got in )

    If your goal is to try to get into vet school, but maybe do more advanced work instead, then where you are can matter a lot more. Then it's about building the right connections.... (which can also be done at a state school if you play it right.....).

    And personally, I'd try not to spend too much on tuition before you even get into vet school. The amount of debt that vet students have these days is out of this world, and hard to pay back!
    Turn off the computer and go ride!



  12. #12
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    Apr. 9, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by foggybok View Post
    I'll say "it depends"

    If your goal is only to get into vet school, it may not matter much. Whether it matters depends on which school you are going to apply to. Some schools have very objective criteria which are based on GPA and test scores while other have more subjective criteria. Your best chance of getting in is at your own home school (if you have one in your state), so check their system. When I was applying, my own home state was set up so that 65% was objective and 35% was subjective. It turns out I had enough points from test scores and GPA alone to get in, so the subjective part did not matter at all in that case.... If you have less points in the objective area, than yes, school and experience will matter. I also applied to outside schools and ended up at one that better suited my needs than my home state, but they weighted things more subjectively... In general, it might be better to be somewhere you know you can get top grades..... And makes sure you have good test scores! prepare well for those exams!!!

    All that said, my undergrad was from a state school and I don't think it hurt me at all (since I got in )

    If your goal is to try to get into vet school, but maybe do more advanced work instead, then where you are can matter a lot more. Then it's about building the right connections.... (which can also be done at a state school if you play it right.....).

    And personally, I'd try not to spend too much on tuition before you even get into vet school. The amount of debt that vet students have these days is out of this world, and hard to pay back!
    Agree with this....I would not waste your money on grad school until you exhausted all applications to vet school and got a bunch of rejections.

    I was on the alumni interview committee for a very selective private university. They gave a lot of weight to the interview. The interviewers were specifically told "the University did not want to be Cal Tech"....brainiacs are good, but some universities want a more diverse student body.

    There is a shortage of large animal vets. It has been recognized (at least in the pubs I read) that there are vets coming out of vet school who were high scoring students with no animal skills.

    In the pubs I read there has been a big debate about farm kids who lived and were raised around large animals who want to go to to vet school, but don't have the grades.

    I know one vet who is excellent surgeon, but has not real animal skills.

    So, I would emphasize your animal experiences and see if that carries weight.



  13. #13
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    Perhaps I'm wrong, but I'm inclined to think that grad school might not be the best decision here. It can be expensive and exhausting, and you'd probably wind up with a degree you'll never use. That seems silly...?

    IMO, a better choice would be to finish your undergrad degree, and spend a year or two really showing how committed you are to becoming a vet student. Be a part-time student. Take challenging (undergraduate) classes every semester (I don't know where you are so I can't help with directing where to take classes ) and work for a vet. Log your hours, your experiences, the works. Work like a dog to ace all your classes and to get every vet-related opportunity you have.

    Now that I think about it, your best bet might be to contact someone who works in admissions at the vet school(s) you're considering applying to. Ask THEM what they think would make you the best possible candidate, given the situation at hand.



  14. #14
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    I agree with LPH - your time and money may possibly be wasted on going to grad school (especially if you pick the "wrong" one)... why not contact the vet school admissions people and ask THEM what they are looking for? At the very least, someone down the road may remember you as someone persistent and driven in trying to get in, which can't hurt! Good luck!



  15. #15
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    I didn't go to vet school, I went to law school, but I agree that going to grad school seems like a potential waste of resources. Unless you don't have to come up with the money for the student loans that is...paying back huge student loans = no fun + stress.

    Have you already been rejected everywhere you want to go?

    Have you talked to the admissions people at the actual vet schools of your choice to see what you can do to make yourself more attractive?

    I know for my friends who went to law school, physical therapy school and med school that a lot of times experience counted for more than additional schooling.

    I too keep hearing about the shortage of large animal vets...
    Siouxland Sporthorses: http://slsfarm.blogspot.com/

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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazadetbmare View Post
    Yes it does. I prefer (and pay for) a board certified vet who went to vet school "up nawth" over local vets who went to school in the midwest and south.

    ALways check those diplomas!!!!

    (yes a great vet can come from that school in the carribean but why chance it when I can have a vet who went to a great school and is board certified?)
    I'm going to disagree with you a little here on the broad geographical generalizations. If you actually look into vet school programs, there are several located in western or southern states that are extremely good and highly regarded. Personally, I got into one of those "up nawth" Ivy-league vet schools and chose to go to a different one because it offered a better educational program for what I want to focus on. Board certifications are equally hard to get no matter what vet school you went to.

    (I do tend to agree with you about the caribbean, though - the majority of people I know who have chosen to go there go because they can't get in in the states. Although, the offshores students who are currently here for clinical rotations certainly seem very capable, so who knows?)


    OP, I agree with the above posters who said to try applying to vet school first before heading to grad school just because you feel like you should - more student loans, years of your life, and lots of hours of studying, all for a degree you don't seem to really want, does not sound like a good idea if you can avoid it. If you can achieve high standardized test scores, they will somewhat compensate for your GPA in the "objective" portion of the application assessment.
    Last edited by lizajane09; Aug. 3, 2010 at 04:52 PM.



  17. #17
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    I already made that step. My amazingly gracious vet hooked me up with an interview with a very helpful lady who has some direct connections to my vet-school-of-choice's admission board.

    Although she was very encouraging of my large-animal route and my the fact that I will graduate from a very well established undergraduate program with some awesome vet connections, she was adamant that my 3.0 GPA will certainly not cut it. I need at least a 3.5 to get into the program or absolutely stellar GREs (I take them this week). She suggested I look at a graduate program in a related field and many of the applicants are encouraged to go to grad school if they dont make it in. I am also short one semester of a required chemistry (my advisor botched that one up) so I will not be able to apply straight out of undergrad unless I take the required class the summer after I graduate (most likely from the small university..another reason why the small school is on my list)

    At the time of the interview, I wasnt really considering grad school, so I had no information regarding which program I was thinking about applying to. She was nice enough to give me her card and contact information, so I guess I could always shoot her an email and ask, but I also understand that it is not "really" her job. And she was so nice the first time around, I dont want to overstep my welcome and bug her too much.



  18. #18
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    I would see how you do on your tests.

    At least for law school the LSAT seemed to count MORE than the GPA in some circumstances (um...mine--sorry super hard workers). Schools are looking to have high average GPAs and test scores to publish so maybe you will luck out/rock it and get the top perctile score?

    Second, what happens if you take some undergrad classes over? Do they avg. the final grades or use the newest? Credit hours in undergrad might be cheaper.

    Why do you assume you will do so much better in grad school grade-wise? I'm not trying to pry, but I found the grad school competition (and grade curve) to be harder than college...3.0 to 3.5 is a really big difference.

    I would apply to more than one vet school and talk to more than one entrance person. I would also shoot the gal an email before signing up for more school...

    Good luck.
    Siouxland Sporthorses: http://slsfarm.blogspot.com/

    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/



  19. #19
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    i just graduated with my bachelors in animal science and turned down vet school and grad school. the option just wasnt for me and it costs a lot of money.

    If you want to go to vet school, i will be the first to tell you to get very bigh B's or straight A's. Vet school is extremely competetive. my college had a very hgh acceptance rate to vet school and even some of those with straight A's got put on the waiting list and never got accepted...so definately have a PLAN B.

    As for grad school....i think its a good prep for anyone who isnt sure if vet school is what they want. Its a lot more hands on and the research that you are able to do will definately help with vet school. Grad school is A LOT cheaper than vet school and it can get your foot in the door just about anywhere with the research and the credentials you will gather.

    Vet school is very, very expensive. the program at my college had a speaker come in and talk to us about our options after our bachelors. they said that after vet school you will likely be several hundred thousands of dollars in debt with a starting salary after vet school around 30K. Just wasnt the right option for me considering it all.

    while youre in undergraduate take a part-time job at a local vet and work your butt off. this is KEY. hands on hours is a BIG part of being accepted and its actually a requirement. If you have to take a year or two off after undergraduate school, take the tests and become a vet tech for a few years and get that experience behind you.

    if you dont get accepted to vet school on your first try, analyze, analyze, analyze. i know people who are going back for 1 more year just to retake classes to get A's to furthur advance their chances at getting in

    Dont get discouraged...just work your butt off to get those grades. get experience in the necropsy lab on campus. work there, cutting apart carcasses and studying the anatomy and biology of it all. working closely with professors in areas like this, and hands on opportunities will get you the recommendations you need.

    if you are undecided come senior/junior year on vet school go for GRAD school. get the hands on experience there, get the research under your belt and after grad school you'll have a better idea of what you might want to do. vet school is a long time so dont be afraid to weigh your options carefully. goodluck and enjoy it!



  20. #20
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    Also, it sounds like you are in PA, so your in-state vet school is UPenn, meaning that in-state tuition isn't much cheaper than out-of-state and it's reasonably hard to get into. Like TTP said, talk to other vet schools and their admissions people and consider other colleges, especially those with strong large animal programs. I just finished my first year of vet school, so feel free to PM me with any questions about the application process/school selection/first-year coursework/whatever .



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