Develop the skills necessary to enter the field of veterinary medicine.
If you are considering veterinary medicine as a career, please read through this information, and contact Dr. Parker:
The following information is based principally on the Oregon State University Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program in Corvallis but applies to many of the vet schools in the United States. Please be aware that admission to vet school is extremely competitive. Only those students who earn consistently high grades and meet all the other requirements for admission have a realistic chance of being admitted. This is not said to discourage you, only to let you know what you must do to realize your goal of becoming a veterinarian.
No particular major is preferred. Pre-vet med is not a major, but a collection of courses that fulfill admission requirements to most vet schools. In some cases, students may be accepted into the DVM program after their junior year, but nearly all students complete a bachelor’s before entering vet school. In fact, the average number of years of college was over five years for students in OSU’s veterinary medicine program. Biology and related disciplines are the most common majors, followed by chemistry; others include math, philosophy, psychology, art, and others. In terms of acceptance, no major has a selective advantage over another, as long as the student takes all the required courses and many recommended elective science courses as well. The degree of difficulty, breadth, and depth of science courses is frequently used to evaluate applicants. Thus, most students choose a science major since they will need to take so many science courses anyway. Many choose biology or animal science because of the high degree of overlap between these majors and the pre-vet requirements. (Note: SOU has a biology major, but not an animal science major.)
We recommend that students select a major that they enjoy, can do well in and would want for a career as an alternative to veterinary medicine. Selection of a major should be discussed with the pre-vet advisor and chosen by the sophomore year.
Average GPA of admitted vet students was 3.48 at OSU for the 2004-2005 entering class. The average GPA for the last 45 semester hours completed was 3.68.
Recommended Additional Courses
Note: All required pre-vet courses must be taken for a letter grade; pass/no pass options are not acceptable. A perfect 4.0 GPA is not necessary for admission, but consistently high grades in both science and non-science classes are important.
Transcripts must be submitted by Sept. 15th of the year preceding the applicant’s intended start date at veterinary school.
Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
Veterinary and Animal Experience
The veterinary admissions committee is particularly interested in an applicant’s knowledge of the profession in its many forms: large animals, small animals, exotics, public health, research, etc. The wise student will make it a point to educate him/herself on veterinary medicine through practical experience, talking with professionals, and reading. In the past, students have worked with veterinarians, either as volunteers or as employees, at private offices, clinics, vet schools, and/or research facilities. Students make these arrangements themselves. The more experience the better. Most applicants have at least 500 hours, and some have substantially more.
Other animal experience that is looked upon favorably includes raising, breeding, and showing animals; kennel work; training animals; wildlife rehabilitation; zoo assistant; lab animal care, and similar activities working around and caring for different types of animals. Science-related work that does not involve working directly with animals is also a plus, such as laboratory research or employment, field work, or working in a medical or dental setting.
Participation in other activities, particularly public-service, will strengthen your application. Diverse interests such as foreign languages, music, athletics, and other pursuits help demonstrate your discipline and uniqueness as an individual. Admissions committees want to know that an applicant is capable of relating to people from a variety of backgrounds. They particularly look for activities that demonstrate determination, motivation, leadership, responsibility, and maturity.
Letters of Recommendation
Consult with Dr. Michael S. Parker early in your program to plan your courses.