Q&A: Should I Focus My Hours of Experience on My Species of Interest?


My name is DS, and I am currently a sophomore at UC Davis (majoring in Animal Science). I wish to attend a veterinary school in the future, hopefully UC Davis, and I was wondering if you could tell me about the importance about animal-related experience because most of the hours that I have right now I have about 1000 hours with small animal experience and 150 hours in equine. I was wondering if I should continue to focus on small animals, because that is the field I want to practice in, or should i try to expand my scope to large animals?

Thanks for your help.


Date: 9/8/10


Hi DS,

As you clearly already know, hours of experience are very important for veterinary school! These hours help the admissions committee gauge whether you have a good understanding of what the profession entails.

While I know students who had ZERO hours of veterinary experience when they applied, they had other experiences and stories that made the admissions committee confident that this was the right career decision for them.

More important than the number of hours, is the diversity of experience. You want to get involved in the veterinary world with as many species as possible, but you definitely want hours of experience with the species you claim you want to work with. (Although if you’re undecided, that’s perfectly okay! You don’t have to decide until halfway through vet school anyway!) The idea is that if you claim you want to do small animal medicine, you want to demonstrate to the admissions committee that that decision is well founded through your experience.

As someone who changed careers, I can tell you that I did not have as many hours as you when I applied to vet school in 2008 — I had just over 500 hours, but kept accumulating more after I submitted my application so that by the time my interview came around, I could show them my progress.

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