A Head Start on Vet School

Any given year, the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University enrolls a handful of students who haven’t completed their undergraduate degree.

Count Kacey Klemesrud among the handful.

That’s because Klemesrud had a plan dating back to her high school days.

“I knew in high school I wanted to get into veterinary school as soon as possible,” the second-year veterinary student said. “I’m a planner and I knew what a large financial burden veterinary school can be, so I definitely knew the route I wanted to take.”

While still in high school, the Osceola, Iowa, native took as many college credits as possible, eventually amassing 39 by the time she entered Iowa State as a freshman. Like her fellow undergraduates, she made the most of her college career, participating in numerous clubs as well as working with research groups.

But after three years as an undergraduate, she decided to apply for vet school and once she was offered admission, she didn’t hesitate. 

“There are pros and cons for every student on when they apply to vet school,” she said. ”I weighed my options and after my first year of vet school, I can say my the pre-veterinary course requirements prepared me well for this program.”

Klemesrud may be just one of a handful of students who take advantage of early acceptance into vet school, but the College of Veterinary Medicine is working to make early entry easier. Applicants must complete the specified prerequisite courses at a regionally accredited college or university to fulfill the academic requirements.

The college has even created a “pathway for completing DVM prerequisites."

Klemesrud found benefits in each of the pre-veterinary requirements for admission, but one in particular stood out to her – economics.

“Many students wonder why courses in social sciences are required for veterinary school,” she said. “But one important lesson I learned in economics was the concept of opportunity cost.”

Students like Klemesrud who are admitted early can save one to two years of undergraduate tuition, housing and other expenses. It was an option that appealed to Klemesrud.

“While veterinarians aren’t in it for the money, there are opportunities for use to make the financial responsibilities less of a burden,” she said. “Not walking across the stage and not getting a diploma in undergrad wasn’t a big deal to me. What mattered was that I obtained the educational foundation I needed to succeed in veterinary school and as a future veterinarian.”