Veterinary Medicine program gives home for early admission to future career
By Stephanie K. Miller
Photoby Chrissy Nethercutt
Erin Kosta is pursuing her dream by studying for a doctor of veterinary medicine degree at Purdue University.
Photo provided Dave Umberger, Purdue News Service
Jean Stiles, a veterinary ophthalmologist and associate professor of veterinary clinical science, conducts an eye exam at the Purdue University Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
Erin Kosta grew up dreaming of one day becoming like the veterinarians she saw caring for the horses and cattle on her family's farm. Kosta was realistic, though. Even at a young age, she knew her odds were about 10-to-1 of getting into the veterinary school of her dreams: Purdue University.
"There are so many people who go through undergrad with their hearts set on vet school, but then they apply and don't get in," said Kosta, a first-year student in the School of Veterinary Medicine from Fair Oaks, Ind. "They feel like they've put in all this work, get rejected and don't know where to turn."
That is why Kosta felt her dreams had come true when she learned about the Purdue Veterinary Scholars Program. Once admitted into the program, she was able to complete her bachelor's degree in animal science with the certainty of going to vet school.
Designed to allow students more freedom to explore undergraduate research and extracurricular opportunities, the Veterinary Scholars Program annually admits a maximum of six high school seniors into vet school.
Typically, students apply to vet school after the third or fourth year of working on their bachelor's degrees. The Veterinary Scholars Program grants students a spot in vet school before they even begin their first college course. This relieves pressure during the first four years of school, because Veterinary Scholars do not have to worry about competing against the general applicant pool and the likelihood of being rejected, said Denise Ottinger, student services director in the School of Veterinary Medicine.
"They are held to a high standard," Ottinger said. "But they also have a great opportunity to explore activities and research work that they might not otherwise be able to do." For example, Kosta said she was able to be more active in clubs and take time to get to know the vet school faculty because she knew she was already admitted.
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By Chrissy Nethercutt
Purdue University's School of Veterinary Medicine offers high school seniors a unique early admissions opportunity. The Veterinary Scholars Program provides those who meet the program's standards an opportunity to be admitted directly into the professional doctor of veterinary medicine program.
To qualify, students must be in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class with a strong science and mathematics background. In addition, students must have an SAT score greater than or equal to 1300 or an ACT composite score greater than or equal to 28. A background of work experience with animals and veterinarians is also considered.
Students must complete a VSP application and submit it no later than May 1 of their senior year in high school. To learn more about Purdue University Veterinary School admissions or for an application, call (765) 494-7893 or visit: Vet School Admissions
Ottinger said the program was created partially because a large number of students begin their undergraduate studies intending to go on to vet school, but the majority lose sight of their dream along the way. "A common problem is that they don't think they can make it, and they end up changing majors and eventually finding a job in another industry," she said. "We want to catch students early so they don't drift away from their interest in veterinary medicine."
So far, 13 Veterinary Scholars have successfully completed their doctor of veterinary medicine degrees, and another 32 are in the program working toward graduation. Although this relatively small number of students have found success with the program, Ottinger said she hopes a greater number of students become aware of the unique opportunity it holds for them.
And few attest to the program's benefits more highly than Kosta. Now in her first year of vet school, Kosta's dream of practicing veterinary medicine is just beginning to blossom. She attributes much of her strength in the pursuit of becoming a veterinarian to the Veterinary Scholars Program, which made it easier to always remain focused on a certain future.
Kosta encourages students who are even remotely interested in becoming a veterinarian to pursue their dreams and learn more about how the program can make their journey a bit easier. "It can't hurt to apply, just to see," she said. "There's no better feeling than knowing you get to just walk into vet school."