I am currently a junior zoology major at Suny Oswego in NY. I have the opposite problem in that my GPA is not to lo I currently have a 3.3 but I have not had a lot of time to gain many experience hours. I am putting myself through college and have been working while at school. Also I didn’t decide to actually pursue veterinary school until my sophomore year. I always hear you can make up for low grades with experience but does it work the other way in that good grades and a good GRE score can make up for a lack of experience?
To be honest, I have not heard that you can make up for GPA with experience or vice versa (but I could be mistaken!). I have heard that you can make up for a less than stellar GPA with a solid GRE score.
Experience is one thing that I do not think is necessarily indicative of whether you can handle the academic rigors of veterinary school. Most veterinary schools value or even require veterinary experience because veterinary school is a significant investment of your time and money and they want to be certain that you know what you are getting yourself into. Especially when you consider the amount of debt that students are accumulating in pursuit of their veterinary dreams, you want to minimize the chance that they are going to regret their decision.
It’s understandable that students are not always able to gain much experience while they are enrolled full-time in school, especially if you are working or supporting yourself. However, do whatever you can to fit in experience whenever possible! I know my undergraduate school, Pomona College, has internships that students can do in the surrounding community to gain experience and exposure to various fields and professions. Pomona College actually pays students for their time during these internships, which is wonderful as it allows students who need to earn money to participate. Granted, not all schools have these programs, but they are worth looking into. If you need to gain experience, my advice to most people is to find the local animal shelter and inquire with them about volunteering. Although not all animal shelters have veterinarians on staff, it is a great way to gain experience.
I will also reiterate the importance of using the explanation section of the VMCAS to explain your situation and why you do not anticipate the weaknesses on your application to persist through veterinary school.
Also, don’t worry about being “behind” because you didn’t decide very early on that you wanted to be a veterinarian and made every move in your life directed at achieving that goal — that’s unrealistic! The vast majority of students in my veterinary school class did not know when they were 5 that they wanted to be a veterinarian. I didn’t decide until I was in graduate school in a completely different field! And plenty of people who read this blog also changed their careers! So don’t worry — you’re not behind. None of us are, really. We just all take different paths to our goals and those paths are often determined by our individual life experiences! 🙂
Life In Vet School & Tips On Getting In