Starting Veterinary School As A Non-Traditional Student

By Amanda M. ’27, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Student

A young woman with a cute gold-furred puppy.

Unlike most veterinary students, before applying to veterinary school, I served as a veterinary practice manager at Tabor Road Veterinary Hospital here in Bryan, Texas, working alongside an Aggie veterinarian for a total of nine years.

Each day consisted of surgical procedures, vaccinations, and caring for sick animals. On top of that, I handled day to-day-operations that included managing other employees, ordering supplies, and ensuring top-notch patient care and customer service. This meant working long days and sometimes having few breaks.

I loved many parts of being a veterinary practice manager. I enjoyed working with owners and their pets, mentoring my coworkers, and seeing veterinary medicine through a business perspective. I also enjoyed communicating with the Spanish-speaking community and bridging the language barrier that many of these clients face. The biggest challenges I faced were client financial constraints and staff shortages. I think those were my least favorite parts of the job.

I know many undergraduate students are worried about not being accepted into veterinary school right away. However, I waited 10 years, got married, and had kids and a career before deciding to re-apply, and I would not change a thing.

I am so thankful for the time I had to be able to gain clinical and business experience while working in a veterinary hospital. Now, as a veterinary student, I use a lot of the time management, organization, and communication skills that I acquired during my time as a practice manager. Once I graduate, I can continue using those skills along with what I’ve learned in the veterinary program to hopefully open my own clinic one day.