St. Mary's College of Maryland

Pre-Vet Advising: Practical Experience

Practical experience is perhaps the most important part of the veterinary school application. Veterinary schools may or may not require a certain number of hours to even consider you for admission, but either way it is wise to start early and get as much hands-on veterinary experience as possible! Make sure you keep a detailed log of all of your hours both volunteer and paid-- this will make your life much easier during application time.

Veterinary schools are looking for...

  • Hands-on experience with animals.
    • General service (like lifeguarding or tutoring) is not enough.
  • Experience with both large and small animals.
  • Established connections to veterinarians or animal scientists.
    • It is in your best interest to have at least one veterinary practitioner who can write a solid letter of recommendation for you.
  • A passion for animals and the veterinary profession: logging a large number of hours helps show your dedication to the profession.

Some ways to get experience

  • Volunteer in an animal shelter, humane society, zoo, kennel, boarding stable, racetrack, or livestock farm
  • Work/Volunteer on a farm or a rural veterinarian program
  • Shadow a veterinarian
  • Volunteer at an animal hospital
  • Find an internship in the field
  • Talk to your HSAC advisor, a career center advisor, or a former SMCM student about ways to get involved!
  • Consider using OpNet to connect with potential employers or internship supervisors.

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