UIUC vs. UC Davis for pre-vet

Hi, this might be a bit late to ask about this topic, but I was worried over asking online people. My dream career path is a veterinarian for small animals. I got into a few colleges including UIUC, UC Davis, Purdue, and Berkeley, but I’m mainly considering UIUC and UC Davis.


  • Major: Animal science
  • Full ride
  • Have friends going there
  • Close to home (it’s only a few hours away)

For UC Davis:

  • Major: Animal Biology
  • Some financial aid given (I would probably pay $22k per year)
  • Very far from home

I mostly care about the quality of the classes. Which school will provide the best education and the most research or hands-on opportunities? Which will give me the best chance of getting into a veterinary graduate school?

Extra: I got into Purdue for pre-vet and I got into Berkeley for microbial biology but no financial aid from either of them.

My experience here is mostly based on having a daughter who will start in a DVM program in September. I guess we are a few years ahead on the same path.

My first reaction is that UIUC and UC Davis are both very strong universities for pre-vet. This does make it tough to decide between them.

Veterinary school is expensive. You need to budget for a full 8 years of university. It is a good plan to avoid taking on any debt at all for your bachelor’s degree. If you can save money for Vet school that would be even better.

Pre-vet classes will overlap quite a bit with premed classes. There will be many very strong students in these classes. You will need to work very hard and try to keep your GPA up as much as possible. My daughter ended up having several friends who were premed because she met them in the overlapping classes.

My daughter did very well in DVM program admissions. I think that a big part of this was her experience working with animals in a very wide range of situations. This included working on a farm with both large and small animals (probably more large ones), reaching inside cows multiple ways, helping out in emergency situations, doing some research with animals (no animals were harmed), working as a veterinary technician, and cleaning up after all of the above. She assisted with surgeries and with euthanasia. She helped baby cows being born. She also helped dealing with customers. Any of this experience would be helpful. Some of this can be gained as a job after you get your bachelor’s degree.

You should look at what sort of experience you can get at each of these schools. They probably will both have internship possibilities and may have some prevet summer programs.

I looked at what sort of students were accepted to the DVM programs that my daughter was applying to. They seem to have come from a very wide range of undergraduate schools and a wide range of majors.

What state are you from? Are you out of state for UC Davis? If so I am surprised that you would only be paying $22k per year. A full ride to UIUC sounds attractive to me.

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Since it seems you are OOS for both UCD and UCB, not sure how you will only pay $22K/year to attend UCD even with an OOS merit scholarship. The UC’s cost around $65k/year which includes tuition, room/board, transportation etc… $22K sounds like just tuition.

You need to figure 8 years of schooling if Vet school is your goal so definitely go for the full ride at UIUC. You will need to save as much money as possible to fund Vet school.

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A full ride at UIUC would be very enticing, especially if you hope to go to vet school.
I suppose they offered you Honors College, and that comes with its own advantages, too.

Look at your FA package for UCDavis. Ucs dont provide financial aid to non California residents so did you receive merit aid to cover OOS costs? Itd be very surprising since the main point of admitting OOS studentd is their OOS dollars. :wink: Or did they package loans?

Davis has the most competitive pre vet school in the county. My nephew went undergrad at Cal Poly, did extremely well but UC Davis was the one program that he couldn’t get into. Ended up at U Florida vet program so all is well.

I’d say unless your heart is set to go to Davis for vet school, save your $ because vet school is a long and expensive slog.