Pre-Vet FAQs

It’s never too soon to start planning your veterinary career.

If you are interested in animals, medicine, and science, then veterinary medicine may be for you.

Veterinarians are scientists, problem-solvers, and detectives. They are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of animals and humans. If you think you would like to be a veterinarian, find out everything you can about this versatile career.

A great way to find out about the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine is to attend our annual Open House held each fall.

Here are some questions aspiring veterinarians often ask.

What courses should I take in high school?

Focus on a college preparatory program that includes all major subjects (English, history, languages, etc.), and be sure to include as much as you can of biology, chemistry, physics, and math.

What would be the best undergraduate college to attend?

Choosing the right college is a very important life decision. Take your time and research your options. Use the college guides and apply to the colleges that best suit you with regard to size and academic demand. A “good fit” will likely result in academic success. Resist choosing a college based on its athletic achievements or its social atmosphere if you are serious about attending veterinary college.

What should I study in college?

You should choose a major you will enjoy studying and building a career around in case you are not accepted into veterinary school. Your studies should be planned to provide the opportunity to take many science courses including biology, chemistry, and physics with laboratory components.

When can I enter the College of Veterinary Medicine?

Veterinary students generally complete their four-year undergraduate college experience and earn their bachelor’s degree. Completion of a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree requires four years of additional study. We have an option whereby students can apply for admission before completing their undergraduate studies. Few students choose this option and only a very few are admitted under it.

Is veterinary clinic experience or animal care experience valuable?

Students should start out working or volunteering for a veterinarian, zoo or local animal shelter. Try to gain experiences with many animal species, not just cats and dogs. Also, pay attention to the roles of the doctors and technicians.

Track the hours of experience you gain and consider keeping a journal. When you apply to veterinary college you will need to articulate all of the animal experiences you have had as well as write a personal statement. A journal describing the learning you have acquired will be a valuable resource during this process.

Educators: See these resources for the classroom from the American Veterinary Medical Association