Cortney, applied to 3 schools, was waitlisted at LMU, and finally accepted to Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine.
If you happen to be waitlisted at LMU or any other school try to stay positive and remember your end goals. Being on a waitlist can be nerve-wracking, many schools will have a numbered list, so you can see where you fall on the waitlist. You can also find statistics for being waitlisted at LMU or any other school by checking the APVMA FB group. Just search “waitlisted at LMU” or any other school and you can find a ton of informational threads.
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Name, Veterinary School attended, and year that you started.
Cortney Curtis, Lincoln Memorial University – College of Veterinary Medicine (LMU-CVM), 2016
Who are the animals that you currently share your life with?
Maggie, an 8-year-old black lab mix that I rescued during my undergraduate career. Mowgli and Baloo (a Beagle mix and Pyrenees mix) are currently my roomies.
Where did you attend undergrad and what was your major?
Clemson University (Go Tigers!) and I studied Animal Science.
At what age did you first apply to vet school?
I was 21, and going into my Senior year at Clemson.
How many schools/application cycles did you apply to before being accepted?
I applied to 3 schools, 2 in-state tuition schools: UGA-CVM and Mississippi State CVM, and 1 out of state school LMU-CVM during my first application cycle and was accepted that cycle.
Were you waitlisted at any schools?
I was waitlisted at LMU for about a month before receiving the phone call that changed my life!
How many schools invited you for an interview?
I interviewed at 2 schools (Mississippi State and LMU-CVM). UGA-CVM does not include interviews in their application process.
How many of those gave you an acceptance letter?
After being waitlisted at LMU, I received an acceptance letter.
If you were accepted to more than one school, what were some reasons for your choice of school?
Luckily I didn’t have to make a choice between schools since I was waitlisted at LMU and then accepted a month later.
Do you remember any specifically challenging interview questions?
I don’t remember any particularly difficult ones. Always be ready for the “tell us about yourself” question (your elevator speech), and always be ready to ask a couple questions.
What was your GPA (Undergraduate)?
My GPA was 3.42 (thanks, Physics).
What was your GRE Score? GRE at Magoosh.com!
I was the rebel that only took it once. I scored a 297 total, and 4.0 on the analytical writing portion.
Did you attend grad school?
I did not, I would have done mammary development research at Clemson if I did not get into veterinary school on my first application cycle.
How many extracurricular activities did you list on your application?
I listed 5-8 (I can’t quite remember the exact number … or my VMCAS password to look).
Did you have any exotic, large and small animal experience prior to applying to veterinary school?
Yes, I had experience working at the Clemson Dairy Farm and participating on the Dairy Show Team. I also received hundreds of hours of experience through my Animal Science Labs at Clemson. Along with that, I had around 400 hours of experience in a small animal clinic.
What type of paying jobs did you have before going to veterinary school?
Starting at Clemson, I worked for the Clemson Phonathon for 6 months (it was relatively similar to a telemarketing job). I worked as a Camp Counselor during 2 summers for the SC Governor’s School of Agriculture. I worked for Clemson Campus Recreation for 4 years as a sports official and for 3 of those years as an Intramural Sports Manager. I worked at the Clemson Dairy Farm for 1 summer (the 2:00 am milking shifts didn’t quite work for my sleep cycle). Lastly, I worked as a Veterinary Assistant at a small animal clinic.
Did you volunteer? If so, where?
I volunteered a lot in high school for a local animal shelter/foster group called Hugs for Hounds. I also assisted with Freshman Move-In at Clemson for 3 years.
How many people read your personal statement before submitting it?
Probably 8-10 people. I edited that thing over 100 times.
When did you decide to become a vet?
After getting through my “I want to be an astronaut” phase, I realized that my passion in life was working with animals. So I don’t have an exact moment or an age, but I was pretty young.
Did you interview any vets before starting the application process? If so how did you approach them?
I briefly spoke with the vets that worked at the small animal clinic, but I didn’t have any formal conversation. I mainly spoke with my professors and advisors at Clemson (most of them being Ph.D.’s and not veterinarians) but they were still just as helpful in their experiences and were extremely willing to help.
Were you a member of any clubs at your undergraduate school? If so, which ones?
I was a member and showed cattle for the Dairy Science Club and I was an Ambassador for the College of Agriculture Forestry and Life Sciences.
Did you join any clubs/organizations in your DVM program? If so, which ones? Were they helpful?
I am currently a member of AABP, the Class Representative for SVECCS, The treasurer-elect for SAVMA, and I am the Vice President of the Student Government Association. They are all helpful in terms of networking and just generally getting to learn about the opportunities in my profession.
Did you apply to Vet school after, or during your Bachelor’s education?
I applied the Senior year of my Bachelor’s education, so I went from graduating with a B.S., getting waitlisted at LMU for a month, to starting veterinary school that fall.
Who gave you your letters of recommendation? Did you know them well?
I received a letter of recommendation from my supervisor with intramural sports, 2 of my professors/Primary Investigators for our research, and from the veterinarian, I worked for during my summer months. I knew them all pretty well, especially my supervisor for Intramural Sports and my professors and PI’s for the Research project I worked with them on.
Did you find the application process stressful? Why or Why not?
It was a little stressful, mainly because the personal statement was an entirely new level of stress. I also didn’t realize some of the schools I applied to had supplemental applications until mid-august, so I was a little behind the curve on that one.
Are you happy that you chose this career? What makes you most happy about this career choice?
I am extremely happy with my career choice. I get to work (if you can call it that) doing what I love every single day. I have specifically chosen to work for the Army Veterinary Corps once I graduate from veterinary school, and I look forward to serving those who serve America every day!
Any study tips?
Really just be prepared to study in ways you’ve never done before. Be open to learning new tips and tricks from professors and from classmates, and don’t get distracted by the way others study. For example, my best friend studies by reading through the slides 5-10 times, and I HAVE to make study guides in order for me to actively learn. Just find what works best for you, and continue to do it, even if it takes a semester or 2 to figure out YOUR way of studying.
What have been some of your favorite classes, within your DVM program?
I really enjoy our clinical skills courses. I am a second-year student and I already know phlebotomy and injections, all the knots and ligatures, full exams on dogs, cats, cattle, and horses, and so many more things. I also surprisingly enjoyed Immunology, but I think our professor made that class as great as it was.
What has been the most challenging class, in your DVM program so far?
Anatomy was challenging and exciting at the same time. Honestly, none of the material or concepts we learn are hard, Vet school is hard because of the amount of material you are required to know in such a short period of time. (It’s the firehose vs. the water hose analogy).
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?
I did have to take out student loans my first year of school. I am fortunate to have received the Army HPSP Scholarship and will have the rest of my school career paid for, in return for years of service. I am still concerned about paying loans for that first year of school and cannot imagine the burden felt for those students who have 4 years or more to pay off when they graduate.
Is there anything in particular about your DVM program or the school itself that you like?
LMU is beautifully situated right next to the Cumberland Gap National Park and the hikes, drives, and views are absolutely breathtaking. It’s definitely not a bad way to spend a morning commute. LMU is also very hands-on and very student focused. We are the only school in the country with a Faculty position geared towards student success. Dean Johnson, who is our Dean of Academic Success is absolutely amazing, very helpful, and relatable. The faculty and staff are very approachable, and extremely nice. We are a close community and you can definitely feel that here at LMU.
Do you have any advice for students thinking about attending your University?
We are nestled in a small town, but don’t let that turn you away. It definitely has its perks (the national park for one). It is about an hour away from Knoxville TN, about 3.5 hours from Nashville, TN, and about 3 hours from Asheville, NC. Close enough that they are good weekend destinations, but far enough away to not be a distraction during test weeks/weekends. There is plenty to do here, you just have to look in the right places.
At this point do you think you will have a specialty?
I don’t currently have a specialty that I would like to dive wholeheartedly into at the moment, but who knows, I always keep my mind open!
As a student have you had any challenging cases yet?
I have not personally had any challenging cases, but I look forward to them!
Have you read or listened to anything worth sharing? (doesn’t have to be Vet related)? (articles, podcasts, books)
All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot is a pretty good read.
Do you have any last words of wisdom?
Go into this with an open mind. Learn from your professors, not just what they teach you in class about their specific subject, learn about life from them. They have already experienced what you as a student are experiencing and will experience, and they are some of the wisest people I have ever met.
How can people find you? (Social Media or Email)
Feel free to ask me anything: email@example.com
If you want to read another interview with an LMU student check out Charlotte’s interview, she started vet school in 2016, and is so thankful that she got into Lincoln Memorial University, she says LMU is where she belongs.