Welcoming and Graduating DVM Students With Wide-Ranging Interests

Welcoming and Graduating DVM Students With Wide-Ranging Interests

By Lynn Maki, Associate Dean for Student Academic Affairs, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine

As we reach the halfway point of the academic year, our School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) faculty admissions committee spends significant time reading and considering applications from students who apply to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to become veterinarians. Approximately 1,100 – 1,300 prospective students apply annually to UW’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program using the national Veterinary Medical Common Application Service (VMCAS). Faculty committee members evaluate applicants based on their academic and nonacademic experiences, background, and preparation to engage in the rigorous veterinary medical curriculum.

Each year, we invite 96 new students to become part of the learning community at the UW SVM. This includes 62 Wisconsin residents and 34 students from outside of the state. Our current first-year students in the Class of 2023 chose to complete their prerequisites and undergraduate education at 54 different universities and colleges. Many of our Wisconsin resident students studied at public universities such as UW-River Falls, UW-La Crosse and UW-Madison, in addition to private institutions.

While animal science and biology are popular undergraduate majors, pre-veterinary medical students are encouraged to select a major that engages and challenges them. In our Class of 2023, nineteen majors, other than biology and animal science, helped to prepare students for the curriculum. Some examples include biochemistry, biomedical engineering, dairy science, finance, international studies, microbiology, Spanish and zoology.

At the time of application, students are asked to express their interest areas in the career of veterinary medicine, with the majority of our Class of 2023 students interested in private practice with small animals or dairy medicine. Some other specific interests include lab animal medicine, wildlife and zoological medicine, and  public health. Many of our applicants have undergraduate research experience and are interested in continuing to explore research in human and animal health.

Throughout their time in the DVM program, students will be exposed to various career paths in the profession. Many of these are avenues that students did not previously consider. Our faculty and staff encourage students to remain open, explore new areas and interests, and realize that they may fall in love with an entirely new subject.

When it comes to our most recent graduates, the majority of the Class of 2019 chose to go into private practice in small animal, dairy, food animal, equine or mixed animal practice. A smaller percentage of graduates chose to continue their education in graduate degree programs or by pursuing advanced clinical training through small animal rotating and emergency internships, equine internships, and residency training in pathology. A handful of graduates chose to pursue veterinary medical public practice by serving as veterinarians with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Wisconsin Department of National Resources.

Our students enter the DVM program with diverse backgrounds and interests and they enter the profession with equally diverse interests in the many practice areas available within veterinary medicine.

If you have a family member, friend or mentee interested in veterinary medicine, please encourage them to reach out to our advising staff in the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Office of Academic Affairs at (608) 263-2525 or oaa@vetmed.wisc.edu.

Thank you for your partnership in the future of veterinary medical education and practice!