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Dr. Kat’s List: Five Colleges for Future Veterinarians

Admission to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs has become increasingly competitive, so it’s important to do your homework when it comes to identifying programs that meet your academic and career goals.

We’ve covered other schools for various STEM programs previously, including schools for biology and engineering, but there are career options beyond being a scientist or engineer. One STEM major or track that frequently flies under students’ radars is veterinary medicine.

While much of veterinary medicine is taught in veterinary school post-undergrad, there are several undergraduate animal science and pre-veterinary programs that can put you on track for graduate admissions from day one of your freshman year.

In honor of World Animal Day in October, and STEM students everywhere, here’s Dr. Kat’s list of colleges for aspiring veterinarians.

University of Massachusetts – Amherst; Amherst, MA

While many schools just provide a pre-veterinary program as an undergraduate track with a more specific major, the University of Massachusetts – Amherst is one of the few universities to offer a true pre-veterinary major for undergraduates.

Undergraduate students in the Department of Veterinary and Animal Science can choose between two bachelor of science degree programs, animal science and pre-veterinary. All undergraduate students enter as animal science majors and can either switch into the pre-vet program after qualifying, or continue in the animal science program. Students in either major are able to participate in research opportunities and the school is constantly helping to place pre-vet and animal science students in relevant internships.

What makes the pre-vet program at UMass-Amherst progressive is its partnership with the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine located in Grafton, MA. UMass-Amherst students have the opportunity to apply to the Tufts graduate program in March of their sophomore year. If admitted, students who maintain a 3.4 GPA and complete the prerequisite courses are guaranteed a spot in Tufts’ vet school upon graduation.

Located in Amherst, MA, UMass-Amherst is a public research university with about 22,000 undergraduate students. The school offers 108 bachelor’s degree programs and boasts the tallest library in the US at 26 stories and 296 feet tall.

UMass-Amherst is also a member of the Five Colleges Consortium with Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College. Students enrolled in one of the schools within the consortium can take classes at any of the other member institutions.

Kansas State University; Manhattan, KS

For students who are interested in pursuing veterinary medicine but don’t necessarily want to commit to a strict pre-vet major, the pre-vet program track at Kansas State University’s College of Agriculture offers students the flexibility of pursing a bachelor’s degree in a related science field while also preparing them for veterinary school. Students are advised to complete various writing, biology, chemistry, and physics classes in addition to regular course work in order to meet the prerequisites for veterinary school admission.

Kansas State also offers the Veterinary Scholars Early Admission Program, which allows high school seniors with a 29 or higher composite ACT score or a 1280 or higher SAT combined score to apply directly to the College of Veterinary Medicine for admission upon graduation from their undergraduate program.

Undergraduates admitted through the Veterinary Scholars Early Admission Program will follow the pre-vet track but also gain the benefit of student and faculty mentors, semester group meetings with other pre-vet scholars, and access to unique research and internship opportunities through mentorships. Pre-vet scholars, although already admitted to the College of Veterinary Medicine, must still complete the prerequisite courses with a 3.4 GPA in order to fully enroll upon graduation from their undergraduate program.

Kansas State, founded in 1863, is a public research university located in Manhattan, KS, also known as “The Little Apple.” With more than 250 undergraduate majors, 475 student clubs and organizations, and a student body of about 25,000, there’s something for everyone at K-State. Fraternity and sorority Greek life has a major impact on campus, with 20 percent of K-State undergrads participating in Greek life, and 65 percent of the leadership positions on campus are held by fraternity or sorority members.

Becker College; Worcester, MA

Another school that offers a major for pre-vet students is the School of Animal Studies at Becker College. Students on the pre-vet track can take their veterinary school prep one step further by pursing a bachelor’s degree in veterinary science, and it’s no wonder that the program is one of the best, as it’s the second most popular major at Becker.

Students work hands-on with animals in animal laboratories, veterinary clinic rotations, and career externships throughout the program. The school’s Becker Veterinary Clinic and Becker Equine Facility allow students to learn from real-life experiences and see how a veterinarian’s office is run from day-to-day.

While students are advised to begin the prerequisite science courses freshman year, they are also encouraged to integrate general studies and elective courses into their schedule, as to gain a broad base of skills while also preparing for the veterinarian school application process junior year.

Veterinary science students are not only prepared for veterinary school upon graduation, but are also qualified to pursue acceptance to the school’s two-year, AVMA-accredited program in veterinary technology.

Located in Worchester, MA, Becker College is a small, private college with an enrollment of just over 2,000. Becker is one of the nation’s top-25 oldest institutions of higher education, and offers 27 undergraduate degree programs. If ROI is a factor in your college search, look no further––Becker boasts a 99% employment and post-grad education placement rate.

Washington State University; Pullman, WA

When choosing a pre-professional program during undergrad, flexibility is important. At Washington State University, students interested in veterinary medicine are encouraged to major in just about anything they want!

The pre-veterinary track at WSU is designed to prepare students for veterinary school while also allowing them to explore other academic interests. Students in the pre-vet program are advised on which prerequisite courses they should take and are expected to maintain a strong academic record. Advisors in the school’s PHASE (Pre-Health and STEM Education) office help those interested in the pre-vet track pick the major that best fits their interests and goals, as well as help them incorporate the course prerequisites into their class schedule.

Pre-vet students are also encouraged to participate in the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital internship program, where they can get hands-on experience in the field as an undergraduate.

Pre-vet students in the Honors College also have the option to complete their undergraduate and doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) degrees in seven years instead of eight.

WSU is a public research university located in Pullman, WA with an enrollment of about 20,000 students. WSU offers over 200 fields of study as well was over 1,200 study abroad programs in over 70 countries. Apart from its great pre-veterinary program, WSU is also known for its research and environmental sustainability initiatives. In addition to its own on-campus steam plant, which provides almost half of the campus’s energy, WSU also offers a free bike share system to reduce the school’s carbon footprint.

Hollins University; Roanoke, VA

Hollins University’s pre-vet program combines the benefits of a small women’s college with the research resources of a major university. Located in Roanoke, VA, Hollins is one of the oldest higher education institutions for women in the US. With just over 600 undergraduates, Hollins is a small private college that offers 26 majors with a strong liberal arts base.

Students interested in the pre-vet track at Hollins get the best of both worlds: a research intensive pre-vet track with exposure to a wide variety of liberal arts courses. Pre-vet students take the standard prerequisite science courses along with general skills and perspective courses that are part of the school’s Education through Skills and Perspectives (ESP) general education requirements.

The pre-vet program at Hollins is known for its hands-on approach to learning and research, and boasts one of the nation’s premier equine studies programs, where pre-vet students can spend a semester studying horses at the University of Limerick in Ireland.

Apart from the pre-vet program in Ireland, Hollins also offers study abroad opportunities at 14 different locations, including their own programs in Paris and London. More than 40% of Hollins students study abroad.

Veterinary medicine is an intensive program that requires a lot of post-graduate education, but getting on the right track during your undergraduate years can set you up for success when it comes time to apply to veterinary school. Other programs with great pre-veterinary programs and majors for undergraduates include Stanford University, University of Cincinnati, University of Maryland, and North Carolina State University.

If you are interested in applying to a pre-professional program or other related STEM major, our team of expert counselors can help you identify extracurriculars, internships, and other activities that you can be doing now to set yourself apart during application season. Contact us today for more information.

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