Veterinary Student Bridge Program

First-year student orientation with three students putting hands in the middle for a cheer

Veterinary Student Bridge Program

Illinois Veterinary Student Bridge Program

June 10, 2024 – July 19, 2024

Class of 2028, Welcome to the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine!

Our college invites you and your classmates to join us online this summer for a 6-week program to get a sneak peek of what to expect in veterinary school. You will experience the volume and rigor of veterinary school, without grades, while getting to know classmates and faculty.

This program is free to you as an incoming student and completely voluntary.

The Veterinary Student Bridge Program is designed to ease your transition into veterinary school. You will experience the pace, volume, intensity, and expectations that characterize the U.S. veterinary school curriculum. Course content will involve foundational concepts of animal structure, function, and host defense in a case-driven, problem-based learning format. Using a team-based learning approach, instructors help students develop their professional identity while encouraging them to maintain personal wellness. 

Veterinary school can be challenging, but we’re here to help you prepare, feel confident and succeed! If you want to speak with a student who participated in this program last year, please contact us at We’ll connect you with a past student.

The Learning Experience:

  • Time Commitment:
    • 6 hours/week for 6 weeks. June 10th-July 19th
      • 2 hours of synchronized live sessions per week
      •  4 hours of asynchronized independent study per week
  • You will be assigned to a learning pod (small group) upon your enrollment in the program. Each pod will consist of:
    • 8-10 Class of 2028 Veterinary Students
    • 1-2 Class of 2027 or 2026 Veterinary Students serving as pod leaders
    • 1 Instructor serving as the pod director

Program Objectives:

  • Experience the rigor of veterinary school without the stress of grades  
  • Build study skills for academic success
  • Connect with classmates and others at the College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Benefit from personal and professional mentorship

Gain confidence for your first semester

Develop the study skills necessary to succeed

Establish a support network

Strengthen your foundation for critical thinking

Brian Aldridge

“Your successful transition to, and future enjoyment of, the rigors of veterinary school hinges on your success in developing a vibrant, trusted, learning-support network of classmates and instructors.  The bridge program is designed to immerse you in an academically challenging, team-based, faculty and near-peer facilitated, clinical problem-solving environment that will help you prepare for your new adventure with confident humility.”
Dr. Brian Aldridge

Bridge Program Director

Program Details

Who is this program for?

The bridge program is available only to admitted University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine students. We’re currently enrolling the Class of 2028.

What’s the cost?

The bridge program is free for the admitted College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2028.

Is the program facilitated online or in person?

The program is fully online!

What’s the time requirement?

Student time commitment expectation: 6 hours per week
Includes: 2 hours of live sessions +  4 hours of asynchronized independent study, micro-lectures, and assignments per week

Are live sessions required?

Yes, the live sessions are a vital part of the program. They are currently scheduled on Wednesday evenings from 5:30-7:30 PM CST.

I want to participate, but I don’t think I can make Wednesday evenings work in my schedule. What should I do?

Attend the first live session or reach out to us! We anticipate that there may be at least one other time available for students to participate in the live session. That will be based on the pod leaders availability and the students schedules. If that time also does not work for you, let the program administration know at that time.

Do I receive a grade for completing the program?

No. While students do complete activities and a final exam, the program and assessments are not posted to the student’s academic record.

Who leads the program?
I have additional questions, who should I reach out to?

Contact and someone will be happy to get back to you!

Hear from our students!

“The bridge program gave me the opportunity to expand my knowledge base in a supportive environment surrounded by peers and experts in the field. The program focused on specific mechanics in different body systems, allowing a greater understanding before diving into case studies that relate back to the material covered. You work as a team to “treat” your patient, using problem-solving skills and clinical reasoning to advance the case. Getting a chance to speak with professors made me more confident in my diagnostic ability, as well as gave me a space to meet fellow students. This made the transition into vet school easier as it was nice to see familiar faces as you started classes. Imposter syndrome is a challenge that many veterinary students face, and I found that this course helped me trust in my abilities to do my job in the future.”
Samantha Smith, Class of 2027

Former Bridge Student and Current Pod Leader

“I really had no idea what I was getting myself into when I got accepted into veterinary school, and this program provided such a great opportunity to relieve some of the stress and anxiety I was feeling about being underprepared by getting to meet and work with some of the faculty and my classmates! It made the transition so much easier as well as boosted my confidence in my understanding and use of clinical reasoning.”
Maloree Zabinsky, Class of 2027

Former Bridge Student and Current Pod Leader

Have questions or want to chat about the bridge program?