“EMU not only prepared me academically for vet school, it also helped shape my world view. I have come to understand animal use as a form of stewardship and an intergral part of meeting the needs of community, both local and global. Veterinary medicine allows me to interact with and help support family based farms that I believe form a crucial component in any society.”-Class of 2002 graduate Aaron Amstutz, DVM, is pictured performing surgery on a cow to correct a right displaced abomasum (twisted stomach). Aaron is originally from Greencastle, PA, and attended veterinary school at Virginia Tech.


The challenges of veterinary medicine involve carefully decision making before beginning the study of veterinary medicine. (1) Selecting appropriate veterinary schools, (2) ensuring that the student has completed or will complete all course work and extracurricular requirements for veterinary school, and (3) applying early through the Veterinary Medical College Application Service are three preliminary challenges.

The listing of accredited veterinary medicine schools is extensive (See: http://aavmc.org/Member-Institutions.aspx). In selecting veterinary schools of choice, one should consider how the requirements of the school match the student’s aptitude, skills, and interest.
Competition for admittance into veterinary medical colleges is at an all-time high. About 6,000 students apply annually through the standardized application service for admission into an accredited veterinary medicine school. For example the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (http://www.vetmed.vt.edu/ ) will typically have about 900 applicants for 90 seats in the entering class.

Competition for admittance into veterinary medical colleges is at an all-time high. To be competitive , note the following suggestions. Successful applicants will complete all or most of them:

  • All undergraduate majors are acceptable for entrance into a veterinary medical college. Required science courses must be completed no matter a student’s major. (See list to right.) It is, of course, easier to complete these requirements if one is a biology or biochemistry major.
  • If you get a C grade in a class in any required science course, you must take it over and the resultant grade should be a B+ or higher, the second time.
    • A science GPA of 3.55 is competitive (this is the US average of matriculants); if your science GPA falls below 3.25 you should re-take some of the courses that have grades less than a B.
  • Demonstrate some level of involvement in veterinary medicine which may consist of shadowing a veterinarian, volunteering at a animal clinic, or employment at a animal clinic. All of these options have similar weight. The experience(s) should reinforce the notion that you find veterinary medicine exciting.
  • Apply early (preferably during the months of June or July) to a veterinary medical school via VMCAS, which is a central applications service used by fifty-two of the fifty-six U.S. veterinary schools.
  • Choose extracurricular activities during the undergraduate years that are important to you and stimulate your maturity and growth. They indicate your broader interests and experiences.
Download the correct list of required courses for Pre-Veterinary:
  • Take the GRE (Graduate Record Exam, General Test) typically at the end of the junior year or when you complete most of your academic courses. You can register on-line to take the GRE; visit the GRE website.
    • exams are administered at approved testing centers. Several centers are located in Virginia; the nearest ones are in Lynchburg, Fairfax, and Glen Allen.
    • GRE scores are typically valid for three years.
    • A minimal composite GRE score is 1000; a more competitive score at most schools is around 1300 where 580 = verbal and 720 = quantitative.
  • Apply to veterinary medical college via VMCAS (Veterinary Medical College Application Service) which is a central applications service used by fifty-two of the fifty-six U.S. veterinary schools.
  • The future of veterinary medicine is changing and multiple challenges loom. More persons are needed in this growing field.
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