Let’s talk pre-veterinary studies at CSU

It’s no secret that CSU has a pretty stellar doctorate program for veterinary medicine. Colorado State’s DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) graduate school is ranked among the top three in the nation. And, while getting your undergraduate degree at CSU won’t give you a leg up in the DVM applicant pool, CSU offers four health-professions advisors who are ready to help you prepare to apply, guide you to courses you’ll need before vet school, and answer all your questions along the way.

What is pre-vet advising?

Pre-veterinary advising at CSU is designed to help undergraduate students prepare to apply for veterinary school. If you know you want to start preparing for vet school, you’ll be assigned a pre-vet advisor, who you’ll meet with regularly throughout your time as an undergrad. Pre-vet advising offers one-on-one expert guidance, which means you’ll not only be advised on which courses to take to prepare for applying to vet school, but you’ll get advice on internships, local volunteer work, and beyond.

What should I major in?

One of the best things about the pre-vet program at CSU is that you aren’t limited to certain academic majors. There are no preferred or recommended undergraduate majors for students interested in going onto vet school. Instead, CSU wants you to major in something that truly interests and inspires you. Your pre-vet advisor will guide you to courses that will prepare you for the rigor of vet school. They’ll also recommend you start looking at vet schools and the prerequisites that each vet school has (they aren’t all the same). Your academic major will also act as a backup in case you change your mind partway through your studies, or end up not getting into veterinary school.

What kinds of classes should I expect to take at CSU?

You’ll always take the classes that fulfill the requirements of your major, concentration, and minor (if you have one), but your pre-vet advisor will direct you toward classes, as well. The recommended coursework for students in pre-vet advising includes classes like general biology and chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and English composition. Most of the science classes include labs, as well.

These courses are provided as general prerequisites and may not represent a complete list of requirements. It is the student’s responsibility to check with each professional school to determine specific prerequisites courses and equivalencies for each institution.

Some advice from our pre-vet advisors

Our pre-vet advisors have years and years of experience helping undergrads prepare for the rigorous-and-competitive nature of vet school applications. Here are some questions they hear a lot from aspiring vet students.

If I go to CSU for my undergraduate degree, will I have a better chance of getting into CSU’s graduate veterinary school?

No. CSU’s vet school accepts a certain number of students from the state of Colorado, but does not preference students who completed their undergraduate coursework here. Work hard in undergrad and make sure you meet the prerequisites of the vet schools you’re applying for. Each vet school has different requirements, so be sure to check. For example, here is prerequisite info for CSU’s vet school. Also, be sure to stay in touch with your advisors to make sure you’re ready to apply when the time comes.

How do I get into pre-vet advising?

Before you start classes at CSU, you’ll attend an on-campus orientation. During orientation, there is an optional information session for students considering the pre-vet advising program. You’ll meet an advisor, a current pre-vet student, and get to learn more about what it takes to be a competitive candidate for vet school. Additionally, in the first week of your first semester as a CSU student, you’ll attend a session that provides more detail about the program. You’ll learn how your time in undergrad can prepare you for applying to vet school and about crafting a competitive application. After that, you’ll be assigned an advisor and encouraged to meet with them every semester.

Set yourself up for success

Take as many science and math courses as you can in high school

Not surprisingly, science and math will be the focus of your studies for some of your undergrad and most of your vet school experience. You’re preparing to be a doctor, after all! Challenge yourself in high school and take everything from biology and chemistry to pre-calculus and calculus, if possible.

Volunteer at a vet clinic or animal shelter

Shelters and veterinary clinics always welcome volunteers, and there’s nothing like hands-on learning. Doing anything in which you’re responsible for the care of an animal (that’s not your own pet) or in the presence of a licensed veterinarian at least half of your time will be helpful.

You can also sign up to foster animals. Shelters offer foster programs that provide you with all the materials and information you need to give an animal a home before it’s adopted. Oftentimes, the animal just needs a quiet space or time to recover from an illness. If the animal is sick, you’ll be given medicine and training on how to care for it.

Once you’re at CSU, get in touch with CSU’s pre-vet club

The pre-veterinary club at CSU is a way for students interested in veterinary medicine to expose themselves to the field and meet others in the same career path. The club welcomes students from any major, and you can even attend a meeting if you’re not a member! As a member, you’ll be able to attend events throughout the year, including suture clinics, socials, tours (local farms, the Denver Zoo, CSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital), and Pre-Vet Day, a daylong symposium filled with lectures and labs designed for pre-veterinary students.

Get started.

If you’re just starting to look into pre-vet advising, you can reach out to your CSU Admissions counselor to get you on track before you start your undergraduate studies. We’re here to help!


Prairie Smallwood

Prairie Smallwood is a writer and content creator for the Office of Admissions at Colorado State University. She is passionate about education and exploration, and knows that going to college can be both an adventure and an overwhelming experience. She aims to create content that helps students through that journey — the wonderful, the scary, and everything in between.