Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Mercer University undergraduate students who plan to pursue a career in veterinary medicine are considered to be on the “pre-veterinary medicine” or "pre-veterinary" track.  Pre-veterinary medicine is not an academic major, but a preparatory track; pre-veterinary students enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts declare and work towards an academic major and minor>>as they fulfill the admission requirements for their preferred veterinary school(s).  Information and advice about all aspects of the pre-veterinary track can be found in The Student Handbook for the Pre-Veterinary Tracks>>. Information about all of the pre-professional tracks at Mercer-Macon can be found on the web pages of theOffice of Academic & Advising Services>>

Please note that the minimum science coursework required for the pre-veterinary track is only offered by the College of Liberal Arts on the Macon Campus. Also note that competency in mathematics at or above the calculus level is required to begin the chemistry and biology course sequences at Mercer University.  Students planning on following the pre-veterinary track are therefore advised to take mathematics in high school at least through the pre-calculus level.

Becoming a Competitive Veterinary School Applicant

Admission to veterinary schools is very competitive, with acceptance rates in the U.S. ranging from about 10% (Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine) to about 15% (Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine) to just over 18% (University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine) (Data from the AAVMC's Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements 2012).

Pre-veterinary students must therefore plan ahead carefully with a mind to creating a competitive veterinary school application "portfolio" during their undergraduate years.This means taking the appropriate coursework, performing well academically, and participating in appropriate extracurricular activities that will develop the skills and characteristics required of a successful veterinary school applicant.Students must bear in mind that veterinary schools are looking for individuals with:

  • a strong academic background with a firm foundation in the sciences but a breadth of experience and education; 
  • good reasoning ability and strong critical thinking skills; 
  • self-motivation and a strong work ethic; 
  • a positive attitude, able to function effectively under stress; 
  • strong leadership skills but with the ability to work well on a team; 
  • compassion and a commitment to community service; 
  • strong interpersonal skills, able to connect well with people from various backgrounds; 
  • excellent communication skills (both written and oral); 
  • integrity and high ethical standards; 
  • substantial experience working with animals (both large and small if possible); 
  • a good base of knowledge about the field of veterinary medicine and commitment to its study; 
  • competitive entrance exam scores; and 
  • a well-written Personal Statement. 

Because the pre-veterinary track is challenging and veterinary schools are so selective, all pre-veterinary students should develop an alternative plan to implement in the event that adequate progress is not made on their pre-veterinary track (i.e., GPAs below 3.4) or acceptance to vet school is not achieved. Such plans may include strengthening the application portfolio followed by reapplication or a complete change of career goals. Students are advised to consult the Office of Career Services>> and their academic advisors for guidance in this regard.