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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 are equine veterinarians who treat horses and food animal vets who work with farm animals. There are some vets who specialize in food safety and inspection. They check livestock for illnesses that can be transmitted to humans. Others are research veterinarians who do research on human and animal health conditions.

The best way to determine if this is the career choice for you is to volunteer and observe 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 that goes out to the animals, zoo, aquarium, state fishery, etc.)  You may have a great love for animals (which is definitely needed!) yet there are the cases in which you will need to euthanize an animal for their quality of life has so diminished that it is the best course and you may be the person making that decision!

After you have volunteered/observed in the veterinary profession and have decided that this career may be for you, the time comes to decide what you would like to major in during your undergraduate career.  Most veterinary schools would like for you to major in whatever major that you enjoy! Most pre-veterinary students enjoy the sciences and agriculture, so you may want to check out the varying science and agriculture majors available. There are pre-requisites (courses that you must take and do well in to qualify to go to veterinary school).  Those courses are listed on the websites of the veterinary schools and for the TAMU Veterinary School, these courses can be found on our OPSA handout
 
Most students who are residents of Texas have the best chance to matriculate to the Texas A&M Veterinary School after college.  Since this vet school is a state-sponsored school (and most schools in the country are) the TAMU Veterinary School must admit at least 90% Texas residents in the first year class.   Usually, in most years, that percentage is around 95% since there are many competitive Texas residents who wish to attend veterinary school.

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. Some majors have most if not all of the pre-requisite courses already in the degree plan so if you are interested in that major, it makes it a bit easier for you.  But, don’t dismiss a major just because it doesn’t seem to ‘work’!  Again, check with an academic advisor in that major, let them know you are interested in going to veterinary school and let them help you figure out a viable plan within that major.