Pre-Veterinary

Veterinarians are most commonly employed in private practice.  Most choose to specialize in either large (e.g., horses, cows) or small (e.g., cats, dogs) animals, but several other types of specialization are available. Job opportunities also exist in industrial settings, in governmental agencies and in research or education at universities. The role of the veterinarian continues to change over the years and this change creates even more
opportunities in this growing field.

Why study pre-vet at Goshen College?

Veterinary schools are very selective. To gain entrance into such a school, you will need a strong background in the sciences. Goshen College can give you the academic foundation to begin your veterinary studies. There are also many convenient opportunities to gain experience with animals, required by most veterinary programs, such as week period of service volunteering on a farm or other location where they will gain unique experience with animals.

Job opportunities also exist in industrial settings, in governmental agencies and in research or education at universities. The role of the veterinarian continues to change over the years and this change creates even more opportunities in this growing field.

Opportunities to gain experience

Students will find many opportunities to gain valuable experience (paid or volunteer) in and around GC.

  • Most Goshen College students spend a semester abroad in GC’s unique Study-Service Term (SST). During SST, students spend six weeks volunteering in a service location. Students interested in veterinary studies may be able to spend their six-week period of service volunteering on a farm or other location where they will gain unique experience with animals.
  • There are several veterinary clinics in the Goshen area (one within one mile of GC), where students may find paid or volunteer work.

Suggested plan of study

Veterinary programs do not have a universal list for prerequisite classes. The following schedule meets basic admission requirements at nearly all schools.  Some schools require one or two additional classes.

First Year

Fall Spring May Term
General Chemistry I General Chemistry II CORE: Engaging the Bible
Ecology & Evolution (NW Perspective) Organismal Biology
CORE: Identity, Culture, & Community & Learning Comm. Cell Biology & Genetics
CORE: Academic Voice  CORE: Seminar & Learning Comm

Second Year

Fall Spring May Term
Organic Chemistry I Organic Chemistry II Study-Service Term
Calculus I Adv. Mol. Genetics or Adv. Cell Bio.
D. Vert or Vert. Phys. CORE: Perspective
Foreign Language 101 Foreign Language 102

Third Year

Fall Spring May Term
Physics I Physics II CORE: Perspective
Biochemistry CORE: Perspective
Junior Research SeminarCORE: Global Issues Seminar Healthcare Ethics

Many schools require completion of at least college-level algebra or pre-calculus. Calculus I is a prerequisite for General Physics and is also required by Purdue University Veterinary school.

Many schools also require or recommend:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Vertebrate Physiology
  • Developmental Vertebrate Biology
  • Zoology
  • Humanities
  • Molecular Cell Biology
  • Psychology
  • Animal Nutrition **
  • Sociology
  • Business (Bus 121)
  • Statistics
  • Principles of Accounting (Acc 201)

** Purdue University requires animal nutrition; it may be taken over the summer before starting veterinary school, after the student has already been admitted. It is offered by Purdue, Cornell and possibly other sites as a Web-based course.

To find the specific prerequisites for the schools you are interested in, check the Veterinary Medical School Admissions Requirements booklet, found in the science secretary’s office.

Applying to veterinary school

The Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS) runs a uniform application process for nearly all veterinary schools. Each application is first processed by VMCAS, and then is forwarded to schools that the applicant is interested in. Be sure to check the application deadline for all schools you are interested in. Many are as early as November of the year prior to enrollment. Keep in mind that most schools have much stricter requirements for out-of-state applicants than for in-state applicants.

Veterinary schools base their acceptance of students on many factors besides classes taken in undergraduate study.  These
include:

  • GPA: While most veterinary programs have a stated minimum GPA of 2.5-3.0, it is wise to maintain a GPA of above 3.0 to remain competitive. In recent years, the mean GPA of accepted students has ranged from 3.3 to 3.6.
  • Standardized test scores: Not all schools require applicants to take the Veterinary College Admission Test (VCAT). In fact, most schools require the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) instead. Some schools even accept MCAT scores. Plan on taking the GRE and perhaps the VCAT.
  • Experience: Experience in working with animals or at a veterinary clinic is strongly recommended. Most schools require some experience with animals. Many ask for a reference from a veterinarian, as well as personal references.