Preparation for Veterinarian School

PreVeterinarian

Academic Preparation

Academic preparation for veterinary school requires a Bachelor’s degree and completion of a set of prerequisite classes, usually science, which vary from school to school. For your degree, any major is appropriate. There is no preference in this regard, so study something you love!

Extracurricular Preparation

Preparation for veterinary school involves engaging in experiences that develop and demonstrate skills in communication, leadership, community service, research, and familiarity with the profession. What you do outside of class is as important as what you do in class so don’t neglect these activities. Keep in mind that activities complement your coursework, but will not compensate for low grades. Both are important!

Extracurricular Activities

  • Make sure you have contact information for supervisors and physicians you work with or shadow in case you need a recommendation letter. Try to keep an open relationship with them after you discontinue activities.
  • Keep a record of all hours of service and experiences. The Prehealth Planner Spread Sheet on our website can help with this.
  • Writing reflections on each activity in a journal will be helpful when you write your personal statement.

All vet schools require experience with animal care and substantial first-hand observation or work experience with a practicing veterinarian. Many vet schools recommend gaining experience with a range of animal species, both large and small. All schools require a letter of recommendation from a practicing veterinarian with whom you have spent a significant amount of time. These experiences demonstrate your motivation for the profession and help you develop important skills.

Vet schools are looking for students who have strong communication and interpersonal skills. The university offers a variety of courses in speech and writing to help you refine your abilities.

Because you are preparing for a humanitarian profession, it is important to have volunteer experiences that demonstrate a commitment to serving others in your community. It is suggested that this be ongoing throughout your college years prior to application for admission.

Veterinary medicine depends on professional literature to remain current in their field. Most veterinary schools highly recommend participation in research. It is good to participate in hypothesis-based research using the scientific method. Your research experience could be from many different areas – it does not have to be medically related or in a lab.

As a physician, you will be a leader and team member in many ways – with your patients, your staff, your colleagues, and in your community. Examples include offices held in organizations, committee work; leadership in church activities; coordinating a project; managing, training, supervising at work or in other activities; teaching experience of any kind; coaching; peer counseling or mentoring, etc. Competitive applicants complete 3 different experiences each lasting 3 months or longer in the 4 years before they matriculate.

PreVeterinary Coursework

This guide is designed for applying to a range of veterinary schools. It is not a comprehensive list. Requirements may vary by school so applicants should look closely at what is required at the schools at which they are applying. The following list indicates the most commonly classes required or recommended by veterinary schools.  See a Preprofessional advisor for more information.

AP & IB CREDIT

Some veterinary schools will not accept Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) credits earned in high school towards the prerequisites, so students with AP credits in science or math should either take the introductory course or a higher level course in the appropriate area.

COMMUNITY COLLEGE CREDITS

Veterinary schools vary on their view of prerequisite classes taken at Community Colleges. Some accept them, but look on them with some disfavor, other schools readily accept them.  Students should be aware of this when planning their education.

There are a number of very good reasons for students to begin their college education at a Community College, so we have some recommendations for those who wish to do so. In general it is okay to take the following classes at the Salt Lake Community College.  However, to satisfy schools that do not accept Community College work, higher level courses may have to be taken to make up for it.

  • MATH 1050 College Algebra and anything below
  • MATH 1060 Trigonometry
  • BIOL 1610 & 1615 and BIOL 1620 & 1625, General Biology 1 and 2 with labs, in place of BIOL 1210 and 2020 at the U of U
  • BIOL 2030 Genetics
  • BIOL 2420 Human Physiology.
  • CHEM 1210 & 1215, and 1220 & 1225, General Chemistry 1 and 2 with labs.
  • ENGL 1010 and 2010
  • CLEP Credit & Correspondence Study— Varies by school. Ask schools directly.
  • Online Courses— Depends on schools. Ask schools directly.
  • Withdrawals— W’s should be used only for emergencies, although W’s will not affect GPA.
  • GPA Generally the minimum accepted GPA is around 3.0, but may be higher or lower depending on the school. The average GPA for accepted applicants is usually in the 3.6 range.
    • WIMU, a regional program with Washington State University that allows Utah Resident’s to take their first 2 years at Utah State University, has a minimum GPA of 3.2
  • Repeated Courses— VMCAS, the central application service for veterinary schools, will count all grades from all attempts at a class in your GPA when you apply for veterinary school. (This is different from the U of U’s policy to only count the most recent attempt.)

Science Courses

REQUIRED BY MOST SCHOOLS

BIOL 1210, Principles of Biology (3 credits)

BIOL 2030 Genetics (3 credits) Prerequisites: BIOL 2020

BIOL 2325, Human Anatomy (4 credits) Prerequisite BIOL 1210

The lab is included and fulfills one Biology lab for most medical schools

BIOL 3210 Microbiology (3 credits) Lab 3215 (1 credit) Prerequisites: BIOL 2020 & CHEM 1210

BIOL or CHEM 3510, Biochemistry I (3 credits) Prerequisite CHEM 2310

Recommended Prerequisites BIOL 2020 and CHEM 2320

Lab Requirement: 2 Biology labs are required by most veterinary schools, students can either the Anatomy OR Physiology lab to fulfill the first biology lab for most med schools. The second biology lab can be fulfilled by any biology course such as BIOL 2015, 3115, 3205, 3235, 3515, 3525 and more. Please note that many of these classes correspond to a class that must also be taken. Labs taken at Salt Lake Community College are also acceptable.

REQUIRED OR RECOMMENDED BY SOME SCHOOLS

BIOL 2420 Human Physiology (4 credits) Prerequisites BIOL 1210 and CHEM 1210

OPTIONAL BIOLOGY CLASSES

BIOL 3325, 3360, 5030, 5370, 5385, 5395, or 5401

In order to take the proper math class, you must have ACT, SAT or math placement test scores, or successfully pass a prerequisite math course. Some students will need MATH 0980 or MATH 1010 before starting the Preveterinary Math sequence.

REQUIRED BY MOST SCHOOLS

MATH 1050 College Algebra (4 credits) Prerequisite MATH 1010 or placement

MATH 1060 Trigonometry (3 credits) Prerequisite MATH 1050 or placement

MATH 1050 & 1060 can be substituted with MATH 1080 (5 credits) Precalculus

REQUIRED BY SOME SCHOOLS

MATH 1210, Calculus I (4 credits) Prerequisite MATH 1060 or placement,

MATH 1070 Statistics (3 credits) Prerequisite MATH 1010 or placement. Any other statistics course such as PSY 3000 or FCS 3210 can be substituted. Check with your major advisor.

REQUIRED BY MOST SCHOOLS

CHEM 1210 General Chemistry I (4 credits) Prerequisite MATH 1050, or math placement

Lab CHEM 1215 (1 credit)

CHEM 1220 General Chemistry 2 (4 credits) Prerequisite CHEM 1210

Lab CHEM 1225 (1 credit)

CHEM 2310 Organic Chemistry I (4 credits) Prerequisite CHEM 1220

Lab CHEM 2315 (2 credits)

CHEM 2310 Organic Chemistry I (4 credits) Prerequisite CHEM 2310

Lab CHEM 2325 (2 credits)

BIOL 3510 or CHEM 3510, Biochemistry I (3 credits) Prerequisite, CHEM 2310,

Recommended Prerequisites BIOL 2020 and CHEM 2320

REQUIRED BY MOST SCHOOLS

1 year of Physics with labs: Students have 2 series to choose from

Algebra and Trig based Physics

PHYS 2010 General Physics I (4 credits) Prerequisite MATH 1060

Lab PHYS 2015 (1 credit)

PHYS 2020 General Physics II (4 credits) Prerequisite PHYS 2010

Lab PHYS 2025 (1 credit)

OR

Calculus based Physics

PHYS 2210 Physics for Scientists and Engineers I (4 credits) Prerequisite MATH 1210

Lab PHYS 2015 or 2215 (1 credit)

PHYS 2220 Physics for Scientists and engineers II (4 credits) Prerequisite MATH 1220 and PHYS 2210

Lab PHYS 2025 or 2225 (1 credit)

Non-Science Courses

REQUIRED BY MOST SCHOOLS

2 semesters of English Composition courses

WRTG 1010 (3 credits)

WRTG 2010 (3 credits) Prerequisite WRTG 1010

CW course (3-4 credits) If no course in your major, choose something from either Writing or English department

REQUIRED BY SOME SCHOOLS

1 semester Animal Science/Nutrition course (Can be online)

At least 2 Behavioral Science, Arts, and Humanities courses (BF, FF, HF)

REQUIRED BY SOME SCHOOLS

1 semester Public Speaking, Speech, or other Communication course

OPTIONAL PREPARATORY COURSES FOR MATH, CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS

  • MATH 10 (non credit) Math Boot Camp for Intermediate Algebra, 1 week workshop offered the week before fall and spring semesters begin
  • MATH 15 (non credit) Math Boot Camp for Precalculus, 1 week review workshop offered the week before fall and spring semesters begin
  • CHEM 10 (non credit) Chemistry Boot Camp for General Chemistry, 5 hours per day 5 days per week for 2 weeks
  • CHEM 1200 (3 credits) Preparation for College Chemistry, Usually offered online. Check class schedule for more information
  • CHEM 1208 (1 credit) Introduction to the Periodic Table, Offered online between semesters for 2 weeks
  • CHEM 2308 (1 credit) Introduction to Organic Chemistry Offered online between semesters for 2 weeks.
  • PHYS 1500 (3 credits) Preparation for College Physics, Offered once a year. Check class schedule for more information

Prepare for Letters of Recommendation

Requirements for letters vary between schools, so research schools early and know what you need. Plan ahead! Get to know people from these categories so they can write excellent letters for you. Generally, veterinary schools require letters from:

1) Veterinarians with whom you have worked or volunteered,

2) A college professor who has taught you in a classroom setting and has given you a letter grade

3) An employer/supervisor.

  • Tell professors at the beginning of the semester that you would like them to keep an eye on your performance in class. It will give them a longer observational window.
  • Visit their offices regularly
  • At the end of the semester, if you do well, ask them if they would be willing to write you an excellent letter of recommendation when you are ready to apply.
  • A key to a good letter is the establishment of a relationship between student and professor based on shared academic interests.
    • Ask thoughtful questions
    • Delve deeper into concepts presented in lectures
    • Share your academic and career goals
    • Ask for recommendations for additional reading
    • Inquire about their areas of interest and research
  • After you have gotten to know professors, ask about further opportunities, e.g. teaching assistantships, individual research projects, etc.

Resources

Prehealth Planner Keep Track of your activities, and your research on medical schools.
downloadable summary  

personal statement guide

 

WIMU stands for Washington–Idaho–Montana–Utah http://dvm.vetmed.wsu.edu/wimu-regional-program.  It is a partnership between the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, the University of Idaho Department of Animal and Veterinary Science, Montana State University, and Utah State University School of Veterinary Medicine, http://www.vetmed.usu.edu/. Up to 20 Utah residents, and up to 10 nonresidents, spend their first 2 years at USU in Logan Utah, and their final 2 years at the WSU campus in Pullman, WA. Upon satisfactory completion of the program, their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree is conferred by Washington State University.

Last Updated: 5/24/18