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ANOTHER question

Hello again.

I am just wondering that of those of you who are currently attending Cornell Vet School, have attended, or are applying, what kind of experience/grades are you applying with/were accepted with. Cornell's website statistics are quite outdated. I am only asking because it seems like most of the vets I work with tried to get in and couldn't, so I'm really worried because out of state tuition is terrifying. Just wondering how to improve my resume.

I live in NYS so Cornell is my instate school. I have a bachelors degree from Bard College in Studio Art and Environmental Policy, and worked doing field research with turtles and marine life for my first year out of college. While in college I was heavily involved in equestrian sports, even jousting. Since then I have been the supervisor of a humane law department (animal cruelty investigation), besides being an investigator I have taught at a number of state conferences, a national conference webinars, and ran a humane law academy to train new officers. This job allowed me to fund a veterinary technology degree part time which I will finish in May, and the pre-requisites I needed for vet school. Through the veterinary technology degree I have spent intensive hands on classroom time with lab animals, large animals, and will be doing 16 hours of clinicals a week with small animals all next semester. My plan is to work as a licensed tech until getting into vet school, so however long that takes.

My problems are: Many of my lower level pre-requisites were taken at a two year community college, because of cost and night classes (I'm working full time). It's part of the SUNY system so hopefully that won't completely destroy my chances, but I'm worried it will.
I have been working with animals these past years, but not clinically outside of the vet tech program.

My grade point average since returning to school is a 4.0, but from my first degree I think its a 3.6 which is right on the average mark for Cornell's old statistics and I can only guess that has gone up. I really wish I had pushed myself more at the time, but I had no intention of going to vet school back then, so here I am today...

Any suggestions on how to improve things? Maybe once I can work as a tech, work at night and try to take some more upper level biochem classes at a four year school? I know large animal experience is really important, so I am going to try and see if I can intern with an equine practice this winter. I'd apreciate any pointers, and send so much respect out to everyone who is currently in vet school for all the hard work you did! I'll be going up to Cornell for a tour next week, so hopefully that too will help to clarify things...


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 7th, 2010 01:44 am (UTC)
I'm a Cornell grad, and I still sometimes wonder why the hell they let me in. There's hope for you yet. :)
At this point, your GPA is what it is, and your GRE as well. No point belaboring those. I think the humane law aspect is something to really play up, that is going to be a pretty unique thing. Definitely get some large animal experience in there - maybe volunteer at a farm sanctuary if the equine thing doesn't play out, that will give you some experience with a wide variety of large animal species and should be pretty easy to get into if you can find one nearby. Wildlife experience is always something to consider as well.
No one knows exactly what will play to the admissions committee any given year, so just try your best, get varied experience, and be willing to apply more than once. My best friend looked a LOT better on paper than I did, applied two years after me and did not get in. Still puzzling over that one. Admission committees are fickle things and cannot be predicted absolutely. Some years they are looking for one thing, some years another.
My honest advice? Cornell was NOT my state school and while I loved Ithaca and hated Blacksburg I still sometimes look at my loan payments and die a little on the inside. Go in-state at all costs, unless there is an out-of-state that would be cheaper (unlikely). Your first year applying, don't even bother with other schools. If you don't make it, ask specifically what would have made your application stronger. Try again. If you STILL don't make it, I would wait until the third year to apply to other places. One of the biggest concerns long-term for veterinary medicine is the effect of tuition increases that have far outpaced the income a new grad can expect. If I had it to do over again, I'd stick in state and I'd have a third the debt I do now. It would have been worth delaying enrollment.
Nov. 7th, 2010 02:42 am (UTC)
I'm hoping to be the weirdo they let in. I definately need to play up the unique experience. Good idea about the wildlife rehab idea, there is one called Raven's Beard near me I would like to check out.

Wow, when you talk about debt like that it just reconfirms I must get in at Cornell at all costs. That's one of the reasons I went for my vet tech license, because I figured if it was going to take a couple years of applying, I might as well be working in the field, gaining experience while being able to feed myself in the meantime.

Thanks so much, and once again LOVE the icon.
Nov. 7th, 2010 11:59 am (UTC)
Agreed 100% on the in-state. I only applied to my in-state school the first time around. I was lucky enough to get in at that point. Had I not gotten in, I would have applied again to my in-state and also to a few others that allow students to become in-state after the first year (because not all states allow that).

Even with my in-state school loans, I cried a little when I made my first payment on my loans this month. It's like having a mortgage without a house to go with it. I can't imagine what out of state and off-shore students do to pay their loans.
Nov. 7th, 2010 04:54 am (UTC)
Cornell = crapshoot.

No joke.

I'm one of five students in my class that were outright rejected. And then called back a few months later to take it back.

My classmates range from former ballet dancers to PhD students to people who have run across the country to bright young adults right straight out of undergrad. We have people with straight 4.0s to people who failed undergrad outright their first time around. You can't change your GPA and GREs at this point so choose your recommendations carefully. Focus on what makes you unique. Whatever you can do that makes you come across as a competent student who can function in a high stress environment but still be yourself. Whether it be surviving 25+ highly demanding academic credits while battling aliens or pirating cruise liners in the Caribbean while researching FIP, Cornell seems to like variety. Or if you've maintained decent and competitive grades without saving the world, what else makes you you? Law is great. Veterinarians still have to follow laws. Veterinarians need to spend more time making better laws for our profession to follow. What about your side job can you bring into this field to better it? What kind of special perspective have you gained about this profession from that one?

I also had no choice but out of state because my state doesn't offer any contracts. I cry a little every time I see my loan reports. I burned with anger when the trustees raised out of state tuition 5,000 to make it more along the lines of other schools' out of state tuition.

I was a licensed tech too. Be sure they know you understand the difference responsibilities and expectations between those two jobs without putting the other one or the people who choose them down. You may even find yourself a little behind the pack when you get started because of it. One of my first few weeks they slapped up an xray of a GDV and immediately, tunnel vision. Took a long time to bash that habit away and think critically instead.
Nov. 10th, 2010 08:34 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it will be expensive enough instate. I gathered enough student loans during undergrad! I never thought of 'thinking like a tech' being a problem, but that makes a lot of sense. I suppose I should always keep that in the back of my head as I launch into veterinary-techdom this next year.

Thanks so much for the insight into the class make-up. I have a better idea of what I should be focussing on.
Nov. 8th, 2010 12:16 am (UTC)
Something you may want to think about - I know Texas A&M was offering scholarships to all of their out of state students for a while, and I think they still are. Keep a B average and they allow them to pay in-state tuition. I'm pretty sure you get residency after a year, too, so even if you don't manage the B average your tuition stays down. =)
Nov. 9th, 2010 05:18 am (UTC)
That is correct. I went there for undergrad, and that's how it was once upon a time back then with out of state folks. I'm not sure about the residency thing, though. That certainly wasn't true in NY; I was considered out of state all 4 years I was there.
Nov. 10th, 2010 08:30 pm (UTC)
Good to know! I wasn't aware of that.
Nov. 9th, 2010 05:16 am (UTC)
I think you have a decent chance of getting in, but you're never going to know for sure, obviously. It's a crapshoot at every vet school, not just Cornell.

I had a 3.7 GPA from undergrad, three years of research experience, and lots of varied clinical/animal-related positions. I was out of state and going to Cornell, which is considerably more difficult admissions-wise than being in-state. I had a wide variety of classmates. One of my classmates was an older returning student who had most of her classes in community college and had a good GPA from that. She did not have a high school diploma and had gotten her GED. If the admissions committee looks at you in the same light as they did her, I think your chance is quite reasonable because you sound like you have an awful lot to bring to the table, and your application would be very unique.

Best wishes. :-)
Nov. 10th, 2010 08:37 pm (UTC)
Wow, really? That is very interesting. I always imagined Cornell only wanting people with 4.0's who went to ivy league schools. Their incoming class statistics suggest that, but I suppose those are easy to manipulate. Knowing all of this actually makes me want to go there even more, it sounds like they create a very diverse and dynamic class. Thank you so much for the insight. PS I love the Last Unicorn, his descriptions are so poetic.
Nov. 10th, 2010 08:43 pm (UTC)
I think a lot of people imagine that, but it's really not the case. I mean, don't get me wrong -- you do need to be competitive academically, but I do think diversity is important to them as well. They want people in the profession who have other interests, and who can see ways to improve our profession with their unique skills rather than just becoming more small animal drones (and by this I don't mean that being a small animal practitioner is bad, but think about what you'd like to strive to do to improve our profession overall). Many people in vet med will go into their little corner and stop thinking about what they bring to the veterinary profession overall, and this is a mistake both for them and for our field. You need to demonstrate that you are capable of thinking outside the box, and that you bring to the table qualities that can enable you to improve the lives of people and animals through your work.
Nov. 14th, 2010 01:15 am (UTC)
Thanks to everyone who commented! I went to an informational tour yesterday in which the applicant pool and accepted pool was broken down and it all makes a lot more sense now!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )