Pre-Vet Timeline

Timeline for Pre-Veterinary students
(prepared by the SLU Health Careers Committee (HCC))

Freshman Year

1. Focus on academics- This is the time to establish strong study skills and habits that will enable you to excel in upper level courses. #PRE-VET LEARNING

2. Start shadowing- Get into the vet clinic and begin to shadow veterinarians. Use this opportunity to become sure that this is the career for you. Vet schools want to know that you have a clear idea of the career you’re getting into- start gaining this understanding early and often. #CLINICAL EXPERIENCE

3. Choose activities wisely- Vet schools want to see that you can communicate well with others AND have an interest in animals. Get involved in organizations and activities that get you out into the community, especially working with animals. Start an activity now and carry it through the next four years. #SHOW YOU CARE

4. Meet with a pre-health advisor in the spring semester- Even if this person is not your major advisor, it’s good to establish a connection with someone who will help guide your academic and extracurricular decisions as you aim for veterinary school. You should routinely evaluate your academics and activities, and an advisor helps you think realistically and objectively before making big decisions. #PRE-HEALTH ADVICE

5. Consider study abroad opportunities- Most students can fit in study abroad (typically during junior year) with careful planning and guidance from their advisors. Most biology majors choose the programs in Denmark, Kenya, New Zealand, and Australia, though other programs are certainly an option. Even if you decide not to go abroad for a semester, consider these summer opportunities: Health Care Delivery (Kenya), Extreme Physiology (Africa), Neuroscience of Fear (Denmark), Learn Spanish in Nicaragua (Health Careers Language and Internship) (Nicaragua). #EXPERIENCE THE WORLD

6. As the year is ending, consider applying to be a TA for next year- As a TA or tutor, you will be tasked with communicating with and supporting students in their learning. This is an excellent way to keep your knowledge of a particular topic fresh in your mind and will challenge you to communicate information in creative ways to help others understand. And not to mention the great letter of recommendation you’ll get from the profs you work with…. #BE KNOWN

7. Sign up for the SLU Health Careers Listserv to get all of the latest information. Follow the instructions at: #BE IN THE KNOW

Sophomore Year

1. Stay focused academically- You will encounter tough courses this year, so draw upon the skills you developed as a freshman and learn new ways to study as you move into upper level courses. Identify 5-6 programs you plan to apply to and make note of their requirements. There is a lot of variety in pre-requisite courses, so be sure to make a comprehensive list of courses you plan to complete so you are eligible for your programs of interest. #PRE-VET STUDY

2. Keep up with shadowing. The more observation experience and hands-on experience, the better! Be sure that you are getting exposure to both large and small animal vet work and to different settings- visits to farms, office visits, etc. #MORE SHADOWING

3. Keep up with extracurriculars- Be sure to make some time for the animal-focused activities you started last year. #CONTINUED CARE

4. Consider research- An increasing number of students who get accepted to healthcare programs have research experience. This doesn’t necessarily have to be research in biology or chemistry, but can also include projects in psychology and sociology. Talk to a professor whose course you liked or approach faculty whose projects sound interesting to you (read up on the department websites!) to find out what opportunities might be available to you. Even if you don’t get involved as a sophomore, you can make plans to apply for a SLU Fellowship or external summer research programs. Involvement in research shows that you’re interested in new ideas and continuing to learn. #ASK QUESTIONS

5. Meet with your pre-health advisor again in the spring- Be sure you’re still #ON PRE-VET TRACK.

6. Use your summer- This is a great time to do more shadowing or work/volunteer within the vet clinic environment. Even if you have another non-health related job, reserve some time to work on the clinical experience portion of your #PRE-VET PREP.

Junior Year

1. Academics, shadowing, extracurriculars- You get it by now, maintain your #PRE-VET FOCUS.

2. Make your plan for studying for and taking the GRE exam- This exam is required for application to veterinary programs. Take some scored, full-length practice exams during the spring semester. Don’t wait until the last minute to “pre-test” yourself, in case you need to study more to improve your score. Since most veterinary school applications are due in the fall of your senior year, you can continue studying for the exam during the summer and take it in August before returning to campus- this will work IF you have time to study during the summer around your job/activities. If you will not have time during the summer, then you should begin studying during your winter break and take the exam during the spring semester of junior year. #GRE PREP

3. Before Thanksgiving break, attend the HCC informational meeting- Learn about how to prepare for your HCC interview in the spring semester. Complete the form stating the list of faculty you would like recommendations from and turn it in to the biology department secretary ASAP, so your recommenders get an online link for their comments. Stop by their offices and make your request of faculty members now, so they have plenty of time to complete the forms in a non-hurried manner. #HCC INTERVIEW PREP

4. Over winter break, complete your HCC Interview paperwork- In order to best represent yourself, you will need to complete these forms in a thoughtful manner. Waiting to work on this until when you get back to campus for the spring semester is not the best idea, since you’ll be busy with new classes. Spend time on your personal statement in particular. #SELF-REFLECTION

5. Complete a HCC Interview in February/March- Be prepared to discuss your submitted interview materials. You will meet with the HCC chairperson after your interview to gain feedback. #HCC FEEDBACK

6. Consider applying for a SLU Fellowship to perform summer research with a faculty mentor. Start planning this in the fall semester. #SLU SCHOLAR

Senior Year

1. Don’t slow down before reaching the finish line- Continue to challenge yourself academically and don’t ease up on your dedication to courses. #LIMIT SENIORITIS

2. Stick to the plan that’s gotten you here- Don’t give up your people-focused community activities. Taking time to help others helps to keep your life in perspective. #MAKE A DIFFERENCE

3. Finish your applications. Ask for any additional recommendation letters well ahead of time to allow your recommender time to complete the submission process. #APPS COMPLETE

4. Go to interviews- Research the schools at which you will be interviewing- become familiar with their curriculum and the unique aspects of their program. Have specific questions to ask if given the opportunity. #VET SCHOOL OPTIONS