Saturday, November 24, 2012

Next Club Meeting: 11/29

At this week's meeting we will be discussing how to narrow down vet school choices and present the range of specialties and related jobs available in the veterinary field.(e.g research, surgery, ophthalmology, vet tech, etc)

We encourage all members to bring their ideas and knowledge related to this week’s topic and share them at the meeting!

Our treasurer, Meggie, has come up with a great fundraiser for the club. In addition to blanket donations for shelters, another charity idea is donating to Heifer International. More information about this charity can be found here:

See you this week!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Guest Speaker: Stephen R. Purdy, DVM (11/12, 7pm in Clapp 127)

Our first official guest speaker for the semester! 

Guest Speaker Presentation: November 13 Tuesday @ 7pm. Clapp 127.

Stephen R. Purdy, DVM will be coming in to talk to the Pre-Vet Club about his large-animal practice and research in Peru. He will talking about his background and answering any questions that we may have at a Q&A session at the end.

Dr. Purdy attended the US Naval Academy in 1971 and recieved his DVM from Cornell University in 1981. His specialty in veterinary medicine is in large animal with a specialty on alpacas, donkeys, horses and llamas. He taught at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and in 2012, he was awarded the Unversity of Massachusetts Distinguished Teacher Award and the University of Massachusetts Commonwealth Honors College Teaching Excellence Award.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

An Abridged Guide in Selecting a Vet School

An Abridged Guide in Selecting a Vet School
by Jacqueline Cheng ‘13

So you have decided that you want to become a vet! Now where do you start? There is a lot of research involved when choosing a school but here is an outline to make your life infinitely easier.

Several Factors to Consider in Deciding Where to Apply

Try to apply to a veterinary school in your state (if it has any). Each graduating class usually has more spots allotted to in-state residents. You have better chances of getting accepting and if you get in, you save thousands of dollars in tuition money.

The more people you know, the better. Do you have alumni writing you recommendations? Does your undergraduate university have a vet school? Get in touch with the admissions officers at your school or neighboring school (e.g. Tufts at Umass Amherst).

Educational Options
At all veterinary schools, you will learn to treat a range of species. But some schools have better facilities and faculty for certain areas of veterinary medicine.

Gut Feeling
Visit any prospective school and ask yourself, “Do I see myself spending 4 years here?”

The average income of a vet right out of school is around 60k but it varies depending on your state and field. If you are accepted into vet school, you will graduate with 6 figures of debt. Even if you go to an in-state school, tuition and living expenses can add up to approx. 50k/year. 

There are a few things you must consider:
Do you have debt from undergraduate school to pay off.
What sort of lifestyle do you imagine for yourself in the next 10-15 years or so? Marriage? Kids?

Find out any grants and scholarships you can apply for. Look for government loans and if necessary, personal loans from places such as Wells Fargo, chase or Sallie Mae.

Based on my understanding, you will mostly be paying off vet school with loans. Vet schools don’t generally offer much scholarship money (it seems to be around a max. of 2k). There are scholarships options once you get in, but it’s highly competitive and are usually award to one or a handful of students each year.

(See below for scholarship options for vet students)

Licensure Issues
It matters if you attended a AVMA/COE accredited or not. (See the AVMA/COE section below)

Ultimately, you've got to impress each school you apply to! Don't be that person who's just happy to get into any school. You can technically apply to all 28 veterinary schools in the U.S but applications are expensive and it can be a headache managing all 28 applications. So choose wisely.

Selecting the Vet School of Your Choice
What is the AVMA/COE?

AVMA/COE stands for the American Medical Association’s Council On Education. It assures that minimum standards in veterinary medical education are met by the accredited colleges of veterinary medicine and the students enrolled receive an education that prepares them for entry level positions in the profession.
Veterinary schools fall into two membership categories: 

1.) AVMA/COE accredited or
2.) Non-AVMA/COE accredited (which may be affiliated with the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, AAVMC)

In the United States, graduating from an AVMA/COE accredited school is an important factor in gaining licensure after vet school. The requirements are set by individual state regulatory boards.. For a graduate to be eligible for state licensure, she has to take: 

1) the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam (NAVLE) and
2.) Any additional state-specific exams.

The NAVLE is administered by the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (NBVME) fulfills a core requirement for licensure to practice veterinary medicine in all jurisdictions in the U.S and Canada. To be eligible to take the NAVLE, the applicant can graduate from either:

1) an AVMA/COE-accredited or
2) non-AVMA/COE accredited college.


an applicant from a non-AVME/COE accredited college must also have a certification of eligibility. This certification can come from one of two sources: 

1.) the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG) or
2.) Certification Program or the Program for the Assessment of Veterinary Education Equivalence (PAVE).

All state regulatory boards accept the ECFG certification, administered through the AVMA, as meeting the full or part of the education prerequisite for licensure eligbiligy. As of now, only 28 state regulatory boards accept the PAVE certification, administered through the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB).

In other words, you have a lot more hurdles to go through after graduation if you went to a non-AVMA/COE accredited college. It can be costly, more time-consuming and more frustrating.

AVMA Accredited Colleges in the US:
1.      Auburn University
2.      University of California
3.      Colorado State University
4.      Cornell University
5.      University of Florida
6.      University of Georgia
7.      University of Illinois
8.      Iowa State University
9.      Kansas State University
10.  Louisiana State University
11.  Michigan State University
12.  The University of Minnesota
13.  Mississippi State University
14.  University of Missouri
15.  North Carolina State University
16.  The Ohio State University
17.  Oklahoma State University
18.  Oregon State University
19.  Purdue University
20.  University of Pennsylvania
21.  University of Tennessee
22.  Texas A&M University
23.   Tuskegee University
24.  Tufts University
25.  Virginia Tech and University of Maryland
26.  Washington State University
27.  Western University
28.  The University of Wisconsin-Madison

Other schools of veterinary medicine commonly attended by US Citizens
Murdoch University
University of Melbourne
University of Sydney

Universitié de Montréal
University of Calgary
University of Guleph
University of Prince Edward Island
University of Saskatchewan
University College Dublin

New Zealand
Massey University

United Kingdom
University of Edinburg
University of Glasgow
Royal Veterinary College

West Indies
Ross University (St. Kitts)
St. George’s University (Island of Granada)

There are two new vet schools being opened in the U.S but they are not yet AVMA/COE Accredited.

Non-AVMA/COE Accredited Institutions
St. Matthews University (Grand Cayman Island)
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Mexico City)

Veterinary Medical School Curriculum

There is no standardized veterinary medical school curriculum. The programs may last from 3-6 years. Generally, programs in the U.S and Canada last about 4 years. The first 3 years generally focuses on basics sciences (e.g. anatomy, physiology, histology, neuroanatomy, pharmacology, bacteriology, toxicology, etc) with the 3rd year including exposure to clinical topics (e.g. anesthesiology, diagnostics, surgery, dentistry, etc.). The 4th year involves clinical training.

What major should you choose as an undergrad? It is a lot easier to get into classes and upper-level division classes if you're a science major because you have less scheduling conflicts, you will receive more priority on the waiting lists, you get to be on the MHC mailing list for science lectures and having a science major is somewhat preferred when applying for a research position in the sciences. 

 In vet school, you will learn the basic sciences in great detail and will be expected to know the material in a short amount of time. Nothing in the undergrad curriculum or years of experience of volunteering or working in a vet's clinic will ever truly prepare you for vet school (and the same goes for medical school!). But it will help to have some upper-division sciences courses under your belt. You will be familiar with the material and understand what is expected of you as a vet student. Also, admissions officers do have a slight preference for someone who has taken upper-division sciences courses.

You don’t have to be a science major to apply to vet school. You should show your personality and be yourself. Excel in whatever you major in. 

It is good to be well-rounded but you must also show the school how your education has prepared you for a profession in veterinary medicine. Show them that you would have done just as well if you were a science-major. For example, do you have strong writing and analytic skills? Do you communicate well and are an effective teacher? Do you love philosophy and have a great sense of logic? It's strongly recommended that you do research or an internship as an undergrad. A senior thesis is advisable as well.

Veterinary medicine is not simply a career but a vocation.

It's expected that you like and care for animals. But you must like science and have a desire to practice medicine. And most of all, you should be the kind of person that anybody would want to have treating their animals whether they are exotics, livestock or domestic small animals.

So be an all star!

To give you an idea of what you might be studying in vet school, below is a sample curriculum for the first two years at Tufts Vet School:

Sample Curriculum for a Vet Student at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

1st Year

Gross Anatomy I
Physiological Chemistry
Clinical Skills I
Human-Animal Relationships
Veterinary Molecular Biology
Radioanatomy and Working Principles of Medical Imaging
Problem Based Learning I and II
Adopt-a-Veterinary Student
International Veterinary Medicine
Veterinary Histology
Gross Anatomy II
Feeds and Feeding
General Pathology
Comparative Anatomy and Physiology

2nd Year
Microbial Pathogenesis
Diagnostic Microbiology Laboratory
General Parisitology
Veterinary Neurobiology
Basic Pharmacology
Clinical Skills I and II
Respiratory Pathophysiology
Law and Veterinary Medicine
Urinary Pathophysiology
Clinical Rotations
Emerging Rotations
Emerging and Exotic Diseases of Animals and Initial Accreditation Training
Veterinary Clinical Genetics
Clinical Rotations
Emerging and Exotic Dieases of Animals and Initial Accreditation Training
Veterinary Clinical Genetics
Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology
Cardiovascular Pathophysiology
Reproductive Pathophysiology
Diagnostic Imaging
Principles of Surgery
Endocrinology Pathophysiology
Public Health
Clinical Pharmacology
Hermic-Lynphatic and Clinical Pathology
Introduction to Zoological Medicine
Accelerated Clinical Excellence (ACE)

List of Scholarship Options for Vet School

There are scholarship options but they are highly competitive and are usually awarded to one or a handful of students every year.

The U.S Army Veterinary Corps offers a full-tuition scholarship plus a monthly allowance in exchange for training and reserve service.

The Harold Wetterberg Foundation Veterinary Medicine Scholarship Program provides $15,000 to students who've graduated from a New Jersey high school/college or university.

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) has an Animal Health Student Scholarship Program and offers scholarships to 1st, 2nd and 3rd year students at ACME/COE schools. They also award a 3rd or 4th student (with keen interest in cats) a scholarship from the Winn Feline Foundation.

The Winner's Circle Scholarship Program is sponsored by the American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation and The Face for Education. It awards one scholarships a year to a student from a vet schools in North America and the West Indies which sponsors a national chapter of the Student Chapters of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (SCAAEP).

Sunday, October 21, 2012

THIS WEEK'S MEETING PUSHED BACK (10/25 Thursday --> Possible next Thursday)

Hi everybody!

Something came up in the family so it's difficult for me to hold a meeting this Thursday (10/25). We decided to push it to this Friday (10/26). We plan on holding it in the MacGregor common room around 4:30 or 5pm. Please respond back as to which times would be more preferable to you. We could schedule it earlier but we don't know how many people still have labs or classes to go to on Fridays.  It seems that Friday is a bad choice. We will try to aim for next Thursday (10/1) instead. Sorry for the inconvenience guys!

The topic of this week's meeting will be on applying to vet school and the Tufts Presentation that will be held this Tuesday, 6pm at Umass.

As for the Tufts Admission Presentation, we've already reserved a van. We should be leaving no later than 5:30pm and we should be meeting around Clapp. The final details will be sent out soon. To those who are planning on taking the van with us: Please see Jackie Collette in the Pre-Health Office to make sure your name and phone number is listed.

Also, our club is looking for a secretary and a treasurer.

Sorry for the inconvenience guys!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Activities List

Club Activities List
Here are some activities in the area that you might be interested in, for volunteer or any hands-on experience.  More will be added as I go along. If there's something you would like to add to the list, or would like to see on the list, please contact me, the President of the Club.

Umass Livestock Barn
For those who are interested in getting involved with the Livestock Groups at Umass, here is some contact information. All of this should be up-to-date (unlike the info on the Umass website).

Cow Group
Meeting Times: Meets on at 5:45 at Umass, Held in Deerfield

Goat Group:
Meeting Times: Mondays @ 6pm, Hadley Barn

Sheep Group:
Meeting Times: Tuesdays @ 6pm, Hadley Barn

Donkey Group:
Meeting Times: Contact the Group

It's best to have your own car if you're attending one of these groups. I don't recommend walking. If you're looking to carpool, contact the group or go on our FB page and write a post. If you're a Pre-Vet member who is in one of these groups and is offering to carpool, please leave a comment on FB as well.

I've went in and talked to our adviser about the Fleet van situation a few days ago but I haven't received any confirmation about that yet.

Animal Shelters
Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society
- Welcome Sessions on 12/5 and 12/6
T.J O'Connor Animal Control and Adoption Center
- due to staff changes, currently placing new volunteer orientations on hold

See Club Email or Facebook Group for Animal Shelter Poll

Meeting Schedule for Fall 2012

Upcoming Meeting Dates
10/25 Thursday @ 9pm, McGregor Common Room (After Tufts Admission at Umass)
11/29 Thursday @ 9pm, McGregor Common Room (After Thanksgiving Break)

Room (and date) may be subject to change. Attendance is important.
If you have any questions or concerns, please comment or email.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ross University School of Medicine & School of Veterinary Medicine

Hi everybody! I wanted to remind everybody of an event held tomorrow by the Pre-Health Program that should be of interest to you. I know that not everybody is able to attend the presentation given by Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts Admission. But perhaps, you may be able to attend this admissions presentation!

Jeanne DiPretoro, the Associate Director of Admission-New England Area from the Ross University School of Medicine & School of Veterinary Medicine will be giving a presentation tomorrow, on Thursday October 11 in Kendade 203 at 7pm. Their Caribbean-based campuses are located in Dominica and St. Kitts.