Smiling Student

Advice to Pre-Vets

Vet schools want to make sure that those they accept: 1. understand all that a veterinarian does; 2. will thrive in a tough academic environment and; 3. will contribute to the school and the profession. That is why schools require relevant experience, excellent grades and test scores, and prerequisite classes. It helps applicants


to establish residency in a state with a veterinary school, but there are alternatives if that isn't possible.

f you think you might be too old to apply, reconsider. Did you take a different career path but veterinary medicine is gnawing at you? This article might be of interest, "Why It is Never Too Late to Go to Vet School" on

For now, I'll focus on undergraduates, but will be adding more sections later.

As an undergraduate, take advantage of all of the resources offered at your college, including volunteering and pre-vet advising.

  • While volunteering is important, do not sacrifice your grades to do it. Your experience will not compensate if your grades slide (in almost every case). You will have time to volunteer later.

  • You have to take science prerequisites, but you do not have to major in science.

  • Shadowing (or following a veterinarian) is a great start. Build on it. There are so many areas to look at--small animal practices; large animal practices; public health; shelter medicine; zoos; specialty areas such as dermatology and neurology. Explore and enjoy the journey.

  • Find hands-on opportunities. You may even want to do research. You can also create your own projects to help animals.

  • Don't tie yourself to a timetable. You may not want to hear this. Take time if you need it. There is no rule that says you have to attend vet school the year that you receive your undergraduate degree. You may even decide to take a gap year (or more) and travel or work after graduation.

  • Take advantage of your college resources. Talk to your advisors. You can also network with alumni in the field. Join the pre-vet club. Start one if it doesn't exist. When the time comes, ask your advisor to review your essays.


CareerMutt Blog: Free Online Info for Pre-Vets, Part I. Sites mentioned in the blog are also listed below.

University of Florida Pre-Vet Advising: How to Get Into Veterinary School—a guide based on your questions!

University of Massachusetts at Amherst (UMass Amherst), Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Pre-Vet Advising

The University of Texas Pre-Vet Guide

Veterinary Information Network (VIN) Sites: I Want to Be a Veterinarian and Vet School Bound

Canadian Veterinary Medical Association's A Career in Veterinary Medicine

American Veterinary Medical Association's Veterinary School Admission 101

Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges Pre-Veterinary Resources

The Student Doctor Network

Career Girls (home page,; veterinarian,

University of Kentucky, Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Pre-Veterinary Science

The Occupational Outlook Handbook

Netvet and the Electronic Zoo (two sites by the same person); these sites are outdated, but were the first of their kind

The American Pre-Veterinary Medical Association

Click here for CareerMutt's internship, externship, volunteer and related links.

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