After four years — or maybe more — of undergraduate coursework and the “college experience,” many students want to leave Blacksburg as soon as possible and start their careers elsewhere. Others stay in the area and get their graduate degree, find a local job or work for the university. Virginia Tech students interested in pursuing a higher degree in veterinary medicine are in luck: The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) claims Blacksburg as its home, and the world-renowned school has students hailing from undergraduate programs all over the country. VMRCVM offers some great resources for current Virginia Tech undergraduate students applying to vet school.
VMRCVM encompasses four locations across Virginia and Maryland: Blacksburg’s main campus; the Animal Cancer Care and Research Center in Roanoke, Virginia; the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Virginia; and the Avrum Gudelsky Veterinary Medicine Center in College Park, Maryland. There are three graduate-level degree programs available: a doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM), a biomedical and veterinary sciences graduate program and a public health graduate program (which also offers the undergraduate major/minor in public health). VMRCVM offers something for everyone, and these three programs are home to students with a variety of undergrad majors. Students studying animal and poultry sciences, dairy science, biology, chemistry, biomedical engineering and more all learn skills that help equip them for VMRCVM at Virginia Tech.
“The first advantage is having access to the VMRCVM admissions office, as we work closely with all pre-veterinary students on main campus,” said Dr. Jacquelyn Pelzer, an associate professor of population health sciences and director of admissions and student support at VMRCVM.
The admissions counselors and employees there can walk students through the process of applying even at the beginning of their undergraduate careers, and their guidance can work in tandem with students’ major-specific advisers. Meeting with multiple advisers and professors in a student’s area of interest is helpful when deciding whether to apply to grad school, and the close proximity of VMRCVM’s main campus is convenient for pre-vet students interested in learning more about the program and their options before applying.
The Pre-Veterinary Medical Association at Virginia Tech, also known as Pre-Vet Club, offers a support network for students interested in going to vet school. The club puts on professional and service events dedicated to learning about the veterinarian discipline and helping animals in our community. This can help potential pre-vet students decide if they even want to apply to vet school and find a group of students interested in the same discipline.
“The second advantage is the ability to join in a very active pre-veterinary club (VTPVC) and thirdly, we have fantastic pre-health advisors in the Virginia Tech Career and Professional Development Office,” Pelzer said.
No matter where students decide to apply and attend grad school, Blacksburg will always be home. Pre-vet students have a wealth of resources and support from VMRCVM that can aid in the stressful process of applying to grad school. For more information on specific programs, deadlines or research going on in VMRCVM, check out vetmed.vt.edu.