Getting into vet school was not an easy process for Emily, find out how she got accepted to 7 vet schools on her first application cycle.
Emily believes every extracurricular activity she did shaped her in some way and including all of them showed that she was a well-rounded candidate. She applied to 13 veterinary schools and was accepted to 7, and chose Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
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Name, veterinary school attended, and year that you started.
Emily A. Gerardi
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2020
Vet school started 2016
What was your major in undergraduate college?
Double major in Biology (B.S.) & Public Health (B.S.)
At what age did you first apply to vet school?
How many schools did you apply to?
How many application cycles did you apply to, before getting into vet school?
How many schools invited you for an interview?
All (3 schools did not require interviews)
How many of those gave you an acceptance letter?
I was accepted to 7 schools and declined interviews to the rest after deciding on Cornell.
What was your GPA (in undergraduate)?
What was your GRE score?
I don’t remember
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Did you apply to vet school after, or during your Bachelor’s education?
Did you attend grad school before getting into vet school?
Did you have large and small animal experience prior to getting into vet school?
I had quite a bit of small animal experience and only a few hours of large animal experience. I also had many research hours which I think helped a lot.
How many extracurricular activities did you list on your application?
A lot. I’ve always been very active in extracurricular activates and I included most if not all of them in my application. Every activity I did shaped me in some way and I felt including them gave a well-rounded picture of myself.
How many people read your personal statement before getting into vet school?
Four, my parents, younger brother, my boyfriend, and a family friend who is a high school English teacher.
Did you volunteer? If so, where?
I had been volunteering at various animal shelters and hospices since middle school. Once I decided I wanted to go into veterinary medicine, I began volunteering at animal hospitals, low-cost shelter clinics, etc.
When did you decide to become a vet?
Middle school. I was always torn between a physician and a veterinarian and after spending more time with animals I discovered this career was better suited for me and would give me the greatest sense of fulfillment.
Did you interview any vets before starting the application process and getting into vet school? If so how did you approach them?
Not formally. Although I casually asked about their experiences and for any suggestions.
Were you a member of any clubs at your school? If so, which ones?
- Phi Sigma Sigma sorority
- Club field hockey
- Operation Smile
- Women in Science
Have you joined any student clubs in your DVM program? If so, which ones? Are they helpful?
- Veterinary Business Management Association
- Cornell Pet Loss Support Hotline
- Pathology Club
- Student American Veterinary Medical Association
- Omega Tau Sigma Veterinary Fraternity
- Cornell Vet Feline Club (Vice President)
- Cornell Vet Shelter Medicine Club (Clinic Organizer)
- Cornell Vet Dog Sporting Club (Treasurer)
I found joining clubs my first year to be very rewarding. I got to brush up on some skills and got to know my classmates and upperclassmen better.
Who gave you your letters of recommendation? Did you know them well?
2 veterinarians who I interned with, 1 professor I did research under and 1 professor who I was very close with. I knew all of them and felt they all knew me extremely well.
Did you find the application process stressful? Why or why not?
I found it stressful because so many people told me that due to the difficulty of gaining acceptance, I should apply to many schools. I do not recommend applying to so many schools. Research schools to find the ones you feel are well suited for you and trust you are qualified enough to be accepted.
Are you happy that you chose this career? What makes you most happy about this career choice?
I am extremely happy I chose this career path. Though challenging, I constantly find it both rewarding. Every time I help an animal or come home to see my dogs and cats I’m reminded of why I love this profession. It’s a great feeling to know that what you love to do and what you do for a living can be the same thing.
Do you have any advice for students, once accepted?
Spend your Summer before school relaxing and doing things you enjoy. You’re about to go through 4 years of hard work, you’ve earned some time to relax.
Any study tips?
Use the first few weeks of school to find what study habits work for you and then stick with it. I always read the lecture notes at least twice and outline packets on my computer. At the end of each week I study that week’s material as if I were preparing for a test. If I don’t understand something I’m quick to seek out help, whether it be a professor or classmate, to ensure I don’t fall behind. A lot of it relies on holding yourself accountable and taking responsibility to stay on top of your work.
What has been the most challenging class, in your DVM program so far?
Block I – The Animal Body. It was the first course I took and it was 12 credits. It was very rigorous and intense, especially since I was just starting school and acclimating to a new environment.
Have you read or listened to anything worth sharing?
I find a lot of interesting articles and (free) podcasts on VIN (veterinary information network).
Do you have any last words of wisdom for those who are trying to get into veterinary school?
- Find a balance between your school work and your social life. It’s very obtainable if you’re responsible with your work.
- A lot of people told me I had to have near perfect credentials to get into vet school. This is 100%, not the case. While credentials are important, a large part of being accepted is your character and what you gained from your experiences and how you plan to apply them to your career. Well rounded candidates are very appealing.
- Document all of your experiences, your hours and what you did while there.
- Vary your experiences. Try to get experience in both large and small animals, exotics and research. I was repeatedly asked about my research experience during interviews.
How can people find you?