Who can advise me about being pre-veterinary at Carleton?

The Pre-health advisor is Pam Middleton. Pam also advises other health professions programs, such as medical, dentistry, and allied health. Meet with her at some point in your first year or at the time when you decide to pursue a health professions career. Pam’s office is in Anderson 238, and the best way to set up an appointment is via email: pmiddlet@carleton.edu

In addition to Pam, there is an Advisory Committee on Health Professions Programs consisting of members in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. You can find out which faculty are currently on the committee on the staff and committee members page. In addition, the Carleton Pre-Health Association (CPA) is a student organization that provides support and puts on events for students interested in health professions. Through the CPA, you can be matched with a mentor—an older student on the same pre-health path as you—who can help guide you through 4-year planning and the application process.

Join the Pre-Veterinary Circle at Carleton! This group is a community within the Carleton Pre-Health Association that caters to the unique expectations of students who are interested in pursuing a future in veterinary medicine.

What does the pre-veterinary timeline look like at Carleton?

The following is a rough coursework timeline for students going straight into veterinary school after Carleton:

Freshman Year

Explore what Carleton has to offer! Take courses in departments whose subject matters you find interesting. Try to complete your math and statistics courses and be sure to start on your sciences — complete at least the first introductory biology and/or chemistry course and even physics 1 if you can.

Sophomore Year

Continue to take interesting courses, but focus more on the area of study you think you will major in. You will need to have taken some humanities and social science courses at some point. Complete your introductory biology and chemistry classes. If you started physics freshman year, take the second physics course this year. If you haven’t started on physics, take the first course now. Take your organic chemistry courses is you have already completed the prerequisites for them.

Junior Year:

Complete as many remaining vet school requirements as possible by the end of the year. Most schools allow you to have 2-3 outstanding courses at the time of your application, so you must finish all but two or three of your vet school prerequisites by the end of this year. Keep in mind that certain upper-level science courses — like microbiology and animal psychology — are only offered every other year at Carleton. Prepare for and take the GRE if you choose.

Senior Year:

Complete your outstanding courses and focus on your major. Finish any of Carleton’s remaining requirements. Prepare for interviews. Decisions don’t come out until spring, so take the time to enjoy your last year of college!

How do I gain experience while I’m at Carleton?

Cannon Valley Veterinary Clinic and Countryside Animal Hospital are both small animal practices less than a 10-minute drive from campus. In addition to shadowing and logging some veterinary experience at these clinics, you could gain some animal experience at Prairie’s Edge Humane Society.

There are also plenty of opportunities to work with large animals like horses and livestock, but these experiences will require more planning and traveling. Reach out to Carleton’s CCCE office or the Career Center for help organizing these activities.

Working for Carleton’s animal colony is a great opportunity to gain animal experience without leaving campus. Several professors in the biology and psychology departments also work with animals as part of their research labs. Working in any lab, especially one of these, will give you some research experience, which looks great on veterinary school applications.

Does it matter what major I choose?

Nope! Veterinary schools do not care what you major in, so long as you are passionate about your course of study. While majoring in a science discipline can make for a more straightforward four-year plan, it is quite possible to complete your vet school requirements in a timely manner regardless of your academic interests. Pam and your pre-veterinary advisors can help you to determine how to get this done.

Will one statistics course count towards both the math and the stats requirements of a vet school?

No. The statistics and mathematics requirements are separate. If a veterinary school asks for two math courses and one statistics course, taking Intro to Statistics at Carleton will only complete their statistics requirement.

Do my AP credits count toward vet school requirements?

In general, veterinary schools will accept AP credits for courses as long as the course is posted to your Carleton transcript and clearly indicates for what subject matter credit is received. Be sure to check individual vet school entry requirements to ensure that AP credits are accepted for subjects in which you have skipped introductory classes using AP credits. For example, if you used credit from your AP Calculus AB course to skip Calculus 1 at Carleton, but one vet school doesn’t accept AP credits for calculus, you should retake Calculus 1 at Carleton if you plan to apply to that particular school.

How do I complete required courses that aren’t offered at Carleton?

Some veterinary schools require courses like Medical Terminology and Animal Nutrition which are not offered at Carleton or St. Olaf. If you do not plan on taking a gap year, you should complete these courses online during the summer after your freshman or sophomore year. Most state universities offer these classes.

I’m worried about my GPA — how important is a 4.0 to vet schools?

You don’t need a 4.0 to get into vet school, but receiving good grades at Carleton is still important. Most institutions take into consideration a few GPAs — overall GPA, science GPA, prerequisite GPA, and last 45 credit hours GPA. A few low grades will not stop you from becoming a veterinarian, but a pattern can make it difficult. Upward trends are also favorable. The last 45 credit hours GPA calculates the grade point average of your most recent 45 semester credits. This means that if you struggle with the transition from high school to college, you have some time to adjust to course difficulties and create good study habits before vet schools start to see your later grades. Check individual institutions to see what their minimum GPA requirements are.