LogoAs UConn continues to be recognized for its top quality education, here is another honor to add to the list: UConn was recently named one of the nation’s top ten pre-vet colleges (check out the entire list here)

Alongside academic powerhouses such as University of Kentucky and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, UConn was commended for outstanding achievements in all the areas necessary to prepare undergraduates for success in veterinary school.

According to VetTechColleges.com, the top pre-vet schools were chosen based on several factors, such as an enrollment agreement with a veterinary school. Currently, UConn has an agreement with Iowa State University, which is ranked in the top 20 veterinary schools in the country by US News & World Report. Other factors include advising for pre-vet students, opportunities to gain hands-on experience, wide variety of relevant electives and a pre-vet club.

UConn excels in these areas, according to Cameron Faustman, the College’s associate dean for academic programs.

“Students majoring in animal science and/or pathobiology are benefitted by facilities that provide experiential learning opportunities that are unparalleled in New England and most of the East Coast. Our animal facilities and the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory allow students tremendous relevant hands-on opportunities. This practical experience, along with traditional academic coursework, qualifies our students as very competitive for admission to schools or colleges of veterinary medicine.”

Undergraduate students interested in veterinary school can major in animal science or pathobiology and veterinary science. Both programs can be tailored for students to gain the necessary knowledge and experience needed to be competitive candidates when applying to schools. For example, there is a wide choice of core classes and valuable electives. The core classes offer variety and cover all aspects of veterinary science, while electives provide a holistic learning experience by drawing from different departments such as Allied Health, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Marine Science, Pharmacy, Kinesiology, Communications, and Physiology and Neurobiology. Additionally, the emphasis on specific advising for pre-vet students is something that Steve Zinn, head of the Department of Animal Science, agrees is a major component of UConn’s success in preparing students for higher education.

“The group of faculty in the Department of Animal Science and the Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science that advise pre-vet students do an excellent job of focusing on each individual student, making sure that they complete their major, college and university requirements as well as meeting their requirements for applying to veterinary school, including completing required classes, gaining hands-on experience with practicing veterinarians, gaining knowledge of livestock, companion animals and doing research,” Zinn says. “That is, the pre-vet advisors at UConn help students create excellent portfolios during their undergraduate career to make them as competitive as possible for acceptance into veterinary school.”

UConn’s pre-vet program provides many hands-on opportunities, including the student-run Pre-Vet Club. Sandy Bushmich, a veterinarian and professor in the Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science, is the academic advisor for the club, but the 80 student members are in charge of all the activities. “The club provides experiential activities related to handling various species (including dogs, horses, reptiles, poultry, etc), has guest speakers including many admissions officers from veterinary schools, organizes field trips to veterinary schools, aquaria, zoos and pre-veterinary symposia for student member, and runs fund-raising activities on campus, such as the UConn Pre-Vet Club dog wash and the UConn Pre-Vet Club Canine Cancer Walk,” she says.

“Based on feedback from students from the Department of Animal Science that are currently in veterinary school, we do an excellent job of preparing students for both the academic material and rigor that is required to be a successful veterinary student,” Zinn says. “Their success opens more doors for the UConn students that follow them.”

By Francesca Crivello