Begin Your Career Caring for Animals

Do you want to provide compassionate care to your animal patients while cultivating strong relationships with the animals’ owners? F&M’s pre-veterinary program has a legacy of preparing students for successful careers in veterinary medicine.

About Health Professions Advising: Pre-Veterinary

The pre-vet program is offered through F&M’s Health Professions Advising as a supplement to your chosen major. While you’ll declare your major at the end of your sophomore year, your pre-vet experience will begin the moment you step on campus.

As a pre-vet student, you’ll work with the Director of Health Professions Advising throughout your time at F&M. You’ll enjoy personalized guidance on recommended courses to take and specialized programming, resources, and more to help you develop the skills and experiences you’ll need to be a competitive applicant in veterinary medicine. Whether you are looking for a summer internship, deciding when to apply to veterinary school, or trying to select which school to attend, the F&M’s Health Professions Advising is with you every step of the way.

Personalized Guidance & Workshops

As a pre-vet student, you will work with Marissa Sheaf, M.S.Ed., Director of Health Professions Advising, throughout your time at F&M. Marissa provides one-on-one advising during drop-in hours and appointments, enabling you to get personalized guidance on the prerequisites for veterinary schools, how to become a competitive applicant, and more. She also creates and oversees experiential learning programs where you can gain clinical experience and helps connect you with alumni in the field. Additionally, Marissa presents on numerous topics and holds workshops throughout the year designed to provide insight and exploration into different careers in healthcare.

Animal and Vet-Related Opportunities

Immerse yourself in the day-to-day life of veterinary medicine prior to entering the field. Marissa Sheaf, M.S.Ed., Director of Health Professions Advising, creates and oversees experiential learning programs through which you can gain clinical experience and helps connect you with alumni in the field. Many pre-vet students engage in a number of shadowing and hands-on experiences including:
  • Shadowing opportunities at veterinary hospitals
  • Volunteering at Humane Leagues and other animal shelters
  • Volunteering at facilities that care for horses, new foals, and other baby animals
  • Interning with wildlife sanctuaries or rehabilitation hospitals

Research Opportunities

Every student at F&M has extraordinary opportunities to engage in independent or faculty-led research. F&M is one of few liberal arts colleges with a vivarium, a major advantage for pre-vet students to work directly with animals on a research or volunteer basis. Pre-veterinary students at F&M can also apply for funding to support their off-campus research projects.

Pre-Vet Club

Clubs and organizations offer a fun and exciting way to get involved while supplementing your academic experience. The Pre-Vet Club offers programming throughout the academic year, including:
  • Sessions with admission officers at veterinary schools such as University of Pennsylvania and Tufts University
  • Workshops on becoming a competitive applicant for veterinary school
  • Trips and shadowing opportunities
  • Hosting local veterinarians and F&M alumni on campus to discuss their experiences and work in the field
F&M Health Professions Advising also partners with the Pre-Vet Club to coordinate trips to nearby zoos and animal sanctuaries.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Preparation

If you plan to attend veterinary school after graduating from F&M, you will need to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). With the help of the Health Professions Advising team, you can prepare for this exam with customized study and preparation strategies and through test preparation resources, including an official practice test from the Educational Testing Service.

Success Beyond F&M

Thanks to the depth and breadth of our pre-vet program, our graduates are distinctly prepared for success in the veterinary field. Many go on to medical school after F&M before beginning their careers. 

Graduate School

Their individualized learning and hands-on experience F&M provides gives them an advantage in getting admitted into some of the nation’s top programs, including:

  • Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine
  • Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine - Tufts University
  • University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine
  • University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine 
  • University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine 
  • Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine

Career Paths

Many F&M alumni have become leaders in veterinary medicine. They hold positions such as:

  • Animal Caretaker
  • Animal Husbandry Technician
  • Small Animal Veterinarian
  • Veterinarian
  • Veterinarian Surgical Assistant
  • Veterinary Technician

Alumni Spotlight

“The coursework for my animal behavior major absolutely transformed the way I think about animals, animal welfare, and conservation.”

Sara Dollen ’23 knew she wanted to work with animals. Once she began taking courses in animal behavior, she discovered her passion for animal enrichment. “The coursework for my animal behavior major absolutely transformed the way I think about animals, animal welfare, and conservation,” she said. Today, Dollen works as an animal care technician at City Wildlife, a wildlife rehabilitation center in Washington, D.C. She said she uses the skills she gained from working as the enrichment team leader in F&M's vivarium, including how to effectively design, implement, and continually improve enrichment that keeps animals in captivity happy and healthy as well as how to lead a team to provide high standards of animal care. “I am endlessly grateful for my experiences in college that led me to do work that I am so deeply passionate about,” Dollen said.

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Alumni Spotlight

“I have learned a great deal about handling animals, information about the animals themselves, and so much more.”

Owls, hawks, skunks, deer, raccoons, ducklings, opossums, groundhogs, squirrels — Bri Thomas '24 spent a summer surrounded by wildlife as a wildlife care intern with Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge in Burlington, N.J. "I have learned a great deal about handling animals, information about the animals themselves, and so much more," she said. "The experience I've gained from being at Cedar Run has made me more compelled to acquire additional opportunities that will offer me diverse experience both before and after going to veterinary school."

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Related Fields of Study

Animal Behavior Studies

Behavior is a property shared by all living things. What does it look like — and mean — in animals? At F&M, you’ll study the variation of animal behavior through powerful, hands-on training with a diverse range of animals.

Animal Husbandry & Primate Training (Certificate)

Certificates are supplemental educational pathways you can pursue at F&M. Each certificate explores new and innovative fields of study through the lens of two or more fields of study. The Animal Husbandry & Primate Training certificate develops your abilities to care for animals professionally as well as to reflect on your experiences as an element of humans’ relationships with the natural world.


The biological sciences expand and advance frontiers of knowledge about all forms of life. From molecules to ecosystems, from oceans to deserts, from the distant past to present day, biology gives you insights into other species, ourselves, and our world.

Beyond Career Services

Health Professions Advising is offered through F&M’s Office of Student and Post-Graduate Development (OSPGD). Pronounced “os-puh-god,” OSPGD prepares F&M students and graduates for success in every aspect of life beyond college.

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