Thoughts/Recommendations between Purdue/UDel/UMass Amherst for aspiring future vet?

DD has these as her top three choices at the moment. Purdue major would be “Pre-Veterinary” studies, UDel also is “Pre-Veterinary” and UMass is “Animal Science” until junior year, when she would hopefully be able to switch in Pre-Vet. She wants the hands on experience with animals that these programs provide (from what she can determine via website/virtual visit/ in person tour of UDel). Of course, cost is not equal, but that is for us to determine, and she is waitlisted at our in-state school that has Animal Science. I and she do understand that one can major in other areas and successfully apply to vet school, but she has her heart set on a more hands-on major at a major research institution.

Anyone know of any pros/cons between these three schools? Much appreciated!

Doesn’t UMass have an early vet school admission program with Tufts?

Not on your list but UVM has a great hands-on pre-vet program (they have their own farm), as does UC Davis (probably the best vet school).

My DD is a junior in college planning to go to vet school; considered all of the above options but ultimately decided to go to another college and major in biology, and work at a vet’s office while in school.

Good luck.


I think that these three universities would all be very good choices for someone who intends to go on to veterinary school.

I do not understand why a “pre-vet” major would be better than “animal science”, nor what the difference would be in terms of either the courses that you take or the experience that you would get working with animals. DVM students come from a very wide range of undergraduate majors, with animal sciences being a very common major. My older daughter is a current student in a DVM program. The students in the same program have bachelor’s degrees in a wide range of fields, but animal science and biology are both reasonably common. The students also come from quite a wide range of undergraduate universities.

Hands-on experience with animals is essential. Some of this can be obtained as a bachelor’s degree student, some can be obtained through working for a veterinarian, and some of this can be obtained in other ways.


Here is the info on the UMASS/Tufts early admission:


Good morning!
@Penned23, thank you, but I think the application ship has sailed. D applied to quite a few schools, and these are her current top three with acceptances.

@DadTwoGirls, we hear you on the animal science vs. pre-vet majors. Some of my D’s particular choices have been driven by the info provided by the colleges she applied. For example, at UDel, the animal science major there does not contain all of the prerequisite courses needed to apply to vet schools, and it has an emphasis on business and other jobs related to the industry. Purdue’s AS major allows for different concentrations within the major (Business, pre-vet etc). Obviously, as you said, many AS and BIo majors are highly successful in getting into vet school, but we were trying to follow the guidance given by the schools themselves on which major might be the best fit.

D is currently working for a small animal vet. Some of the vet techs at her practice have had multiple rounds of disappointment trying to get into vet school (and have good GPAs with BS degrees in AS and Bio from very good undergraduate schools, as best she can tell). The vet she works with has emphasized that she will need experience in as many areas of vet medicine as possible to apply. We don’t live in an area with easy access to large animal vets, so she would like to get this experience at school if possible.


Purdue has a new large animal hospital and has poured a ton of $ into their program. I have a Purdue engineer so I don’t know as much about pre-vet other than it’s a very well regarded program.

Happy to answer any general campus questions.


Thank you so much! I may send you a message as the list gets further narrowed down. We are planning to go to an admitted student day, so I’ll wait for that before bombarding you with questions.

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Have you interacted with the pre-vet advisers at the 3 schools? My daughter is in vet school now. She didn’t apply to any of the schools you listed. But in our experience, the pre-vet advisers at the schools she saw varied greatly. Some didn’t appear to take the job seriously at all. Others very much more focused. Her undergrad school had a pre-vet adviser who seemed to view her job as getting as many kids into vet school as possible. Regularly reached out with updates of pre-reqs for vet schools across the country, animal experiences, etc. And some of the worst pre-vet advisers we saw were at colleges that had vet schools.

As others have noted, there are many different paths to vet school. So I wouldn’t really focus on one of them necessarily being best. Doing well in undergrad is critical. You will do better in something you enjoy rather than something you think will get you into vet school.

She likely will end up applying to a number of different vet schools. There are about 30 of them so researching them is very doable. And you likely can cross off certain ones that just won’t be of interest to her. You can then focus on the list of vet schools she likes and what they are looking for in terms of applicants.


My son is interested in this path too. I would look for specific opportunities with animals at the undergrad university- some have dairy farms or clubs or specific programs (UNH and UVM have a program called CREAM where students manage a dairy herd, which is a good way to get large animal experience). I’d also see if there are research opportunities. Lastly, I’d ask if those schools can provide any stats re: acceptance rates of their graduates to Vet school. I believe the national rate is somewhere around 50%, so I’d look for a program that can demonstrate its graduates get accepted at a higher rate than that if possible.

If you have time, I’d love to know what other programs you’ve considered or visited.

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Thank you, I will strongly encourage my daughter to try to reach out to the pre-vet advisors at each of these schools to try to get a sense of the strength of the advising.

Just curious, if you don’t mind sharing, where did you daughter apply/attend for undergrad, and why?

Her undergrad school had a pre-vet adviser who seemed to view her job as getting as many kids into vet school as possible Shouldn’t that be #1 for all of the advisors, and then, secondarily, helping these students come up with a plan B if vet school doesn’t pan out??

We aren’t really trying to find the “best,” but want impressions and info to try to find the best fit for her. She is a hands-on learner, and super practical, so these were considered the top three for this reason.

Once we get past this hurdle, we will spend some serious time looking at the vet schools. Thanks for your input.

Thank you! Good luck to your son.

Yes, super important points. Purdue seems to have the most interesting LLC for pre-vet students, at least two different ones that my daughter was very excited about. They have a vet school there, so there are (hopefully) opportunities to shadow/work at the school but also at the barns. There are tons of clubs. We haven’t visited there yet, so she will hopefully get a much better sense of all the options after that. There is only so much one can glean from the website, which is why I am here too! Research opportunities exist, including a summer program specific to pre-vet students. I can’t find any numbers on their website, as far as admissions to vet school, so I will have her reach out. She has done so to some schools but not all yet (and honestly not gotten a ton of info back). Interestingly, one school said they “don’t keep track.” It got crossed off the list. UDel has barns on campus. We attended an Open House at the CALS and it was very impressive. The pre-vet students seemed tight-knit and happy. They quote 80% of their pre-vet students that apply get into vet school. UMASS has early entry programs and a ton of info online (seem to take it very seriously), but their numbers are not spectacular. They do have LLCs and seem to have a lot of research opportunities.

If you don’t mind me asking, are UVM and UNH his top choices??

This makes a lot of sense to me. I think that large animal experience was probably one thing that helped my daughter get accepted to several DVM programs. At one point I mentioned that I was impressed that she had reached inside a cow three different ways. She gave me a very puzzled look, and asked “which way don’t you know about?”.

It did occur to me after I made my last post that some universities might have a pre-vet concentration within their animal science major, while some other universities might have pre-vet as a separate major. It appears that my daughter did the first of these. Thus while her official major was “animal science” her transcript is probably really “(animal science) with a pre-vet orientation”. I am pretty sure that she did have a good pre-vet advisor. We also live in an area where there are some large animals around, so she was able to get some large animal experience in high school. I think that it helped her quite a bit that she went to a university that had large animals relatively close to campus and that has a program where pre-vet students could do things like draw blood from cows and administer medications (some of which need to be placed inside the cows one way or another). She also as an undergraduate student got to pull baby cows out of their mothers to help with the birthing process. She was a bit disappointed that the first calf that she pulled out happened to be a male – male calves have short lives. Of course the same program, as well as a separate job that she had near campus while an undergraduate student, included quite a bit of cleaning up after large animals. She also had a lot of horse experience in addition to a lot of cow experience. She might have had a little bit of sheep, goat, and llama experience but this was far more limited. Certainly some very good universities do not have these large animals even remotely close to campus.

I have also heard of veterinary technicians applying to DVM programs several times and having trouble not getting accepted anywhere in spite of their significant animal experience. I have wondered how much of this comes down to the confidence that the veterinarian has in their vet tech, which vet tech the veterinarian chooses to help them on surgeries, and what gets written in the letters of reference. My daughter and I have both speculated that her acceptances were probably more due to her experience and her references rather than her grades, but it is hard to know and her grades were at least marginally (very marginally) better than average for all students accepted to DVM programs nationwide.


Well my son is just starting his list and has rather unrealistic expectations about going to a UK school. Unfortunately, remote/hybrid learning in the latter part of freshman and almost all of sophomore year had a negative impact (Bio went poorly). He also struggles with executive functioning.

This year has been a complete reset with straight As, though now pre-calc is a struggle. He has some real positives -certified scuba diver, advanced martial arts training, peer leadership and shadowing/working at vet offices, but he cannot get in to anything in the UK right off. I’m trying to get him to consider schools that have partnerships with UK schools (UVM/Glasgow, McGill/Edinburgh, CalPoly/Edinburgh) or early admission opportunities with US vet schools (UVM, UMASS, Worcester Polytechnic, Tufts with Tufts). Some Midwest schools (Colorado, Kansas State and as you probably know, Purdue) have early admit programs. Other Midwest schools have some specific opportunities for those interested in Food Science (not for my guy).

Naviance has not enabled access to grades/rank so we are not getting good match info that way yet, but I think his academics and realities of cost (we can’t fund two degrees) are good reasons why an in-state land-grant university is a good start-at least for a couple years. UNH is our flagship, but has no formal partnerships to my knowledge though UNH and Cornell do marine science stuff together). UNH does boast a significant acceptance rate to Vet School (like 90%) and both UVM and UNH have a Cream program to provide large animal experience.

The other good thing about a large university is that there is a diversity of paths should interests change.

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Everyone on this thread is so well informed and I love the insight. Our daughter probably applied to too many schools (my fault - an over-correction after our son’s experience last year - which ended well with him at Emory - but not before a lot of grief)…Yesterday we had a great visit at UMass Amherst. She loved the barn and the head of the animal science program. I love that the LLC is right near the animal science program.

Seeing UMass’ Animal Science program in person allowed her to rule out UVM. She visited their CREAM program, but is much more equine focused and she loved the equine facilities at Amherst.

She is considering Maryland - and just received the Presidential Scholarship but they don’t seem to be offering in person visits at the Ag School.

Thoughts welcomed on UMass Amherst vs. UMD.

Based on his experience with bio (and really everyone’s struggle with Covid learning) the push for early application or accelerated programs to vet school in undergrad may be pushing him too much.

UNH, your state flagship’s pre-vet preparation is very well respected and he will get lots of application support when the time comes to apply. A more traditional pathway would also allow study abroad options for a semester or year or international internships/volunteer work in summers.

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Thanks! I agree re: UNH and he will certainly apply, but he is itching to get away. I hope some of his friends stick around as that will help.

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That’s great! What is the LLC?

LLC = Living Learning Community. Here’s the link to the College of Ag communities at Purdue: Learning Communities - College of Agriculture

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Just 2 cents that many schools that have animal science/pre-vet majors do offer study abroad, so that might you son his UK fix, and he can definitely apply to vet schools there later. You may already be considering these… Also like that large universities offer lots of different paths. D also interested in plant science and may try to double major or minor in it or something related. I like this because a second (more affordable in that MS/PhD programs don’t have the ridiculous cost of vet school) path will then be open to her.


I just found this information on the UMass Amherst site. I may be misunderstanding the numbers here, but it was not what I was expecting (lower acceptance rates). I have asked D to reach out to understand this better, but she hasn’t yet. You and your D may also be interested. Or perhaps let me know if you think I am misunderstanding??

Here is the website: Pre-Veterinary Science Major | Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences at UMass Amherst

I’ve copied and pasted the relevant info:

Class of 2019, twenty of 82 or 24% of VASCI students graduating applied and were accepted into veterinary medical schools (14) or graduate school (6).
Class of 2018, thirty-three of 78 or 42% of VASCI students graduating applied and were accepted into veterinary medical school (25) or graduate school (8).
Class of 2017, twenty-six of 87 or 30% of VASCI students graduating applied and were accepted into veterinary medical school (19) or graduate school (7).
Class of 2016, thirty-one of 85 or 36% of VASCI students graduating applied and were accepted into veterinary medical school (27) or graduate school (4).
Class of 2015, eighteen of 73 or 25% of VASCI students graduating applied and were accepted into veterinary medical school (12), medical school (1) or graduate school (5).
Class of 2014, twenty-two of 67 or 33 % of VASCI students graduating applied and were accepted into veterinary medical school (16) or graduate school (6).
Class of 2013, eighteen of 83 or 21.7% of VASCI students graduating applied and were accepted into veterinary medical school or graduate school.
Class of 2012, nineteen of 91 or 21% of students graduating applied and were accepted into veterinary medical school or graduate school.

Does this mean that, say, for 2012, only 21% were accepted into vet school or graduate school? Because that would be way lower than the national average? Or did some not apply to grad schools/vet schools and we don’t know how many of the total students applied and were then accepted?? I’m confused.

Also, glad to hear how much your daughter liked UMass Amherst. :slight_smile: And congrats on the acceptances and scholarship.

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