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 VetSTREET.com.
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.
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