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Including high school accomplishments in a graduate school application?

I have not applied to graduate/veterinary school yet, but I am keeping a document of all of my accomplishments and experiences to refer to when I need them.

I would like to include my study abroad experiences from high school (I studied abroad in 5 countries). I did not have the opportunity to study abroad in undergrad (money constraints), but I feel as though these experiences were unforgettable to me. I read that people include work hours from high school throughout college on vet apps, so I was wondering if this isn't too different.
#college #graduate-school #college-admissions #veterinary #study-abroad #college-applications

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Kayci’s Answer

Hi there, I am a law school graduate, so I know how difficult it can be deciding what to put in your professional resume. Generally, I would advise against putting anything on a graduate resume from your highschool years; however, the exception to that is where you have something interesting that makes your resume stand out. I think it is a great idea to include your experience studying abroad because it makes you memorable and also shows you are well-rounded. It is different from the average person - even I have only been to one country. So I think it would be fine to add that to your resume, but maybe just a line or two about it. Even if you decide against putting it on your resume, I think it would be a good talking point in an interview or on a cover letter. Best of luck!

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Dora’s Answer

Hello Jackie,


I too have been struggling with this. The best advice I have gotten, thanks to feedback from both my undergrad mentor and my aunt who worked as a hiring manager, is to include that experience in a "Websites, Portfolios, Profiles" section. I have volunteering and mentorship experience from high school that could set me apart, but don't really fit in with a current resume. I was advised to put these on a website (either self-designed or something like Wordpress) because it shows that I also have some other technical skills and note that website in such a section. You can also put these experiences on your LinkedIn profile and give the short form URL. This way you can still reference it, but it doesn't take up valuable room on your resume. It's worked--I've gotten phone interviews because of the summary on my website.


I also second Rob Goodman and Kayci Schultz's advice on working the experience into your essay or interview. If you consider it invaluable, it sets you apart. I do caution practicing if you want to include it in an interview--it should sound organic and not forced.


Good luck,
Dora Culton

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Rob’s Answer

With any application, start with the reader in mind. What story do you want them form about you in their mind? I think that your international experience can tell a great story if you have interest in international veterinary work. I would probably look for a way to include this experience in the essay portion of the application.

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Courtney’s Answer

That is great that you got to study abroad in 5 countries when you were in high school. Not many can say that. My first question was how long ago was that....to determine if it's really relevant now or if it's several years in your past. I can't speak with experience towards your application for grad school however I can say that when we go through resumes to pick candidates to interview for openings at the Vet Clinic where I interned, and the zoo where I work as a zookeeper, we look only for field related experiences, accomplishments, certifications and awards (and GPA). What country someone studied in has no impact on our decision to interview and doesn't set one candidate apart from another. However, I would say that if you have room on your resume or grad school app to include them, it certainly won't hurt. Honestly, I would view it as a testament to your independence at a young age.


Personally, I'm in a unique situation where I was able to get my foot in the door to get a job as a zookeeper without having to have a bachelor's degree like is required. The reason for this is because I went to a career high school where I took 10 animal science classes, I did a 500+ hour vet clinic internship during high school, and I volunteered for 4 years at a zoo during high school. Since I was able to accomplish these field related tasks during high school, I will always include them on my resume and I would also include them on my application to grad school.


I hope this helps.


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