Pre-Veterinary Studies

What could be more fulfilling than helping animals? Veterinary medicine is a growing career choice, expected to increase by 19% through 2026.  After the completion of a bachelor's degree, students will then complete four years of veterinary school. Read on to learn more about what to expect on your way to becoming a licensed veterinarian. 

Major Selection:

At the University of Michigan-Flint, two degrees offer designated Pre-Veterinary Tracks: 

It is important to note, there is no single major that is required to apply to veterinary school or a single major that will guarantee acceptance. It is important to select a major that you are interested in pursuing for your undergraduate career. However, no matter the major, all students applying will have to complete the required prerequisite courses, which can vary slightly from school to school.

Veterinary Schools in the Midwest

There are only 30 veterinary schools total in the US, making veterinary school some of the most competitive programs to which you could apply.  There are six schools in the Upper Midwest, including one in Michigan. The programs are linked below, along with a guide comparing basic information about the six programs. 

Access this quick comparison guide to veterinary schools in Michigan. 

Preparing to Apply to Veterinary School

There is no single factor that will determine whether you will be accepted into veterinary school. Instead, schools take a holistic or overall review of your GPA, GRE score, research experience, observation hours and extracurricular activities. Below are a few key factors to keep in mind when preparing to apply to veterinary school. In general, veterinary schools are looking for well-rounded students with broad, liberal arts backgrounds and significant shadowing/observation experience.

  1. Maintain a stellar academic record.

    1. Most veterinary schools in the Upper Midwest require a minimum GPA of 3.0. However, the average GPA of accepted students is often in the 3.5-3.8 range.
    2. In addition to your overall GPA, pay special attention to your GPA in the required science and pre-requisite courses as these are often evaluated separately, in addition to your overall GPA evaluation.
  2. Participate in academic research.
    1. Veterinary schools highly value research experience.
    2. The project does not have to be related to veterinary medicine to be valuable to your application.
  3. Shadow a veterinarian.  
    1. It is important to shadow a veterinarian in order to understand the day-to-day activities of the job. This will help you to speak to why you want to be a veterinarian when it comes time to apply.
    2. Be sure to shadow different types of veterinarians, including vets that specialize in exotic animals, large animals and livestock and equine vets. Many vet schools expect students to have a varied experience in relation to shadowing and observation.
    3. Many vet schools also require a minimum number of veterinary observation hours in order to apply.
  4. Volunteer and participate in extracurricular activities.  
    1. There are multiple organizations looking for dedicated volunteers. Some examples in the local area include The Humane Society of Genesee County, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Carriage Town Ministries, Hurley Medical Center-Auxiliary and Hospice Advantage.
    2. There are many on-campus student organizations. One of particular interest to students hoping to attend veterinary school would be the UM-Flint Pre-Veterinary Medical Association.

Applying to Veterinary School

Applications to veterinary school are available on a yearly basis. The majority of veterinary schools only admit students for the fall semester. This means that you will apply to veterinary school one year before you hope to begin your studies. For example, if you hope to start vet school in September 2021, you would need to submit your application in summer 2020.

  1. Determine where you want to apply to veterinary school. 
  2. Take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
    1. Most schools require that you take the GRE (currently, Michigan State and Ohio State do not require the GRE). For more information about the test as well as how to sign up, visit the ETS website.
    2. The website is also a great resource for practice exams and content review of key courses.
  3. Ask for Letters of Recommendation.
    1. Most schools require between 2 and 3 letters of recommendation. Check the requirements for each school in which you are interested. 
    2. It is recommended that you ask for letters of recommendation a few months before you need them.
    3. Ask for letters of recommendation from:
      1. Faculty members that know you well
      2. Veterinarians that you have shadowed or worked for
      3. Research or Clinical Supervisors
  4. Request an Official Transcript Copy.
    1. Copies can be requested through SIS.
  5. Complete VMCAS application.
    1. Veterinary schools utilize the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS). This is where you will complete and submit your application to all of the veterinary schools in which you are interested.