Getting a Jump on Vet School

Most students in the College of Veterinary Medicine enter the DVM program with an undergraduate degree in hand.

 Katie Plozel, a VM3 student from Monona, Iowa, is not most students though. After earning her associate’s degree from Northeast Iowa Community College and spending a year as an animal science major at Iowa State, Plozel made the jump from undergrad to DVM student.

 “I always had intended to come to Iowa State and attend vet school,” Plozel said. “I didn’t really give any thought to not completing my undergraduate degree.” That all changed during one of her classes at Northeast Iowa Community College. Her professor that day informed the pre-vet class that an undergraduate degree wasn’t necessary to gain admission to Iowa State’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

 Which got Plozel to thinking — maybe she should give it a shot?

 “No one pushed me to do this,” she said. “But I decided if I could do it, I would be able to save at least a years’ worth of tuition. By the time that I applied, I knew I had all of the requirements that were necessary and I just hoped it would all work out.”

Plozel is one of the growing number of students who enter Iowa State’s College of Veterinary Medicine without a bachelor’s degree. Applicants must only complete the specified prerequisite courses at a regionally accredited college or university to fulfill the academic requirements.

Plozel says her limited undergraduate study more than prepared her for what life in the College of Veterinary Medicine would be like. “I felt more than prepared to take on this challenge,” she says. “It would have been nice to have an undergraduate microbiology class, but that course is taught so well here that I don’t think it made any difference in my preparation."

 “My study skills were pretty solid, and I don’t think another year of undergraduate classes would have made a big difference.”

 By the time, she made the jump to vet school, Plozel estimated she still had three semesters remaining to get her undergraduate degree. That equates out to a savings of around $20,000, which she admits she’s “really happy about.”

“Saving money was definitely a significant part of my decision process,” Plozel said.

At the end of the day, Plozel says that she had no more difficultly transitioning to vet school than her classmates who completed an undergraduate degree. She does have advice for future students who may be thinking about this path to vet school.

“First of all, be persistent and get the classes you need,” she said. “You also need to stay on top of everything and be active in your job shadowing."

“It’s not impossible to do, but you have to make sure that you plan it out carefully.”