Jun 30, 2017
2
1
Status
Pre-Veterinary
I've read a lot of forums about the opinions on becoming a vet tech before vet school and I've gotten mixed signals. My situation is a little different then most people just because I'm still early in my schooling where I can switch up my path and not feel as if I'm wasting my time. Here's a little background insight about me: I will become sophomore at a Community College this upcoming fall. My grades are good and my GPA is at a 3.6 (which will go up). I'm working as a kennel attendant at a boarding facility (mostly dogs, few cats here and there) and did a independent study on our local painted turtles in my area with my bio teacher, so experience wise I feel I'm getting somewhere (Obviously down the road ill need more tedious experience.)
However my dilemma is I don't know what to major in. I want to be able to have a bachelors degree in which I can fall back on if all goes wrong and I don't get accepted my first round of vet applications or if something comes up and I have to take a year off. My school offers GAP ( guaranteed admissions program) with UCONN and I would be able to get my bachelors degree in either Animal Science or Biology. However after talking to my Bio teacher I realized that the ANSM program is more on the agricultural aspect of the animal "industry", aside from that I can't see myself getting a job with that major in the vet field and he kinda told me that if I majored in Biology I wouldn't even be able to get an entry level job without furthering my school for it. My next option is Mercy College and their "Veterinary technology with specialization in Pre-Vet" major basically I'd be getting a degree as a vet tech and knocking out my pre-reqs for vet school all in four years. The upside of this is that I can probably find a job as a vet tech easily if all went wrong, however I've read so much on how much vet tech applicants are frowned upon. Im considering Mercy's program but I'm open to feedback on what anyone thinks is my best option.
 

sheltermed

5+ Year Member
Jan 11, 2013
2,534
2,604
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Pre-Veterinary
To answer your immediate question, you can major in anything you want. As long as you have the prerequisites complete with the minimum required grades (each school varies in prerequisites required and grade required, visit respective admissions websites for that information), you can gain admission into vet school. Of course, there is a lot more to the application and admissions process, for which I will refer you to our "how to search for topics" thread - there's a wealth of information already on the forum you can find without starting a new thread. You can find that here:

How to search for topics BEFORE starting a new thread
 

LyraGardenia

Kansas State c/o 2020
5+ Year Member
Dec 9, 2013
2,949
3,969
The Little Apple
Status
Veterinary Student
I would add that I wouldn't recommend doing a vet tech program unless becoming a vet tech is truly your backup plan. The combined programs where you get a bachelor's degree as well are better since then you would complete your prerequisites, but if you could knock just your prerequisites out in 2 or 3 years that's still extra schooling you'd be paying for. In most areas you can get experience as a vet assistant or unlicensed tech pretty easily.

But like shelter said, you can major in whatever you want, so pick whatever interests you and that you would be happy with a career in if vet school doesn't work out. That can be biology or animal science, or it could be history, accounting, Spanish, fashion, etc.
 
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canyonman

UGA CVM c/o 2022
2+ Year Member
Feb 7, 2015
64
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Veterinary Student
I'll chime in about the animal science degree to give you more info and insight into it. I'm a rising senior studying animal science and I can honestly say that animal science is the perfect degree for me, but it's definitely not for everyone.

Yes, an animal science degree focuses heavily on the livestock species. Mostly cattle (beef and dairy), horses, pigs, goats, and sheep. If you have a particular interest in one livestock species, you can somewhat track that species throughout your coursework. Companion animals (if discussed at all) are usually brought up as "side notes" to the main lecture material. I did take one course called "companion animal care", which obviously focused on dogs, cats and other pets. However, other than that I don't believe there are any classes devoted to companion animals within the major (at least at my school). That being said, there really aren't any degrees (other than possibly the veterinary technology degree you mentioned) that focus on companion animals.

If you want hands-on animal handling in undergrad, I have yet to come across a degree that offers more of it than animal science. Again, these handling experiences are going to be almost exclusively with livestock species. Here are some of the things I have done in my animal science labs, just to give you an idea of the animal handling/ experience you could expect with the degree: learn how to handle/ sort cattle, vaccinate and TPR horses and cattle, castrate bull calves, clip needle teeth of piglets, palpate cows to check for pregnancy, age horses based on dentition... these are just a few of the things I have been able to do as an animal science student.

All in all, as people have mentioned, you can get a degree in anything as long as you complete the prerequisites for veterinary school, so choose a degree that you truly have interest in. I know too many people that chose their degree because they "heard it was a good one to get into vet school with", while they have no interest in the subject and subsequently end up not enjoying their time in undergrad.

If you have any questions about animal science or want more info on the degree, feel free to message me!
 
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LabLuv004

RVC c/o 2021!!
2+ Year Member
Nov 12, 2016
166
176
I can give my two cents about ANSC at UConn. I graduated in 2015 in Animal Science and I'll be going to RVC this fall. I highly recommend the program at UConn. It was great mostly because EVERYTHING is at your fingertips. You can tailor your schedule to what you want and study whatever species you are interested in. For example I have very little interest in poultry science so I simply didn't take poultry classes.
The only required course that is not necessary for vet school and is more livestock based I guess is Intro. But that class is one semester freshman year and that's it.
As for the vet tech idea, CT doesn't require techs to have a specific degree. Actually you don't need any degree at all. So if you don't want to be a tech in the end, I wouldn't bother. I am a vet tech (for a few more days anyway) and I have my BS in Animal Science with not tech specific degree.
There are so many options for classes at such a big school I definitely recommend looking into it. You can do all your vet school pre-reqs and take some fun stuff. I would have even been able to get a dual degree in ANSC and BIO if I stayed one more semester due to the pre-reqs overlapping into the BIO department, so it's definitely worth consideration if you're thinking either Animal Science or Bio. Good program, great professors, and lots of opportunities to get tons of animal experience. If you have any specific questions about the program at UConn feel free to PM me :)
 
OP
E
Jun 30, 2017
2
1
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Thank you so much to all of you who took the time to respond back! Every piece of information is helpful in its own way however I think some were a bit confused as to what I meant wanting a degree to fallback on.... Yes I am looking for a degree to fallback on but I don't intend to make that into a career. I simply mean that if I don't get in my first round of applications for vet school that I will have a job lined up for the time being until I apply once again. I would prefer to be in the animal field and it doesn't necessarily mean being a vet tech as I am open to research as well.
 
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twelvetigers

stabby cat
10+ Year Member
Mar 12, 2008
18,661
10,212
TTown
Status
Veterinarian
Some degrees to consider: biology, zoology, microbiology, molecular biology, genetics, ecology, physiology, biochemistry, animal science, agriculture/agribusiness... these all would allow you to take prerequisites and have quite a few of them count towards your degree as well, which is the useful (and money saving) part. Each of these could lead to different possibilities aside from vet med, and it's definitely ideal to have a "plan B" if vet school does not pan out or has to be delayed for any reason.

I started an sci, switched to zoology, got a degree in that, realized I might *not* make it into vet school, and got an additional degree in microbiology (because what does a zoology degree set you up for? Being a park ranger? I dunno, in hindsight I just picked it because it had to do with 'animals'.) If I hadn't made it in, I'd be a happy little nugget working in a micro lab, I think. So it would have worked. I also really liked it - crazy, right?
 

kcoughli

Lab Animal Resident
5+ Year Member
Jan 8, 2013
5,114
6,613
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Chicago, IL
Status
Veterinarian
Should major in not using all caps and yelling at people.
I was going to be a smartass and say "Communications" but resisted...
 

Coquette22

Shinigami
7+ Year Member
Dec 21, 2009
4,012
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Nova Scotia
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