Read what the US Bureau of Labor Statistics has to say about this profession.
Veterinary schools do not require a specific major. You should consider a major which you enjoy, in which you will perform well and which may serve as a basis for further graduate work or employment should you choose not to apply to or are not admitted to veterinary school. Admissions committees expect variety in educational programs, so you should take courses in a wide variety of subject areas, no matter what you decide to declare as a major.
For many students, the most difficult task is to acquire the study skills and self-discipline necessary to attain academic excellence. The success of your transition to college-level work depends not only on ability but also upon preparation, motivation, organization and how well you learn how to learn. It is important that you really learn the material, not just memorize it, as it is crucial to
Veterinary schools require general biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry and physics designed for science majors. Most schools require some laboratory components. Not all veterinary schools have exactly the same requirements. See our Pre-Vet Resources page for a prerequisites chart from the AAVMC.
Most schools also require additional coursework such as biochemistry, physiology, animal nutrition, microbiology, math/statistics, composition, humanities and/or social sciences.
You should meet with a PPAC advisor and also consult the admissions literature for the specific requirements and recommended courses at each school in which you are interested.
Competitive pre-veterinary students also possess these important qualities: competitive metrics, strong personal attributes and have meaningful pre-veterinary and other professional experiences. Visit this webpage for more information about these critical components of your application and meet often with a Pre-Professional advisor.
The Graduate Record Exam is a standardized test that measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and critical thinking and analytical writing skills that have been acquired over a long period of time and that are not related to any specific field of study. Some veterinary schools require that you take the GRE prior to admission. We suggest familiarizing yourself with the GRE early on so that you can plan for the test. Understanding the test can positively affect what you learn in class and how you choose to retain that knowledge. Stretch yourself in your general education courses at UC and by reading beyond class requirements. The training will serve you well when you take the GRE.
Some veterinary schools will accept the MCAT. Click here for information about the MCAT.
Generally, you apply to veterinary schools before the beginning of your senior year (or a year before you plan to enter), so you should take the admissions test by the spring or summer after your junior year. If offered during the application cycle, you may repeat the test if you are not happy with your scores and you have a good reason to think your score will improve. However, we encourage you to be as prepared as possible the first time you take the test. Pre-professional advisors can discuss preparation plans with you.
The criteria for admission varies from school to school, but usually include academic record (GPA), GRE or MCAT, letters of recommendation, demonstrated knowledge and commitment to the profession and a personal interview. Personal characteristcs such as integrity and maturity are considered. Very early in your college career you should initiate several hours of observation with a small animal vet. Additionally, it is recommended that you observe veterinarians that work with other populations such as livestock, exotics, zoo animals, etc.
This varies from school to school. However, the national mean GPA of first-year veterinary students is 3.54. It is particularly important that you perform well in your science courses. It is important for those considering professional school to be realistic about the extent to which performance meets admissions expectations.
Admission committees look at the "big picture" as they evaluate applicants. They realize that every student does not hit the ground running when they enter college. Admission committees expect an excellent academic record, but will make some allowances for a problem quarter, slow start or rough spot. If academic problems arise, you must bounce back and perform better than ever to show that the problem was an exception, rather than the rule. Use resources such as professor and T.A. office hours and the Learning Commons.
Amounts and types of financial aid vary from school to school, as does the cost of your education. You should investigate the costs early in your undergraduate career. Knowing that you are probably going to incur a substantial loan debt for veterinary school may affect the way that you borrow for your undergraduate education. Most applicants are eligible for government originated aid; apply during January of your application cycle, even if you are still waiting to find out whether or not you have been accepted. Apply for aid at www.fafsa.ed.gov/.
If you are a low-income applicant you may be eligible for a Fee Reduction Voucher to help offset the cost of taking the GRE.
Preparing for admission to veterinary school requires careful long-range planning and accurate information. The PPAC specializes in providing you with necessary information and helping you develop good planning skills. The staff of the PPAC provides you with help through each step of the way. PPAC provides services including course selection, career exploration, time management tips, information on individual schools, admissions test preparation advice and application assistance.
You probably have more questions. Please contact us to make an appointment. It is never too early to start planning.