Pre-Professional Health and Veterinary Programs
Are you interested in applying to the College of Veterinary Medicine? The College of Medicine? The College of Pharmacy? The College of Optometry? Perhaps you are interested in graduate school. The Department of Animal Sciences is the perfect place to be if any of these schools are part of your goals in life. Not only do we offer degrees with the requirements that you need in order to apply, but we have individualized faculty advising to help you reach your goals.
Contrary to popular belief, there aren’t “pre-vet” or “pre-med” majors; however, there are some departments that offer “pre-vet” or “pre-med ” tracks that incorporate all of the requirements you need to apply to the professional school of your choice. Animal Sciences offers these tracks. As a pre-professional interest student, you have two tracks that you can choose from:
Degree Options and 4-Year Plans
The large majority of our students that are specifically interested in applying to the College of Veterinary Medicine follow the Animal Biosciences degree sheet and 4-year plan as they are specifically designed to incorporate the College of Veterinary Medicine course requirements within the appropriate time-frame. In addition, this degree provides students with a well-rounded foundation of knowledge in:
- Animal Anatomy and Physiology
- Animal Nutrition
- Animal Breeding and Applied Genetics
- Animal Immunology
- Animal Behavior and Welfare Practices
- Animal Health
- Animal Management Practices
Students with a specific interest in nutrition and/or health, should consider completing a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition. Nutrition underscores the health and disease status of animals and humans. The incidences of heart disease, diabetes and cancer that afflict human and other animal populations is influenced by nutrition. If you’re working with race horses, they will not perform to their maximum potential without the proper nutrition. Food animal producers will not receive their best potential profits if they do not have the appropriate nutrition plan for their animals. Nutrition is at the center of health and profits.
If you have an excellent foundation in nutrition, you will be able to serve your patients in ways others cannot. The Nutrition Program is an interdisciplinary program involving the Departments of Animal Sciences and Human Nutrition, which prepares students for graduate and/or professional degree programs in the health sciences, including veterinary medicine, human medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, and optometry. The Ohio State University is one of the most comprehensive health sciences campuses in the United States and includes each of the above mentioned degree programs. Select from a core of courses taught by leading nutritionists in the OSU community.
- Pursue interests in the absorption, metabolism, and functions of nutrients.
- Learn how diet impacts the whole body as a consequence of nutrient actions at the cellular and molecular levels.
- Discover the impacts of nutrition and the nutrient needs of animals and humans.
Be Part of Something Big and Do Something Great! The Department of Animal Sciences prepares students for numerous career opportunities within the medical industries. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, employment opportunities for U.S college graduates with expertise in the food, agriculture, and natural resource systems are projected to remain strong, with expertise in nutrition listed as providing one of the best opportunities for new graduates. Our students have gone on to be:
- Veterinarians, Medical Doctors, Optometrists, Pharmacists, and Dentists.
- Nutrition Consultants for livestock, companion, and zoological animal industries as well as in the human medicine and allied health industries.
- Senior Vice Presidents and CEO’s of companies.
- Research and Development Specialists for pharmaceutical companies.
- Quantitative Geneticists for premier genetic companies.
- Reproductive and Exercise Physiologists.
- Deans and Provosts at leading institutions across the country.
- Executive Directors of industry-related associations
- Congressional Members on Capitol Hill
Animal Pre-Veterinary Medicine Minor
If you’re not an Animal Sciences major and plan to apply to a college of veterinary medicine, you might consider minoring in Animal Pre-Veterinary Medicine. This minor will provide a foundation in animal physiology, nutrition, genetics, health and management. The courses incorporated in this minor are excellent science electives required for veterinary school.
Getting Started…Competitive Admissions 101
You’ve probably heard how competitive it is to get into veterinary, medical, pharmacy, or optometry school. Yes, it’s competitive, but it’s not impossible. In order to be certain that your professional school application will be competitive, you should think about the following items:
Academics and Standardized Tests
Above any other measure, grades are one of the most important factors when being considered for selection into your school of choice. Each school has a minimum GPA requirement to be eligible to apply, but keep in mind that the average admitted GPA is often much higher than the required GPA listed. Your grades are important because they can indicate your intelligence, study habits, dedication and drive to succeed. Those are all qualities that professional schools are looking for in a candidate. In addition to grades, professional schools are looking for well-rounded students, future leaders and community builders.
In terms of standardized tests, most professional schools require an admissions exam like the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for veterinary and graduate school and the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) for medical school. You will want to do your research to see what exams are required for your school of choice, and practice the exams prior to taking them. Most professional schools will post the average admitted admission exam scores on their web site; utilize this information to know where the bar sits. If your practice exams are scoring below the average, you may want to study more to increase your chances of being competitive when you do take the exam.
Each veterinary school, or professional school of your choice, has their own admissions requirements. Though most schools have similar requirements, you will want to be sure and do your homework to know what is expected of you by the time that you apply. For more information and links, for example to U.S. veterinary colleges, you can visit the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges website at www.aavmc.org. The prerequisite course requirements for The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine can be found here.
In terms of your coursework outside of the required courses, you will want to pursue courses that will enhance your knowledge in the field that you’re seeking. Push yourself. Be a life-long learner.
Gaining experience in the field that you’re interested in is essential; after all, you may discover that it isn’t for you! Every professional school requires at least 80 hours of experience in your field of choice, but some require more experience. View this experience as an opportunity to learn and connect with potential recommenders…the more experience you have, the more knowledgeable you will be in your field, the more your recommender will know you and have the opportunity to write a valuable recommendation. In addition, it is wise to gain experience in a variety of areas in and outside of your field of interest. Step outside your comfort zone and stretch yourself.
Hours spent participating with groups, or in activities, like 4-H or FFA, a medical mission’s trip, assisting in a research laboratory, volunteering at an animal shelter or for the American Red Cross can be very valuable. These experiences can not only all be counted on your professional school application, but enhance it.
Leadership experience, such as holding an office in a student organization, fraternity or sorority, or within the undergraduate student government, is not only a plus but a necessity. If you do not have any leadership experiences as an undergraduate, it will be difficult to answer any questions related to your leadership experiences in an interview. Luckily, Ohio State has over 1,000 student organizations, all with offices available for students to run for during each academic year. Within the 1,000 plus student organizations, Ohio State offers pre-professional clubs in every pre-professional interest like the Pre-Veterinary Medical Association and the Pre-Medicine Club.
Leadership is not only defined by holding an office, but taking charge when you see a need, taking the initiative to make a difference. For example, several students came together to sponsor a Buckeye Benefit Dinner for Haiti that raised thousands of dollars for the relief effort after their devastating earthquake. Leadership takes on many different forms, but ultimately it is about taking charge and making the world a better place on a small or large scale.
Excellent communication skills are absolutely essential, no matter what you choose to do in life. The health professional fields are no exception. Great communication skills are imperative for client/patient interaction to understand what’s occurring and help resolve the issues that are being faced. Coursework and extra and co-curricular activities that improve your communication skills are beneficial, especially when it comes to the interview(s) you will have in life. The greatest fear amongst the average human population is public speaking, but that’s all the more reason to be in a situation to practice those skills.
Letters of Recommendation
Get to know your professors. You can get to know professors by attending office hours, volunteering in their research projects, or joining a club they advise. A professor can easily write a letter stating that you did well in their class, but can they say anything else about you? Perhaps you didn’t do well in a class that is required by your professional school, but there is a legitimate reason why. Does your recommender know so that they can stand up for you?
A good letter of recommendation comes from a person who knows who you really are. Are you a person of integrity? Do you have a great work-ethic? Are you dedicated and passionate about the profession you’re applying to? Are you compassionate? These are some of the characteristics that admission committees are looking for in a candidate, and your recommenders need to know you well enough to speak to your qualities outside of your intelligence.
Want a better look at who is getting into veterinary school? Check out the 2011 Incoming Class Profile! Of the students that are admitted each year, the largest percentage of students come from The Ohio State University, and the majority of the Buckeye’s admitted are Animal Science majors.
Veterinary Early Commitment Program
If you have an interest in becoming a food animal veterinarian, consider participating in the Veterinary Early Commitment Program. This joint program between the Department of Animal Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine allows students to apply to veterinary school during their second year. Potentially ten students are selected to the program each year, and they will be given preference when applying their senior year.
Internships and Research
Major industry employers and professional schools want to find people who have the ability to think critically, communicate well, and work effectively in teams. Conducting a research project as an undergraduate or completing an internship will help you learn those valuable skills while gaining real-world experience. Many research and internship opportunities exist locally in Columbus, Ohio; however, our students have completed internship and research opportunities across the country and around the globe. The benefit of gaining this hands-on experience allows you to further shape your career goals while making you more competitive for employment after graduation. An internship can even lead to full-time employment upon completion of an internship.
As a pre-professional student, research offers a unique, scholarly opportunity to learn in a different setting. Approximately 50% of our students that complete a research project will be admitted to their professional school of choice. Opportunities to become involved in undergraduate research are offered in nutritional biochemistry, reproductive physiology, genetics, animal welfare and behavior, and growth and development. Students will learn first-hand the processes of experimental design, implementation, data analysis, and interpretation. Students can showcase research findings at undergraduate research forums in the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and The Ohio State University; as well as at regional and national scientific meetings. Read more on Internships and Read more on Research
Whether you are interested in becoming a veterinarian, production specialist, animal trainer, or researcher, you will interact with international clients, vendors, colleagues, and technology. Studying abroad will help prepare you. Thirty-five percent of our animal science majors will graduate with at least one study abroad experience, adding to their marketability in a competitive market. Read more about Study Abroad.
Student Organizations & Co-curricular Activities
Getting involved in at least one student organization on campus is arguably the most important thing you can do once you step foot on campus. Joining a club is like joining the perfect family. Everyone involved has the same interests, and in some cases, the same career goals. Most students find their closest circle of friends through student organizations. Read more about departmental organizations you might want to check out.
Meet Our Students
DARRYL PRONTY, Senior. Major: Animal Sciences, Minor: Life Sciences
Why do you love the Animal Sciences program at Ohio State? I love the Animal Sciences program because it offers so many opportunities for its students including internships, scholarships, and options to study abroad. Also it gives you a chance to make connections with students because most of the students take the same classes as you.
Favorite collegiate club? Why? Multi Cultural Students in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) because it gathers students from all backgrounds to work together in Agriculture, which is really important because agriculture is universal.
How does animal sciences play a role in your life outside the classroom? Animal Science is directly related to my desired career of veterinary medicine. The information that I learn in class becomes beneficial when I am doing things to further expose myself to veterinary medicine, such as working with animals.
Best internship/job experience while in college? Working at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. The research that I did there actually made a difference and I became really good friends with the students that I worked with from other countries.
DREW LAGERGREN, 3rd-year Veterinary School Student. Major: Animal Sciences, Minor: Life Sciences
What did you want to be when you were little? How/has that changed? Why?When I was little I wanted to be a veterinarian because since a young age I have had a passion for working with animals. That has not changed, and I am currently in pursuit of my long-time dream as a third-year veterinary student at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Why do you love the Animal Sciences program at Ohio State? I love the Animal Sciences program at Ohio State because I have had the opportunity to work hands-on with a variety of production animals that I had no experience with prior.
Favorite animal science class? Why? My favorite Animal Science class was Animal Sciences 597-Issues Concerning Use of Animals by Humans because it forced me to figure out what my opinions are on various animal topics.
How has the animal sciences department and your animal sciences classes helped you during your time here at Ohio State? I had a great professor and adviser who served as a mentor in preparing me to apply for veterinary school. Even now that I am graduated, we are still close, and I plan to keep in touch with her for years to come.
JOEL ANDERSON, 3rd-year Veterinary School Student. Major: Animal Sciences, Minor: Life Sciences
What did you want to be when you were little? How/has that changed? Why?I first wanted to be a mechanical engineer so I could work with my hands. I then found an interest in beef cattle through 4-H and soon changed my mind to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. I greatly enjoy working with livestock and being outside interacting with livestock producers.
Why do you love the Animal Sciences program at Ohio State? The Animal Sciences department gave me great opportunities to expand my knowledge of livestock production. The hands on experience in production classes, judging teams, and the meat lab are vital to my understanding of the livestock industry.
How does animal sciences play a role in your life outside the classroom? My degree in animal sciences led me to Wyoming to work, Denver as a student recipient at the International Livestock Congress, and to Grand View, Idaho to work for the J.R. Simplot Company. I’ve met friends in the livestock industry from as close as Hillsboro to South Dakota to Saskatchewan.
What is the coolest thing about being a student at Ohio State? The connection of alumni all across not only the country but also the world. Give out an OH! and I’m sure you’ll find someone to answer with an IO!