Hi I’m a rising sophomore in high school and I’ve decided it would be a good time to start researching colleges! It’s been my dream to become a veterinarian since I was little so I was wondering what are some good schools to be looking at. Thanks!
Type of school: Large/Small, Private/Public, Urban/Suburban/Rural, Religious, Greek Life, Sports?
Too early since you have no test scores but what type of classes are taking in HS and your current GPA?
Pre-Vet is an intention and not a major. You can major in any subject as long as you take the Vet school required courses to apply.
I would wait until you have more than one year of a GPA and some standardized testing.
Also allow for the possibility that the idea of what you may want in a college (ex. size, location, etc.) may chance over the next two years.
You also need to have a talk with your parents and see what restrictions they might have on your college education (ex. financial, geographic, anything else).
Also if you can start shadowing a veterinarian or if your hs has a pre-vet program take advantage of it, volunteer at animal shelters, therapeutic riding clinics, anything with animals. Particularly see a vet at work. That will tell you if you really want to be a vet. The debt/earning ration of vets is terrible. Most vets will tell you that if you can see anything else you can possibly do, go for it. After doing what the above responders have said know that if you decide that you REALLY want to be a vet the keys are: Graduate with little to no debt; Have the highest GPA possible; Do really well on the GRE (this may go away in a few years as a requirement). So you want to pick a place that you can do those and always have a fall-back plan in case you don’t get into vet school.
All that being said my son is pre-vet at Kansas State, majoring in Animal Science and loving every minute of it. Some colleges like Kansas State, Mississippi State, Purdue, and a couple others have early admit programs so you can have guaranteed admission into their vet school if you keep a certain GPA. My son is in that program so will start vet school at the end of his Junior year of undergrad. There are tons of colleges that have great pre-vet options with majors from business to physics, to agricultural economics.
When you have budgets and test scores you can narrow down what you want.
The prevet students that I know have a rather large amount of experience working with animals. This includes things such as volunteering at veterinary clinics and working or volunteering on farms. Shadowing a veterinarian is a very good idea.
Veterinary school is financially quite challenging. The process is similar in difficulty and similar in cost to medical school, but at the end of the process you don’t get paid nearly as much. As such, you need to pay attention to the cost of university and avoid debt for undergrad. Also, you need to be very sure that you want to take this route before you invest the very considerable time, effort, and money in veterinary school. Fortunately, as @Gumbymom said you can major in anything while taking the prevet requirements. As such you can have a second option as you go through university, and decide whether to apply to veterinary schools later.
Look at the vet schools and work backwards. Many have relationships with undergrad schools, give preference to students from their states or regions, require certain prereqs that may not be available at some schools. If you look at a vet school and it has 40 students from a certain school (maybe that same school), you can bet that’s a good choice for undergrad.
Thanks for all the helpful advice!
@Gumbymom thanks for reminding me, I forgot to include all of that! Here goes:
Home state: New York
Type: I really don’t care if it is private or public, but I would prefer a school on the larger side.
No preference between urban/suburban/rural, I’m currently in a suburban town and like it but I’d always be okay with trying city life!
I’m Catholic, but my school doesn’t need to be religious at all.
I’d like the school to have some Greek life just in case I want to try it out, I’m really unfamiliar with that whole concept though.
Definitely sports are preferred, I play softball and would like to continue into college.
Haven’t discussed budget yet, I’d like to wait until I find a bunch of schools I like, and then figure out which one is best financially.
As for my high school classes, I’m taking all honors this year and I plan on taking 3 APs Junior year (APUSH, AP Bio, AP Lang) and at least one Senior year (AP Lit and depending on how much I like Honors chemistry this year, maybe AP Chem).
GPA at the end of Freshman year (including HS credit classes taken in middle school):
My school uses a 100 point scale for grading and I don’t know how to convert that to the commonly used 4.0 scale so if anyone knows how to do that could you convert it for me? Or tell me how?
There are relatively few vet schools in the US. Most of them are at public land-grant universities. They are typically very expensive, but discount tuition for state residents.
Yep. And if you are a New York State resident, then the vet school that you should be targeting is Cornell. While Cornell is a private university, the vet school gets state funding, and offers discounted tuition to New York residents. It’s unlikely that any other vet school will be as affordable or accessible for you (unless you manage to change your state residency, which is often difficult for students to do).
Many vet schools provide information about the top undergraduate “feeder” institutions, but I didn’t see such info for Cornell. I would bet that Cornell itself many undergrads to Cornell vet school. The top “feeders” tend to be institutions with agricultural schools and animal science programs. Vet schools highly value hands-on experience with animals, and it is much easier to get this if you go to the kind of school that has barns and cows on campus.
University of California at Davis, Veterinary School (USN&WR #1 ranked vet school):
Top Feeder: University of California at Davis
2 Feeder: California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Ohio State University, Veterinary School:
Top Feeder: Ohio State University
2 Feeder: University of Findlay
Louisiana State University, Veterinary School:
Top Feeder: Louisiana State University
2 Feeder: Louisiana Tech University
In all of these cases, the #1 undergraduate feeder is the same university that hosts the vet school. The #2 feeder is a less well-known school in the same state that is noted for strong ag and animal science programs.
UNH has an 85% acceptance rate to vet school. Vet school is tough to get into…one approach would to be to look at the undergrad’s pre-vet program’s acceptance rate to vet school.
Due to the extreme cost of veterinary school, I would suggest you discuss with your parents what are the financial expectations for undergrad and beyond. Most (nearly all) vet schools do not care where you complete your vet school pre-reqs. From an admission standpoint, state of residence had the most important factor. Thus, attending a cheaper school for undergrad could be to your advantage. Just do well in your courses and pay attention to the requirements for the vet schools you want to attend as you get closer to applying.
In addition while you may not want to consider it, (I didn’t either) you should figure out a “plan B” career. This is important for multiple reasons and I would suggest you major in your “plan B” while fulfilling your pre-vet requirements. This worked out really well for me as I didn’t receive vet school acceptance straight from undergrad. However, I was able to enter into my other career option and be self supporting upon graduation.
Finally as mentioned above, I would try and find a vet clinic to job shadow. Call/drop in and see if you could shadow for a day. Pay attention to the different jobs (ie what the vet vs vet tech does for example) and ask appropriately timed questions.
Best luck on your veterinary aspirations. It definitely is possible to get there! (I have wanted to be a vet since I was 5yrs old and will be starting my 3rd year of vet school in a couple of weeks!)
Also, keep in mind that there are only 30ish vet schools in the US. Thus, when looking to compare vet schools for deciding where to apply; don’t get hooked into the rankings that rank undergrad programs. If you ask any vet, they will tell you the vet school ranking are hogwash and don’t mean anything regarding quality of your veterinary education. Vet school is vet school as long as it is AVMA accredited.
I know this isn’t really addressing what you asked, but I’m concerned about your intended courseload… does your school only offer a very small number of APs, like 6-7? Because if your school is offering 10-20+ AP classes and you’re only taking 4, that would be cause for concern. Also, colleges like to see a constant increase or maintenance of rigor, so going from 3 APs junior year to only 1 senior year would be a problem.
The number of AP’s and the scores on those tests would be a concern if OP was applying to top tier schools or a pre-vet/BS/DMV program. Student should take AP Chemistry to show rigor in the sciences but will be ok otherwise.
FYI, if you are a female interested in becoming a small animal Vet, you are way over-represented in Vet School admissions. It is important that you can demonstrate that you are comfortable around the business end of a cow (or other large animal) before you apply to Vet School.
@DJCURRYBEATS19 wow I never really thought of that! I think my school offers around 10, but between grades 9 and 10 the only one available to us is AP World History since in my school it’s a 2 year course. Since I was an idiot in 8th grade I didn’t select that when choosing our courses. The options really open up Junior year when you’re done with most of your graduation requirements. So far I’ve taken 0/1 available to me, but I plan on taking about 5ish/10ish by the time I graduate.
@ECmotherx2 I’m currently taking honors chem right now and have been struggling with it since I’m behind in my math (I’m only in Geometry, not the unspoken prerequisite of A2T). Because I’m struggling so hard I don’t think I’ll be taking AP Chem just cause it would be risky. My dream school is Cornell, but I’ve been doubting myself that I’ll even have a chance because chem is bringing my GPA down so much. All of my other classes (also honors level) have averages in the 95-97 range but in chem my average is a 77.
Approximately 20% of my vet class went to Cornell for undergrad. That being said, the other 80% came elsewhere. A few of my classmates had initially attended a community college. So don’t think that you have to be an academic all-star to have a chance at vet school. There are multiple aspects of the applicants that admissions cares about including animal experience and your personal statement. But obviously, if you can get into Cornell undergrad, your chances of getting into Cornell vet school may increase slightly.
FYI, Cornell also has one of the biggest Greek life in the northeast.
Follow your dream.
University of New Hampshire (high acceptance to vet school rate)
University of Delaware