Every perspective veterinary student stresses about their grades. How good do they have to be to get into vet school? Well that of course varies greatly deepening on the rest of your application. How much experience do you have? What is your work history? How are your scores on standardized tests? The minimum GPA to apply for veterinary school varies, but for many it’s a 2.8. Now, this is by no means the “recommend” GPA if you want to get in, just the minimum in order to be considered. So, what should you shoot for? The average GPA for each veterinary school of course varies, but on last looks the average GPA for students accepted to veterinary school is about a 3.57. To see what the average is for the particular schools for interested in, visit their websites and they typically show the statistics for their recent students.
Now, don’t stress too much over these numbers. Again, this is just an average, so it is certainly possible to be admitted if you have a GPA less than 3.5, I know I was. However, you need to stay on top of you class work, bottom line. Veterinary school has a very rigorous and challenging curriculum. Therefore, schools want students that will be able to keep up and excel in the classroom. Personally what I did in undergrad was set a goal for myself every semester. It was to get all A’s and one B. Obviously, I would pick the most challenging class, and accept my B in there while striving to get A’s in everything else. Now, admittedly I did not always reach this goal, in fact I think I only meet it a few semesters. But, it gave me something to shoot for, and kept me motivated. Don’t get down on yourself if you aren’t making a 4.0 every semester, it will be fine. Heck, even if you make a few C’s it can be ok. I made 3 C’s in undergrad; all of them were considered science classes too. However, I had good grades in other classes, veterinary experience, leadership experience, excellent letters of recommendation, good scores on the standardized tests, a strong personal statements, and a good interview.
Also, remember that vet schools will not only look at your grades, but also the classes you took. So, a student with a lower GPA, but took more challenging classes and more hours per semester may be more attractive to vet schools than a student that took a lighter class load. Remember the prerequisite classes that vet schools require is the minimum, so look to take more challenging and advanced classes in college if you are able.
My point here is don’t solely concentrate your efforts on your grades like so many do, work on other aspects of your application as well. Grades are very important, and you must strive to keep them high, but don’t stress so much that you loose it half way though undergrad. Now sacrifices will have to be made in order to get into veterinary school. I remember having to turn down many fun opportunities to study for test while my friends were able to go out a have a good time. I’m sure you will hear many undergrads state the “ D for diploma” line, but of course that doesn’t apply to you. I got so jealous of people that just “had to pass” while I was working hard to get in an A in classes. In the end it will all pay off.
Moral of the story is to work hard, study, and take deep breaths. If you do these things your grades will be fine and you should work hard to build other aspects of your applications. Remember, it’s not just 4.0 students that get into vet school, there are some “non-geniuses” like you and me that do too. Set your goals high, but don’t completely give up if you don’t reach these goals every semester. If you are willing to study and make some sacrifices you will make the grades needed to get into vet school and continue to do well once you reach the vet school curriculum.
Well, that’s my take on grades. While we are on the subject of school I will next talk about some classes that most colleges and even some highs schools may offer that are good preparation for veterinary school.