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College Counseling: Great Schools for Pre-Veterinary and Animal Sciences Programs

Saturday, February 21, 2015


Students who are interested in becoming a veterinarian will undertake a rigorous four years of science and math and should take advantage of as much pre-veterinary advising as possible during their undergraduate program.

There are only 29 veterinary schools in the US, so competition is fierce! A major in animal science, equine science, biology, chemistry, or even economics or history can be a path to veterinary medicine as long as the pre-professional core of courses is successfully completed.

Most graduate programs in veterinary medicine will require undergraduate courses in at least 2 semesters of biology, inorganic chemistry, physics, and organic chemistry, plus courses in biochemistry, math, statistics, genetics, microbiology and English.  During undergraduate years, students will also need to actively participate in extracurriculars that demonstrate their commitment to animal science, welfare, ecology and/or research.

Here are five universities with pre-veterinary programs designed to help students successfully apply to veterinary medicine programs after college:

Colorado State University, Fort Collins  

  • Equine Sciences majors at Colorado State take advantage of twenty applied courses covering all areas of the equine industry, plus electives comprising Equine Genetics, Equine Disease Management, and Equine Business Management
  • Equine Sciences Stewards provides opportunities for select students to become involved in further leadership, mentoring, and internship opportunities in the equine industry.
  • By the numbers: 77% acceptance rate; SAT Mid-ranges: CR 510-620, M 510-630; ACT Mid-range: 22-27; 4-year graduation rate: 37.7%.


Oregon State University, Corvallis

  • The Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences offers the First-Year Experience for incoming frosh to create a plan for advising and department involvement so that student goals – Veterinary Medicine or another career – are met successfully 
  • Departmental scholarships and internships for animal sciences majors are plentiful and comprise opportunities in the US and abroad.
  • By the numbers: Acceptance rate: 79%; SAT Mid-ranges: CR 480-600, M 490-620; ACT Mid-range: 21-27; 4-year graduation rate: 29.5%


Michigan State University, East Lansing 

  • Animal Sciences majors may complete concentrations in Pre-veterinary Medicine/Animal Biology, Animal Industries, Production Animals, or Companion and Exotic Animal Biology.
  • A semester exchange with the Enniskillen College of Agriculture Horse Program in Northern Ireland provides additional opportunities for those students with an interest in the international horse industry.
  • By the numbers: 69% acceptance rate; SAT Mid-ranges: CR 460-580, M 550-690; ACT Mid-range 23-28; 4-year graduation rate: 53%.


New Mexico State University, Las Cruces 

  • Pre-veterinary students enroll in the Animal Science major and may choose concentrations in Equine Science or Companion Animals, and may minor in Horse Management, Livestock Production or Range Science.   
  • Fully equipped research facilities allow students access to cutting-edge research in: livestock nutrition, genetics, physiology, endocrinology, meat science, wool, toxicology, watershed and rangeland ecology, weed and brush control, plant systematics, grazing management 
  • By the numbers: Acceptance rate: 85%; SAT Mid-ranges: CR 410-540, M 430-530; ACT Mid-range: 18-24. 


Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ   

  • Animal Sciences majors include Pre-veterinary Medicine/Research, Laboratory Animal Science, Production Animal Science, Equine Science and Companion Animal Science. Minors in Animal Science, Equine Science, Companion Animal Science, and Endocrine Physiology and Health Sciences are also offered. 
  • A farm complex is maintained on-campus for dairy cattle, deer, goats, horses, sheep, and swine.
  • By the numbers: 60% acceptance rate; SAT Mid-ranges: CR 520-640, M 570-690; ACT Mid-range: 20-26; 4-year graduation rate: 57%.


Most land grant universities offer a degree in Animal Science and any course of science with solid advising will prepare students for veterinary medicine. A list of colleges and universities with pre-veterinary advising is available at PreVetAdvising.com. A concise description of veterinary school admissions is provided by the American Veterinary Medicine Association.  A complete list of all US and foreign veterinary schools can be found on the website of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.

Emily Standish is a partner in Portland, Oregon-based College Admission Coach LLC which helps students identify and gain admission to right-fit schools where they will thrive academically and personally. Contact me at [email protected].


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