Benjamin attends The Ohio State University vet school, he didn’t apply to vet school right away. He waited 1 and a half years after completing his B.A., to find out why just read his interview below! He was invited for an interview at 8 different veterinary schools.
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Name, veterinary school attended, and year that you started.
Benjamin Singh, The Ohio State University, began August of 2017 (class of 2021)
Who are the animals that you currently share your life with at The Ohio State University Vet School?
My roommate’s dog, and currently in the process of bringing my own dog to Ohio with me.
If you have pets living with you during vet school, how do you balance caring for them with classes?
None of my own yet, but I do know that it requires a time commitment even more-so than owning a pet already does given the workload we take on as vet med students.
Do you think there were any specific experiences or items on your application that helped to strengthen it?
Definitely having a generally diverse background, ranging from working in small animal practice to assisting with research. Not everything has to be vet med related. Schools like seeing that we are aware of life outside of our chosen career, and I think having experiences (whether it be volunteer, employment, shadowing etc) that go beyond just vet med are a great way to go about that.
Where did you attend undergrad and what was your major?
California State University, Northridge; General Biology
Did you apply for vet school after, or during your Bachelor’s education?
1.5 years after the completion of my B.A.
Did you attend grad school?
No. Rather than opt for a Master’s, I attended a local community college with a reputable pre-veterinary program that allowed for a wide variety of hands-on large animal experience.
At what age did you first apply to vet school?
How many schools/application cycles did you apply to before being accepted to The Ohio State University Vet School?
One cycle, 13 schools applied to.
Were you waitlisted at any schools?
VA-MD, Kansas State
How many schools invited you for an interview?
How many of those gave you an acceptance letter?
If you were accepted to more than one school, what were some reasons in your choice of school?
Cost is first and foremost given the current financial reality of the profession, and the school that felt like the most appropriate fit for myself as a person and student.
Do you remember any specifically challenging interview questions?
None in particular, most were run-of-the-mill questions about specifics in my application and situational hypotheticals regarding leadership, conflict resolution, etc. The best prep, in my opinion, is to have mock interviews and/or have friends find or come up with challenging questions to hone your ability to answer calmly and coherently when under pressure.
What was your GPA (in undergraduate)?
What was your GRE score?
How many extracurricular activities did you list on your application?
Pre-veterinary club, long distance running, and a few other school clubs
Did you have exotic, large and small animal experience prior to applying to veterinary school?
Yes, a couple-few hundred hours experience in large and exotics, and ~2500 hours or so of small animal general practice.
What types of paying jobs did you have before getting into The Ohio State University veterinary school?
Worked as a cashier at my undergrad my entire time there before working at a dog training facility for a short time, and eventually worked my way into a couple of different clinic positions.
Did you volunteer? If so, where?
Regular volunteering at a local shelter, volunteered in a herpetology research lab on campus, and volunteered at an exotic animal practice.
How many people read your personal statement before submitting it?
A handful of people; different professors and advisors mainly so as to get an idea of what takes different readers had after reading through it.
When did you decide to become a vet?
I was a typical pre-vetter who knew he wanted to work with animals for as long as I remember, although I didn’t see myself straying from small animal medicine like I have (for the time being, at least).
Were you a member of any clubs at your undergraduate school? If so, which ones?
Pre-veterinary club, BEER Club (Biology, Ecology, and Evolution Reading Club)
Did you join student clubs in your DVM program at The Ohio State University Vet School? If so, which ones? Were they helpful?
As of right now, I am only active in ASLAP (lab animal). Our ASLAP club is fantastic. Our officers really try to reach out to us with any and all opportunities, and the wet labs even just two semesters in have been a blast. While I am not in any other clubs yet, I know several other clubs host a lot of amazing trips and wet labs that offer unique experiences.
Who gave you your letters of recommendation? Did you know them well? Did you find the application process stressful? Why or why not?
DVM from my first clinic job
Large animal DVM/professor who was an invaluable mentor to me
DVM from an exotic animal clinic I volunteered at
Undergrad research professor/Associate Dean of biology
Pre-vet program director
I chose my letters based on individuals who I knew very well and who knew me well enough to write me a positive endorsement. It’s my honest opinion that the relationship with who you ask to write your letters is far more important than that individuals title(s).
Are you happy that you chose this career? What makes you most happy about this career choice?
Absolutely. One of the best things so far is that there are so many specialities and subspecialties within those as well. There are so many types of medicine that I didn’t even know about or consider as a career path for myself before starting veterinary school. It’s a bit overwhelming, but also very exciting.
Do you have any advice for students, once accepted?
Don’t try and do anything to “prepare” for vet school in your time off leading up to it. Relax, enjoy your free time while you have it, spend time with your friends and loved ones. Once you begin, you really hit the floor running so just celebrate your success and enjoy it as much as you can.
Any study tips?
It varies greatly from professor to professor and of course institution to institution. The best thing to do is to keep an open mind and be open to trying different study techniques, even if you’ve been successful up until this point with your same methods. You’ll pick up on the nuances of each class/lecturer which really helps, although there will definitely be times when the material is just really dense and/or bland and you just have to power through it.
What have been some of your favourite classes, within your DVM program The Ohio State University Vet School?
Clinical Pathology without a doubt. Learning how to go about reading bloodwork and interpreting what low/high/normal values mean and piecing it all together like a puzzle is pretty thrilling for me personally, and the entire class is highly clinically relevant (unlike many other classes in our first year)
What has been the most challenging class, in your DVM program so far?
Currently, pharmacology is the class I have struggled the most with since chemistry and mathematics were not my strong suit in undergrad.
As a student, did you have to take out loans for your education? If so, are you concerned about the amount of debt you will have after graduation?
Absolutely. I think it is important for prospective students to be aware of the financial reality before delving into the profession and making the decision to take on the massive debt associated with a veterinary education.
Is there anything in particular about your DVM program or the school itself that you like?
Great faculty and lecturers for the most part, and a real sense of camaraderie among students.
Do you have any advice for students thinking about attending your University?
Tour the school, ask current students any and all questions (don’t be shy, it’s your future you’re talking about here) and ultimately decide if OSU is the school you see yourself attending for the next 4 years.
At this point do you think you will have a speciality?
As of right now, I am currently interested in laboratory animal medicine, but am keeping an open mind.
As a student have you had any challenging cases yet?
Did you work a paid job during vet school? If not did you know of anyone who did?
Not personally. Several of my classmates do work part-time to have some extra spending cash, but I personally enjoy sleeping a lot when I’m not studying and don’t think I could work my days off without my grades suffering to some extent.
Have you read or listened to anything worth sharing?
I love to read for pleasure whenever I have the chance. Neil Degrasse Tyson’s books are all great reads, and some of my other favourites include The Martian and Solaris. There are a lot of great podcasts out there as well. I highly recommend Radiolab!
Do you have any last words of wisdom?
Vet school is tough, but getting in shows you belong there, regardless of how prominent the impostor syndrome may be at times. When you get in, try and hold onto that amazing feeling of first getting accepted. There will be a few bumps in the road, as with life in general, but remembering why you’re there in the first place helps a lot. And as cliche, as it is, make time for yourself and the things you love. Mental health and awareness are especially important when you’re in a program as rigorous as veterinary medicine.
How can people find you?
Singh.firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook