Nov 12, 2019
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Hello All,
I am trying to decide whether it is smarter for me (a freshman in college) to be looking at declaring my major as pre-vet, biology, or begin the vet tech route and then proceed to vet school? I can not seem to find anyone near me or that I know, who can really provide the best answer. I am worried that if I am not accepted into Vet school, I will not have a plan that I can fall back on. I am looking at SUNY Delhi in NY if I went the vet tech route because they have a four year extension for their vet tech program. I am also considering Cornell University but am not sure yet. My questions are; what is the best major to pursue through my undergrad? Do vet schools look down upon SUNY schools?

***to be clear, I plan on transferring next year and will be considered a sophmore***
 
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JustPaws

Michigan State CVM c/o 2022
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It does not matter what major you pick as long as you do well in your advanced science pre-reqs. Just get the major in something that you can use to fall back to if vet school doesn't happen. It does not make sense to pay to become a vet tech if being a dr is your goal.
 
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Sierra_mountains11

WSU c/o 2025
Dec 1, 2020
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I agree with JustPaws. My dad is a veterinarian and he advised me to choose a major that I liked and that would make a good back-up plan if I don't get into vet school. My major was in Conservation Ecology and I am really grateful that I did that instead of a pre-vet major because I've still had a lot of upper level science courses, but have learned them from a different viewpoint than if I had done pre-vet . Being in this major has also led to a lot of cool experiences and exposure to different ideas that I most likely will never have again. So again, I would say think carefully about choosing a major that 1) you enjoy, 2) can help you learn and grow and 3) provide you with marketable experiences and skills in case you don't get into vet school. Since you're just a freshman/sophomore, you have time to take different classes and change your major still as your explore your interests :)
 
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BigLostBeef

WSU c/o 2023
Mar 29, 2019
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I went the vet tech route and suggest it, but it may add more time and/or rigor to the completion of your pre-reqs depending on if they are accepted or not by the vet schools. I went to an Idaho vet tech program and essentially none of my classes counted for pre-reqs at WSU, so that increased my load as I finished my bachelor's degree. The tech program will expose you very well to vet med and you can decide from there if you think being a doctor is something you will be passionate about. You will definitely gain really relevant skills through the tech program, you can start networking and picking brains to get tips for school almost immediately, and some of those doctors you might impress can write you letters of recommendation. I also think that going through a tech program will give you more respect for your technicians. A lot of veterinarians, even some that I externed and worked with, lack respect for techs and understanding their world may help you as a future doctor to improve your technicians work life.
 
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Nov 19, 2020
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I applied to vet school this cycle and my undergrad did not have a pre-vet option, so I majored in Biology. In undergrad I did a lot of research and had two close mentors. They both advised me that your major doesn't really matter. Any job or grad school is going to look at your transcripts and see what classes you took and how well you did. Your major is a set of requirements needed to graduate. If I took physical chemistry, I could have been a Biology and Biochemistry double major. However, I have absolutely no interest in physical chemistry, so why make myself suffer in a difficult class that is not a pre-req or requirement to graduate? My advice is to choose the broadest major and take whatever classes you want to take that will qualify for whatever program, field or job you want to go into, because it will give you the greatest flexibility, even if the electives you take are all in a specific field.
 
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max_wildlife

Tufts '25!!
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Mar 22, 2018
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Hello All,
I am trying to decide whether it is smarter for me (a freshman in college) to be looking at declaring my major as pre-vet, biology, or begin the vet tech route and then proceed to vet school? I can not seem to find anyone near me or that I know, who can really provide the best answer. I am worried that if I am not accepted into Vet school, I will not have a plan that I can fall back on. I am looking at SUNY Delhi in NY if I went the vet tech route because they have a four year extension for their vet tech program. I am also considering Cornell University but am not sure yet. My questions are; what is the best major to pursue through my undergrad? Do vet schools look down upon SUNY schools?

***to be clear, I plan on transferring next year and will be considered a sophmore***
Hey so I am not in vet school yet, but I do attend a SUNY school, and my advisor assures me plenty of her students have gotten in to vet and med school. It's the lowest ranking SUNY university in my region (#12/#12 in the North, ranked #103 nationwide) and nobody around me is concerned. I did just look at your school - Delhi? It looks like it was ranked #18 nationwide - I really wouldn't stress about it.

For what it's worth, I simultaneously attend a private college and am finishing my tech degree. It's exhausting, mostly from my particular school's indifference toward their students. In my case, I was advised to do something to demonstrate my 'aptitude' for the field. But that's just my program - other ones may be better. Even so, I *did* discover my love of clin path through the program and now have an idea of what I'd like to specialize in when I'm done. I also really got the kick I needed, constantly realizing, 'wait, I want to diagnose' and 'wait, I want to learn surgery'. If I could go back, I suppose I might do it over again - but I would pick a tech school that wasn't so... sketchy, for lack of a better term.

Lastly, about what you're studying - I have a dual career and work in ecology - this has been a lifesaver because I didn't get into vet school my first try and it's something else I genuinely love that actually helps show my interest in my given field - wildlife medicine.

I don't think there's a one-size fits all. Especially because I haven't been admitted yet, haha. But.. I figured it might be helpful to hear perspectives from a SUNY/vet tech student.
 
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SardonicWit

Texas A&M c/o 2024
Oct 23, 2019
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I actually did a vet tech program first, but I was doing it with a completely different mindset. I was working in the equine industry and enrolled in some vet tech courses thinking it would be a way to supplement income and add value to my resume if I wanted to go more into the stable management side (I'd been running a training facility). I ended up fascinated in the material, so I ultimately did a bachelor's in biology and went on to vet school. It's not what I would have done had vet school actually been part of the initial plan - like BigLostBeef said, most of my vet tech courses were not accepted towards my BS, nor did vet schools count them as anything during the application process. However, because I came from a different background than the more "typical" pre-vet student, the exposure I got doing the vet tech program has been invaluable to me - if you're light on clinic experience, I wouldn't necessarily rule it out. If you've been working in clinics, have experience, and know you ultimately want your DVM, I don't think the vet tech program would likely benefit you.

I will say that while it absolutely doesn't matter what your major is as long as you complete the required vet school prereqs, it is nice to be in a program that covers some of the material that you'll learn in your early vet school curriculum. Like I said, I majored in biology, and I was careful to include some of the courses that were geared towards pre-meds (neurology, endocrinology, animal physiology, biochem II, cell bio, cancer bio). They fulfilled my BS degree requirements, and they made my first semester at vet school SO much easier than if I hadn't done that. Just something to consider. Absolutely, pick a degree that has options you'd enjoy in the event vet school doesn't work out, but all things being equal... it doesn't hurt to make your life a little easier once you're IN vet school, too.
 
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battie

U of I c/o 2021
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what is the best major to pursue through my undergrad?

I did not get into vet school for three cycles and I strongly regret my general biology Bachelor's degree. There wasn't much I could/want to do with a general bio degree. I'm not saying there aren't jobs out there for that; just none that I wanted to do at the time. Even now, if I never used my DVM post-grad, there is only one job I have found that only requires a gen bio degree that I would do.

Think about what you would want to do if you were to never be a veterinarian. That's what you should get your degree for and get the vet med prerequisite classes secondary to that, whether its a minor or electives or extra credits. Whatever.

About the vet tech route:
1: Would you want to be a technician if you were never to get into vet school? If not, abort mission. Why get a degree you wouldn't use if necessary? Sure, you would use the *skills and knowledge* you learn in the degree, but a vet tech degree is not the only source of those skills or knowledge.

2: There is the pro of learning a lot of vet med stuff, getting vet med hours, and learning vet med skills when earning the tech degree. But you're paying to learn all this when earning a vet tech degree. I got paid to learn these vet med skills and information while working as a technician assistant as a college student. There are significantly cheaper ways to get the veterinary hours and skills than relying on a vet tech degree.

3. Veterinary school will average anywhere from 20-30k (in state school) to 50-60k (out of state school) per year. The local tech degrees in my hometown are about 30k total. Plus whatever you need to spend on extra classes if your tech classes are not accepted as prerequisites. I'm not familiar with SUNY schools at all. But when looking for a bachelors degree, it doesn't matter where you go to vet schools. Going to an Ivy League vs my legit tiny state college won't make or break your acceptance. My bachelor's was 40k (without the scholarships/free room and board as an RA). I definitely got more bang for my buck getting my 40k bachelors in a major I regret over getting a 30k associates I would have literally never have used. And if you would never actually use your tech degree as a career (if you never get into vet school), that would probably still be true of getting a 60k bachelors degree you would actually use as a backup.
 
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WonderingStudent

c/o 2024
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Dec 6, 2017
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Hello All,
I am trying to decide whether it is smarter for me (a freshman in college) to be looking at declaring my major as pre-vet, biology, or begin the vet tech route and then proceed to vet school? I can not seem to find anyone near me or that I know, who can really provide the best answer. I am worried that if I am not accepted into Vet school, I will not have a plan that I can fall back on. I am looking at SUNY Delhi in NY if I went the vet tech route because they have a four year extension for their vet tech program. I am also considering Cornell University but am not sure yet. My questions are; what is the best major to pursue through my undergrad? Do vet schools look down upon SUNY schools?

***to be clear, I plan on transferring next year and will be considered a sophmore***
I've had multiple undergrad professors tell me that you don't need to be the typical Biology or prevet major to get in to vet school. Major in something that you are interested in which will probably lead to a higher GPA (a major part of your vet school application; also can be your backup for if you don't end up going to vet school). For most vet schools, your major doesn't really matter. You just need to make sure that you have the prerequisites. I didn't major in something typical for a pre-vet student but still was able to gain multiple acceptances.

If you are transferring, I know there are some colleges that have connections with vet schools (and accept more students from those schools) and some with early application programs. For example, Tufts has an early admission program for Tufts undergrad students: Early Admission to Tufts' Professional Schools
 
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DVMDream

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Jul 15, 2009
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You don't go to vet tech school to become a veterinarian. Just like you don't go to nursing school to become a doctor.

Only go to vet tech school if you want to be a vet tech. You can get veterinary experience and exposure without going through vet tech school. Besides, vet tech classes don't count (for the vast majority of vet schools) as pre-requisites so you are going to be stuck going for a second degree post vet tech school in order to be considered for vet school.

Basically, if you want to be a vet do NOT do vet tech school.
 
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SardonicWit

Texas A&M c/o 2024
Oct 23, 2019
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I've had multiple undergrad professors tell me that you don't need to be the typical Biology or prevet major to get in to vet school. Major in something that you are interested in which will probably lead to a higher GPA (a major part of your vet school application; also can be your backup for if you don't end up going to vet school). For most vet schools, your major doesn't really matter. You just need to make sure that you have the prerequisites. I didn't major in something typical for a pre-vet student but still was able to gain multiple acceptances.

If you are transferring, I know there are some colleges that have connections with vet schools (and accept more students from those schools) and some with early application programs. For example, Tufts has an early admission program for Tufts undergrad students: Early Admission to Tufts' Professional Schools
Just wanted to emphasize that this is definitely true. Our class president was a music major (and got in as an OOS student, which is certainly no easy feat here!). He has mentioned that vet school has been a difficult adjustment for him because he wasn't used to taking this much science, but he's here, and it's cool having someone with such a unique perspective. (I hope he doesn't mind me sharing any of that. If he reads these forums - you're awesome, and I admire you!)

So absolutely do something you enjoy. If you want to work in science even if you don't go to vet school, those degree plans can make vet school life easier. If there's absolutely nothing you'd want to do with a science degree, though, you certainly aren't tied to that. Vet schools get tons of applications from "classic" science and animal science majors. Real passion, even for something else, stands out more than just checking the boxes.
 
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bird.nerd

Ohio State c/o 2025!
Nov 19, 2019
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I was in the same position when i entered school as a freshman. I didn’t exactly want to be classic biology because I not only wanted to “stand out” on applications (whatever that means lol!), but also because I LOVE Environmental Science/ Ecology and for a short time wanted to be a marine biologist. I did a dual major in Biology and Ecology at my school, and because I had to take biochem for vet school I have a chemistry minor. During that time I also fell in love with sustainability and I added on a sustainable business minor and finished in four years and have no debt b/c of scholarships. From my time at college, I gained a lot of hands on experience because of this at CAFOs, our separate Aquatics lab to look at algae blooms (my school was close to the Great Lakes!), an avian ecology lab that I still work in today after graduation, and a lot of fun restoration work which are all great talking points that can relate to veterinary medicine! I also was in a bunch of organizations (Greek life, honors college/clubs, etc) and had a job at a vet clinic that was flexible. I feel like with the degree that I received that if I didn’t get into vet school (2nd time applying), I have a lot of options for back up jobs.
I would recommended tailoring what you love to not only vet school, but also looking at job prospects in the future. If you have a career service center/ advisor they might be able to help! I truthfully didn’t know all of the options available to me until I met with them as a freshman.
As for what school you go to, i truthfully don’t think it matters as long as you do well in school. My fiancé went to high school with a girl who went to an in state SUNY school and now is in her first year at tOSU.
 
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raegan117

vmcvm '25
May 11, 2020
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Just wanted to add that choosing a program with good pre-vet advisors is helpful too. At my school, Animal Science advisors know vet school apps like the back of their hands, but our Biology advisors aren't quite as knowledgable (at least not off of the top of their heads). I relied on my advisors a lot when figuring out applying to vet school. You can certainly do all of the research on your own, but it's way more helpful to have someone else who's been through this many times.
 
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genny

mlem
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Topical. I like topical application. Apply the vet school directly to the forehead.
 
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