Undergraduate: Pre-Professional & Pre-Veterinary

Pre-Professional Health and Pre-Veterinary Programs

Contrary to popular belief, “pre-vet” or “pre-med” majors do not exist; 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.

Careers post-Veterinary School

  • Veterinary Practitioner
  • Veterinary Toxicologist
  • Veterinary Anesthesiologist
  • Veterinary Behaviorist
  • Veterinary Dermatologist
  • Veterinary Emergency Care
  • Veterinary Internal Medicine
  • Veterinary Geneticist
  • Veterinary Microbiologist
  • Veterinary Nutritionist
  • Veterinary Ophthalmologist
  • Veterinary Pathologist
  • Veterinary Epidemiologist
  • Veterinary Public Hlth Inspector
  • Veterinary Radiologist
  • Veterinary Zoologist
  • Veterinary Medical Officer

Major Options and 4-year Plans

The 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.

Students with a specific interest in nutrition and/or health should consider completing a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition.

If you are not an Animal Sciences major and plan to apply to a college of veterinary medicine, you might consider the Animal Pre-Veterinary Medicine Minor. 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.

Click here to investigate the options and plans.

Courses

The Animal Biosciences specialization 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

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 six students are selected to the program each year, and they will be given preference when applying their senior year.

If you have specific questions, please contact April Pugh at april.pugh@cvm.osu.edu.

Extra-curricular Area-Specific Opportunities (click here for more clubs)

  • Food Animal Club
  • Pre-Vet Club

Getting Started…Competitive Admissions 101

You have probably heard how competitive it is to get into veterinary, medical, pharmacy, or optometry school. Yes, it is competitive, but it is 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.

Prerequisites

Each veterinary school, or professional school of your choice, has its own admissions requirements. Although most schools have similar requirements, you will want to do your homework to know what is expected of you by the time 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 by clicking here (pdf).

In terms of your coursework outside of required courses, you will want to pursue courses that will enhance your knowledge in the field that you are seeking. Push yourself. Be a life-long learner.

Experience

Gaining experience in the field you are interested in is essential; after all, you may discover that it is not 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, and 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 or a medical mission’s trip; in assisting in a research laboratory; or volunteering at an animal shelter or for the American Red Cross can be valuable. These experiences can not only all be counted on your professional school application but also enhance it.

Leadership Skills

Leadership experience--such as holding an office in a student organization, fraternity, sorority, or undergraduate student government--is 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 officer roles available for students 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 also by 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 the country's 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.

Communication Skills

Excellent communication skills are absolutely essential. The health professional fields are no exception. Great communication skills are imperative for client/patient interaction to understand what is occurring and to 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 among the average human population is public speaking, but that is 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 a class, but can they say anything else about you? Perhaps you did not do well in a class that is required by your professional school, but there is a legitimate reason why. Does your recommender know so 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 to which you are applying? 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.

Admissions Profile

Want a better look at who is getting into veterinary school? Check out the 2011 OSU College of Veterinary Medicine Incoming Class Profile (pdf)! Of the students admitted each year, the largest percentage of students comes from The Ohio State University, and the majority of the Buckeye’s admitted are Animal Science majors.