Meet Dr. Shearer, she had the amazing opportunity to attend veterinary school on a Caribbean island. If you are thinking about attending Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, we have a few other interviews with Ross vets like this one with Dr. Leilani Im, who works in the US army reserves as a veterinarian.
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Check out this book: Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements (VMSAR) to help you navigate all of the requirements for each college.
Name, veterinary school attended, and year that you started.
Danielle Shearer, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, Clinical year at Louisiana State University, 2012
What was your major in undergraduate college?
Animal and Poultry Sciences with a minor in music
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At what age did you first apply to vet school?
How many schools did you apply to?
6 or 7
How many application cycles did you apply before being accepted?
3 times! I was accepted on my third cycle.
Did you attend grad school?
I considered it, but it was not for me.
What types of paying jobs did you have before attending veterinary school on the Caribbean Island of St. Kitts?
I worked at 4 different veterinary clinics (large and small animals) to get a feel for the profession. I also shadowed and did volunteer work at various clinics.
How many people did you have read your personal statement before submitting it?
I think just my parents, my mother was a teacher.
Did you work at a vet’s office?
Yes, 3 small animal clinics, and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in the large animal department.
Did you volunteer? If so, where?
I volunteered at the Charlotte Humane Society, the Greater Charlotte SPCA, as well as the Carolina Raptor Center. I also shadowed two doctors at Carolina Veterinary Specialists.
When did you decide to become a veterinarian?
I wasn’t like normal people who knew their whole life they wanted to be a vet. In fact, I thought about going the human medicine route, but after attending a career conference in high school and nearly fainting after seeing an open heart surgery, I knew that wasn’t the path for me. When it came time for me to pick a major for my undergraduate degree, animal science was the only thing that interested me. I, of course, have an enormous love for animals, but I have always been interested in medicine as well.
How many schools invited you for an interview?
One, Ross University College of Veterinary Medicine, on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts.
How many of those gave you an acceptance letter?
Just that one
Do you remember any specifically challenging interview questions?
The “tell me about yourself” question is always a tricky question, so you have to be confident in your answer. I also got asked situational questions such as “Tell me about a time you had a conflict with a coworker.” Even if you’ve never been in that situation before, you should have an answer as to what you would do.
What was your GPA (in undergraduate)?
What was your GRE score?
I would have to find the exact score, but it was low. I am not good at standardized tests.
Did you interview any vets before starting the application process? If so how did you approach them?
I spoke with the veterinarians I worked with. I told them I was interested in applying and asked if they had any pointers for my application as well as school. Some were encouraging and others told me not to go.
Were you a member of the Pre-Vet club at your school?
Should students join clubs once enrolled in a veterinary school?
It is hard to be active in clubs during your DVM degree because you are constantly studying. However, I strongly encourage people to join the VBMA (Veterinary Business Management Association). You aren’t given enough business management classes throughout school so this club really helps you understand the environment you will be going into as well as how to handle finances especially student loans, those hard employees, and even clients.
You should also join a club that pertains to the species that you would like to work with. In vet school, you learn about a variety of species, but you might not necessarily get to work with them, so joining a club can help get your foot in the door as well as learn about student conferences pertaining to that animal.
Did you apply to vet school after, or during your Bachelor’s education?
Both. I applied my senior year of undergraduate as well as afterward.
Who gave you your letters of recommendation?
You need to get both Veterinarians and personal references, so I was able to get letters from the Veterinarians I worked with, the ones I volunteered for, the ones I shadowed with, as well as a professor that I was a TA for. It doesn’t hurt to ask many people for a recommendation and then just use the ones that will benefit you the most.
Did you know them very well before asking for a letter?
I worked with most them for a few months, or years, so yes I knew them well.
Are you happy that you chose this career?
Although it was a long and hard path, I am extremely happy I chose this career, I can’t see myself doing anything else.
Do you have any advice for students, once they are accepted?
Vet school is extremely demanding and exhausting. It will push your limits to extremes you didn’t know existed, but every single moment is getting you closer to your dream and it’s absolutely worth it. Be mentally prepared.
Any study tips?
Study with friends, this can help you raise your GPA. You can quiz each other and it will help you understand the material that you might not have understood as well.
Have there been any classes, within your DVM program that were especially relatable to your current position?
They are all relatable in some way. You don’t realize how they all come together until you are actually practicing medicine.
What was the most challenging class, in your DVM program?
For me, it was Physiology and Small Animal Surgery. It was more of the professors that taught it, not necessarily the material. Get to know your professors and visit them during office hours.
As a Doctor, have you had any favorite cases?
My favorite cases are the ones where you can see the progress all the way through. You can see the animal improving, especially with birds of prey (owls, eagles, hawks). They come in for a broken wing, you stabilize it, and in a few days/weeks, you can release them back into the wild. Those are beautiful moments.
Do you have a specialty or are you working towards one?
I am hoping to become board certified in avian medicine.
What has been your most challenging case?
I’ve had cases where there isn’t anything left for you to do except humanely euthanasia the patient. Euthanasia is always hard even if you haven’t known the patient very long. If it comes to a point where you aren’t affected by it in some small way, then you aren’t in the right career.
Do you frequently have to research cases, on off-hours?
Recently, I just started having to research cases on my off-hours.
Have you read or listened to anything worth sharing?
I have a blog where I post interesting articles that I have come across regularly. My blog site is studyinglikehell.blogspot.com
Do you have any last words of wisdom?
You will struggle, everyone does. It takes determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort to makes your dreams a reality. Find a great group of friends, a hobby, just some sort of stress relief from the demand of school. So I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, but it will be worth it.
How can people find you?
My email is Danielle.firstname.lastname@example.org