Planning your undergraduate career
The following is a general guideline for planning your undergraduate studies and involvement. You do not need to follow this to the letter.
1st and 2nd year of college:
- In addition to your studies, this is a good time to get veterinary experience. Start early! Be aggressive in your search! Try to make sure that you get hands-on experience working with animals. Try to do this BOTH during the schoolyear and during the summer.
- If possible, get involved with research at the University. If faculty from the Biology department do not have open research slots, make sure you look OUTSIDE the department (Chemistry, Psych, Physics, etc.) or OUTSIDE the university (Commonwealth Medical College, Sanofi-Pasteur, Schott, etc.)
- If possible, apply for summer research fellowships. These are typically given at research universities to undergraduate students from all over the country. These are usually very competitive, but they are great learning experiences.
- If you got AP Math credit, keep your math skills active by planning to take higher Math courses (to fulfill your cognate requirements) or by volunteering as a tutor at the CTLE.
2nd year of college:
- Select an academic advisor that could help you plan your coursework appropriately. Select one who is familiar with the requirement for veterinary school admission. The Health Professions Organization (HPO) at the University is NOT the place to go for this. If you are currently assigned to an academic advisor whom you feel may not be helpful, you may change your academic advisor.
- Start researching the requirements for potential vet schools and PLAN YOUR COURSEWORK. Try to make sure to space out all your science coursework throughout your four years of college. Do NOT cram them all into your last 3 or 4 semesters of study.
- Start familiarizing yourself with the GRE – what does it look like? What kinds of questions do they ask? What types of things would you be expected to know?
3rd year of college:
- Start preparing for your VMCAS application. If you have not done so yet, start collecting material for your application (documentation of your activities and awards)
- During the summer of your junior year as you are a rising senior, make SURE that you will have enough volunteer hours. Take your GREs if you plan to apply.
- Start collecting your recommendation letters.
4th year of college:
- Continue working on your academic record, on your extracurriculars, and on your shadowing/research activities.
- Start getting ready for interviews
- Start thinking about a “Plan B” (i.e., what could you do if you DIDN’T get in to vet school? What type of jobs could you get that might help prepare you for re-applying? In what graduate programs could you enroll to help you reapply?). NOTE: graduate school deadlines are typically in Nov. through Feb. of your senior year