Vet School for Late Bloomer?

Question: My daughter is going into 12th grade. She is a late starter. In 9th grade she made some B's and C's but since she has become a solid “B" student. Her current GPA is 3.2 and her ACT is 27. Although her GPA is not stellar, she has been very consistent with her volunteer and extracurricular activities, which often revolve around animals. She also holds some class leadership positions, and she's done an internship with a veterinarian and is currently working on a game preserve in Africa. Her goal is to get into a vet school. Given the fact that she has a low GPA and an average ACT score but above-average extracurriculars, what are her best chances of getting into a college with a good science department that will give her the prerequisites for vet school?

Admission to veterinary school is extremely competitive, but if your daughter is a strong student at ANY undergraduate college and, especially, if she does well in the prerequisite courses, she will be in the running. She will also need good tests scores and extracurricular/internship or research experience (such as her current gig in Africa).

Although admission committees certainly respect top applicants from the Ivy League universities and other sought-after institutions, it can be more feasible for an aspiring vet to make a mark at a less selective school … and this “mark" can be just as significant at grad-school admission time. Even though vet school admission committees are very picky, they still want each entering class to represent a range of undergraduate alma maters and not just the most celebrated ones. For instance, Ursinus College in PA, one of the “Colleges that Change Lives," has a very high admission rate to medical and veterinary colleges, and your daughter's current profile would make her a contender there.

As she makes her college plans, she might also want to look into schools that offer “Early Assurance" programs. For instance, the top pre-vet students at the University of Vermont, Worcester Polytech, and UMass Amherst (as well as at Tufts) have the opportunity to get an acceptance from the Tuft's vet school at the end of their sophomore year. See

Although your daughter's current GPA and ACT results probably won't make her a contender at Tufts if she were to apply as an undergrad, the schools named above that participate in Tufts' Early Assurance program should be realistic for her, especially if her grades continue to rise in the first term of 12th grade. (By “realistic" I mean “better than even odds" but not “sure-thing.")

So, as grueling as vet school admissions can be, it sounds like your daughter has climbed onto the right track and, hopefully, she will continue on her current trajectory and reach her goal.