A List of Top 10 Veterinary Colleges in the USA: A Comprehensive Comparison


Veterinary colleges in the US are ranked based on peer assessment scores. Any school with a score of about 4.0 out of 5 is considered a high-ranking institution. They are also ranked based on the cost of programs and ease of joining. Currently, there are 53 vet colleges in the US.

Based on US News, veterinarian jobs have been growing by 19.4% since 2021. Graduating from one of the schools opens a wide variety of career options. You get greater job security and can excel in providing care for animals. 

To increase your odds of getting into veterinary school, you should focus on the following ten aspects:

  1. Strong Academic Record: Prioritize achieving high grades, especially in the sciences. Veterinary schools often look at your overall GPA and your science GPA separately, valuing a strong performance in courses like biology, chemistry, and physics.
  2. Veterinary Experience: Gain hands-on experience in the field. This could include internships, volunteer work, or employment in veterinary clinics, animal hospitals, research labs, or with animal welfare organizations. Schools want to see that you have a realistic understanding of the profession.
  3. Animal Experience: In addition to veterinary experience, involvement with animals in other capacities (e.g., farm work, animal shelter volunteering, pet sitting) can also be beneficial. This demonstrates a broad understanding of animal care and welfare.
  4. GRE Scores: While not all veterinary schools require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), many do. A competitive score can enhance your application, so prepare thoroughly.
  5. Letters of Recommendation: Secure strong letters of recommendation from veterinarians, professors, or professionals in the field who can speak to your abilities, character, and dedication to veterinary medicine.
  6. Extracurricular Activities: Engage in extracurricular activities that show leadership, commitment, and time management skills. This could include clubs, sports, community service, or other organizations.
  7. Research Experience: Participating in scientific research, especially if it's related to veterinary medicine, can set your application apart. This experience is particularly valuable if you can present or publish your findings.
  8. Academic Challenges: Taking challenging courses, especially in the sciences, and doing well in them can demonstrate your readiness for the rigors of veterinary school.
  9. Interview Preparation: If the schools you're applying to conduct interviews, prepare thoroughly. Practice answering common questions and discussing your experiences, goals, and understanding of the veterinary profession.
  10. Writing a Strong Essay: Your personal statement or application essay is a crucial component. This is your opportunity to articulate why you want to pursue a career in veterinary medicine, highlighting your experiences, motivations, and how you've prepared for this path. Be genuine, clear, and concise. Tailor your essay to each school, reflecting on how your goals align with their program. Show, don't just tell, by giving examples from your experiences that demonstrate your commitment, skills, and understanding of the veterinary profession.

For the essay, focus on crafting a narrative that weaves together your academic achievements, hands-on experience with animals, understanding of the veterinary field, and personal growth. It's not just about listing your qualifications but telling your story in a way that captures your passion, resilience, and readiness for the challenges of veterinary school.   For another perspective, consider a third party service to help with a first draft such as the college essay writers from EssayShark.com. Of course, once you get a draft make revisions to make it your own.

Here is a comparison of the top vet colleges in the USA.

vet talking with cat owner in exam room

University of California Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine – one of the largest and best vet schools in the US

University of California Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine is one of the largest vet schools in the USA. 80% of its alumni say the school gave them a positive career impact. It is one of the oldest public schools founded in 1948. Based on the 2023 QS World University Rankings, it ranks number 1 in the US. Globally, it ranks number 2 and has an acceptance rate of 14%.

The school offers a four-year program and costs $37,112 for local students. Out-of-state learners pay $66,876 per year. It offers scholarships of up to $16,457 per successful applicant per annum. UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine ranks high in terms of diversity. It has an overall niche grade of A.

Training as a veterinarian puts you at the forefront of serving society. To serve better, you need to understand the importance of personal beliefs and self-reflection. It influences your professional growth and the building of skills. To immerse in the topic and understand yourself better, reading self reflection essay example on the write my essay site EduBirdie is of great help. The essay writing service contains many self-reflection essays covering topics such as reflecting on your skills and ethics, your personality, and leadership.

veterinarian holding puppy while examining xray

Vet Tech Institute of Houston – one of the best private vet schools in US

Vet Tech Institute of Houston is one of the best vet schools in the US. The institute has an overall niche grade of B- (minus). Its acceptance rate is 83% and ranks in the top 20% of community colleges in Texas. It is a private institution located in Houston, Texas.

It offers a 2-year vet course and has one of the widest students and workers diversity. The school’s average cost is $13,331 per year. Some needy students get 100% financial aid. Their average financial aid averages $6,972 per year.

Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine

Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine ranks number two top vet schools in the US. It has an overall niche grade of A and an acceptance rate of 3.68%. Over 80% of alumni say they got employed within two years after graduation.

Its annual fee is $19,491 for in-state learners. Out-of-state learners pay $43,086 per annum. The institute offers merit-based scholarship opportunities for needy students. They get up to $3,000 of scholarships per annum. It’s a public institution with different four-year vet courses.

Ohio State University School of Veterinary Medicine

OSU School of Veterinary Medicine is a top-notch school in clinical vet skills courses. It ranks number 3 out of 33 top veterinary schools in the US. In world rankings, the school ranks number 4. It has an overall acceptance rate of 14.6%. The institute charges $35,650 per annum for Ohio residents.

Out-of-state learners pay $46,795 per annum. The school has an overall niche grade of A. 91% of alumni say they received a job offer within six months after graduation. Their scholarship rate is up to $3,000.

Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology

Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology is a private institution located in Colorado. It is one of the top community colleges in the state. It has an overall niche grade of C+ and an acceptance rate of 81%.  It has a high diversity rate of B-.

The school costs $23,084 per annum and has a student financial aid of 87%. Many students get an average of $5,196 in aid per annum. 86% of alumni say they got employed within 2 years after graduation. It offers a two-year veterinary course.

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, a Global Leader

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine is leader in practical veterinary training. It is always listed as a top 10 program in the United States and Globally.  Its overall acceptance rate is a competitive 11.8% and is located on one of the most picturesque campuses in the United States.

The faculty are world-renowned veterinary experts, practitioners, and researchers. The school is known for a rigorous Ivy league level curriculum and the hands-on clinical training the students receive. The school has particular expertise in a wide variety of animal species, catering to the health needs of both companion animals like dogs, cats, and horses, and farm animals such as cattle, sheep, and pigs.

Cornell's wildlife health program is among the best with a commitment to conservation and the study of emerging diseases in wildlife species. Students can opt forsmall animal practices, farm animal health, equine medicine, or wildlife conservation.

North Carolina State University School of Veterinary Medicine

North Carolina State University (NCSU) School of Veterinary Medicine has a stellar reputation and comprehensive curriculum. NCSU's program is consistently recognized among the top veterinary schools in the country. It prides itself on offering an immersive and interdisciplinary approach to learning. Its state-of-the-art facilities and research-driven curriculum underscore the school's commitment to innovation, ensuring that students are trained using the latest methods and technology in veterinary science. This hands-on, research-oriented approach to learning will afford me the opportunity to apply what I learn in the classroom to real-world scenarios, ultimately enhancing my practical skills and readiness for the professional field.

The school also gives students exposure to a broad variety of species including companion animals, farm animals, and even exotics and wildlife. The school offers many opportunities for internships, and community service.

University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet)

Like Cornell, the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) offers an Ivy League level education while studying a wide variety of species.  The school offers a blend of classroom learning and hands-on clinical experience, cutting-edge technology and facilities. 

One thing that makes the school unique is the emphasis on "One Health," a multidisciplinary approach that recognizes the health of people is connected to the health of animals and the environment.

The school also has a dual campus structure. The Philadelphia campus focuses on small animal care, while the New Bolton Center, located in rural Kennett Square, specializes in large animals.

Penn Vet also operates an animal-assisted wellness program known as the Penn Vet Working Dog Center. This center trains dogs for law enforcement, search and rescue operations, and medical detection, providing a unique opportunity for students to learn about the extensive capabilities of working dogs.

The school is also a leader in translational medicine, which aims to more quickly move findings from research into practical applications for patients. The school's pioneering research in areas such as gene therapy and cancer treatment not only advances veterinary medicine, but also contributes significantly to human health research, exemplifying the One Health concept.

University of Florida School of Veterinary Medicine

The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine houses several specialized centers and institutes such as the Aquatic Animal Health Program, the Island Whirl Disease Investigation Lab, and the Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program. These programs offer students the chance to explore niche areas of veterinary medicine, such as aquatic and wildlife health, shelter medicine, and disease investigation, which can be rare opportunities in veterinary education.

Their curriculum promotes an early entry into clinical training, with students beginning their clinical experiences in their first year. This early exposure enhances the practical skills of students and prepares them for professional practice.

The school is committed to programs designed to recruit and support students from underrepresented backgrounds, and it continually works to create a supportive and inclusive environment for all students.

University of Georgia School of Veterinary Medicine (UGA)

UGA is one of the few veterinary schools that has an on-site Teaching Hospital. This provides real-world clinical experiences from student's first year, a unique learning opportunity that strengthens their practical skills.

UGA is also known for its pioneering work in infectious diseases, making it an ideal place for students interested in epidemiology, public health, and research. Their Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study is a renowned center for the study of diseases that affect wildlife, providing another avenue of specialization for students.

The College is also home to the Food Animal Medicine Program, which emphasizes the importance of veterinary care in livestock management and food safety. It provides comprehensive training in the management and care of farm animals, an important area of veterinary medicine.

Most vet schools in the US rank high both locally and globally. They offer some of the top-ranked courses in animal health and care. Their ranking is based on factors such as types of courses offered, acceptance and graduation rate, and graduate employability. Most of the schools have high graduate employability rates. They have firm fee structures and a conducive learning environment.

Author's Bio

Nate Joseland is a writer who is in the field because of sheer love for writing and editing. He always places client satisfaction over money as he believes that writing is not a field where monetary benefit can be the main purpose. This enables him to work dedicatedly and come up with essays, articles and blogs that are superior in every sense.