Why Not Do It The Easy Way

26 Dec

Like I didn’t.

I always hated being phony. Can’t do it. Won’t go there. I refuse to “work the system” as my first (veterinary) employer and mentor advised. I guess I knew of certain tricks that allowed easier admission into vet school, but my ethics wouldn’t allow it. I wanted to do things the right way. I figured if I was driven enough, dedicated more of my life, and showed enough loyalty, the admissions would recognize my efforts–they didn’t. If you honestly want to gain admission into veterinary school I suggest using certain “tricks.”

1. Time your classes properly.  Summer is a good time for watered down material, smaller class sizes, easier tests, and more lenient grading.  Professors feel equally sorry for students wasting away their summer break inside, and a little bit proud of their dedication by doing so.  Also, take ultra-difficult classes spring semester right after you apply and before acceptance. The acceptance GPAs are calculated before the interviews. Make sure they aren’t calculated with classes you won’t perform at superior levels in. During that last semester, go ahead and take all your most challenging classes, you just can’t get Fs.

2. Do NOT try to work during school. Like, at all, if you can help it. I always worked. Full time. And I was very dedicated to my job–sometimes to the detriment of my education. At my first “This is why you suck and we didn’t pick you” meeting with Missouri’s dean of admissions, he told me the admissions committee gives most credit to observation hours, then to volunteers, and lastly to employees. So why work so hard–when you can just STAND there a couple of times??? If daddy will pay your rent–let him. If your parents can pay for your tuition, just take the classes. You are MUCH more likely to get the high grades if you don’t have to worry about bills. If you have some rich relative willing to pay for a tutor, buy you advanced study materials, or put you through a Kaplan test Prep course–all the better. Having financial superiority translates into academic success–yeah, I said it.

3. As a second part of the not getting a job advice–do not be loyal to any business, club, or sport.  Don’t get involved in them at all between high school graduation and your junior year of college–focus on grades!  Because veterinary school wants a well-rounded applicant who can max out every diverse section of the application, you can not afford to invest a lot of time into any one endeavor. It’s not cool, but join those clubs later and do the bare minimum just to write it down. Work just enough hours so you can get a letter of recommendation, but not so much as to take any real time away from studying or the afore-mentioned clubs/sports/activities.

4. That last year before you apply–show your leadership. Remember, Vet School Admissions does not necessarily reward loyalty. What you need to do is find many easy things that don’t take a great deal of time, but that you can write down, and come up with ONE easy but (leadership maximizing) unique position. I knew one girl who literally visited a human hospital once to get old supplies they couldn’t use. She then transported them to a local vet who was sending materials to third world veterinarians. This girl wrote a heart-felt essay about how she founded a community service organization that helped further veterinary medicine in foreign countries. The whole thing must have taken her less than a day’s effort, but the admissions board ate it up.  Another guy I knew formed an aquarium club at the university, where they went to a pet store, got fish supplies, and put together one aquarium–the entire thing took less then a week.  Since he FOUNDED a club, the admissions people loved it!

5.  Maybe most importantly, network.  My mistake was feeling like I could be responsible for my own grades and experience.  I never tried to argue wrong answers or get a grade change.  And I certainly never asked to re-take a test or petiton a grade.  I always figured I had earned the grades I received.  If answers were wrong, I figured I should have studied more.  This, also, is NOT the way to go about things.  Even if you don’t have questions, go to office hours.  Just chat with the prof if you can’t think of anything.  One of my co-workers would simply go in during office hours and read her notes–and the professor was so happy someone was attending office hours he would give her the benefit of the doubt on quizzes and tests, realizing she, in fact, was familiar with the material.  One of my lab partners always, always took graded exams to the professor and argued why she had picked (wrong) choices, and half the time she could squeeze half a point or three out of the instructor   Make friends with the grad students grading your work and show interest to the professors–and unconsciously they will grade you a little better.  This mentality will also garner you little favors here and there, and maybe a nice letter of recommendation.

6.  Consider majoring in something really easy.  What really matters is the perfect grade point average–not really the knowledge you have gained in undergrad that will prepare you to be a good veterinarian.  Get straight A’s in Psychology or English, then take all your vet school pre-requisites spring semester before vet school starts when the grades aren’t calculated into the admissions data.  You will be golden!

Forget ethics–you don’t need to make life harder.  Getting into vet school is difficult enough without trying to employ high standards of morality.

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