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Monday, May 25, 2015

Questions From A Prospective Veterinary Student, Part 5

Apparently I've become the go-to place on the internet for advice on veterinary school!  I keep getting questions on this subject, which I'm happy to try and answer.  For anyone who hasn't read my previous posts, look at Part 4 in this series, which has links to the first three.  I've also periodically answered related questions without being specifically in this series, so use the "search" function to look through the blog.

These questions come from Nicole.

I have an Associate in Science from my local community college and I am continuing taking some courses that are required for vet school that are available while I'm still in the area. I have a few questions that I am hoping you are able to answer. Would you recommend going to vet school while having a younger child? I am currently a stay at home mother of a two year old going to school part-time while my husband works and supports our family.

Vet school will take up the majority of your time.  You will spend the vast majority of your day in classes and labs, and the evenings studying.  That makes it difficult to raise a child, though not impossible.  I wouldn't discourage you from doing so, but realize that you'll have challenges that go beyond those of your classmates.  One of my own classmates was a single mother with a young son, and she did great in veterinary school.  I remember her bringing him to the anatomy labs at night so she could study.  If it was late, she'd set him up with pillows and a blanket in the corner and let him sleep.  Having a husband who works will help, but keep in mind that there is no way to do vet school part-time.  Your only option is to be in school full-time, and you really don't have flexibility in your daily schedule.

I will be applying to N.C. State within the next two years to get my bachelors(which is my back up plan if I can not get into vet school). What is a competitive GPA for vet school?

Yay, NCSU!  That's where I went to vet school, so if you look for the pictures of the class of '97 you'll see me!  It's a great school, and was recently ranked as #3 in the country (tied with Colorado Sate University).  To be truly competitive you probably need a GPA of 3.3-3.5, if not higher.  Having it around 3.0-3.2 is "iffy".  Anything below 3.0 just won't compare to the other candidates.

Also, N.C. State has animal handling hours that are required for applying to the vet school do you have any idea what the competitive amount of hours for the requirement(400 hours are required)? I wan't to have a good amount of hours but is there such a thing as too many or too little?

There is no such thing as "too many" hours.  Many people, myself included, will spend years in a veterinary practice before applying.  Four hundred hours is equivalent to working a full-time job for about three months, so not a long time at all.  The reason for the requirement is to make sure that you have a good idea of what you're about to get yourself into, and to make sure that you feel comfortable around animals.  They don't want students investing time and money into an education that they may stop part-way, as well as taking slots from people who would make it through.  I don't have a sense of how many contact hours are competitive, but I'd start with the minimum and just add from there as much as you can.  The more the better, in my opinion.

Also, is there any advice you would give a person looking to go into vet school?

Look through my blog for many times that I've answered questions on vet school!  I've talked about this subject a lot over the years.

What is the upkeep on a vet liscense?

This depends on the state.  Typically it runs $200-300 annually to bi-annually to renew your license.  You will also need a DEA license, which renews every three years at around $800.  Annual dues to your state veterinary medical association or the AVMA can run $200-500.  Malpractice insurance varies widely depending on the kind of coverage, but is significantly cheaper than what our human colleagues pay.

And as always, the information I give is based on my knowledge of US veterinary colleges and is probably not accurate to schools outside of my country.  I also always recommend that people ask questions directly of the admissions office at the school since they know their own requirements and the degree of competition better than anyone else.