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Smiling Student

Advice for Pre-Vets


Vet schools accept students who: 1. understand what 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 if applicants 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 current undergraduates but will add more sections later.

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

  • While volunteering is important, do not sacrifice your grades to do it. Experience does not compensate for poor grades (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. There are so many areas to look at--small animal practices; large animal practices; public health; shelter medicine; zoos; and specialty areas such as dermatology and neurology. Explore and enjoy the journey.

  • Find hands-on opportunities. 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) to 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 Blogs: Free Online Info for Pre-Vets: Part I and Online Advice for Pre-Vets: Part 2.

The resources listed in the blogs are also included 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

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

American Veterinary Medical Association's Veterinary School Admission 101

The Student Doctor Network

Career Girls (home page,; veterinarian,

The Occupational Outlook Handbook (US government's official site for career information)

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

Click here for CareerMutt's other career links.


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