Pre-veterinary colleges, also referred to as pre-vet colleges, are the recommended track for those interested in pursuing a career in veterinary medicine. Pre-vet colleges offer a wide range of classes that cover veterinary prerequisites such as business management for opening private practices, as well as chemistry and biology for animal health and food safety. Pre-vet programs are highly recommended for students interested in becoming practicing veterinarians as they help build a strong foundation in veterinary science and medicine. Read on to learn more about some of the top pre-veterinary colleges in the U.S.
The University of Findlay notes that almost 60 percent of its pre-vet students go on to gain admission into veterinary programs – approximately two times the national average. In fact, most students at the school complete an Animal Science degree, but might choose to alternatively major in biology or chemistry to complete their pre-vet coursework. The school also allows students who gain acceptance into a program at the end of their junior year to obtain a bachelor’s degree after they have completed their first year of schooling in a veterinary program. Students in the program gain strong hands-on experience due to two farm complexes available through the program. This includes a 31,000 square-foot facility called the Dr. C. Richard Beckett Animal Science Building, home to a number of farm animals and at which students spend a significant amount of time their first two years.Four practicing veterinarians also provide on-site help to students. Finally, the school offers two seminars to help students learn more about the veterinary field and to prepare for application to veterinary school.
Most students in the pre vet program at Boise State complete a bachelor’s of science degree in biology, and as in most pre vet programs, take coursework heavy in science focus such as in biology, chemistry, physics and zoology. The school has three advisors to help students develop a course of study and notes that students will want to gain experience working with animals while in the pre vet program. Students can gain additional experience and knowledge about the veterinary field through the school’s pre vet club. Additionally, the school has an agreement with the veterinary program at the University of Washington that makes 11 seats available to accepted pre vet students each year. Even with this available agreement, however, competition remains intense and the school recommends that students applying to any veterinary program seek toobtain a 3.5 GPA or above.
Students at the University of Kentucky typically complete a bachelor’s of science degree to meet the requirements to apply to veterinary school. The school does have agreements with the veterinary programs at Auburn University and Tuskegee University (both in Alabama) via a Southern Regional Education Board Plan. Through these, 38 students from the University of Kentucky can enter the Auburn University program each year and three can find seats with the veterinary program offered through Tuskegee University. The schools also provides advising that can be helpful in developing plans of study for application to veterinary school. As well, it provides a diverse number of electives, such as Animal Anatomy and Physiology, and Diseases of Domestic Animals that can look positive when applying to a veterinary school. Students in the program can find opportunities, some paid, to work at veterinary hospitals, horse shows, and veterinary clinics. Some students have even obtained semester internships at places like the Cincinnati Zoo and Disney World. Finally, the program offers mock interview sessions to prepare students for potential veterinary school interviews and a pre vet club that provides them with related opportunities and education regarding the veterinary field.
Students in the pre vet program at the University of Hawaii will find a dedicated advisor to help develop a plan of study for preparing for veterinary school. Most of the students do complete a four-year bachelor’s degree, but the advisor can help ensure that they are taking the coursework that may be necessary for acceptance into a particular veterinary program. The school holds agreements through the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education with Colorado, Oregon and Washington state universities meaning that students accepted there do not have to pay out-of-state tuition. Students in the pre vet program can also find a number of volunteer opportunities available to work with animals in the veterinary field, including at the Honolulu Zoo, Waikiki Aquarium, and Hawaiian Humane Society. The school also hosts its own pre vet club, which offers a number of events related to the veterinary field as well as help with applying to school and a mentorship program. Finally, the school offers the Dr. Charles Reid scholarship to a student enrolled full time in the pre vet program; nearly $500,000 has been awarded over 25 years.
Most pre vet students attending New Mexico State University work on completing an Animal Science degree, and have biology, chemistry, math and physics coursework as a substantial part of their curriculum. In fact, the school’s Department of Animal and Range Sciences has been helping train students to apply to veterinary school since 1965.The school’sAnimal Science degree allows students to complete the requirements needed for admission to a veterinary program as well as to gain hands-on experience working with both small and large animals. In addition, while completing their Animal Science degree, students can choose to focus in one of three concentration areas: animal science, companion animal science, or equine science. Students can also join the school’s pre vet club, which provides related experience and knowledge helpful to applying to veterinary school. As well, the school does have agreements through the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education to offer in-state tuition to students accepted from New Mexico State University.
Most of the students in the pre vet program at the University of Wisconsin complete their pre vet requirements while working on a bachelor’s of science degree in animal science, biology, or dairy science. However, students can seek early admission to veterinary school through the school’s 3+1 program. This program allows them to apply for veterinary school following their junior year, start vet school their senior year, and to obtain their bachelor’s degree after completing this first year of school in a veterinary program. Many of the school’s pre vet students seek admission to the veterinary programs at the University of Wisconsin, Madison or the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. The school recommends that students complete their full degrees before applying for veterinary school, but also does note that their curriculum requirements surpass the minimum requirements for admission to several veterinary schools. As well, the school offers a pre vet club that features opportunities for students to study together, volunteer, or attend related veterinary symposiums and open houses. The university's pre vet programs are available at the Eau Claire, Madison, Platteville, and River Falls campuses.
Students at Augustana College typically complete a science degree, such as in biology, while completing their pre vet school requirements. The school also offers a 3:4 program with the University of Illinois College of Medicine, in which students complete their pre vet coursework at Augustana College, and, upon acceptance, start vet school their senior year. After the senior year at vet school is done, they return to Augustana College to receive their bachelor’s degree. This program allows students to jump start their veterinary training, and is available to all pre vet students, not just those having Illinois residency. As well, while completing their pre vet coursework, students can gain hands-on experience through clinical rotations available in various veterinary clinics in the area; the experience can be helpful when applying for admittance to a veterinary school, the Augustana College website notes. Advisors can help students work on a plan of study from their first year on, and can guide them to related elective coursework if they have done AP coursework or already met foreign language requirements.
Most students in the pre-vet program at the University of Connecticut complete their coursework while doing a bachelor’s degree in animal science or pathobiology and veterinary science. Both the Animal Science department and the Pathobiology and Veterinary Science Department have advisors who can help students work on a plan of study necessary for completing the requirements for application to a veterinary school. The school’s College of Agricultural and Natural Resources also has an agreement with Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine that allows five students to be granted admission at in-state Connecticut rates each year to its vet program. Students from U-Conn have gone on to attend vet schools all over the U.S. as well as in Australia, Canada and the UK. Students completing their coursework through the Pathobiology and Veterinary Sciences degree can also find unique electives, such as Animal Embryology and Biotechnology, and Marine Microbiology offered at the school.The university also has a U-Conn Pre-Vet Club that sponsors a dog wash, and offers related events and trips.
Students in the pre-vet program at Bowling Green State University will want to finish all their pre-vet classes by their junior year so that they can begin applying to veterinary programs before their senior year. Like at other schools, the pre-vet program is not a degree, so many students choose to complete a four-year degree in a science field. Any degree may be acceptable as long as they have completed the coursework needed for application. Students in the pre-vet program will need to take a wide variety of science classes that include biology, genetics, microbiology, organic chemistry, and physics. The school’s Pre-Vet Med Association may be of interest to students who want to explore the vet field and career options that could become available. The school also has two advisors in the science department to help students through their program at Bowling Green State University and to help prepare them for application to veterinary school.Some of the school’s graduates do go on to attend the veterinary program at Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
Students can complete the courses for the pre vet program at North Dakota State University in three years, but may want to do a fourth year to obtain an actual science degree. Students can then apply for entry to an veterinary program in the U.S. The state of North Dakota has admission agreements through the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education with California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Oregon and Washington for students who are certified by the state as long-time North Dakota residents (said certification depends on the students having grown up and graduated high school in North Dakota) to help facilitate this process. Although pre-vet is not an actual degree, all students do receive an advisor to help them through the three-year program, or four, if they choose to complete a bachelor’s degree. In addition, the school offers a Pre Vet Club, which provides opportunities to hear from guest speakers, watch films, take field trips and overall further explore the veterinary field. The school also has a wide number of private annual scholarships available for pre vet students and its College of Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources offers more than $100,000 in scholarship funding annually to students enrolled in its pre vet program.
The following criteria were used in compiling this list of 10 top pre-vet programs. Not all of the criteria are specific to all programs, but many of the schools did meet most of these guidelines:
Advising specifically for pre-vet students: Although most schools do not offer a degree specifically in pre-vet medicine, all of these schools did have advisors available specifically for pre vet students to help them develop a plan of study for their pre-vet coursework and/or in their science major.
Veterinary school agreements: Many of these schools had agreements with actual veterinary schools that guaranteed a certain number of seat to graduates of their pre -et program should they meet all the necessary application requirements.
Hands-on experience: Many of these schools had opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience working with animals either through an on-school site or thought opportunities in vet clinics or with veterinarians.
Pre-vet club: Many of these schools offered a pre-vet club, through which students could meet others interested in the field, study for courses (most schools required at least a C in pre-vet classes), gain experience, or even prepare for application to veterinary school.
Terrific electives or special agreements: A few of these schools offered very specific elective classes that could be beneficial to application to vet school or had special agreements with schools through which students, if accepted, could start after their junior year.