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Getting Application Help!

Here comes summer!! By now, many of you are already working on your VMCAS 2015 application and you know better than anyone that this step in your veterinary career goal is critical. While the application process seems to be daunting and even frustrating, there are TONS of resources that are available to you to help you with your application. The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) is the sponsor of the VMCAS application and offers a plethora of tools and resources to guide you through the VMCAS application. We thought it would be important to give you a guide to these tools, so we’re devoting this lead story to just that:  VMCAS Resources.

WEBINARS:
VMCAS has created a series of Application Workshop webinars that will be given once a month. These workshops are opportunities for you to come online with customer service and the VMCAS Director, Tony Wynne to ask specific questions about your application. The first of these workshop webinars was held on July 2nd but there are three (3) more scheduled prior to the October 2nd, 2014 1:00pm Eastern Time deadline. A word of advice, try to register early as these are going to be popular and have a limited number of seats. Here’s the schedule (Click on the date to register):

IN PERSON APPLICATION WORKSHOPS:
This year, we are holding a few in-person application workshops. This is an opportunity for you to come meet with Tony Wynne and get your questions answered. These in person workshops are few, but will be an excellent opportunity to meet one-on-one with VMCAS and socialize with other applicants. Workshops will be exciting and fun and there may be some surprises for those that attend. There is only one scheduled so far, but more will follow this summer and fall. Keep an eye on our website (http://aavmc.org/workshops.aspx) or, register by clicking the links below:

VMCAS CUSTOMER SERVICE:

One of your best resources during the application process is VMCAS’s Student & Advisor Hotline. Our team of customer service professionals know the VMCAS system better than anyone and are available to answer your questions. You may contact the hotline by phone: (617)612-2884 or e-mail: vmcasinfo@vmcas.org.

DOWNLOAD THE VMCAS INSTRUCTIONS:

VMCAS has made available a complete downloadable version of the instructions. This is an excellent tool to use while you complete the VMCAS 2015! Click HERE to get there.


"A Siren in the Fog"

A siren wailing in the fog. Stopped for DWI. This could derail your veterinary career. Pre-vet students should be aware that they can jeopardize their chances of admission to vet school if convicted of a felony or even a misdemeanor. In fact, they are ineligible for consideration if convicted of an academic or drug/alcohol violation in school in addition to the court conviction. Even if admitted to vet school, a court conviction can disqualify them from receiving federal financial aid. Financial aid is a necessity for many students, with the cost of vet school for one year exceeding $40,000. The consequences of even a misdemeanor are even more serious for international students who run the risk of deportation on top of vet school admission woes.

The siren in the fog is an apt symbol for the current confusing legal landscape relating to drugs and alcohol use across the country. Each state has different rules regarding age, and amounts that are legal. With legalization of recreational use of marijuana in CO and WA, the situation has become even more confusing to students. They may run into trouble if they vacation in a state with markedly different rules from their home state. I tell my advisees that the only way to be safe is to steal clear of drugs and alcohol. They often say, "We don't want to be social outcasts! We just won't get caught." I say "Don't put yourself in a situation that you will regret. If you are going to a party, be sure to have a sober ride home. Avoid any drug/ alcohol use if you will be driving. You should also leave parties that get out of hand." When students think this through they will avoid risking that siren in the fog.

[Ed. Note: This article was submitted by Advisor Lucia Tylor. Please note that not all schools consider these issues the same and typically will review on a case by case basis.]


Veterinary Student Debt & Financial Literacy

Student Debt Picture

[Ed. Note: We are rerunning this article because of its importance to pre-veterinary students]

No one likes to think about debt, money, loan repayments and financial literacy, but the truth is, the sooner you put these topics on your radar, the better off you'll be!

There's been a lot of chatter out there recently about the average debt of a graduating veterinary student. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) says that the average debt of a graduating veterinary student is in the neighborhood of $160,000.00.  That's a pretty big number. 

But this number shouldn't get in the way of your goals. Like any debt, it's manageable with proper planning. So let's start at the beginning: What's the difference between Student Debt vs. Financial Literacy?  Student Debt = the amount of money you owe for your education + any other debts incurred as a result of your education. Financial Literacy = your knowledge about what makes up your student (and other) debt, and how well you manage it.

Some quick tips to help you with student debt and financial literacy:

  • BEFORE VET SCHOOL: Understand the cost of attendance vs. the tuition at any school you're thinking of applying to. Also consider the in-state vs. out of state tuition of these schools. You should also understand credit... what is it, what's your score, and how to repair any problem areas.
  • DURING VET SCHOOL: Consider additional out-of-pocket expense that are not covered by student loans: pet expenses, for instance. Also, make sure you clearly understand financial aid: who is giving you this money? How much is it? When do you need to begin paying it back?

The most important thing to remember about your student debt is that you are investing in your future. It's probably been your life-long goal to become a veterinarian and getting a good education that will help you do that is important. Do not let student debt obstruct that goal... just learn how to manage it.