Want to Be a Vet?
How to Prepare, Apply, and Get into Vet School
Are you a high school student or undergraduate considering applying for veterinary school? Learn advice from a current vet on what to do now to get there.
Many high school and undergraduate students consider going to veterinary school and look for advice on how to be chosen by the admission boards. There is a formula that most veterinary schools use to review and prioritize candidates during the application process assessing what medical assignment help they need. By understanding what schools are looking for, appropriate steps can be taken now to maximize an applicant’s potential for acceptance in the future.
Ways to Prepare for Veterinary School While Still in High School
This is a time where learning appropriate study habits is essential. The veterinary school requires large volumes of material to be covered and memorized, and students who create good habits early have a much easier adjustment. Learning to prioritize time between studies, athletics, goal-setting for various deadlines on projects is crucial. Learning proper study habits such as creating study guides, flashcards, devoting time daily versus the all-nighter before the major test to absorb and integrate new material will also be vital for success. Creating good habits for a balanced life to include social activities, athletics, and other hobbies is important due to the high level of stress in veterinary school and the profession, and should not be forgotten.
Academically, focusing on math and science is particularly important, as getting good grades and high scores on SAT aptitude tests will help ensure admission into strong undergraduate programs to continue towards veterinary school.
In the real world, gaining exposure to animals through volunteering with rescue groups, shelters, boarding facilities, and veterinary hospitals will be helpful to better appreciate subtle changes in behavior, postures, and attitudes of future patients. Learning proper restraint and safety measures will reduce the risk of work-related injury later on, and improve confidence while examining patients in front of owners. Trustworthy mentors who are natural teachers and are responsive to questions are the most valuable resources of all.
If possible, split time between a few hospitals or locations to be exposed to various practice styles, communication, and clinical expertise in different areas. This is a good time to test the waters in areas that are often more uncomfortable for high school students, such as observing surgery and being more confident that the career choice is correct. Keep contact with mentors during college, as these professionals often are a good choice for letters of recommendation (usually at least three are needed for most veterinary school applications) in the future.
Important Steps to Take in Undergraduate Before Applying to Veterinary School
Choosing which major to track in undergraduate studies should be a very individual choice. Biology and related fields such as biochemistry and other sciences are by far the most common approach but is not necessary for admission. Most veterinary school admission boards do not favor one major but recommend choosing a path that would best serve the student’s interests as a backup plan if admission into veterinary school is denied. Successful students from animal science, engineering, business, political science, journalism, and even music have been chosen, the key is fulfilling all the pre-veterinary course requirements during the process. Biology tends to be a popular choice as it has the most overlap of classes with the core tracking of the biology degree.
Usually, colleges do not have a formal “pre-veterinary” program but do have a pre-veterinary club that can be a valuable source of current admission guidelines, volunteer opportunities in the area, and the ability to find other students with a common goal. Undergraduate years can be challenging and grueling, and contact with other students with a similar goal will serve as motivation to stay on track and focus on the goals ahead. If a veterinary school is on-campus, take advantage of annual open-house events for prospective applicants.
Most schools will offer an event, usually in the spring, to educate on the application process and allow an inside view of the inner workings of the school such as current research programs and hospital services. Give core classes priority study time, as most schools not only look at the overall grade point average (GPA) of all classes taken but also the in-major GPA as well.
Additional experience within the field of veterinary medicine or animal-related volunteering will add additional credit to an application, and cumulative hours of service should be entered in a log for reference when filling applications. Preparation and completion of the GRE standardized test will need to be attempted usually in the sophomore or junior year. It is advised to start early to gain experience in case repeat testing is desired to aim for a higher score. If research experience is possible by teaming onto a current project with a professor in the same major as a work-study, with an assistant that an applicant enjoys learning from, involvement may be an excellent chance for additional credentials on an application.
What Veterinary Schools Look for in Applications
The most important academic credentials in an application include overall GPA, in-major GPA, and the most recent 45 hours, as well as the GRE test. Fulfillment of all pre-requisite classes is necessary as well. Other important considerations include hours of veterinary-related experience and/or research (quantity as well as variety and variations in job types). When looking at work history, it is always positive to see signs of gradual increases in job responsibility as proof of good work ethic, good team working skills, and communication. Veterinary schools want students with a good moral character that are reliable, honest, and hard-working.
Another way for schools to screen these more personal qualities is through letters of recommendation, as well as interviews. Additional evidence of moral character can be shown through community service, volunteerism, and leadership experience in other clubs and organizations. Applications will also usually include an essay describing the reasons for choosing veterinary medicine and personal goals for an applicant’s career. This is a chance for applicants to shine and speak directly to the veterinary schools and should be written with care and thought.