Undergrad Major

I am about to be a high school senior in Texas, and many applications have already opened. I know that for a career I would like to be either a regular vet or wildlife vet (maybe a wildlife biologist, I’m unsure on this one at the moment). However, I don’t know what undergrad major to choose.

I’m considering biology, animal science, and zoology.

Biology would most likely be financially attainable. There is a smaller college close to me that offers biology and I could get much of the tuition off being in a household that brings in less than 20,000 a year. However, for animal science/zoology, I’m looking at Colorado State Fort Collings, which is much more expensive due to out-of-state tuition.

Of course, there are cheaper and probably really good options for both anywhere in Texas, but I need help to decide a major before I begin looking at what college. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

My experience in this area largely comes from a daughter who will be starting at a DVM program in a couple of months. She has looked at Colorado State and it does have an excellent DVM program. However, Texas A&M also has an excellent DVM program.

If you look at the stats for incoming DVM students, they come from a very wide range of universities with a very wide range of undergraduate majors.

Veterinary school is expensive. If you want to keep open the option of earning a DVM, you should try to avoid debt for your bachelor’s degree if you possibly can, and minimize debt if you have to take any.

In terms of acceptance to a DVM program, I do not think that it matters which of your three potential majors you choose. You might want to choose the one that you are most interested in, partly on the basis that this will make it easier to keep up a high GPA.

However, you should also keep a “plan B” in mind. Consider what you will do if you do not end up in veterinary school. Biology in this case is a tough major because there are so many biology majors who were premed but who did not make it into medical school.

I think of CSU as a great university with a great animal science program and a great DVM program. However, since you are out of state and low income it is very likely just not affordable. Texas A&M is also a great choice. There will certainly be many other universities in Texas that would be great choices. I would focus on avoiding or minimizing debt and picking a major that will lead to jobs if you do not get into a DVM program or before you apply to a DVM program.

Admissions to a DVM program also depends upon your experience working in some sort of veterinary situations. I think that having extensive experience in multiple situations was a big part of my daughter’s acceptance to veterinary school. You can get this while you are an undergraduate student, or after you get your bachelor’s but before applying to DVM programs, or both.

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I agree with what @DadTwoGirls has said. The cost of a veterinary degree has skyrocketed over the years- you must keep your undergrad debt as low as possible. Vet schools value the perspectives that students who have branched out (majored in non-science fields such as history/psych/arts/foreign language/business etc.) can bring to their class/profession. You may as well choose a major that interests you and that can be a stepping stone into an alternate career path in case the DVM route doesn’t pan out. I think the most important factors to consider during your undergrad years are: low undergrad debt; a major that is particularly interesting to you; high GPA across all of your classes; extensive veterinary clinic or other work experience with animals; residency during your undergrad years that ties you to in-state tuition at your veterinary school of interest.

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Agree with the above posters. My son will be a second year at Kansas State next year (we are from TX). He did not like A&M and Kansas State gave us a great deal undergraduate. Guaranteed admit to vet school with a certain GPA, tuition as low as in state TX, and very cheap living expenses. But A&M is an excellent school. We liked Colorado State but found it just too expensive for us considering the cost of undergrad plus vet school trying to get away with minimal, or no debt. Major isn’t as important as long as you can get the prerequisites. Get a degree you can see a plan B in. A lot of students do change their mind. My son was Animal Science and perfectly happy with that, other friends in vet school were everything from Biology to Business, even Kinesiology. They key is to look at the requirements that the vet schools you are interested in (A&M and Texas Tech will be the cheapest for you) have. Compare those classes with ones you need for you major and go from there. You have to find a way to get everything to fit into whatever major you pick. Also check what vet school accept AP scores for prerequisites, many don’t for the science classes but will for the English requirement, etc. The APVMA has a good list of all colleges and what they require. It does change so keep an eye out for updates. As said the biggest factors on acceptance are grades, experience with vets and animals, ECs showing leadership and ability to work with people, and test scores if required. They loved my son being a camp counselor and working in a hospice. Working with people is as important as working with animals (but you need more hours with the latter). Good luck!

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No argument with above advice, but would caution that you carefully review course offerings to make sure that all needed pre-requisites for vet school are offered. This will take a bit of work on your part, but you don’t want to attend a college which doesn’t offer what you need.

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I agree with all of the previous advice offered. Just wanted to add wherever you apply, make certain that they have a strong pre-professional mentor program and that their percentage of students accepted into those programs is at least at or above the national average.