Here’s the answers to some common questions you may have about your educational journey and the galaxy of opportunities you’ll have once you become a veterinarian.
Can I apply to veterinary school immediately after high school?
No. There is more preparation for this program than just high school. Since Veterinary School is Graduate School, a student will typically study for three years at an undergraduate institution prior to applying to veterinary school.
Who should I talk with to find out what I need to do?
Your first step is to talk with undergraduate pre-vet or pre-health advisors about degree programs in their schools/colleges and determine which best fits your interests. Ask yourself this question – “If I am not able to gain admission to veterinary medicine, what other career options interest me?” In other words, what is your back-up plan if veterinary medicine doesn’t work out? Not everyone will be admitted into the DVM program. You should have other career alternatives in mind, just in case.
Does attending a school that has a veterinary school for undergraduate study give me an extra edge on gaining admission to the school’s veterinary medical program?
No. Applicants will be considered for a veterinary school’s program as long as they have attended an accredited undergraduate college/university.
Is there a preferred major in order to be admitted to the veterinary program?
No. The required courses are very basic and are usually included in any major at an undergraduate school with the exception, perhaps, of liberal arts (and even there you may find ways to overlap pre-vet requirements with elective categories in their curricula). Many veterinary school applicants are in majors in the Agriculture (e.g. animal science, wildlife science, biochemistry, food science, etc.). Other students enroll in the biology major and occasionally someone will be enrolled in pharmacy or engineering, etc.
How does the DVM program differ in preparation from the Veterinary Technology program?
The best analogy that clarifies these professions is that the DVM program prepares you to be the doctor and veterinary technology prepares you to be the nurse.
Do you consider my high school transcripts and test scores for admission to veterinary medicine?
Most veterinary schools will consider your academic performance at the collegiate level in your undergraduate program. Your high school academic performance is important when first applying to the university in your undergraduate program.
How many students are admitted to veterinary schools each year?
Nationwide, approximately 3,000 students are admitted to veterinary schools each fall.
How many years does it take to complete the DVM degree?
4 years. This is after you have completed the 3-4 years of undergraduate required coursework that lays the foundation needed for success in a veterinary program.
What is the applicant-to-seat ratio for the DVM programs?
Ratio = 2:1
Is a veterinary school’s ranking important?
No. Each of the veterinary schools has unique aspects about their educational programs, specialty areas, faculty, geographic location, etc. It’s really like comparing apples to oranges. All accredited veterinary schools deliver a standard quality of education meeting the requirements of the AVMA/COE.
For animal experience, in what kinds of activities do I need to be involved?
Animal experience includes 4-H animal projects, livestock farms, humane societies, zoos, kennel work, racetracks – any activity that allows you to gain hands-on experience in working with animals in general. This does not include family pets. It’s advisable to keep a journal of your activities. Include dates, time spent, types of activities, who supervised, etc.
What is included in veterinary experience?
These are activities or tasks supervised by a veterinarian.
Is AP credit acceptable for courses?
Generally, veterinary schools will accept AP credit for courses as long as the course is posted to a collegiate academic transcript and clearly indicates for what subject matter credit is received (e.g. “calculus” is specific as to course, “math” is not). Keep in mind that there are some dangers in using AP credit to bypass beginning coursework on campus. You should discuss your particular situation with your academic advisor.
Do I need to finish an undergraduate degree in order to apply and be admitted?
Not in all cases. Some veterinary schools do require a Bachelors Degree, but generally, you may apply to veterinary school after you have finished the required coursework; however, the statistics indicate that the majority of both resident and non-resident students applying to veterinary schools gain admission after four years of study.
[based on Purdue University’s FAQ for HS & Parents]