The Professional School Advising (PSA) team offers a variety of tools to help you become a competitive veterinary school applicant.
As you explore the veterinary field, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with a pre-vet advisor to discuss your goals and review your professional resume.
Thinking about Vet School?
Veterinarians tend to the healthcare needs of animals, including pets, livestock, wildlife, zoo and laboratory animals. Most vets work in private clinics treating companion animals, for example dogs and cats. They diagnose illnesses and perform medical procedures. A small number of veterinarians are equine veterinarians that treat horses and food animal veterinarians who work with farm animals. There are also veterinarians that specialize in food safety and inspection, and others are research veterinarians.
The best way to determine if this is the right career choice for you is to observe and volunteer in a veterinary practice not just once or twice, but many times! You can also volunteer at a rescue shelter, a zoo, a wildlife ranch and/or an equine facility. In fact, the more chances you have to volunteer/observe in many different areas of veterinary care, the better you can understand if the profession is for you!
The daily life of a Veterinarian varies depending on where the veterinarian works (private practice, group practice, mobile practice, zoos, aquarium, state fishery, etc.), and although you may have a great love for animals, there may be cases in which an animal needs to be euthanized (for various reasons) and you may be the person making that decision!
In deciding a major (remember, vet school admissions committees don’t care what you major in), you will want to check to see which pre-requisite courses are already in the degree plan for that major. Then you will need to check to see where you can add the rest of the pre-requisite courses into the degree plan (usually free electives). This is where visiting with an academic advisor within that major can greatly help you with this,
Research Vet Schools
Texas A&M University is home to the only Veterinary School in Texas. The TAMU Vet School (by law) has to admit 90% Texas residents, so if you are Texas resident your best bet by far is to apply and attend the TAMU Veterinary School. Most Texas residents will apply to the TAMU Veterinary School, and if they are competitive they have a very good chance of admission. Most of the vet school’s first-year classes have 50% to 60% of Aggie graduates.
The AAVMC website has updated information on the accredited veterinary schools in the United States and all over the world. If you are interested in applying outside of Texas, this website can help you decide on schools that you feel you may be competitve for. You can check information such as non-resident tuition, percentages of non-residents accepted, and other factors.
Most out-of-state veterinary schools are either state schools or private schools which means the residency requirements are much the same (they have to admit mostly their own in-state students) and/or the tuition rates are two, three, or up to four times higher than for the TAMU Veterinary School.
Prepare to Apply
The pre-requisites are listed on the PSA handout. These are the courses that you need to have taken and have made at least a "C" in; although, grade expectations are higher.
These experiences are the times that you ACTUALLY SPEND with a veterinarian, either helping or observing care. You must have experience with a veterinarian in small animal care AND large animal care. The requirements state “at least 100 hours” but most successful applicants have many, many more hours. (Begin a log of hours that you spent during high school and keep all hours during your collegiate career for you will need this listing when you fill out your application. Don’t rely on memory!)
These experiences are any times you have spent with animals, whether volunteering at a shelter, walking animals, cleaning out kennels, fostering an animal, or ANYTIME you help with animals when a veterinarian IS NOT AROUND.
Again, the more hours you accrue, the more competitive you will be. (Note: You can use any hours that you have animal care while in high school so if you were in FFA or 4H, showed animals in livestock shows, volunteered at an animal shelter, or any other help with animals, all of those hours count also! So keep a log also of animal care hours- high school as well as while in college!)
The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is the test required for most veterinary schools. It is similar to the SAT or ACT in material covered: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. Most students take the GRE during the spring or early summer of the year in which they apply.
These activities help you become a more competitive applicant for admission; therefore, we encouraged to get involved in student organizations, volunteering, and community service.
The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is the entrance exam that most veterinary schools require. It consists of 3 sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. Most students take this exam in the spring or early summer of the year in which they apply. The exam can be taken on weekday morning or afternoons, is computer driven, and your score is given to you at the conclusion. You can take the exam more than once, yet you must wait 21 days in between testing. This exam is similar to the SAT or ACT and many students get a study guide to refresh memories, and then take the exam. Registration for the exam is on-line at: http://www.ets.org/gre.
Any student should be ready to apply the summer BEFORE they want to attend veterinary school. Many students apply to veterinary school during the summer between their junior and senior year of college if they plan to attend veterinary school the fall after they graduate from college. For the Texas A&M Veterinary School, the Texas application (TMDSAS) opens on May 1st and will close on October 1st. For other out-of-state schools, the national application (VMCAS) opens in June and closes on October 1st. For Texas students, it is strongly suggested to work on the Texas application throughout the summer and submit by August 30. That way, the student can concentrate on ensuring that supplemental materials have been transmitted by October 1, have time to fill out the secondary application, and concentrate on fall classes that are beginning.
Texas application (TMDSAS) submitted and paid. This will include the personal statement (on the application) which is very important for it is your chance to let the admissions committee know all about you and your motivation.
Graduate Record Exam Scores – Have taken test and submitted scores to Texas A&M University (#6812).
Evaluation forms – Forms should be either 1) out to evaluators or 2) evaluators have already sent to TMDSAS. The TAMU Veterinary School requires 3 evaluation forms with at least one from a veterinarian you have worked/shadowed/volunteered with. Many students get 2 or 3 from veterinarians.
Transcripts – Students should ensure that transcripts have been sent from ALL colleges you have ever attended (including dual credit) to the Texas application service (TMDSAS).
Secondary TAMU application – There is a secondary application for the TAMU Veterinary School that you will fill out and send directly to the TAMU vet school.
If you plan to apply to any out-of-state veterinary schools, please check with the pre-veterinary advisor. She can help you decide where to apply and what your chances are of being able to attend an out-of-state school and costs: these are very big factors to consider.
If you have decided to apply to out-of-state schools, the above timeline is very similar for the national application (VMCAS). Just be sure and fill out the Texas application first.
We will host Veterinary School Application Workshops during the months of April/May each year. These will be announced on the pre-vet Aggie listserv.
The following are other resources to research when considering a career in veterinary medicine and/or the application process.
Veterinary Related Opportunities