Catawba students can get some of the best clinical experience by shadowing a veterinarian, or completing a veterinary medicine internship at a clinic, farm, or zoo. We recommend students seek out opportunities to work with a variety of animals as early and often as possible, keeping an accurate and detailed journal of your experiences including dates, locations, contact information, and if it was paid or volunteer-based. The number of hours, type of animals involved, and a synopsis of the activities should also be recorded. A goal of 400-600 hours of pre-professional veterinary medical experience is recommended in multiple areas such as small and large animals, exotics, and emergency care.
Advising to Meet Vet School Requirements
prepare to employ your (com)passion for animals with a career in veterinary medicine
There are no “Pre-Vet” majors at colleges and universities. However, veterinary medical schools require that you complete the prerequisite coursework for admission. Because much of the required coursework is in the sciences, most Pre-Vet students at Catawba College select Biology, Biochemistry, or Chemistry as their majors. As long as the required prerequisite courses are taken, any major can be pursued. Be sure to check each of your prospective veterinary program's prerequisite course requirements, as they can vary from institution to institution.
You should let your academic advisor know as soon as possible that admission to vet school is your post-graduation goal. Your advisor will work with you to ensure that you take the required prerequisite coursework, complete the required hours of clinical experience if necessary, and mentor you towards research experiences that will broaden your training and make your application stand out.
setting admission goals for vet school
Admission to veterinary medicine school is highly competitive. It typically takes four years to earn the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree, often followed by residencies or fellowships to gain experience in specialty fields. The average GPA of the admitted class at most veterinary medical schools is between 3.6 and 3.7 (with a 3.2-4.0 range). The average score on the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) Verbal is 156 (142-168 range), GRE Quantitative is 154 (142-166 range), and 4.0 (2.5-5.5 range) on the Analytical Writing section. Catawba College out-of-state students should expect to need a higher GPA and GRE, as state veterinary schools' preference for admission is often given to in-state students.
We highly recommend that students planning to attend vet school call the admissions offices at the institutions at which they wish to apply and ask for the average GPA and GRE scores for their most recent admitted class. Those GPA and GRE scores should be the goal!
experiences that will help you get into vet school
While it is important to have good GPA and GRE scores, vet schools want to know that they are admitting well-rounded individuals that are academically curious and mature and have the ability to work with animals. There are many experiences that students can have while at Catawba College to demonstrate their commitment in these areas:
Students at Catawba College have the option of doing an Independent Study with a faculty member. Speak to your advisor about applying for summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) through the National Science Foundation (NSF) and internships at the North Carolina Research Campus.
Get a menagerie of experiences working with animals by volunteering at a raptor center, wildlife preserve, zoo, animal shelter or rescue center. Get a job working at a zoo, aquarium, or pet store. These activities help fulfill the recommended 100 hours of "animal experience" required for admission to most vet schools. Unfortunately, pet ownership does not count toward this category!
Network and make connections with professionals that can write good letters of recommendation. Most programs require three letters, two of which should be from veterinarians or scientists that can comment on your specific abilities and personal qualities that would make you an excellent veterinarian. Your goal should be to have at least one practicing veterinarian write a letter of strong recommendation on your behalf.
Some veterinary medical schools provide opportunities for prospective students to do coursework, shadow veterinarians, and do research on their campus. Most even provide you housing and pay a stipend! Additionally, it looks great on your vet school application.
Get leadership experience by becoming an active participant in one or more of the many clubs and organizations at Catawba College.
resources for Veterinary Medicine
- American Veterinary Medical Association
- Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC)
- Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS)
- Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
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