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Veterinary experience/animal experience


Full Member
May 9, 2013
New York, NY
  1. Pre-Veterinary
    Hi everyone!

    I have around 3.5 gpa (messed up freshman year) and I will be applying next year. I especially want to get into VMRCVM since my husband hopes to go to Masters there and I really like the school and the area. If that doesn't happen next year, I will be applying to most East coast vet schools the year after. That's a little about me.

    Now, my question is about Veterinary experience. I will be shadowing a small animal vet for the rest of the summer. I have about 150 hours of volunteering experience at various shelters with small animals (cats and dogs mostly). I have about 1400 hours of equine experience (horseback riding, taking care of the horses, taking care of an orphan baby horse etc.) in high school. I don't nearly have enough vet experience hours but I will try to get many hours at the small animal clinic. The vet is really nice, and I learn a lot there. However, I don't have any experience with a large animal or exotic. I want to go into small animal practice (hopefully at a shelter). Do I need large animal vet experience? I know variety is important but I don't even think I have enough time to do many hours of large animal vet. I am also thinking to do research at my school in zoology. Do you think thats needed? I have a crazy schedule as far as classes go for the next year. I do want to gain more experience, but I don't want my grades to go down as I don't have a great gpa to start with. Is research more important, or shadowing a vet? Should I just focus on getting more hours with the vet instead of participating in the research?

    I also live in New York City, where there are almost no large animal vets, and I don't own a car to go to nearby smaller towns

    I feel like I complained a lot - sorry for that! I just can't tell how many hours of various vet experiences we need as some people have 3000 or more hours. I want to focus on more important experiences rather than trying to get hours everywhere but I don't know how much variety is enough.



    Full Member
    Jul 23, 2012
    1. Pre-Veterinary
      I am currently in the process of applying. I have been told through different pre-vet students, advisors and current vet students that you need variety, and good depth of experience. A competitive application (I've been told) consists of:

      -a good GPA (3.6 or above)
      -good GRE scores (above 60 percentile)
      -at least 500 hours of vet experience (hopefully varied, but with a substantial amount in one area of particular interest, but some experience in other areas to show that you've tried it)
      -animal experience
      -research experience (I hear this is getting more and more important)
      -good letters of rec
      -good personal statement showing your understanding of the profession

      I think you need to get as much vet experience in shelter med as possible, since thats what you're interested. But I'd also try to get at least 100 hours of Large Animal, and some research experience to broaden your resume and to show that you've at least dabbled in what else is out there.

      Hope that helps

      edited to add that quality is more important than quantity of hours, but that being said, when you're competing against people with thousands of hours, quantity still has an effect.


      Penn 2014
      10+ Year Member
      5+ Year Member
      Jan 26, 2009
      1. Veterinarian
        I applied with pretty similar experience to yours (shelter med plus long ago horseback riding). I did have some wildlife experience though. If you can't get LA it's not the end of the world, but you could diversify your experience via zoo, wildlife rehab, small animal speciality, exotic pets, etc without having to leave the city.
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        Full Member
        Oct 21, 2012
        The Great Pacific North-wet
        1. Pre-Veterinary
          I just wanted to add that a 3.5 is still plenty competitive. I've seen people get in with lower, just make sure that your GRE is good, and you balance out your slightly lower GPA. I think that it's expected and even preferred that your GPA shows improvement rather that always being 4.0. That shows that you are willing to work hard, as well as that you have a life outside of school. :)


          Full Member
          May 9, 2013
          New York, NY
          1. Pre-Veterinary
            Thanks so much everyone! There are not many pre-vets at my school, nor a prevet club or an advisor for that matter, so I really appreciate hearing other vet and prevet students' thoughts and stats. I will try for maybe 100 hours in two other areas than shelter med. I just love working/volunteering in a shelter, and feel like I am helping animals way more when I spend my time there. :) But exotic pet vet and zoos are great ideas, thanks!
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