January 30, 2021

How to Become a Vet

Dr. Rachel, DVM, answers the most common questions about vet school and shares her 5 best vet school application tips.

Cate Perino

Wondering how to become a vet? Curious about vet school? Are you finally pursuing your childhood dream of becoming a vet? Or considering a career switch? Rachel is here to help!

Rachel is a veterinarian who is passionate about sharing content and advice to help others navigate vet school and the application process. In this blog, she answers the most common questions about vet school and shares her 5 best vet school application tips. Take out a notebook and jot down some tips, or just read along to Rachel’s story of making her childhood dream a reality.

Meet Rachel!

Rachel is originally from Northern Michigan and went to Michigan State for her undergraduate education and the University of Missouri for Veterinary school. She decided that she wanted to be a vet when she was 5 years old. But, unlike most 5 year olds who say they want to be a veterinarian, Rachel actually made her dreams come true.

Her aunt was a vet technician and inspired her from a young age. She always loved animals and realized her skill and love for science in undergrad. Rachel is now a practicing veterinarian in ER medicine and loves her career. She loves the fast pace and excitement of her job.

how to become a vet

How do I become a vet?

Rachel shared that there are traditional and alternative ways to get to the same place. You can graduate from a 4 year undergraduate university, attend 4 years of vet school, and then specialize or go straight into practice. However, the majority of vet schools don’t require a bachelor’s degree. Rachel attended 3 years at Michigan State and then applied to vet school. She recommends that others consider this path as well because there is also no punishment for declining an acceptance offer and applying the next cycle.

How long does it take to become a vet?

This is a very common question. Like Rachel mentioned, your journey to becoming a vet can vary. Traditionally, it can take up to 8 years of higher education, but it can also take as few as 7 years.

How do I get into vet school?

Rachel warned that the application process for vet school can be pretty complicated. You can find yourself with missing credits or requirements if you don’t pay careful attention. She also found that there was a lack of online resources where she could find guidance and advice. This is what originally motivated her to start building a social media profile so she could help vet school students like herself!

She has some great videos on her YouTube channel like the one below where she shares awesome, honest advice for prospective or current vet students!

5 Vet School Application Tips

Rachel shares her 5 biggest tips for vet school applications.

1. Get as many experience hours as you can!

Rachel recommends keeping a journal of all of your experience hours and try to have them be in the field you’re interested in. She completed most of her hours with small animals and also milked cows.

2. Start thinking about letters of recommendation early.

Rachel shared that most vet schools allow up to 6 and at least 3 letters of recommendation. She recommends that you ask bosses or professors. Many schools also require at least one to be from a veterinarian, so keep that in mind! She also recommends that you look outside the box and also have a non-traditional person write you a letter as well. Rachel had a farmer that she had worked for to milk cows write her a letter and she said it’s a great way to show the close connections that you make with others!

How to become a vet

3. Double-check your undergraduate requirements.

The application requirements can often be confusing and complicated for vet school. Rachel recommends the book VMSAR. She says that it outlines all the information you will need for what each school requires. They also keep it updated for each year.

4. Remember that your interviewers want you to succeed!

Rachel’s biggest tip for vet school interviews is to remember that they want you to do great too! She says to remind yourself that they are secretly rooting for you too, it will help you be less scared going into the interview.

5. Consider programs and tuition when choosing a school.

What do you do if the best case scenario happens and you get into more than one school? Rachel advises that you first take a look at the programs the schools offer. Rachel shared that clinical experience was a major factor for her and she prioritized schools that offered more time in clinicals. Another major factor is tuition. Rachel shared that there really isn’t a hierarchy of vet schools and you will graduate with the same degree from any vet school. She recommends that you consider which school will be the smallest financial burden, and provide you with the programs that you want.

Rachel’s parting advice is to believe that you are capable! She shared that it took her several times when she had to impress herself in order for her to believe in herself. She promises that you will impress yourself if you work hard and believe you can do it!

Thank you, Rachel! Check out her Instagram (@bellavetdvm) and YouTube (BellaVet) for some more great advice!

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