About Veterinary Medicine
Veterinarians play a vital role in the healthcare of pets, livestock, zoo animals, and laboratory animals. They also protect humans against diseases carried by animals and research human and animal health problems. Veterinarians take health histories of animals, perform and interpret tests, diagnose problems, prescribe medications, develop treatment plans, and perform surgeries. They specialize their care in a number of areas including large, small, food animal, laboratory animal, and exotic animal care. Areas in need of more veterinarians include food animal safety and laboratory animal health. Veterinarians help pet owners through difficult times, keep our food supply safe, and study diseases that often impact human populations. Many veterinarians are also involved in homeland security issues to help prevent bioterrorist attacks and to protect our populations following one.
Preparation and Applying
- Significant animal experience is expected including time supervised by a veterinarian in both small and large animal settings and time spent in other contact with animals.
- Participate in undergraduate research.
- Prerequisite courses vary slightly between programs—research this early to be sure you have what you need for schools at which you want to apply.
- Some schools will require a minimum grade of a C in required courses.
- Veterinary programs appreciate rigor in undergraduate coursework. They expect to see you taking difficult courses.
- Veterinary programs use a centralized platform called VMCAS: https://www.aavmc.org/students-applicants-andadvisors/veterinary-medical-college-application-service.aspx
- Texas A&M uses a separate application, TMDSAS (Texas Medical and Dental School Application Service). https://tmdsas.com/
- The GRE or MCAT are required for entrance into vet school
- Competitive applicants have:
- Strong academic performance including a grade point average of 3.5 or better
- Leadership, teamwork, and communication skills
- Undergraduate research experience
- Volunteer and shadowing/observation experiences as well as significant animal experience
- Strong positive letters of recommendation (mostly from faculty and veterinarians)
- Early application is key. Although VMCAS has an absolute deadline, problems can occur ahead of this. The application opens in January and you have full access in May. You should submit within a month of it fully opening.
Education and Licensure
- Veterinary programs are competitive as there are relatively few programs in the country. Successful applicants are well-rounded students with leadership skills, research experience, and volunteer and shadowing experience.
- Significant animal experience is generally expected including time supervised by a veterinarian in both small and large animal settings and time spent in other contact with animals while not supervised by a veterinarian.
- After completing a bachelor’s degree (which is preferred at most schools), students who have been accepted into a veterinary school program then complete 4 years of veterinary school. This may be followed by a residency if a specialization is the goal. A national licensure exam is also required.