By Barbara-Ann Grantham
St. Andrews University has a Pre-Veterinary Program. The program is not a major, but rather it is designed to help students meet the entrance requirements of veterinary schools regardless of their major (however, the majority of students in this program are Biology majors). This program offers students the chance to gain hands-on experience. Students in the Pre-Veterinary Program must keep their grades up to stay on track and avoid falling behind. St. Andrews University’s Pre-Veterinarian Program’s mission is to prepare its students with the knowledge and skills necessary to gain acceptance in a veterinary program of their choice, and for its students to later be successful as a professional in this field. This link, https://www.sa.edu/academic-pages/pre-veterinary-program will take you to the Pre-Veterinary Program section on St. Andrews University’s website, please check it out. On this web page, you can find some of the basic science courses that are recommended to take to meet the minimal requirements for the majority of veterinary programs. There are some commonly asked questions and answers on this web page as well.
The students in this program attend courses taught by Dr. Laura Kellam, Assistant Professor of Equine Studies and Veterinarian-in-Residence. Dr. Laura Kellam earned her Bachelor’s degree in Music and Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Dr. Kellam obtained her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree at the Virginia Polytechnic University in Blacksburg, Virginia. She had an Equine Surgery and Medicine Internship at the University of Guelph, in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Her residency of Equine Internal Medicine was completed at the University of Missouri, in Columbia, Missouri. Dr. Kellam teaches several courses at St. Andrews University, and is the in-resident veterinarian for St. Andrews University’s Equestrian Program. Some of the courses that Dr. Kellam teaches are Horse Science I, Horse Science II, Equine Lameness, Equine Nutrition, Equine Internal Medicine and Equine Pharmacology.
There is an annual study-abroad trip to South Africa connected to the Pre-Veterinary Program which Dr. Kellam leads. The group gains hands-on experience with various kinds of African wildlife. They have the opportunity to work with a wide variety of animals, from a range of large animals (such as Cape buffalo, rhino, impala, and kudu) to some smaller animals (such as bush babies and possibly even a squirrel or two). In the past, some groups have helped with the relocation of animals, like the Cape buffalo. Through these experiences, the students learn first-hand the relocating process of wild animals. They also learn methods and techniques on how to make certain that each animal is healthy and ready for the transport.
Current interns with one of the western horses, Pops.
The Pre-Veterinary Program has a club, the pre-vet club, within the program. The Pre-Vet Club has multiple events a year. There are two main events that the club hosts; Santa Paws and Bark in the Park. Santa Paws is hosted every fall semester, while Bark in the Park is hosted every spring semester.
At the Santa Paws event, the community is invited to bring their dogs out for an afternoon of free pictures with Santa and plenty of bake sale items. There are plenty of dogs around, so even if you do not have your own dog, you can still come out and enjoy a dog-filled afternoon. All of the donations and proceeds benefit the Scotland County Humane Society.
The Bark in the Park event is a fun filled event with multiple activities for the community and their dogs. There are obstacle courses for the dogs to try out, some friendly competitions, and corn hole to name some of the activities offered. The club is trying to host a new event. This event is going to be a marathon.
Some other activities that the Pre-Vet Club is involved in are volunteering at the local animal shelter and accompanying dogs to Scotia Retirement Village. Each member of the Pre-Vet Club volunteers a few hours a week at the local animal shelter, Scotland County Humane Society. The club members play with the animals (generally cats and dogs) at the shelter to help socialize them. This helps in preparation of finding a new home for the animals. Members also help clean and sterilize equipment at the facility.
Scotia Village is a local retirement community. The Pre-Vet Club will bring a dog to the residents at Scotia Village and spend the afternoon at Scotia Village. The club members travel around the facility with the dogs, and spend time with the residents. This helps socialize the dogs, and it cheers up the residents of Scotia Village. The club members and dogs enjoy the afternoon keeping the Scotia Village residents company.
The club also hosts a stress buster event for the students of St. Andrews University during finals week. The event allows students to unwind by play and loving on dogs during one of the evenings. These stress buster events help the students calm down, relax, and enjoy a break from testing and studying.
The Pre-Vet Club runs a concession stand at the home shows of all three disciplines (hunter seat, western, and dressage). The concession stand is completely run by members of the Pre-Vet Club. The Club stays involved with its community, both on and off campus.
Getting into a Veterinary School is difficult and very competitive. There are thirty Veterinary Schools accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) http://www.aavmc.org/ in the U.S. According to the Pennsylvania State University’s Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, in 2013 there were an estimated six thousand, eight hundred (6,800) applicants all competing for roughly two thousand, seven hundred (2,700) openings in the thirty AVMA accredited Veterinary Schools.
This link will take you to an article on the steps students should take to become a veterinarian (of course, students should check with each individual school’s requirements as schools’ specific requirements do vary). The steps in the article start back in high school and to earning your undergraduate degree. Some of the requirements are the specific course students need to take, maintaining a 3.5 GPA (or higher), and taking the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) (check individual schools for their target scores on the GRE).
There are three letters of recommendation that are required. One letter needs to be from an academic adviser, another one needs to be from a veterinarian, and the third letter can be from an individual of your choosing (like a professor or coach). Students need to have a certain amount of volunteer hours and/or a job shadowing a veterinarian to gain animal and clinical experience (the minimum amount of hours change depending on each individual school).
Leadership skills, communication skills, and co-curricular activities are also important requirements when applying to Veterinary Schools. Clubs, such as Pre-Vet Clubs, are a great way to be involved with you community, gain new leadership and communication skills, and improve existing leadership and communication skills.
About the Author:
Hello, my name is Barbara-Ann Grantham. I am a senior at St. Andrews University. I am finishing my Bachelors of Arts Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Equine Business Management (or as it is referred to at St. Andrews University, Equine Business). I am also currently working on my Master of Business Administration (MBA) at St. Andrews University has an early program for students wanting to go straight into their MBAs. I started horseback riding three years ago. I take western riding lessons at St. Andrews University’s Equestrian Program. I am not on the western riding team, as I just wanted to learn and take lessons. I studied abroad last year for a semester in Italy. St. Andrews University has a lot of great opportunities for its students, and the Pre-Veterinary Program is one of them.
St. Andrews Equestrian Program is dedicated to the development of future leaders in the equine industry. The program is home to the 2016 and 2017 Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) National Champions in Western Horsemanship. The Hunter Seat team is regularly represented at IHSA Nationals and the Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) team has sent riders to the National Championships nearly every year since 2002. Students also ride at USHJA and USEF rated shows as well as attending schooling shows.
A small liberal arts and sciences university, St. Andrews majors include Business, Biology and Therapeutic Horsemanship.
Click here to request more information about St. Andrews University and the Equestrian program.