Western University of Health Sciences is in Pomona, CA. The university received full accreditation by the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2010. WesternU uses Problem Based Learning (PBL) to teach the DVM curriculum. This involves case-studies, classroom time, and question/answer sessions.
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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 attending, and year that you started.
Western University of Health Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2019.
I Began vet school in the year 2015.
Do you have any animals living with you while being a student at WesternU?
Oh yeah! I live with three other vet students… In our home, we have two large dogs, a cat, two guinea pigs, a hedgehog, and a snake! Full house.
What was your major in undergraduate college and what school did you attend?
Pre-Med Biology Major at the University of La Verne
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 being accepted?
One application cycle
How many vet schools invited you for an interview?
1 – WesternU.
Do you remember any specifically challenging interview questions?
Check out StudentDoctor.net. Although it can be a difficult website to navigate, it holds some pretty useful information. You can find examples of interview questions from so many veterinary schools, including WesternU.
In my interview, I was able to discuss with the interviewers my hobbies, give examples of my flexibility when interacting with strong-willed individuals, give examples of how I have dealt with a situation where the outcome of my work was ‘less than perfect,’ demonstrate my ability to manage competing priorities, walk them through my thought process of working with someone morally ‘different’ than I, and much more.
It is up to you to do your research to determine the type of interview each of your schools will be giving. For example, whether it is a ‘closed’ or ‘open’ interview, whether its multiple-mini interviews or one lengthy interview, etc. Seek out your own resources for interview preparation, ie. Your campus’ career services center, speak with your college’s chair/dean for advice, seek out the speech/communications chair for a mock interview, etc.
What was your undergraduate GPA?
What was your GRE score? GRE at Magoosh.com!
I took the GRE one time.
Did you apply for Vet school after, or during your Bachelor’s education?
I applied during the summer preceding my senior year.
What types of paying jobs did you have before getting into Western University College of Veterinary Medicine?
I worked as an Animal Care Technician for my university’s research lab caring for lab mice, and as the Head Fish Care Technician for my university’s Developmental Biology course caring for zebrafish.
Did you work at a vet’s office?
I never had a paid job involving vet med (with a veterinarian), all my efforts were acquired free of charge on my part.
Did you volunteer? If so, where?
I volunteered at Loma Linda Animal Hospital, Chino Valley Equine Hospital, and the Orange County Zoo. Sometimes, it isn’t easy to get in volunteering somewhere, but what helped me in my journey is being polite, yet persistent, and over-prepared (resume and cover letter always in hand).
When did you decide to become a Veterinarian?
I decided to pursue veterinary medicine at the end of my second year of college. I switched from an art major to a pre-med biology major. However, I started working with animals when I was 10-years-old, volunteering every Saturday with the Benevolent Animal Rescue Committee (B.A.R.C.) at PetSmart, and starting my own neighborhood pet sitting business.
Did you join any student clubs at WesternU? Were they helpful?
I am an executive board member of the Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association (SC-AVMA) and a general member of a few other organizations such as VBMA, Shelter Club, Surgery Club, etc. It is always important to be involved in your community! Always.
Who gave you your letters of recommendation? Did you know them well?
Typically, you are required to have a minimum of one letter from a veterinarian, so get to know one well as soon as possible. Show them your hard work! I received letters from a veterinarian (I volunteered at his hospital for two years), my calculus professor, my academic advisor, my sorority advisor, and my senior project advisor. These individuals all knew me very well, were able to speak about my work ethic, and are people I trust to carry out the responsibility of being such an important part of my application.
Are you happy that you chose this career?
I am very happy I chose this career! It’s very challenging but well worth every bit of energy and effort.
Do you have any advice for students, once accepted?
Believe in yourself. I still need to learn to take this advice. Our profession is known to have what is known as Imposter Syndrome, where you feel like you’re an imposter in the crowd (ie. “I’m not smart enough.” “I don’t know how I got in this program.” “I can’t do this.” “I’m not good enough.”). Do not let that imposter syndrome fool you! You can do it. Push through.
Any study tips?
Everyone studies differently. Don’t expect to be able to learn in the exact same way as some of your other classmates. Everyone has their own strengths and their own weaknesses, don’t compare yourself to someone else’s: ability to grasp concepts, level of reading comprehension, ability to excel in a subject, ANYTHING ELSE.
Do you have a specialty or are you working towards one?
I am interested in a surgical specialty, so we shall see how that goes! It’s far, far away (I’m a second year)!
Do you have any last words of wisdom?
Some schools hold community involvement high on their list of important applicant qualities. I had a lot of school involvement in terms of leadership positions and honors societies. If you are still in high school or in undergrad, I encourage you to challenge yourself and be very involved in your community. It creates habits that will be a part of your lifestyle, which is important as a veterinary professional. As veterinarians, we will aim to help our communities: the animal community, the human community, the underprivileged community, the pre-vet community, etc.
Finally, thank you for choosing vet med. I love this field and I am happy to know that someone out there is falling in love with it and wanting to be a part of it, too! (hopefully, I’ve not discouraged anyone, haha).