Ashleigh Frain is a pre-veterinary medicine sophomore at Elmhurst College majoring in biology. She recently applied for the 3+4 affiliation Elmhurst has with the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Eligible Elmhurst students apply to the CVM after their first year of college; which is two or more years earlier than most applicants. Accepted students have the option to earn their bachelor’s and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees in 7 years instead of 8 years. Below Ashleigh shares a bit about her preparations to apply and interview for the affiliation.
Ashleigh Frain and her golden retriever.
Around this time last year, one could not only find me worrying about final exams and essays that I still had yet to write, but also about the huge amounts of animal and clinical experience that I had to garner before applying for the affiliation. Even though I volunteered at animal shelters, took veterinary classes at Northwestern University, pet-sit, and own a variety of animals, it was important for me to diversify my experiences further. Being more reserved, it was somewhat difficult to cold call animal hospitals to ask if any of the veterinarians would allow me to shadow them, but for the sake of my future career I was able to gather the courage to do so. I shadowed multiple veterinarians at Grayslake Animal Hospital over 6 months. During that time, the doctors taught me anything I wanted to know from how to work with customers to the diagnostic tests to use for each illness. In addition to gaining experience at the animal hospital, I was also able to help out at my friend’s farm. Her parents board and train horses, and they allowed me to do some small tasks to care for the horses so that I could get a feel for being around them. All of these amazing opportunities helped me learn more about the field and made my application for the affiliation stronger as well.
After the initial application review, I was offered an interview at UIUC. Preparing for the interview and actually interviewing at the veterinary school were the hardest parts of my journey so far. I took questions that I was asked during my mock interview as well as questions from other veterinary school interviews that I found online and practiced answering them. I practiced them with my parents, my friends, and even by talking to myself during my commute to and from Elmhurst every day. I focused on making my answers almost second nature so that my nervousness would not make me forget what I wanted to say. During the interview I had a pad of paper with a few key words and phrases on it to jog my memory in case I did forget a point I wanted to make. The interview went well, and I was offered a seat in the UIUC College of Veterinary Medicine! It was very rewarding and relieving in the end to know that all of my hard work paid off. However, this is only the beginning of my exciting journey to become a veterinarian!