Dr. Young on Getting into Western: “It may have taken longer than I thought it would but honestly, everything does happen for a reason”

Dr. Young did not have an easy time getting into vet school but the important factor is she did not give up. She applied to vet school 5 cycles over the course of 10 years and eventually got into Western University of Health Sciences. She says that the problem based learning at  Western is the only way she got through vet school.


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Name, veterinary School attended, and year that you started.

Dr. Tracy Young

Western University Of Health Sciences 2012-2016

 Western University Vet school


Where did you attend undergrad and what was your major?

Colorado State University, Equine Science pre-vet.


At what age did you first apply to vet school? 



How many schools did you apply to?

The first time I went through the application cycle, I would say I applied to 10.


How many application cycles did you apply to, before being accepted? 

From 2000 to 2011, I applied 5 times.


Is there anything you can pinpoint about your 5th application (the one where you got accepted), that helped with your acceptance?
So, talking to the admissions committee at Western I asked them what I needed to do and why I wasn’t taken into account. The only thing that I messed up on is one of my classes was null and void because it was over 10 years old. That was my fault. They told me to take the class and also take physics 2 and I have a chance. They said that I would have gotten an interview if it wasn’t for these details and that I had a very strong application. I just forgot about the 10-year rule. 🙂 


How did you stay motivated to keep applying?

Well, this is actually kind of a personal question. My mom raised me as a fighter and to never give up. I had a lot of things happen in my life that made going to school difficult. My mom had breast cancer since I was 13. I stopped applying and took care of her for a year at the end when she was terminal. After she passed and after a lot of other things that happened I was depressed and doing my masters.
I finally just woke back up one day and realized that while I loved my job I still wasn’t where I wanted to be in life. I also made a promise to my mom before she passed that I wouldn’t give up on my dream. It may have taken longer than I thought it would but honestly, everything does happen for a reason. If I would have gotten in when I first applied I would have had to of dropped out to take care of her.
Some things are just more important than veterinary school because if you have the determination that will come with time.
Did you have a backup plan?
I was living my backup plan. I would have been happy working in research for a long time. It was fulfilling work, I loved my job and the pay was good!
Did you think about applying to any of the Caribbean vet schools?
No, I didn’t want to go to any due to the move being too much for me. If I were younger with no animals and no fiancé at the time I would have been more willing to apply there.




How many schools invited you for an interview? 

The last time I applied I only got one interview and it was at Western University of Health Sciences.



Do you remember any specifically challenging interview questions?

The hardest one I remember getting was name a time that you had a difficult workmate and how did you handle that. I did not have a good answer to that question.


What was your GPA (in undergraduate)?

Around 3.25.


What was your GRE score?

I do not remember. *****Note from the author: Try out Magoosh for free using this link.


Did you attend grad school and where?

Yes,  Drexel University of Health Sciences, my GPA was around 3.5.


Did you attend grad school in order to strengthen your application?

No, I did not. I was trying to figure out what to do with my life at this stage. I didn’t want to do Equine Medicine anymore. I was working in a small animal clinic as an assistant with a bachelors degree and I just needed more. My mom had just passed, I just broke off a 6-year relationship and I needed change.
Did I have the thought of if I apply to veterinary school again this can’t hurt? Of course, I did. I did my masters because my mom died of cancer and I wanted to be a part of finding a cure even if it was a small role. I worked in cardiac research and then oncological research. It wasn’t until I was working for a few years that I realized that I still wasn’t where I was meant to be and that I still wanted to go to veterinary school. 


What types of paying jobs did you have before going to veterinary school? 

Veterinary technician for 12 years, waitress, customer service manager at Toys R Us and Blockbuster, research veterinary technician, veterinary assistant, a volunteer with overnight foal care.



How many people read your personal statement before submitting it?



Did you volunteer? If so, where? 

Colorado State University foal care for 4 years

Large Animal Veterinary Clinic in Greely


Did you have large and small animal experience, if so what kind? How about exotics?

I had more large animal than small starting out since I did my undergrad in Equine Science. I did a lot of foal care during school for about 4 years. Worked at a large animal clinic for about 2 years. Then did small animal for about 4 years. Then worked with lab animals, where I  working with sheep, pigs, mice, rats, and rabbits for 4 years. Not a lot of exotics minus the rats and mice in research. 


When did you decide to become a vet?

When I was a little girl. This is the only thing that I have done and have wanted to do.


Did you interview any vets before starting the application process? If so how did you approach them? 

I talked to the vets that I worked with as a technician. Everyone told me not to do it because it was hard and not worth the pay.


Were you a member of any clubs at your school? If so, which ones?

Pre-vet club


Did you join student clubs in your DVM program? If so, which ones? Were they helpful?

I was a member of multiple clubs, large animal clubs, surgery club, an officer in the behavior club.



Did you apply to vet school after, or during your Bachelor’s education?

My last year of my bachelors was the first time I applied. Then 2 years after my bachelors. Then I took time off from applying due to personal reasons. After my master’s I applied two more times.


 Who gave you your letters of recommendation?  Did you know them well?

I had one from a professor and the rest were from doctors that I worked with.


Are you happy that you chose this career?

For the most part. I am in the middle of an internship and it really tests your love for the career. There are days that I regret my decision but I don’t know what else I would be doing.


Do you have any advice for students, once accepted?

Take time off before school starts because the next 4 years will be the hardest of your life.


Any study tips? 

There is no cramming. Read something every day and build on your knowledge and also apply it to cases.


Have there been any classes, within your DVM program that were especially relatable to your current position?

Western U does all problem based learning so all the “classes” are relatable because we went through cases. Case-based learning is probably the only way I got through vet school.


What was the most challenging class, in your DVM program?

It was 3rd year and it was clinics at the school and it was hands-on. I did well in the clinics but the oral exam was the death of me.


What advice would you give to students thinking about attending Western?

You have to be able to be self-sufficient. They don’t hold your hand. You study what you think they want you to know. They don’t have lectures like normal places. 


As a Doctor, has there been any particular case that was your favorite? 

I like all the intricate internal medicine cases that really make you think outside of the box because it is like putting a puzzle together. There is an answer you just have to find it.


Do you have a specialty or are you working towards one?

I do not right now. I am thinking about critical care but may just stick with ER


What has been your most challenging case?

While I like the internal medicine cases I think these are the most challenging. Especially respiratory. I feel like I am the worst with these cases.


Do you frequently have to research cases, on off hours?

Not very often, no.


Have you read or listened to anything worth sharing?

I mainly read emergency and critical care books to keep on things.

Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Manual, 3rd Edition
  • Hardcover Book
  • Karol A Mathews (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1360 Pages - 10/22/2020 (Publication Date) - LifeLearn Inc. (Publisher)


Do you have any last words of wisdom?

Just work hard and don’t give up on your dreams. It took me 5 times and there are still hurdles that I need to overcome. If I can do it, anyone can do it. You just have to have the dedication.


How can people find you?

I am on linked in and facebook but if I don’t know you I don’t add you on facebook. Linked in is probably the best way.