Laboratory Animal Services (LAS) frequently receives calls from New Jersey residents who want to become a veterinarian. LAS has no official role in pre-veterinary education in New Jersey or at Rutgers, but that doesn’t stop us from giving advice. What follows is some general advice and some general recommendations. More information is available from the links on this page.
Give up. Go a different route. Finish your degree. There are many things to do with an interest in animals and science.
Pre-vet training at Rutgers is directed through the Department of Animal Sciences, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS - formerly Cook College). The Animal Sciences curriculum requires 128 credits and leads to a Bachelor of Science degree. It is designed for students who have an interest in animal biology, production and management, or related fields including veterinary medicine, research, horse care and management, animal care and agribusiness. The biological sciences form a basis for the study and management of domesticated animals, with practical hands-on experience emphasized.
The Department of Animal Sciences has a web-page which contains a wealth of information, ranging from curriculum, course offerings to a list of the faculty to a curriculum newsletter and various links.
There are also a few student clubs which offer support for Animal Science Majors:
CURRENT STATUS OF NJ CONTRACT PROGRAM: At this time (March 2011) there is no funding for out-of-state contract seats subsidized by New Jersey. The following has been left for historical interest in hope that the program may be re-established. Rutgers students continue to gain acceptance to out-of-state veterinary schools.
There are only 28 veterinary schools in the US. Only 2 states have two schools, and thus many, including New Jersey, have none. Most are state supported, and although the situation is not as bad as it was in the past, the schools tend to be rather provincial in their acceptance policies. That is, they look out after their own first. In the 1970's, if you were from a state WITH a veterinary school, it was not worth the effort to apply out-of-state. You would not even be considered. In response to this, a number of states built new veterinary schools. In my opinion, not because they needed more veterinarians, but because angry moms couldn't get their kids into a veterinary school. (And after buying all those James Herriott books!) New Jersey wisely decided that they did not need a veterinary school and took a different approach to solving the problem.
For many years now, New Jersey has essentially bought seats in out-of-state veterinary schools. The Veterinary Medicine Act of 1971 provides for contractual agreements between the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority and out-of-state schools of veterinary medicine. The schools receive money from New Jersey toward the cost of education in return for a number of reserved spaces for New Jersey residents.
The role of the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority is to certify eligibility as a resident. Applicants apply to the veterinary schools in the usual manner and the schools make all admission decisions. Participation in the New Jersey contract program is not a guarantee of acceptance.
Recent budget cuts have decreased the number of participating veterinary schools and the number of contract seats available for NJ residents.
Facts about the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Education Contract Program (NJVMEC)
Ms. Amanda Billups
Higher Education Student Assistance Authority
P.O. Box 540
4 Quakerbridge Plaza
Trenton, N.J. 08625-0540
or call the Student Financial Aid Hotline at (800) 792-8670
The list of participating veterinary schools can change as contracts are reviewed. As of this date (August 2007), the following schools participate:
The application process for veterinary school begins in July. I will pass on advice as soon as I experience parts of the process myself.
Purdue University Press
1532 South Campus Courts-E
West Lafayette, IN 47907-1532
Phone: (800) 933-9637
Unit Price: $14.95
Don’t go into veterinary medicine because "I don’t like people". Very few dogs and cats show up by themselves with a blank check taped to their collar.