Meet Dr. Miller, the path to getting into veterinary school and graduating was not an easy one but she did it! Dr. Miller went to grad school and graduated summa cum laude with an MS in Biology. This was to strengthen her application for veterinary school, and have a backup plan in case she didn’t get in.
You might be wondering what the easiest vet school to get into is. There is no easy answer. If you want to make comparisons of the different vet schools, the guide below can help you apply where you will have the best chance.
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This book is a must! You will be able to navigate all of the requirements for each of the veterinary medical colleges: Check out this book: Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements (VMSAR). If you want all of the requirements for vet school in one handy book, then check it out here on Amazon, there are new and used options.
Name, veterinary school attended, and year that you started.
Bridget Miller, University of Georgia CVM, 2010
What animals do you currently share your life with?
I have a lab mix named Riley, 2 sugar gliders (Lilo and Stitch), and 2 red-eyed tree frogs.
What was your major in undergraduate college?
Microbiology at UGA.
At what age did you first apply to Veterinary school?
How many schools did you apply to?
How many application cycles did you apply to, before being accepted?
I applied twice before being accepted. when I didn’t get in the first time, I met with the Dean at UGA to find out what I could do to improve my application. I think I had a really strong application the 2nd time-I had done all this volunteer work to show my dedication to the veterinary field and had also greatly improved my test scores.
How many schools invited you for an interview?
I had interviews at 2 schools. UGA did not have an interview process in 2010.
How many of those gave you an acceptance letter?
2, I decided to go to my in-state college.
Do you remember any specifically challenging interview questions?
I think the questions about what your strengths are and why you will make a good veterinarian.
What was your GPA (in undergraduate)?
2.92, having good grades is super important though, the competition is tough.
Note to reader: Do you feel paralyzed and overwhelmed when you think about studying for the GRE? This article will show you how I got over that paralyzing feeling of not knowing where to start studying and ace the GRE! Are you ready to get serious about the GRE?
What was your GRE score?
1220 General combined score, and a 715/800 on the Biology GRE -sweet!
Did you attend grad school?
Yes, I graduated summa cum laude with an MS in Biology, concentration in Genetics and Biochemistry from Georgia State University.
What made you go to grad school and get your MS first?
Did you have large and small animal experience prior to applying to veterinary school?
Yes. I have worked in small animal clinics since I was 14 volunteering, shadowing, and working. My first job at 16 was working in the kennels of a small animal clinic near our home. I also worked with horses at a facility that works with handicapped children and volunteered at the aquarium and the zoo in Atlanta.
What types of paying jobs did you have before going to veterinary school?
I worked in the kennels at a small animal clinic near our home from ages 16 to 20. Then I worked in the Soil and Crop Ecology Lab as an undergraduate at UGA. I worked as a veterinary assistant in the clinic at a theriogenology/general practice clinic off and on for about 5 years. I also worked as a student teacher while in graduate school. I did a temporary job (seasonal) at Michael’s one year for the Christmas holiday.
How many people read your personal statement before submitting it?
I had many people read it, including family members, mentors at clinics, and even people I didn’t know in the lab.
Did you volunteer?
Yes. I volunteered at the Reese Center for Handicapped Horsemanship, Georgia Aquarium, Zoo Atlanta, and organized volunteer activities for PreVet Club (such as participation in River’s Alive, and a Thanksgiving dinner at the local homeless shelter in Athens).
When did you decide to become a vet?
I have wanted to be a veterinarian since I was about 8 years old.
Did you interview any vets before starting the application process?
The first time I applied, I asked the veterinarians I had worked with about their experiences before and during veterinary school. When I found out I wasn’t accepted the first time, I met with the Dean of the veterinary school and asked them what they were looking for in applicants and how I could strengthen my application. She told me they were looking for diversified applicants. That is what really motivated me to start volunteering at the aquarium, the zoo, and with horses. I remember at one point, I was working 2 part-time jobs, doing research and school full time, and all of these volunteer activities. It was insane!
Were you a member of any undergrad clubs at UGA?
As an undergraduate, I was in a sorority (Alpha Gamma Delta), in the Pre-Vet club, in 48-hour art club, in Swimming Club, in the Herpetology club. I tried many things to see what I liked!
Did you join student clubs in your DVM program? If so, which ones? Were they helpful?
Yes, SCAVMA (as a student senator and as a special events coordinator), VOICE (Veterinarians as One in Culture and Ethnicity), VBMA (Veterinary Business Association), Zoo Med Club (as an Events Coordinator), and the LGBQT club at UGA (as a recording secretary; I have a husband, but wanted to show support for my friends!). I took a lot away from club participation. I learned how to be an effective communicator with my peers, and also learned that you have to work with a lot of strong personality types! It also gave me satisfaction to help set up events for the students at the school and helped me feel like part of a community.
Who gave you your letters of recommendation and did you know them well?
Yes, I knew them well having worked with most of them for a couple of years. I got recommendations from general practitioners, from a veterinarian at the aquarium, and from the head of the lab, I worked in during my graduate program. The vet school application only requires 3, but I had 5.
Did you find the application process stressful? Why or why not?
Yes, the application process was very stressful. I had a plan B, C, and D for if I didn’t get accepted. I had heard of people applying 4 or 5 times and never getting accepted! It was very stressful feeling like I knew what I wanted to do with my life, and not being sure if I would be given the chance.
Are you happy that you chose this career?
I’m very happy with my career choice. I love the challenges of veterinary medicine and getting to solve a puzzle. I would warn students to be prepared for the amount of work you will have to do though, both in veterinary school and once in the ‘real world’. You will be studying all day, every day, trying to cram all of this information into your heads. Really consider the best way you learn. For me, I learn through practical experience and getting my hands dirty. Therefore, the lecture style of teaching was very hard for me. We had classes all day, from 8-5. To assimilate all the information, for me, it wasn’t enough to just go back and look at notes. I had to spend hours every day going over the information, reading, highlighting, and then organizing the information into charts and studying guides.
For me, making the study guides is what really helped me to learn. Studying other people’s notes didn’t really help me learn the information. I had to figure that out through trial and error though, and my grades really suffered the first year. Adding to that, I had been diagnosed with PTSD and had family loss so my first year really didn’t go well at all, and I spent the next 2 years digging myself out of a hole. I did it though, and so can you!
Once you’re out of school, you might have an uphill battle finding the perfect job. Your first job might not be your forever job and that’s OK. You’ll still be putting in time looking up cases and learning new skills, but you have a chance at having a social life. Be open-minded about what you decide to do out of school. Sometimes you go in with a plan, and by the time you finish school, you are on an entirely different course!
Do you have any advice for students, once accepted?
Make sure that you advocate for yourself. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you are less because you don’t get something as fast as someone else. Ask those questions, even if you get reamed or told you should already know it. The point of school is to learn and to do that, you have to ask questions. You are going into piles of debt for an education, so make sure you speak up and get the education you are paying for. Also, be open-minded and take chances. Apply for everything, every scholarship, every trip, every opportunity. You might not get it, but your chances are sure a lot better if you put yourself out there!
Any study tips?
Read, highlight, re-read. Make study charts. Making them sure helped me retain information. Also, get a VIN student account. VIN has so many great examples and ways of doing things. Plus, you can post questions. Also, they are expensive but invest in books for the things you are going to do once you are out of school. You will be needing those resources.
Have there been any classes, within your DVM program that were especially relatable to your current position?
Anesthesia, Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases, and small exotics (small mammal, aquatic and reptile).
What was the most challenging class, in your DVM program?
Believe it or not, first-year anatomy killed me. I had never taken an anatomy class before!
As a Doctor, has there been a particular case that you would consider to be your favorite?
I like the cases best that offer a bit of a challenge. I don’t favor any one specific case.
Do you have a specialty or are you working towards one?
I do not have a specialty. I am considering the ABVP certification, but am undecided about which one I want to pursue.
What has been your most challenging case?
The cases that stand out are probably the ones that you can’t save. You learn from every case and are better equipped next time.
Do you frequently have to research cases, on off hours?
Yes, I am always looking stuff up in books, or on VIN.
Have you read or listened to anything worth sharing?
**The below link is an Amazon affiliate link, if you buy through the link a small percentage will go to keep this site running (pennies)**
Read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It will help you out in practice, especially if you are a little shy like I am!
Do you have any last words of wisdom?
Yes, don’t kill yourself with work. You have to take care of your health! That includes mental health, so check in with yourself and make sure you are happy with what you are doing. The goal of working is to make a life for yourself. I was diagnosed with PTSD in my first year but didn’t seek treatment because I didn’t feel like I had time. In my 3rd year, all the stress caught up with me, and I was forced to finally get treatment for my condition. I had to take a whole year off school. I hadn’t been to the dermatologist in school either but went shortly after I took leave. I was diagnosed with melanoma. Luckily they removed it and caught it really early. I’m now 4 years out from the diagnosis and haven’t had any metastasis. Imagine what could have happened if I hadn’t gone for my checkup like I’d been ignoring for the whole of school! That time off was really a boon for my health and sanity, but if I had been taking care of myself in school in the first place, I might have graduated with the rest of my class. So, learn from my experience and take care of yourself.
How can people find you?