Pre-Veterinarian Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are veterinary schools looking for?
This information is provided at http://www.unco.edu/nhs/prehealth/veterinary/vetcolleges.html
2. How do I apply to veterinary school?
The Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS) is the one application that you will use to apply to almost all U.S. veterinary medical colleges. For more information about VMCAS, go to http://www.aavmc.org/Students-Applicants-and-Advisors/Veterinary-Medical-College-Application-Service.aspx
3. What kinds of extracurricular activities should I be doing?
Most schools will require experience with animals and with a practicing veterinarian. For more information on this topic, go to http://www.unco.edu/nhs/prehealth/veterinary/vetclinical.html. Some schools also like to see that students have conducted research in the sciences. For more information on research opportunities here at UNC, go to http://www.unco.edu/nhs/prehealth/research.html
4. What standardized test should I take?
Most veterinary schools require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) before admittance. You can find more information about the GRE at http://www.ets.org/gre
5. What major should I choose?
Most veterinary schools do not prefer a specific major, as long as you have taken the necessary prerequisite courses. Choose a major that interests you and that you will enjoy.
6. What are the prerequisites for veterinary school?
Each school has slightly different requirements for admissions. For more information on prerequisite courses, go to http://www.unco.edu/nhs/prehealth/veterinary/vetprereq.htm
7. From whom should I request letters of recommendation/evaluation?
It is important to read the specific requirements for each veterinary school. Many will require 3 letters of recommendation, two of which must be from science faculty. However, each school has its own specific requirements for letters. The key when choosing who to ask is to find someone who knows you very well and yet is not a close personal friend or member of the family. Many students attempt to get a letter from someone in a “powerful position” or with “name recognition”, but if the individual does not know you well, the letter is useless. Focus on developing relationships with faculty early in your undergraduate education so that you will have individuals who can attest to your qualifications.
8. How do I ask for letters of recommendation?
The best approach when asking for a letter is to ask early and be specific about what you need and the deadlines involved. Understand that many individuals are quite busy and will need time to get a letter together. It is a good idea to meet with the individual in person to request the letter when possible. It can also be helpful to bring a resume and your personal statement to the meeting so that the letter writer has more information about you for the letter. For faculty members who typically only interact with you in class and office hours, it can be quite useful for them to know what activities you have been involved in outside the classroom. Additionally, your personal statement (which you will use when you apply) provides them with more information about why you have chosen this career.
9. I got a C in Chemistry/Biology/etc., should I retake it?
The answer to this question is yes and no. Yes, you should retake if you did not understand the information presented. However, the answer is “no” if you are only retaking it to improve your GPA. If you retake the course, the C will not disappear from your GPA for most veterinary medical colleges, but will instead be averaged with the new grade. So, if you retake and get an A, the average grade will be a B. This is not a significant improvement to your GPA in most cases and therefore is rarely worth the time and effort. The same considerations should be taken into account if you are considering retaking any of your undergraduate courses.