Frequently Asked Questions - Veterinary
- Which statistics course should I take?
You should take MS 104 as your statistics course. We have learned that some veterinary schools do not accept PS 217, the psychology statistics course. Some schools require a math or biometry statistics course, and MS 104 will meet this requirement. Please review course requirements here.
- Which courses are required to enter a veterinary medicine program?
It is important to identify veterinary programs of interest early in your academic career, as the requirements can vary. The Veterinary Medicine School Admission Requirements (VMSAR) is an annually updated publication that has a fold-out chart that provides easy-to-use information about the course prerequisites for different vet schools. More information on VMSAR can be found at www.aavmc.org/Publications/VMSAR.aspx.
Additionally, the Career Development Center and pre-vet advisors Patti Steinberger and Elaine Larsen both have copies.
- How do I get started on an academic internship in veterinary medicine?
This academic internship is open to all majors and facilitated by the Biology Department. Please contact Professor Patti Steinberger for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-580-5081.
Additional information can be found in the Pre-Vet Guide, which is accessible 24/7 in the resources section of MyCDCAccount (your Career Development Center account).
If you have not used MyCDC Acount before, simply visit the Career Development Center website, select MyCDC Account, input your Skidmore username (without @skidmore.edu), select forgot password, and follow the prompts. Once you have logged in, select the Resources tab and look for “Veterinary Medicine.”
- How competitive is it, really?
“The veterinary medical profession is much smaller than human medicine. While there are over 100 medical schools, there are only 29 colleges and schools of veterinary medicine in the U.S. In 2012, there were 2,900 positions available for first-year students, and over 6,500 applicants applied through the central application service, Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS) administered by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. Others applied to individual schools. The number of seats is not expected to significantly rise in the near future. Individual colleges set their own admission criteria and have sole discretion concerning student admissions. Not every qualified applicant will be accepted. Thus part of your professional plan should consist of options should you not be accepted to a veterinary college. It is imperative that you keep your options open. Should you not gain admission and remain committed to becoming a veterinarian, do not become discouraged. You are not alone. Many students gain admission their second application cycle. Consult with your advisor—where there is a will, there usually is a way.”
(National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions, 2013)
- What is the typical profile of a successful veterinary medicine program candidate?
“Although veterinary admissions committees evaluate many criteria when selecting a veterinary class, academic performance remains one of the most important factors in the committees’ decisions as they are seeking evidence that you will be able to successfully complete the rigorous DVM program. If you are like most preveterinary students, you want to understand the role of your grades in the admissions process. Here is a typical statement from a veterinary school catalog: ‘Demonstration of outstanding academic achievement is a necessary prerequisite for admission the professional veterinary medical curriculum.’ How to define ‘outstanding academic achievement,' of course, is quite another question. You will be able to glean information from VMSAR or the college’s website. These sources contain the average GPAs and test scores from the previously admitted class.
"In a typical admission process, academic factors count for about 50% of your score or ranking. Generally, equal weight is given to the undergraduate cumulative GPA, GPA for the last year or two of studies, GPA for the required science courses, and finally, the standardized test. The other 50% of your evaluation may be based on ‘non-academic’ factors, which will vary from school to school. It is important to be aware of the evaluation criteria and processes for the schools to which you are applying. Each school has its own policy for course repeats and GPA calculations. Some schools include repeats in the GPA calculations, and some don’t.
"While overall GPA is important, the colleges pay special attention to applicants’ science-based or math/science based GPA. Even if the overall GPA is high, a low science GPA will disadvantage an applicant. Many colleges have a minimum acceptable science GPA (see VMSAR). Geographical boundaries may place an added requirement on students: Schools tend to have higher overall GPA requirements for out-of-state at-large applicants. A student who takes an average or greater number of units per semester, has a GPA in the range of 3.4 to 3.8 or better, and has excellent non-academic factors (discussed below) will be an outstanding candidate.
"While academics play a significant role in the admissions process, most competitive applicants have similar GPAs and standardized test scores. Experiences and employment history can help distinguish applicants from each other. Animal- and health-related experiences may account for up to one-third of the weight of an application. Developing breadth of experience in different veterinary settings, such as a combination of small, large, and exotic animal veterinary work and research, is to your advantage. Most schools require a minimum number of hours of animal and veterinary medicine exposure. It is always a good idea to have above the minimum in order to demonstrate a high level of motivation and extensive experience. If you keep accurate records of this information while you are obtaining the experience, you will find it much easier to completely and accurately fill out this part of the application.”
(National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions, 2013)
Veterinary programs will also evaluate your letters of evaluation, leadership and communication skills, commitment to service, and your interview (if one is required).
- What does VMCAS mean?
The Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS) is the portal used to apply to veterinary medical programs.
- Should I consider foreign based programs?
Students should determine if the program is AVMA-accredited. Ross Univeristy and St. George's University School of Veterinary Medicine are common foreign country-based programs.
- What is the AAVMC?
The Association of American Veterinary Colleges (AAVMC) coordinates the national and international affairs of all thirty veterinary medical colleges in the United States and five in Canada, nine departments of veterinary science, eight departments of comparative medicine, thirteen accredited colleges of veterinary medicine overseas, and three affiliate members. The AAVMC fosters the teaching, research, and service activities of its members, both nationally and internationally. The mission of the AAVMC is to improve the quality of life for people and animals by advancing veterinary medical education, improving animal health and welfare, strengthening biomedical research, promoting food safety and food security, and enhancing environmental quality.
- Who can I talk to on campus about my interest in veterinary medicine?
Pre-vet advisors and faculty Elaine Larsen and Patti Steinberger are excellent contacts. If you would like to be assigned an HPAC advisor, please contact Tracy Broderson at email@example.com or 518-580-5087.