Should I stay or should I go?
September 18, 2009 11:35 AM   Subscribe

The best path? PhD and wait to get into a US school, or go off to the Caribbean?

I am currently finishing up my master's program and have already been accepted to a PhD program. I want to go to veterinary school. Due to several learning experiences, my application is a little 'iffy'. I started college at 18 and REALLY wasn't ready for it. Quit, came back a few years later, and went at it again. Success initially, but then the loans ran out and I was working 60+ hours a week and trying to go to school full-time. Attempt = almost epic fail. Recovered nicely in grad school. So, 17 years after my first attempt at college, my cumulative GPA is a bit of a hot mess in terms of applying to vet school. It is recovering with each passing semester, but it is not what many of the schools look for, since the application process is not really holistic for most schools.

I did get favorable application reviews last year from 2 U.S. schools. I am tweaking my app to suit these schools. But, admission to vet school is still very competitive, so many people have to apply 2-3 times.

I was accepted to all three of the Caribbean schools. This is more of a logistic difficulty than anything else, although none of the schools are accredited in the U.S., so an additional exam is required for licensing.

I am looking for thoughts, insights, etc. I really like my grad program, which affords me opportunities that I probably won't have again. My advisor has great funding, and essentially will let me design whatever project I want to do. So for my master's I went to Costa Rica.

I would really like to go to a U.S. school, just because it would be easier logistically. I have 6 dogs and 5 cats (that I can't and won't farm out to foster homes), so moving to the Caribbean would be...interesting. But if going to a Caribbean school is the best idea, I am willing to do it.

My advisor wants me to apply to vet school, and will release me from my responsibilities and put it on hold if I get in. If I don't get in this year, I could take more classes and improve my app and apply for a 3rd time. Cost is not an issue.

What does the hive mind think is the best choice? Thanks in advance.
posted by bolognius maximus to Education (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Stay here. The logistics of moving your animals (if you even could import them) are reason enough to stay in the US.
posted by bluedaisy at 11:49 AM on September 18, 2009

My sister in law went to Ross (on St. Kitt's) after an educational career very similar to yours. According to her, the curriculum at Ross is actually fairly rigorous, but the additional exam means you can't work in half the states immediately after graduation, and while job-hunting, she got the distinct feeling that she was being looked down on. That said, she did land a job at an emergency hospital in PA shortly after graduation.

Oh, and like a lot of vet students, she has a lot of pets. IIRC, she left one of her cats with her parents, brought the other one with, and wound up adopting a stray dog on the island.
posted by Oktober at 11:56 AM on September 18, 2009

That many animals? Getting them there will be expensive and a pain. Getting them back will be a WAY LARGER PAIN. And also expensive. The US has stringent rules about pets coming into the country, even if they started out in the country, and there are a bazillian and one things you have to do. Two good friends of mine took pets with them to field work and had a bear of a time bringing them back, and each had just one animal. The logistics of bringing 11 back with you will be...time consuming and likely a huge-ass pain.

Other than that, not that I know anything about veterinary medicine (but my vet is awesome), it seems neat to do a degree elsewhere.
posted by cachondeo45 at 12:04 PM on September 18, 2009

Despite the competition, even if you get a job back in the U.S. you won't earn much. A good friend who's a vet strongly recommends against the Caribbean schools because you'll be hard pressed to pay back the cost.
posted by idb at 12:33 PM on September 18, 2009

You say you went to Costa Rica for your masters and I'm confused. Are you there now with your pets? If that's the case it may actually be easier to take your pets to school in the Caribbean than to the US.
posted by WeekendJen at 1:36 PM on September 18, 2009

My experience was different that cachondeo45's friend. I brought my puppy (born overseas) into the US this summer, with proof of rabies vaccine, with no problem at all (I am American but I don't know if that mattered). This was through JFK. I'm planning to fly him back into the US next month and expect no problems.

But that's just one dog at at time.

The CDC has information about importing pets into the US.

Again, though, the actual transportation of that many animals sounds horrendous. (And I say this as someone who used to have three dogs and two cats.)
posted by bluedaisy at 1:40 PM on September 18, 2009

WeekendJen: I don't live in Costa Rica, I just make several trips a year to collect data, etc. My school is in the U.S. Sorry for the confusion.

Thanks for the answers so far. The transport of the animal would be a big mess, bluedaisy. I looked into it, and I would actually have to charter a small plane to take them over there.
posted by bolognius maximus at 2:23 PM on September 18, 2009

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