Graduate Early or Get More Undergrad Experience

I am a sophomore in college and am on track to graduate with a degree in three years. That means I would be applying to vet school this summer. I am in a pre-acceptance program so I don’t have to worry about getting in but I am worried about the course load I will need to hold next year to make sure I can graduate in three years and still keep my GPA up. Recently I have been on the fence about doing three or four years. I think that I could keep my GPA if I worked really hard but I am now thinking about staying for the normal four years. Would the tradeoff of going four years and spreading out my harder classes be worth going the extra year or should I just push through with three? If I ended up staying for a fourth year I also would be taking more classes that would help better prepare me for the classes I will be taking in vet school that I wouldn’t have time for if I just did three years.

My son is a sophomore in an early accept program also. He is lucky that he doesn’t have to finish his undergrad degree, just the prerequisites in three years. His next year he only has two prerequisites (biochemistry and english - taking that one in the summer) and some electives which will be the additional classes that will help him in vet school (anatomy, reproduction, and nutrition) so for him it makes sense. He has the option to go four years but to him that makes no sense.

If he had to take too many classes I would have told him to go the fourth year and get the classes that will help him. Going into vet school already stressed is a killer! If you can take a semester abroad for your last semester that would be great! See if your school has anything coming up for that.

The other factor is can you afford it without debt? That is pretty huge. If your parents are paying make sure they are in for the extra year of expenses. If not could you take some classes in the summer to even things out?

So the answer is look at your individual situation and decide. They both have pros and cons. How close are you to the early accept GPA limit? If you have room to get a C or a couple of Bs it might change things. Do some calculations and see. Talk with your parents about finances. Good luck!

I love @momocarly’s suggestion to consider doing something like study abroad in the 4th year. Vet school will be super-intense. You have already obviously been working really hard. Spreading out the classes, and maybe adding some happy things- a History of Art class, study abroad, something that widens your horizons a bit- can add so much to your life…

…which is long! that extra year will seem like nothing before you know it. Spread your wings a little bit before you get stuck into the next long push.

Don’t feel like you need to rush through undergrad and go to vet school. Many of my classmates had taken a gap year or more before applying for vet school. Obviously grades matter when it comes to vet school applications so focus on your grades.

Also, from a personal standpoint, some of my best memories were from undergrad. Many of my friends feel the same way as well. So if you are enjoying undergrad right now, don’t close that chapter too early.