Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Where do Veterinary student come from?

So, while many readers may be college or high schools, there is a great number of veterinary school applicants that have very different backgrounds. The reason I say this is because many students really feel the need to compete with other prevet students they may be sharing classes with. It’s easy to start comparing grades with others at your college to try and gage your chances of getting into vet school. The truth is you are competing with a vast number of applicants, many of whom are not undergrad college students.

For example, I know of a former science teacher, military veteran, lawyers, medical doctors, veterinary technicians, students just completing their masters, and waitress that all applied and were accepted to veterinary school. Honestly, very few people in my class were students that I have ever met before.

My point here is that the pool of people applying to veterinary is large and diverse. Do not just assume that because your making better grades than most students at your college that your guaranteed a spot in vet school. Likewise, if you are a non-tradition student, a working adult, or whatever your situation you have a chance of getting into vet school.


Anonymous said...

How many older students have you seen?

I'm 31, and realized I've missed my calling - I'm 1/2 thru another masters and was thinking of trying to get a vet school - but to do so I would have to quit my job and take a few basics classes (I went liberal arts for my bachelors several years ago).

I'm just kinda wondering if it's worth me 'starting over' to get in.

jonp21 said...

I have seen a fair share of older students while going through veterinary school. In my class alone there are 5 students in their mid 30's, three of which have young children. So it's not too rare at all.

Now, if it's worth is to "start all over" is really something you have to figure out. Realize there will be large time commitment. Once in vet school, classes plus studying can easily take 60 hours a weeks. Plus, once you get to rotations your basically in the hospital for an entire year, with only enough time off to eat and sleep. Also, if you need student loans to cover the cost of tuition, the average vet student will accumulate about $120,000 of student loan debt while in school. Plus, the average starting salary once you do graduate is only currently about $70,000.

Basically, the choice enter veterinary school is critical. The time and money required is huge, and therefore only people that really want and know they want to be veterinarians should consider it. For these people it leads to a great career that is fun, exciting, and they eventually will make a very good living doing it.

If you haven't already, go work for a vet, get some real-life first hand experience at what they job entails. If it is something that you really love, then by all means go and do it, then all the hard work will be well worth it.

Anonymous said...

"Worth it" was a bad choice of words - what I meant by that is I didn't want to quit my job and go back to school full time (to get some science credits) if most vet schools didn't take older students. Trust me, I know I'll be broke for awhile! =)

I'm looking into get a vet tech job, but I don't have any experience, and so I'm caught in the catch-22 of need experience to have experience (for a job)...

I was thinking of seeing if a vets office would take me as a vet tech intern (for college credit instead of $). I'm not sure how often that's done though.

Anonymous said...

Also, what is your opinion of getting a pre vet med bachelors? My original bachelors is a BA of Film - I figure I should go back and at least get an AS with basic science classes (bio/chem/math). I'm not sure if I should try and get another bachelors to make myself more .... of a candidate?

Or if I should just apply after getting some science credits under my belt.

jonp21 said...

To answer your last question, I would recommend first just trying to just take all classes that are required for you to apply to vet school, if your unsuccessful then maybe try for a Bachelors or Associates science degree. It really doesn't matter too much what your degree is in, as long you have the necessary classes done. Check out my post "Picking a college major", it has a bit more info on this.

Also, I would defiantly recommend finding some job/internship at a vet clinic. Honestly, I've never really heard of vet clinics giving any type of college credit for working, but it could be out there. The best thing to do is work part time at a clinic while taking the classes you need.

Let me know if you need anything else. And again age really doesn't matter when applying to vet school, if your a strong candidate then you will be accepted. Best of luck and thanks for reading!

Therese said...

I'm not confident that I'll get into vet school when I apply right out of undergrad so I was hoping to get a masters to make myself more competitive but I don't know which masters would be the most helpful; animal science, animal behavior, etc. Do you have any advice?

jonp21 said...


First, good luck getting accepted, never say never.

If you do decide to pursue a masters I really don't know what subject would be best. Obviously, anything science/animal related would be good. Off the top of my head biology, biochemistry, and physiology come to mind, but the others you asked about would be appropriate as well. I have seen vets that have masters in a wide range of fields.

More than anything think about which program you would enjoy the most. This way you will enjoy your experience and in case you don't get into vet school later on or if you just fall in love with that field you have a master's degree that you can use in the future.

At the end of the day pick which field fits you the best, don't solely base your decision on your vet school goals.

Best of luck! Thanks for the question, write back if you need anything else!

Jasmine said...

Would a degree in veterinary technology count as an undergraduate degree?

I'm thinking of going to a community college before going to the university, and they offer a degree in vet technology. I also thought this would be good just in case I didn't make it into vet school.

jonp21 said...

I think a degree in veterinary technology would be good. I know of a few veterinary students that have that degree and they seem to know quite a bit. Again, just make sure you take the necessary courses that are required for vet school.

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