Friday, February 20, 2009

Preparing for Vet school: Picking a major

First, I want to apologize for the lack of posts recently. I just finished a huge block of tests, and my computer has been broken. The good news is, both of theese problems have been resolved. I promise to try and keep thi blog updated. Thanks for reading!

What should I major in to get into Veterinary school?

Another common question that many pre-vet students have while in college. There are so many choices: biology, chemistry, animal science, zoology, biochemistry, and so on. This is simple question with a fairly simple answer: whatever major you like the most. I’m sure your screaming at you computer screen now, but let me explain this answer further before you decide that I am no help at all on this particular subject.

Should I major in biology? Zoology? Chemistry?

These are all perfectly good choices, but they are also not the only ones. A key fact to remember about preparing to vet school, is that no undergrad degree is required in order to apply and be accepted to vet school. All that is required of you is that you complete all the prerequisite classes in undergrad. Therefore, you could just remain an undecided major all though college and just take all the classes that your particular vet school requires. Of course, this is not typical, or recommended. This is important for students that want to major in something ‘non-science” such as art, recreation, sociology, or anything else you can think of. You can do this, the only catch is that many of your vet school prerequisites will not count toward those degrees. Thus making it harder and taking longer to earn your degree. I know of music, photography, and psychology majors just to name a few that were accepted to veterinary school.

What major would look best on a veterinary school application?

Honestly, I don’t know for sure, but heres my educated opinion. As I noted before, vet schools give credit to students who take challenging classes and heavy work loads. Therefore, it makes sense that a student majoring in “cell molecular biology” would be more attractive than a student majoring in “underwater basket weaving”. Again, I don’t think they look to closely on the little degree or major line on the application, but will put far more weight in the classes you have taken and grades earned on your transcript. Schools want students that proven they can excel in a challenging academic schedule.

So, should I just pick the hardest science related major?

No, no, no. Pick a major that you like. I have several reasons for this. First, you will do better and get better grades if you are involved with subjects you really enjoy and find interesting. Furthermore, although you may not want to hear this, not everyone goes to vet school. I’m not saying that you won’t get in due to academics, but I know many students that chose not to attend vet school after planning on it for years. You may decide you don’t want to study for 4 more years and be hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. So, just in case this happens you need to have a degree that you can use and like.

Can I earn my undergrad degree in vet school? What are major with “pre-vet” options”?

I know that some schools offer a majors such as animal science with a pre vet option, this could mean different things depending on what school you attend so ask your advisor. That being said, its common that these majors with pre vet options are more geared to students interested in veterinary medicine and have you pre requisite classes built into the classes you need to earn that degree, and may offer special pre vet ordination classes to students with this major.

Also, yes some students can earn their undergraduate degree in vet school; this is typically easier when the student had a pre vet option in undergrad. Basically, let’s say after 3 years of undergrad you have taken all the classes necessary to apply to vet school, but still need 20 hours of upper division science classes to earn your undergraduate degree in biology. Then, if you are accepted to vet school the next year, your first 20 hours of classes in the vet school curriculum will count towards your undergrad degree as well. Therefore you will earn your undergrad degree after you first year of vet school. It can be a complicated process, so talk to your advisor at your school if you are interested.

What’s the bottom line?

Choose the major that you like. Now that’s easier said than done, but don’t pick it solely based on what one looks best on a vet school application. Personally, I can’t stand chemistry, so I stayed clear of majors that focused on that subject. I eventually found a major I really loved and it was great. At the end of the day there are far more important factors on your application outside of what your major was, so don’t sweat it too much.


John said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sasha said...

For someone who is looking for a "non-science" major and wanting to become a vet, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia has a Humanities and Science major. I'm currently enrolled in this major and it is great because my prerequisites for vet school are going toward my major along with non-science classes.

Julie said...

Can I get into Vet School with a Bachelor of Arts degree?

Sara said...

There is a pre-vet undergrad major in a college near by but does not offer vet school. How do you feel about that? Is it someting you would suggest to look into? Thank You SO much for your blog. As a sophmore in high school i feel like this is a great place to get information about a career i am looking into! it is so helpful!

Sara said...

It is a 4 year term just like any other under grad major.

Ariel said...

@ Sara, considering there are only 28 accredited veterinary schools in the U.S.A., I would imagine there are a lot of schools that offer pre-vet courses without having the vet school as well.

Abbigail Howard said...

I am a Junior in high school (almost a senior) and I am at a loss of what to do for college! I've always wanted to go to vet school (equine medicine) and I know you have to attend 4 years undergrad before you apply. But I have no idea what to major in (for backup incase I don't get accepted into vet school). I want to go to SDSU or UCSD in California and UC Davis is where I want to apply for vet school. I don't want to go to far from home and I love California and know these three colleges are really good. Any advice?

Stephanie said...

I am a freshmen in high school and I have tried very hard on what to major in. I am in Florida so I planned to go to UFVM but I would love to go to the one in California or New York. But how do you find out what is required to get in the vet school? The "prerequisites"?

June said...

Im a junior in high school and if i take ap classes for biology and such will that helpme get into vet school?

briana castillon said...

Can I major in pre-med and still get into vet school?

Anonymous said...

Is there any tips to getting into a good vet school? Is there skills you need to provide?


Anonymous said...

ok, so im a junior in high school and i want to go to vet school, what can i take(classes) next year or in college to go towards that career? i also dont want to go to do so many years of this career.

Stacey Beck said...

Thanks for all the advice. I love animals and think that would be a great job for me. Maybe I should go to talk to the veterinarian in Durango and see what it's like.

Anonymous said...

AP classes CAN count as freshmen college classes. It's not guaranteed. The AP exam at the end of the course will determine whether it does or not. If you pass the class and the AP exam, it will possibly count as a college course. However, there are no guarantees. AP and honors courses look good on applications for any school.

Melanie said...

Can someone help me out? I'm a junior in highschool trying to figure out my major. What's the difference between Animal Science and Zoology? I've been researching but can never get a solid answer. I hope to work with domesticated and small maybe large animals in the future. Thank you for reading.

Study Smarter!

Obviously getting good grades is a key and sometimes difficult part to preparing yourself for veterinary school. The best advice I can give you is to work hard, use tutors for specific topics if needed, and be sure you are using your study time wisely. Also, there are products out there that might be beneficial in helping you to learn, study, and make the best grades possible. Here is one product I ran across yesterday. Please check it out if you are interested. It comes with a 60-day full refund , so at least give it a try and let us know if it worked for you! Study Tips!