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Megan Downey '10
earning DVM/PhD
North Carolina State University

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Megan's Advice

Application Timing:
The vet school application process begins much earlier than any grad school application. I had to take the GRE in July and get all my applications turned in by September and October, whereas more 'generic' grad school applicants don't need their applications turned in until February or March. The search process is important--I started in June, and should have started earlier. If you are applying to vet school, start EARLY. Know what extra classes you need to take, and get them doneand out of the way early! It is also a good idea to set aside a certain couple of hours during the week to focus on any applications. That way, you aren't putting off anything until the last minute or completing an application as an afterthought. Turn in applications earlier than the deadline so you can get it out of the way.

Choosing the Best Schools:
When it comes to the number of schools I applied to, I looked at the programs offered by the schools as well as the location, and narrowed down from there. I ended up applying to 8 schools. It is expensive to apply to schools, so you should only apply to those schools that you could truly see yourself being happy at. Research schools as a freshman and sophomore in college, and don't rule out out-of-state schools. Another piece of advice: don't overlook a school just because you have never heard of them or at first glance they don't appeal to you. Do your homework--research more about the college, apply, and visit the school. NC State was never a school I initially considered until I researched more about the school, and after visiting, found it was a perfect fit.

Funding: Students should also look into scholarship applications for grad school. For example, most Greek sororities and fraternities offer a lot of funding to members going on in their education--take every opportunity you can to apply for funding.

Test Preparation:
When it comes to the GRE, don't even attempt to cram in any vocabulary words within the last month or so before the test. I would strongly suggest buying the Kaplan or Barron's GRE prep book. Kaplan has great strategies for cutting down time in math, and Barron's has a huge vocabulary list that you can skim through to get an idea of the type of words used in the vocabulary portion of the test. Don't 'freak out' and try to study really hard for the test--it won't benefit you. Learning ways to save TIME and being an efficient test taker is what will benefit you during the exam.

Students shouldn't worry about interviews--if you are asked to an interview, the school already wants you. An interview is a great opportunity to learn more about a school, and should be treated as your chance to see if the school is the right fit for you. Ask lots of questions, and don't be afraid to ask anything you are curious about!

When it comes to application essays: be yourself! I looked back on my essays for NC State, the school where I got the most money and was most well-received, and realized that what I wrote was the perfect blend of ambition and wit. Some of what I wrote was a little bit silly, but at the same time, really revealed my character. Be yourself in your essays--show who you are! If the school likes it and accepts you, it is probably a good fit for you not just educationally, but also socially.