5 Things You Need to Know to Prepare for Veterinary School
Do you love fuzzy, four-legged creatures and have a passion for science? If so, then a career in veterinary medicine might be the right next step for you. Here are five things you need to know to prepare for veterinary school.
1. Complete the pre-entrance course requirements
While there is no pre-veterinary medicine major at UC Davis, you still can (and must) take a required set of courses prior to the end of the spring quarter before matriculation, if you want to get into veterinary school. Veterinary schools around the country each have their own list of pre-entrance course requirements. UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine has an easy-to-read list of what courses they require.
UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, like many vet schools around the country, requires a minimum number of hours (180) of animal, veterinary and biomedical work and/or experience. However, admitted applicants have an average of 2,500–3,000 hours. So, as early as you can, seek out opportunities to observe and volunteer. The Internship and Career Center can help you find possible opportunities. Volunteerism can not only help you prepare for veterinary school, it can also help you discover if it is the right career path for you and connect you with people who could serve as future references.
3. Work on research projects
Search on departmental websites, such as the College of Biological Sciences website, to find faculty members who are doing research related to veterinary medicine. Or visit the Undergraduate Research Center to prepare for approaching and interviewing with faculty members whose labs you'd like to join.
4. Enroll in pre-vet clubs and programs
Join the UC Davis Vet Aide Club and get hands-on experience in a variety of animal-care fields. Also, members can apply to various volunteer internship opportunities with the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital.
You can also try to enroll in the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Pre-College Program. This five-week intensive summer program is designed to provide college-level students with activities that will enhance their preparation to veterinary school.
5. Learn more about the admissions process
Know the admission process and timeline for the veterinary school you’re interested in. Most veterinary medical schools require that applicants take the GRE before applying, so make sure you take the test before the application deadline. Applications from the Veterinary Medical Application Service, which is how most schools accept applications, are available online in May (paper applications are not available), and the deadline to submit is in September. (Have your transcripts and letters of recommendations ready by then too.) Interview notifications typically go out in mid-November, with the interviews taking place in mid-December.
Read the School of Veterinary Medicine’s “So You Want to be a Veterinarian?” article.
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