Getting Into Vet School - FAQ
Our most frequently asked question is "How do I get into veterinary school?"
Here are the answers to some of our specific frequently asked questions about preparing for veterinary school, getting into veterinary school, and what to do if you decide not to go to veterinary school.
- How successful are your students at getting into veterinary school?
- Do I have to be an Animal Science (ANSC) major to get into veterinary school?
- How can an Animal Science degree enhance my chances for getting into veterinary school?
- Do you have an accelerated entry program to veterinary school?
- In what other ways can the Department of Animal Sciences help me to get into veterinary school?
- What are some alternative options to vet school?
- What kinds of hands-on animal/research experience can I get through the Animal Science Department?
- Isn’t the University of Maryland too big for me?
More than 80% of our students who apply to an AVMA-accredited veterinary school gain admission based on our records. National data indicates that about 50% of applicants are successful. The success of our students is due to the quality of our program and the reputation of our graduates. Our students often have their choice of veterinary schools so that they can focus on their sub discipline of interest. In the last five years, we've had students accepted at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (of course), Univ of Penn, Cornell, Tufts, Florida, Minnesota, Ohio State, U Illinois, Kansas State and the very prestigious Royal Veterinary College in London.
A student can be any major and get accepted to veterinary school. In fact, for most vet schools, you don't even have to graduate. What you have to have are all the prerequisites (one year of organic chemistry, one year of general chemistry, one year of physics, etc.).
In ANSC, you take a semester of anatomy where you dissect a whole goat, and parts of other species to illustrate species differences. You also take a year of physiology and a year of nutrition. There are also disease-related courses and other electives. You can see a typical course plan at http://ansc.umd.edu/undergraduate/files/ANSC-Science%20and%20Pre-Professional-1.doc
The ANSC students who get to veterinary school tell us that they feel that they're more prepared than most of their classmates for veterinary school due to their ANSC courses. Most students who apply to veterinary schools with ANSC degrees, get in. Going through our sciences/professional option follows a curriculum that will not only meet the minimum requirements to apply to most veterinary schools, but will leave them well qualified for other professional degrees and career options.
Additionally, The College does also have an 'accelerated' program for pre-vet students, and that's called the Combined Agriculture/Pre-Veterinary option in Animal Sciences. If you're applying, that's option 1299D. The way this works is that students focus on requirements to apply to veterinary school, and students apply to vet school in the fall of their junior year. If accepted to veterinary school, they start veterinary school after three years, and then after completing their first year of veterinary school the students use those credits to earn their BS degree at UMD. A typical 4-year program for students in this option is at http://ansc.umd.edu/undergraduate/files/ANSC-Combined%20Agriculture.Veterinary%20Medicine-2.doc.
It is important for students to understand that acceptance to veterinary school is very competitive, so not many students in this 'accelerated' approach gain acceptance to a veterinary school in their third year. Most have to wait until they finish their BS degree before they gain acceptance. This is an option for some students, but not for all. We typically have a student or two accepted in any one year.
One other difference between pre-veterinary programs in various departments at UMD is advising. Advising in ANSC is done by ANSC professors who are experienced with the details of veterinary school applications. Not every veterinary school has the same course requirements for applications, and if you're not planning with those in mind you might find yourself not being able to apply to some schools. For example, those details for veterinary school application requirements are at http://www.aavmc.org/vmcas/documents/VMCASprereqchart2006_001.pdf. If you're not familiar with those details, then look them over to familiarize yourself with them.
At the end of four years, a number of students who originally wanted to go to veterinary school have changed their minds. Some decide to go to medical school and are accepted each year without having to take any additional classes. Some decide to go to grad school. Others realize they don't have the grades (GPA) it takes to get into veterinary school. Those students explore career options and have their choice of jobs when they finish. For more details on sample jobs go to: http://ansc.umd.edu/undergraduate/Career_Options.pdf
We teach most classes using a comparative approach. That means that we teach the general principles and use the species differences to help emphasize the principles.We have a sheep flock (20 ewes) that we keep on campus the year around and use in various classes. We have 7 or 8 horses on campus the year around for both classes and the use of the Equestrian Club. We keep two cattle on campus the year-around and bring pigs, turkeys and other animals on campus for teaching. We keep colonies of mice, rats, quail, chickens, rabbits and fish on campus for research purposes. Off-campus, we have poultry, horse and cattle farms for research.
Many undergrad students get extensive experience with domestic pets while working at small animal veterinary clinics, so we cover those species in detail in lectures. Undergrads can volunteer or intern in research labs or they can work in paid positions. The latter is more common in ANSC research labs and advisers help undergrads find these kinds of positions. Additional opportunities exist working with zoo animals at the National Zoo. In the past, ANSC students have gone to China to work on the Giant Panda project or with various species at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. All of those projects are through collaborative efforts with ANSC faculty.
The University of Maryland is a large campus with all the benefits in course diversity that comes from a large campus. The College of Ag & Natural Resources is a smaller college, and we pride ourselves in 'making a big place small.'
In the UMD Admissions Office, our college has a specific representative, Ms. April Brohawn (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please feel free to contact her if you have questions about the admissions process or your application in the future.
If you have question about the options within the major, or the courses and curricula, please contact Ms. Libby Dufour, the Assistant Director, Undergraduate Office for ANSC. Her e-mail address is email@example.com and her phone number is 301-405-1373.
- VMCAS – for electronic application process - https://portal.vmcas.org/
- VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, where MD students are counted as “in-state” - http://www.vetmed.vt.edu/
- The GRE is required for admission to vet school – http://www.gre.com
- List of Veterinary Schools in the US and abroad - http://www.avma.org/education/cvea/colleges_accredited/allcolleges.asp
- The American Veterinary Medical Association - http://www.avma.org/