Tag Archives: admissions

The Dreaded Wait-List

30 Mar

Well, I’ve been here before.  I’m on the all too familiar borderline.  First, 3rd grade math, the cusp between B+ and A-, then vet school (so many times), and now this Audiology program.  The uncertainty, the waiting, decreased financial aid opportunities. . .

I knew I shouldn’t have put all of my eggs in one basket.  Again.  But I felt that I didn’t have another (good) choice:  1)  I wanted to live in the same place as Cool and both kitties (without roommates),  2)  Afford the rent (WITHOUT ROOMMATES = read Seattle-housing blogs), 3)  Have job opportunities for Cool, 4)  move only 1 more time after this big move, and of course 4)  go to a place with said AuD program.  Boulder, Colorado was too expensive to live and Greeley didn’t have employment.  Seattle and Portland’s cost of living is too high (and commute terrible).  Idaho has no jobs, and the program required an additional move halfway through–3 hours away.  There was no housing (other then student = no Cool, no kitties) in Logan Utah.  Every other school was a really, really far, expensive, move.  I only applied to Salt Lake City, because that’s the only place that was going to work.

I tried the best I could and wouldn’t change anything about my application.  I always, always felt that I was destined for greatness.  Something bigger, something impressive.  But even doing EVERYthing differently this time (vs. vet school attempts) the results are much the same.  And it makes me doubt everything.  Am I supposed to just have a j-o-b?  Go to work doing nothing meaningful or spectacular and focus elsewhere on my life?  I always thought it was a career and making a difference that was my path–but this gives me so much doubt.

Wait-list is a helpless position.  I have to wait.  Wait while someone else determines my future.  This time I will follow up with a letter of enthusiasm (which I have sent).  Saying they are my first choice, I’ve done this and that new thing, and the program is a good fit because. . .  I’ll follow this through to the end.

But it was supposed to be MY turn.  And I can’t help but feel sorry for myself, that I may have just wasted 2 more years and thousands of dollars (and a LOT of headache) at Riverpoint getting nowhere.  I may be back at square one–again.  What now?

Trying to Help–STUDY

10 Oct

I by no means am an expert on studying.  I’m just as, if not more stressed out, by classes and papers and projects and tests as the next person.  What I can say is I’ve done it the wrong way (GPA below my potential) and now (knock on wood) I’m trying to do everything the right way.  I can provide a few words of encouragement, but if you are having trouble in your classes, you have to dig deep and really look at what needs changing.  It may be something small–like switching to flashcards from just reading, but it may be a big life change like taking fewer credits or taking a break all-together until school works for you.  Be honest with yourself, because ultimately your success–is up to you.


And before I get to the meat of this blog–make sure you’re not comparing yourself to others or putting an undo amount of pressure on yourself.  It really doesn’t matter how others are doing.  The only person you should compete with in your educational preparation–is you.  Work to YOUR potential.  You know what you are capable of and your limitations, and that’s all that matters.  Everyone has their scene and their strengths and weaknesses.  It’s not fair for a mother of 3, that works 20 hours a week to compare class performance with a 20 year old who lives with mommy and daddy and has their education paid for.  And some people are just really naturally smart and academically superior  [not me].  Admissions committees will not evaluate these candidates in the same way, and neither should you.  Do the best you can do in your situation and that should be good enough.

What works is different for everyone.  So back to the questions you should ask yourself to maximize your studying:

-how much time do I have?

You have to ask yourself how much time you CAN devote to school.

-what are my priorities?

Making a list of what you need to do and what you want to do–in order of ‘must-do’ to ‘wish I could’.

-what prior commitments MUST I keep?

The number of hours to pay bills at your job, the kids, that court date–have to be taken into account on the priorities list.

-Am I wasting time somewhere where I can be doing something on my priority list?

This is a biggie.  Are you watching TV?  Do you take leisurely showers?  Are you sleeping in?  Everyone wastes time find your time-wasters and see if you can decrease the amount.

-Can I combine activities on my priority list?

Or, if your priority list says you want to spend more time with kids, can you combine your running time with kid quality time and play frisbee in the park to kill two birds with one stone?  Can you listen to recorded lectures during your daily commute?  What activities can be done together to add more time to the day?

-what is my best time of day?

Speaking of time and day.  You should study when your brain is the most sharp.  I am best in the morning.  So instead of waking up at 6:30 AM to get ready for work–I now wake at 4 AM to study prior to getting ready for work.

-What mode of learning is best for me?

Visual, auditory, tactile?  If you know this, you can tailor your studying to your best mode.  I am a tactile learner.  So drawing and physically writing is what helps me most.  Making a laryngeal pizza or art project is what cements my learning best.  Figure out yours and that dictates how you study.

-What study tact do I spend most time on?

Even when you fine the best way–you will vary HOW you prepare for classes.  I draw, but I also read the textbook, do practice questions, (rarely) study in a group, and frequently memorize flashcards.  It also depends on the class.  You have to do what is best for the information presented in that class.  Drawing is only so useful in say, a phonetics course.

-Am I setting myself up for success?

Be critical with yourself here.  Are you devoting as much time as you could to your education?  Do you have good sleep (THIS comes into play!) and study habits?  Do you have a good environment, free from distractions to study in?  Do you pre-read in the text (imperative!), take good notes, and review each class daily to at least every other day instead of cramming prior to exams?  Are you doing only the things you enjoy or are you for real preparing for tests?  Do you devote as much time to courses you aren’t fond of?  Even if you prefer socializing, do you sometimes study alone (I suggest groups are only good, AFTER you’ve studied, and just to reiterate or get another perspective on what you’ve already learned by yourself).  You have to maintain practical methods and not fall into traps.

-And finally, the biggest question–is this really what you want?

If you find the above changes too hard, or find yourself wanting to be somewhere else instead of learning–maybe you’re not in the right time of your life or in the right program for you.  Just because this isn’t working right now, doesn’t mean it will never work.  Figure out where you want to be short term and long term and make the changes to put yourself there.

And Luck.  I think a large majority of getting into the program/career falls partially to luck.  Your school, that professor, how you feel on exam morning, what accommodations your work will allow–all comes down to chance and luck.  So I suggest worry about the things you can do something to change–and let the other pieces fall where they may.  I’m still trying to follow this advice myself.  There you have it.  My formula for achieving THE GOALS.


Guide to Vet Observation

23 Jul

Hello, pre-veterinary hopefuls–this advice is for you.

Getting experience in veterinary hospitals is IMPERATIVE.  You will need to know about this career you so covet.  A lot of kids, at one time or another, want to be a vet–but do you really know what you’re getting in to?  Maybe once you see it’s not all kittens and rainbows, you wouldn’t like it so much after all.  Also, you will need experience hours to put down on the application when you are applying.  Plus, admissions is so super-competitive that you will need to be as well-rounded as possible.  And finally, vet school can only teach you so much–so anything you learn above and beyond your curriculum will give you a leg up.  If you have not gotten your foot in the door, I suggest you do so.  Yesterday.  You can never start too early, or be too competitive of a candidate.

Talk to your local veterinary hospital, go to the humane society, join an animal-related club, even talk to the farmer/rancher down the road.  If you have already observed at one place–do not stop reading this post.  You need varied experience.  Vet schools want to see that you’ve worked in private practice, research, small, large, and exotic medicine.  The more, and wider your body of experience–the better candidate you will be.  Call, ask, beg, write letters, ask people already in the field, utilize your networks to get in the door–anywhere.  Once you get in at one, you will more easily get into others.  Job shadow, observe, volunteer, make a day trip, whatever–just get involved somehow.

*Just remember it’s the GPA that is ultimately THE most important factor*

Here are 6 tips for when you get in the door:

1)  Try to stay for a full day

Veterinary medicine is different every day.  That’s part of what makes it so wonderful and exciting.  So it really is difficult to try to schedule when you are likely to see the most interesting things.  If you are there for an entire day vs. a few hours, you will maximize your chances of seeing a variety of interesting things.  In between said exciting and interesting cases, refer to #3 on this list.  And as part of this one–bring you own snack/lunch.  You may or may not get an exact-timed, scheduled and timely lunch break.  And you certainly do not want to miss the most exciting thing of the day because you had to drive somewhere to pick up fast food.  Besides–when you’re on your feet all day and trying to remain engaged, do you really wanna chow down icky, fattening greasy food?  Bring in high protein food to help curb hunger pangs and maintain your energy throughout the long day.  But a lot of the time the boss will buy you lunch.  If they do–include it in the thank you card that I suggest you write in point #5.

2)  Expect to feel awkward and out of place.

You won’t know anything about the place you’re seeing on your first day there.  It will take time to build a re-pore, establish trust, and get into a routine.  This is expected.  Try to stay out of the way and avoid touching/interfering with things.  When I began volunteering at my local veterinary hospital in 5th grade, the great majority of my time was spent jumping out of the way of the volatile veterinarian. Firstly, just hang back until someone gives you the go ahead, and until you see what is normal around there.

3.)  Be interested!

Yes, you are feeling everything out when you first go to your animal-related experience.  This does not mean, stand there looking bored.  My biggest piece of advice is to maximize your time.  Take a small notebook in with you.  Ask questions!  The adults at veterinary hospitals love to feel important, impart their knowledge, and give advice.  Use this to your advantage and learn everything you can.  And you don’t just have to ask the vets and professionals.  Everyone there will have some useful tips to share.  You can ask the vets about the career, medicine, and veterinary school.  The techs can tell you day-to-day routines, animal care tips, and impart info on potential back-up career plans, and even the younger staff can tell you about the current pre-reqs, ins and outs of the application, give standardized test advice, and maybe even let you know how/where to get a (summer) job.

3)  Once you are comfortable–jump in and help.

With permission, observers and volunteers can file, run and grab things, clean cages, and help with light restraint.  Get in the habit of cleaning off counters once an animal is off of it.  It will just show some initiative on your part.  If you feel comfortable and confident–and the staff you’re working with is handling the big stuff–it’s OK to help.  Learning is multi-faceted and it will cement what you’re seeing and writing if you actually DO things too.  Just don’t get crazy and do anything over your head or without DIRECT supervision/permission.

4)  Compare–but in your head, not aloud–each place you observe.

Keep track of things you liked and didn’t.  Each hospital/place will have their strengths, tips, and awesomeness.  You will also see your share of struggle, weaknesses, and maybe jerks.  Write down what might work for YOU in the future, and things you should remember to avoid iwhen you’re the one running the show.  It’s OK to make private judgements.  But that is what they should remain.  Do not, under any circumstance bad mouth vets, practices, or clients you’ve encountered at other places–especially when going to a subsequent hospital.  It’s unprofessional, makes YOU look bad, and in this world of highly competitive veterinarians that often judge/bad-mouth each other without actually having seen anything in person–needs to stop.  Also, you don’t want to burn bridges.  And you never know what ties these people have to each other.  Veterinary medicine is an insular world.  To a lessor extent, don’t be the annoying newcomer that says, “But  ___________ does it THIS way.”  No one wants to hear it, and vets tend to bristle against change–especially coming from a new person they don’t know well.

5)  Write thank yous.

Your main goal is to learn about the veterinary profession, but your secondary goal in observing/volunteering is to garner support from people on the inside.  Whether it’s a future part-time job, letter of recommendation, or future veterinary partnership–or all of the above–a little appreciation goes a long way in fostering important ties.  If you are given the opportunity (and trust!) to get inside an animal related job, jot a quick thank you note to the hospital (or farm staff, or whatever relevant group of people).

6)  Move on

This is the part I was never that awesome at.  Because veterinary school wants you to both be well rounded and have a 4.0 GPA, after spending time at one place–go somewhere else.  Loyalty will only limit your knowledge (and references).  And getting a full-time job will not garner you more points from admissions, but less.  Right or wrong, they figure if you’re standing there with no responsibilities that you are learning more then if you’re walking dogs or cleaning kennels on the time-clock.  So after you’ve learned what you can, get into a completely different aspect of the animal world and learn everything you can (in a brief span) from them.

I guess I should mention why I am a person you should listen to.  My advice is sound:  I volunteered 633 hours at my local vet hospital, observed for 6 months at a large animal practice, helped vaccinate and Coggins test employee horses, and spent weekends helping at an Animal Sanctuary, and more that I don’t remember without looking it up.  I hope this helps.