Everyone was so helpful months back so I’m throwing this out to the group for a last round of feedback since we’re coming down to the wire…
My daughter is an aspiring vet and was accepted into a variety of universities under the animal science major. She has boiled her choices down to University of Vermont, UMass Amherst, UConn and University of Maryland (all with merit) given their strong pre-vet/animal science programs. She is torn between the four. Each has their pros/cons.
UVM: The only one that offers the CREAM program. Farm is off-campus and this is the farthest school (we live in NY) but Burlington is great. Feeder school to Tufts vet school.
UConn: Closest in proximity to us; farm is off campus and most remote of the campuses.
UMass: #1 in food (lol); farm is off campus. Feeder school to Tufts vet school.
UMD: Farm is smallest but on-campus; the “highest rated” of the four, whatever that means.
All schools have the same types of animals (cows, sheep, goats, pigs, etc.), all have pre-vet clubs, all have internship and research opportunities as well as study abroad.
The schools are all about the same price, so we’re taking cost out of the equation. She is (initially) very quiet and likes to have fun but is not a “partier”. We went to the accepted student days for UVM and UMass so far; in two weeks we are going to UConn and UMD. Every time she goes to one, she likes it more and more, which is making the decision more difficult.
If anyone has any insight into any of these schools or their programs that might be worth considering as she makes this decision, we would be very grateful!
The pre-vet program at UVM is very good. The CREAM program there is also very good and is part of the pre-vet program. Quite a few UVM graduates get accepted to other DVM programs in addition to Tufts (which is a bit expensive). The farm looks to me to be about a mile from campus which I suppose that you could walk, although a car could be helpful.
UNH also has a CREAM program.
I have heard good things about the pre-vet and animal science programs at the other three schools, but do not know them as well.
Pre-vet classes will overlap quite a bit with premed classes and will be academically challenging. However, I would expect this to be very similar among all four schools that you are considering.
When our older daughter was applying to DVM programs, I looked at where the various students in several DVM programs had gotten their bachelor’s degree. Every program that I looked at had accepted students from a rather wide range of undergraduate universities. Then when our daughter attended a welcome reception for incoming DVM students (we watched on zoom), they announced for each student where they had gotten their bachelor’s. There was a small amount of repeating, but not much. This is similar to my experience in graduate school (in a very different subject) where the other graduate students had come from a very wide range of universities.
I do not think that the ranking matters much. Having large animals on campus that the student can work with is valuable. Getting some experience working with a veterinarian will be very important also, and might be another reason that having a car might be useful at some point.
I understand why this is not an easy decision. To me your four choices all look very good (assuming affordability).
I’m in the same boat researching for my S23. In an earlier thread I may have suggested checking acceptance rates. UVM has a 90% acceptance rate, UMD is 86%, but UMASS is unclear and I could not find one for UCONN. UMD does allow early admission to VMCVC. Also I believe UMASS requires you to start as an Animal Science major and apply to be Pre/vet. I think UVM may have additional research opportunities compared to UCONN because of some on-site labs, but I cannot recall specifics. Both UMASS and UVM are feeders to other Vet Schools (Glasgow/Edinburgh/Melbourne)
For me it’s between UNH (our state flagship), UVM (Burlington is great) & UMASS (Amherst seems like a happening place, likely more diverse).
Would be interested to know if she considered UNH at all.
I’ve been to the UConn campus many times. The farm is right on campus. I’ve walked through both the cow and horse barns. The UConn Dairy Bar is a popular spot on campus, serving ice cream made on sight from milking cows right next door. For this reason and the fact that UConn is overall the #1 state flagship in New England, UConn would be my first choice.
I wouldn’t trust the vet school acceptance rates any more than I would trust med school acceptance rates. They’re far too easily manipulated. What’s important is that vet school is very difficult to get into.
My D and I received great advice here on another thread to consider advising and the college’s strength in this area. We reached out to a few schools and had varying replies, which were helpful. Another important factor for my daughter was to have back up options in case vet school ends up out of reach (not that this will happen for any of our kids, of course!). For example, do any of the schools offer career prep/internship accessibility/other options for animal science majors?
Congratulations on all of these wonderful acceptances. You likely can’t go wrong!! Also, totally agree on the admissions numbers being somewhat subjective and difficult to compare between schools. Some schools paint themselves in the best light (i.e. 80-90% of our students that APPLIED to vet school are admitted to at least one, but they fail to mention that only about 25% of animal science majors apply (due to strength of application, interests change, etc). Good luck and again, wonderful choices!
@DadTwoGirls you were very helpful last time so I was hoping you’d respond : ) Good to know the variety of undergraduate students who attended DVM programs. I did something similar…I went onto the websites of all surrounding veterinary hospitals in our area to see where their veterinarians went to undergrad. Many didn’t list them (which was telling in and of itself) and of those who did, they were all over the place–from Cornell to community colleges, so that was reassuring. Thanks again for your input.
@randommom1 Thanks for your reply. What is “VMCVC”? UMass does require you to start down a general path and then select pre-vet but it didn’t seem so much that you had to “apply” vs. attain certain grades. She did not apply to UNH. She applied to Penn State but missed the early action deadline (it was a last minute add) and they fill about 95% of their class EA/ED and so she got accepted but at another campus and didn’t want to do that so that was off the list. She also applied and got into University of Delaware but likes the others better. Good luck to your son next year! It’s been a haul for sure.
@gcmom1 Thanks for your input. We have been on multiple zooms with the various schools and all seem to have very robust advising specific to students on the pre-vet track, as well as “plan B” type of options for kids who decide against going to vet school (this was very important to us because, who knows what is going to happen?). They all also have career and internship help…making the decision between the schools very difficult. As suppose at this point she will have to “go with her gut”.
As one example, considering the UVM CREAM program, I have heard that the DVM acceptance rate for students who complete the CREAM program is very high. However, you have to apply to get accepted to the CREAM program. Just being an animal science major does not by itself get you into the CREAM program. I am not completely sure what the criteria are for getting accepted into the program, but I think that GPA is one factor, and it would not surprise me if other factors overlap with what would predict whether the student will end up getting accepted to a DVM program a few years later.
If the acceptance rate to DVM programs for students completing the CREAM programs is 90% (which sounds similar to what I heard several years ago), this would suggest that the people administering this program are very good at predicting future success. The program is also very good. Students get to clean up after cows. However, they also get to draw blood, help with delivering babies, and administer medicine. Some medicine is delivered by shot, but some has to be delivered by reaching inside the cow and placing the medicine in an appropriate spot. Apparently you cannot just ask the cow to swallow a pill. This is the sort of experience that you cannot get in a class room (unless the class room is in a barn with large animals).
Just an FYI regarding Tufts, Cummings SOVM. Several NE states that do not have state SOVM have articulation agreements with Tufts. They are obligated to accept the largest number of students from MA, then, a set number of seats for students who live in other NE states. Tufts does have a limited, highly competitive program for early admission for students attending UMass, Amherst. Cummings admits 1/3rd of their class from students living in Mass. Your chance of admission to a SOVM is highest from your own state’s vet school. https://vet.tufts.edu/wp-content/uploads/Vet-Admission-Statistics-2025.pdf
Interesting, as we will all have our opinions, but my D and I went to an Open House and Admitted Student Day and were rather impressed with UDel. They brought out multiple professors to talk about their research, the professors seemed to know all the student ambassadors by name and talked with them, they took us on a tour of the farm, they gave a mini lecture about cow digestion, and they indicated that they have many projects and research ongoing with Penn’s vet school. Anyways, just to say that the school in person may be more impressive than on paper! I’ve tried to get my D to visit as many as we can, and that keeps changing the decisions!
Just to echo a previous poster - my daughter started vet school this past fall and the undergrads represented were all over the place - including ppl who did two years at community college and transferred to a non flagship state school so the eliteness of a school really won’t matter BUT grades, the breath of science classes and experience will. Focus on the school where she is mostly likely to get the best grades. She can always get experience working over summers.