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 gain 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.