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The Consequence and Stress of Not Achieving A's in Vet School

Posted by Cari Wise on September 15, 2016 at 5:12 AM
Cari Wise
Dr. Cari Wise is a 1999 graduate of the University of Missouri, College of Veterinary Medicine. She completed a Masters degree in Education from Argosy University in 2015. Throughout her career, Dr. Wise has utilized her veterinary education in variety of settings including private and corporate small animal practice, shelter medicine, spay/neuter clinics, veterinary relief services, start-up practice ownership, and veterinary technician education.


It is not uncommon for vet students to become stressed because the grades they earn in vet school are not always similar to the grades they achieved during their undergraduate studies. Many find themselves "in the middle of the pack" after being a "top student" previously.  Emotionally, this can be very discouraging and depressing for some.  

But in reality, are those grades really such a big deal?  Well, it depends.  

Remember that professional schools, particularly veterinary schools, have the luxury of selecting an elite subset of applicants and primarily select applicants with nearly impeccable academic credentials. Therefore, even being around average among such a select group of peers is impressive.

The importance of grades in veterinary schools depends in large part on your plans after school. I certainly have seen that grades do not predict the quality of the graduate or the competence of the veterinarian.

In fact, some of the best veterinarians I know graduated in the middle of their class. What is more important than the scores you are getting on exams is your ability to apply what you are learning to the real world scenarios you will eventually encounter.

For most jobs after veterinary school, no one will ask or care about your grades and rightfully so. However, grades and class rank are used when weighing applicants for certain post-graduate positions, especially internships and residencies.

That being said, a stellar CV and letters of recommendation can help to strengthen an applicant with average grades. So you should identify your goals and use your experiences in vet school to prepare you for them.

I think you will find that a slightly lower grade point average will not prevent you from being able to reach your ultimate goals. However, if you are internship and residency bound, it may take you more work.  Don't be afraid to ask your instructors for guidance in this area.

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Topics: Career, Stress Management, Vet Student, Vet School

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