Clemson, UGA or UF for pre-vet

Hi. This is my first post although I’ve read through many threads and think there’s so much great advice given in these forums. My D22 is deciding where to go for her animal science/pre-vet major. She applied to 16 schools, has heard from 13 and been accepted to all. Still waiting for three RD but she says she’s most interested in Clemson, UGA and UF and was accepted to honors and is OOS for those 3. We’ve visited them and she says she likes them all although I think she’s most comfortable on Clemson’s campus. She’s a twin and this will be my girls first time apart from each other in school. She’s a fairly quiet, serious, studious kid but I think she has the potential to be more outgoing (maybe without always having her twin there who is also very serious and academic). She learned through a VetCamp experience that it’s often a good idea to go to undergrad where you’d like to go to veterinary school and mostly that’s how she made her college list except that Clemson was a school she just liked that had pre-vet but not a vet school. She also wanted a school with a big sports culture as our family loves college sports. She earned a merit scholarship to Clemson but don’t know how much yet although from reading here I know it won’t be a huge amount. UGA has waived OOS tuition which is significant and we won’t hear about scholarships at UF until mid-March. We will not qualify for financial aid and have put no cost restrictions on her choice although, of course, it’s wonderful that she’s gotten merit scholarships almost everywhere. Does anyone have any insight into pre-vet at these schools? Or any opinions on the culture of the schools keeping in mind she’s an academic quiet kid? Thanks so much.

Will she need to take out loans to attend any of the schools?

1 Like

No. We will pay for undergrad.

Will you have more money left for veterinary school?

My older daughter reports that most of the students in her DVM program are taking on quite a lot of loans to get their DVM. It is best if this can be minimized as much as is reasonably possible.

Unfortunately I am not sufficiently knowledgeable for the schools that you mentioned to compare them.

As I have mentioned in previous posts a student’s experience in dealing with animals outside of class can be valuable. I think that my daughter was helped by having quite a bit of experience with both large and small animals. You might want to look at what is available at each of the universities that you are considering. Both UNH and UVM have CREAM programs which are examples of something that is useful for a potential DVM student. I do not know whether the schools that you are looking at have anything similar.

Being a veterinarian requires a combination of academic strength, a kind heart, the ability to put up with “yuck”, toughness eg to deal with animals that are not going to survive, hard work, diplomacy to deal with the people who accompany the animals, dedication and determination. However, I think that it can be a great career for people who are driven in that direction. Best wishes and good luck with this.


Not familiar with the schools, but I’m curious about UGA waiving OOS. I’ve never heard of that before. Is this something that universities do?

(I do echo the suggestions about opportunities for animal experience, which might be harder to get at Clemson)

Yes, some public universities do waive out-of-state (non-resident) tuition surcharge as an incentive to attract highly qualified students or as part of a regional agreement with other nearby states.


Regarding the theory that it’s best to go to undergrad where you want to go to Vet school - I’ve actually been told the opposite is true and that Vet schools want to have a diverse class comprised of students from all different undergrad programs, not just their own school. Not sure which theory is true. But we are hoping to find an undergrad program where my daughter can thrive, maintain top grades, have hands on animal experience and save money.


It sounds like you and your D have done a lot of research and know about the cost of vet school and salary of a vet, so I’ll leave that out.

I know a little about UGA because my uncle graduated from the vet school and teaches there part time. I also know a little about Clemson’s vet school because my cousin went there. The only things I know about UF is it’s an excellent under grad school but Gainesville is underwhelming.

I think all of them are excellent choices for UG and will give you an excellent foundation. Your D sounds very academically accomplished so she will do well at all three. I do think she will be closer to the top of the school at Clemson, and that will give her better access to labs and leadership positions. UF and UGA pull in some very smart kids.

One last consideration is instate tuition for vet school, because that could cut the cost significantly.

I would lean towards Clemson because it’s her favorite. Why make the decision harder than it needs to be?

There are about 30 vet schools in the US. Most of them are public universities. The majority of those, not all, have a mandated rule to accept a certain percentage of their students from instate applicants. This percentage varies school to school. A larger percentage, about 75%+ of students will be instate. There are anywhere from 100-200 open slots per semester. Keep in mind that the states that do not have their own SOVM have articulation agreements with nearby states. So, the largest admits are from instate, the next group will be filled with students from states where there is an agreement, finally, any open spots will be filled with OOS students. Attending an undergraduate program at a state school does not offer an edge into their vet program, unless it is a school that offers a combined BS/DVM or combined undergrad to vet school shortened programs. Those are highly competitive. CC poster, momocarly, has a son in a combined OOS program. So, find an undergrad program with a very strong pre-professional mentor program and a higher than average acceptance of their students into vet school, a school that you can afford the COA keeping in mind the high cost of vet school. It does not matter to the vet schools where you attend undergraduate as long as you meet all their requirements and are a stand out candidate. Students have a higher chance of admission to vet schools at their instate SOVM, and the tuition at public vet schools is lower for instate students.


Thanks so much for the responses.
My daughter and I agree that hands on animal experience is a must for her because she’s a city kid who hasn’t had much experience with farm animals outside of her internship with an equine vet and her job at the zoo. We think that each school she chose to apply to does offer that to a fairly good extent. We are a bit nervous about the opportunity at Clemson since there is no vet school although there appear to be a similar number of farms as at UGA and UF.
Also agree about diversity in the vet school class. However, what we heard when visiting the animal science departments at several schools is that because of the relationships forged through research opportunities in the vet schools and/or jobs there, the potential recommendations coming from people connected with the vet school hold more weight than recommendations coming from people outside the school. So if you’re a good student/researcher/worker it’s probably a benefit that some people making the decisions are more familiar with the candidates that attended the undergrad which seems to make some sense. She’d still have to be a top student which she’s always been. I don’t see college changing that - she’s so motivated to become a vet. I would like her to have some fun though so I was actually happy with her list because it only contained one Ivy (Cornell which was a good pick because we are in state and the school of agriculture is great but cold which is why even if she gets in she doesn’t want to go), UC-Davis which is too far but also competitive for animal science and otherwise all big state schools with animal science majors and honors colleges that make them a little smaller. She wanted fun, good sports to cheer for which actually wound up being almost all her schools. She also preferred south since she likes warm weather and the east coast which is why we are down to these 3. I would like her to still consider LSU since a vet she worked with and our own animal’s vet both attended there and absolutely loved it but I don’t want to interfere too much because I want it to be her decision.
Finally, I agree about not making it too hard a decision. She seems to love Clemson so that should be it. She’s even said she could take a gap year if need be and re-apply to vet schools if she didn’t get in but when I ask her she says she’s not sure about Clemson. She says she thinks she loves it but she felt like she loved her high school too before she went and that was not the best social environment for her even before Covid. I know so many feel like me and just want their child to be happy (thank goodness her twin is 100% sure about her choice) and so we visit again and hopefully ask good questions and she can make an informed decision.

She didn’t want to apply to any programs with direct admit - none were at universities that she wanted to be at although they are a great opportunity - and although she did apply to UGA as an animal health major which would give her the opportunity to get into UGA vet school as a junior and finish both college and vet school in 7 years my husband and I have tried to dissuade her from that since we want her to enjoy her college and not spend her senior year as a first year vet student. We are very fortunate to be able to afford to have her spend 8 years in school if that’s what she wants to do and are also lucky that it’s likely she will have a scholarship at her choice of undergrad.

Most people that are accepted into a given vet school didn’t go to that school for undergrad. So I am not sure how important it is to have ties to any given vet school. Vet schools that I have seen indicate there is no preference as to grads from that school’s undergrad. You do see a lot of kids from those undergrads at their vet schools but they tend to be large institutions with big animal/agriculture programs in undergrad. So they have a lot of kids applying to vet schools.

Vet schools tend to favor their own residents. But not all do so equally. Need to look at class profiles to see what percentage of kids are taken from in-state. It varies. Some take 80% of their kids from in-state. Others take closer to 50%. Ohio State takes 45% (so out-of-state kids have an edge). But you need to also look at number of out of state applicants. Some schools the overall acceptance rate doesn’t look horrible (say 15%). But if you are applying out of state, the admit rate may be 3%.

Key is finding good animal experience and opportunities for good recommendation letters. Spending significant amount of time with one person can be very helpful (rather than in rotations and with large groups of other undergrads with a eye towards vet school). But there are opportunities all over the country to find that experience.

I would contact the pre-vet advisers at each school and discuss where most of their kids go to vet school. What schools pre-reqs are they most familiar with (should be familiar with all of them to a certain degree but its likely they will be concentrated with certain schools). How active are their pre-vet advisers and programs?

Debt is a bit issue. You hear a lot of “undergrad as cheap as possible” for a reason. Any amount not paid for undergrad is available for vet school. That can make a big difference. Some of the debt loads of vet graduate are staggering. Limit flexibility in how/what you practice.


Just a little nod to the 7 year option that she can get. If she gets in let her decide. My son loved undergrad, was president of his fraternity, went to all the football games, did research, had good jobs, and top grades but by the time the end of his junior year came he was ready to start vet school. Basically he was not burnt out, ready to go forward, and over undergrad life. He is now a second year in vet school and glad he didn’t wait another year (he had the option). It is a tough year and some of his peers have had enough stress. I know everyone is different. Just don’t dissuade her, let her make the decision based on what is best for her at the time. If she has the option that is great! I don’t know a lot other than UF has an excellent program. Good luck.


Florida #1

Florida has a great vet program, Gainesville is a really fun college town, and you can drive to the beach or Disney World.

Georgia #2

Clemson #3

1 Like

I also just texted a friend of mine who is a vet in Jacksonville. She went to UF for undergrad and vet school. She 1000% thinks you should pick UF. She mentioned that the university owns a lot of land / farms and there are a large number of animals to learn from … horses etc.

Another thing to consider is that your daughter certainly can move to another state after vet school, but people often end up in the same state as their grad school. Florida is a growing and booming state with no state income tax. It would be a strategic location to be in if you are a vet.

Not sure how easy it is to become a Florida resident for college purposes. But if applying out of state to UF vet school, about 25% of their class (Class of 24 anyway) is out-of-state. Acceptance rate is about 8% for out of state applicants. Class of 24 has 24 out of state females in it. Looks like out of state tuition is about $65,000 more over the 4 years of vet school.

On the flip side, they took about 40% of their class from the University of Florida. Would want to know the breakdown between in/out of state though.

Thanks for the good advice and for relaying your son’s experience. She will definitely make her own decision and I will try not to influence because you are right - she may be ready for vet school by then. It would only be an option at Georgia and the good thing is she wouldn’t need to decide until sophomore year so we will see. She changes her mind every day at this point. Lol.

1 Like

Thanks. My daughter would definitely agree about not moving after grad school which is why her final choices even for undergrad are down south. She’s hoping to make a permanent move and we have family in the Carolinas so it isn’t completely foreign to her. Florida had a great program in October where the student can be an animal science major for the day and my daughter got to attend classes and visit the farms as well as meet several professors and students in CALS. She loved the day and while we’ve driven by the other schools farms it was great for her to actually visit and get to see what the students experience.

Thanks so much for the info. I have the same questions about establishing residency. At UF when we visited they talked about getting OOS waivers for undergrad tuition but I was under the impression it was difficult to establish actually residency while going to school in order to be a resident for grad school although since she really would be planning on staying it seems there should be some way to do it. Do you think those are questions we could ask at UF and UGA? There isn’t really a point to becoming a SC resident since they don’t have a vet school and only have a limited number of spots at a couple of neighboring states’ schools.

UF and UGA should be able to provide info about residency. May also be available online. Here is some info from UF:

Not sure if that is limited to undergrads or also applies to grad students. My kids are both in Wisconsin in grad school. One qualifies for in-state tuition but the other doesn’t. One who does moved to the state for a job after undergrad. One who did went there for grad school.