Q&A: To Diversify My Experience, Should I Focus on Small Animal or Other Species?

Hello Sharon,

I have a question pertaining to diversity in vet experience. I have volunteered at an animal hospital during high school, spent the last summer working there as a kennel attendant, and plan to do shadowing/assisting this next summer. When these hours are being judged by an admissions committee, do they view each of the 3 positions as 1 experience or 3 different experiences (thus adding to the diversity in hours)? Or, is it more beneficial to find hours at a different vet hospital?

Thank you.

Also, as a follow up quesiton. I know I am interested in small animal. I am only a freshman and have small animal hours from a veterinary hospital and shelter. Down the road, after gaining experience in other fields, should I try to get more experience in small animal than the others since I know that is what I am interested in? or should I try and branch out as much as possible?





Hi JC –

With respect to diversity, admissions committees are more interested in seeing that you have experience in various practices or types of veterinary medicine – multiple small animal hospitals is good, but even better would be to add on some other species like horses, farm animals, zoo animals, birds, fish, exotics, etc. This is because, when you are in veterinary school, you will have to deal with a plethora of species and the admissions committee wants to make sure you are prepared for that. Furthermore, they want to make sure that you have a good idea for what the profession entails so that you won’t drop out after the first term or be unhappy down the line. It also helps you figure out which species you would like to deal with when you graduate.

So, your follow-up question is right on target in terms of thinking – I would suggest that if you are confident you want to be a small animal practitioner that you get some experience with other species and either after or concurrently bump up your small animal hours of veterinary experience, especially if you can get some hours in at multiple different hospitals!

Hope that helps & good luck!

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