Veterinary Camps and AP Coursework


I’m looking for feedback on veterinary summer camps/programs and whether folks have found them to be a good investment. I’m very sad to see that Tufts program (which son was very excited to apply to this year) is again only offering an online version this year. I cannot imagine it is that compelling if done online, even though it is cheaper. Has anyone done it online? Does anyone have any other suggestions? I know of programs at Purdue, NC State, PENN (discontinued); UMASS has something that is not exactly a vet camp, but might be worth exploring.

Kid is a HS junior getting straight As now but suffered in online learning during the height of the pandemic last year (Biology suffered). He is shadowing a vet, working at a vet clinic, has decent extracurriculars. Was really looking to bolster his college application and give him more experience.

What do you suggest. We’re in New England.


Oh, and re: AP Coursework. I’m wondering if anyone had as taken an AP test without taking the AP level Class. My son did very well in Honors Chem so I’m wondering if he could self-study for the AP Exam or if tutoring would be better.

Self study is not a class taken so it adds no value to getting into a school. It’s unnecessary.

Perhaps, Eckerd College marine science program: University of Miami also has a program that my daughter participated in years ago. You can try and click on “internships.” Some of these are geared for college students. Contact any local zoos, aquariums, wildlife rescue centers and farms. It will give your son a well rounded view of animal care.

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NSLC has a weeklong vet course for high school students at Penn Vet. Kids stay in dorms (not at Penn- maybe Drexel?).

There may not be a lot of new information for a kid who’s already working in a vet clinic, and it is expensive. But might be fun.

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I think I would be less worried about animal experience in high school and more focused on it in college. Experience closer to vet school application will be more significant. Particularly given he is already shadowing a vet and working in a vet clinic.

If money could be an issue, I would suggest saving funds spent on a vet camp and use it for tuition. Though about 20% of vets graduate vet school with no debt so it may not be an issue.

On the self study question, the answer depends. If you are applying to schools that don’t give much/any AP credit, won’t likely matter. But some schools do give credit for AP classes. For my daugther (who is currently a first year in vet school), she could have graduated in 3 years based on AP credits that she had. She stayed for 4 years though because she had a full ride that was refundable which allowed her to have 2 internships (north of 2,000 animal hours), get paid for it (along with room and board covered by scholarship and tuition money as well) and bank a year of vet school tuition in the process.

Not sure how likely though one AP credit for chemistry will make much of a difference there. And being strong in a core class like chemistry is important. So may make more sense to take chemistry in college.

In four years when he is applying to vet school, I would suggest looking at more than one school. Many applicants only apply to one. Often its their in-state school (which typically have the best odds for being accepted). Conventional wisdom at one point was only apply to your in-state school because if you are not good enough to get in there, you will not be accepted anywhere out of state. Some truth to that but its no universal. And different schools are looking at different things.

Daughter has a friend who only applied to her in-state school. She is an URM but the school has a high number of URM applicants. There are other schools that give preferences to URMs so why not apply there too? And some vet schools give preferences to men. I would suggest your son apply to at least one of them (in addition to whatever schools he likes – guessing since you are in New England, maybe its Tufts or Cornell).

Best of luck to your son on his journey.

Thanks. Sadly PennVet is not running its camp anymore, though there is a non-selective National Student Leadership Vet focused thing happening there. I was not convinced it was worthwhile.

Thank you very much. I feel better about skipping a camp now, though it was a goal son was really working toward this year and it’s hard to lose the opportunity due to COVID.

The financial advice here has also been helpful as our resources are finite. I’d really like him to go to our flagship for undergrad to keep costs low, but I think he wants to get away.

Thanks again.

Lots of OOS colleges that are dirt cheap…even cheaper than most flagships…with the right grades and / or grades and SAT/ACT.

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Undergrad as cheap as possible is a mantra that you hear often. The big payday at the end of the vet rainbow isn’t really there (at least no on average).

Took daughter to an vet school open house when she was in high school. One of the sessions had 5 senior vet school students in a panel. At the end, there was a Q&A session. One of the questions that was asked was how much debt they had. It was like name that tune but in reverse. I have $150k. Well, I have $200k. Topped out at $250k. They were all laughing about it. Don’t think they really understood the reality of that amount of debt.

During the vet school application process, there was a lot of discussion about debt. I think schools are finally waking up to the reality of what their graduates are facing. But its already too late if you used money for undergrad that could have been used for vet school.

I would suggest that your son apply to several undergrad schools and look at various options and help him understand the realities of different cost options. Maybe don’t even apply to high cost options. My daughter had a dream undergrad school. Tough admit but she would have been a very competitive applicant. But it would have been $250k for undergrad. And another $250k for grad school. Didn’t make any sense. Talked to her about the ultimate goal of being a vet. She had a great experience in undergrad. And now knows she will graduate vet school in 7 more semesters with no debt. Will give her more flexibility in terms of what she wants to do when she graduates.

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The mistake many kids make is focusing their entire lives on becoming a vet and forgetting to have fun in life and pursue other interests. Sure spend some time in a vet clinic. But enjoy your summer and do something fun not related to trying to “get experience” or whatever. Vet schools want to see well rounded students, not students who are singularly focused on one thing. Vet med seems so enticing to young people, but for many reasons it ends up being a disappointment to a lot of vets. Maybe because they were so type A about getting in. Anyway, not saying it isn’t great for some. It can be a grueling job with poor educational ROI. Unfortunately trade school usually leads to a better income with a fraction of the debt! This leads to organizations like Not One More Vet. Anyway, in short, there is a dark side. Be aware and realize the importance of having a life, interests, and friendships outside of trying to be a vet is the moral of the story.

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Definitely true you don’t want to solely focus on animals. OP mentioned her son has extracurriculars. So presumably that isn’t an issue.

And its also true that kids should engage in activities that they enjoy not just for resume purposes. True for all kids not just pre-vet kids.


I know Kansas State has a very good camp which is short (Vet Med Rocks). Could be worth it just to do the on-line option if they offer that again this year (last year they had both an in person and on-line portions/options.

My son is in his second year of vet school and took a couple of AP courses that he didn’t end up taking the test for because he knew he would have to take them at the college and wouldn’t get AP credit for them. No problem at all.

Look at early admit programs. Several of the schools have them. They are guaranteed admits to the vet school if you meet requirements (grades, presentations, etc.). These are very competitive but exist at Mississippi State, Purdue, Kansas State and some others I’m not as familiar with. My son was in one of these and went 3 years undergrad and then straight to vet school. He has been very happy with this option.

Undergrad grades are important and experience with both animals and people.


True, I guess bottom line is I don’t think it’s worth it to pay for vet camp. Save that $ for undergrad. More impressive to me would be work experience at a large or small animal vet hospital based on interest. A actual job at a vet is much different than “shadowing” a vet. You will likely start cleaning kennels and it is not very glamorous. But that said, it seems early in the game to worry about this kind of stuff for vet school in 4 more years. I could be wrong but I’d think for EC, any work experience >> most camps.


Yes, we’ve been looking at these kinds of programs. For example Tufts has early acceptance relationships with certain programs at Tufts Undergrad, UVM, Worcester Polytechnic, and UMASS Amherst. Students apply as sophomores and if accepted, need only maintain a certain GPA to keep their slot. I think Cornell has an early acceptance program that is not limited to any particular institutions, but I’m not sure.

I don’t think either of these programs are accelerated, so the expense will be the same.

Fortunately he has a job at one vet while he shadows at another. I am hoping it moves beyond cage cleaning at some point, but it is still early.

Those programs you get into once you are already in college. There are some you can get into before you go to college. Just so others reading this are aware! Make sure he gets people experience not just animal. I think the people experiences stood out during his interviews.