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Spring 2003 - Veterinary medicine

Destination Purdue > Spring 2003 - Veterinary medicine

Opening doors to veterinary medicine

By Marimar Rosario

With only 27 veterinary schools in the United States, it's no wonder that the admissions process is highly selective. However, Indiana residents who apply to Purdue University's School of Veterinary Medicine have an advantage over other applicants – their residency.

Dr. Corriveau and student Reich

Photos by Marimar Rosario

Dr. Lori Corriveau and veterinary school student Briardo Reich draw blood from a patient in Purdue's Small Animal Hospital.

Because Purdue is a state university, the School of Veterinary Medicine has a certain number of spaces for Indiana residents. According to Denise Ottinger, the school's student services director, approximately 40 out of the 60 students they accept each year are Indiana residents. However, this doesn't mean that the application process is an easy one.

Although a student's grades are very important, a high grade point average doesn't guarantee acceptance into the school. The school tries to look at the student as a whole; that's why there isn't a grade point average cutoff for admittance, Ottinger said. As a matter of fact, most of the students admitted last fall had a grade point average ranging between 3.2 and 3.6 on a 4.0 scale.

More than anything, the school's admissions committee wants to make sure that they accept the right students. "We look at the person as a whole so we can make a fair evaluation of their credentials," Ottinger said. She said experience and a sincere desire to commit to the profession are key to being accepted into the school.

For Ottinger, a student's commitment to the profession is evident in how much experience they've had in dealing with animals. Purdue's school doesn't require that a certain amount of hours be met in order for a student to be accepted. Ottinger encourages students interested in becoming veterinarians to get involved with a veterinarian, at a zoo or with 4-H in high school, keeping in mind that what's important is not the experience itself but the quality of it.