How do I prepare for vet school?
UC Davis does not offer a "pre-vet major." You can major in any subject and be a competitive veterinary school applicant as long as you've completed pre-entrance course requirements for the veterinary schools you're applying to.
Veterinary schools are looking for bright, motivated applicants who understand from direct observation the day-to-day life of a veterinarian. The UC Davis veterinary school requires a minimum of 180 hours of animal, veterinary, and biomedical work and/or experience. However, admitted applicants have an average of 2,500–3,000 hours.
As early as your sophomore year, seek out opportunities to observe and volunteer.
Talk to the people who talk to animals. Ask anyone in veterinary medicine you know, in any capacity, if they're willing to have you do helpful tasks in exchange for the opportunity to observe an entire afternoon or day with a veterinarian. Maybe your Los Angeles veterinarian has a colleague from veterinary school who practices in Davis or in a nearby community. Ask if you can use his or her name as an introduction. Follow up, send thank you notes, network!
If You Do One Thing, Do This!
To be apprised of all things pre-vet at UC Davis, including vet school representative visits, club meetings and more, sign up for the Student Academic Success Center's health professions listserve.
Use Campus Resources
- Check out the Internship and Career Center to learn about opportunities to work in health care settings.
- Search on departmental Web sites and the College of Biological Sciences' Guide to Undergraduate Research Opportunities for faculty members who are doing research related to veterinary medicine.
- Visit the Undergraduate Research Center to prepare for approaching and interviewing with faculty members whose labs you'd like to join.
- Join the Vet Aide Club.
- The Student Academic Success Center (SASC) offers detailed information on preparation for veterinary school.
Volunteer or paid experience with a veterinarian is essential in your preparation for veterinary school. First, as a prospective veterinary medicine professional, you gain valuable insight into your decision whether veterinary medicine is the career path for you. Second, you develop the opportunity to receive a letter of recommendation from a veterinary medical professional, which may be useful or required in your application.
California now has two veterinary schools. In addition to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, the College of Veterinary Medicine at Western University of Health Sciences, established in 1998, offers a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree program.