Prerequisite Course Questions
What if I have a course that is similar to one of the prerequisite courses, but does not have the same course title?
You can complete the prerequisite substitution form and provide additional information about the course, such as the course description, the course syllabi, or a letter from the faculty member outlining how the course meets our requirements. The Prerequisite Substitution Form can be found on our web site at: Prerequisite Substitution Form
When is the Prerequisite Substitution Form due?
We recommend you have the form into our office by September 17th of the application cycle. However, we will consider forms after that date with the understanding there may be a lag in time providing an answer.
What if one of my courses does not have a lab experience?
We require a laboratory experience for all our science courses with the exception of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry (lab not required, but highly recommended). If your college does not offer a lab experience for one of our required courses you might consider one of the following options:
- Explain to the faculty member that a lab is required for your veterinary college preparation and ask if they would do an independent lab with you for 1 or 2 credits;
- See if one of the surrounding colleges offers the course. Often colleges have cross-registration with the neighboring colleges and you can take the course for no extra charge;
- Look for a lab experience at a local college or at a college during the semester or in the summer;
- See if there is a summer course that includes a lab at a college near your home.
What if my college only offers Biochemistry for 3 semester credits?
You can make up one credit (and not more than one credit) by the following options:
- Take a Biochemistry lab (or ask the faculty member if they would do an independent study lab for 1 credit;
- Take Biochemistry II;
- Often Organic Chemistry is offered for 4 credits. If your Organic Chemistry was worth more than our minimum required 3 credits we can use one of the extra credits.
What should I do if I received AP credit for English and did not have to take any English in my undergraduate degree program?
We do require a full year of English Composition or Writing Intensive courses (AP credits will not work for this requirement).The courses can be in any subject area as long as they are writing intensive. If the words "composition" or "writing " do not appear in the title you can do a prerequisite substitution form and send or email it in with the course syllabus that shows 50% or more of the final grade was based on written work.
Do Animal Science courses satisfy prerequisite courses?
The prerequisite courses should be in the basic science disciplines. For example, General Biology I and II should be taken in the “Biology” department at your college or university. If waived out of Biology I and II because of Advanced Placement scores you can take a full year of upper level Biology courses with Labs.
Do the Physics courses need to be calculus based?
The Physics courses do not need to be calculus based. However, if you have taken calculus (or will be taking it in your degree program) and can take the calculus based physics, it will be noted and strengthen your application.
If I meet the minimum quarter credit requirements in two quarters, do I need to take the third quarter?
Yes, you will need the third quarter to meet the full requirement. Note that you will need to meet all of the requirements listed. For example, for General Chemistry I and II we require a FULL YEAR, for minimally 9 QUARTER CREDITS, with LABORATORY experiences. The most important thing for you to keep in mind is that you are preparing for a challenging medical curriculum. With that in mind you want the best and most complete preparation you can gain to be successful if offered admission.
How many prerequisite course credits can I lack at the time of application?
You can lack up to 12 credits of prerequisite course credits at the time of application. You should have Organic Chemistry (or at the very least one semester) completed at the time of application.
Do I need to be an Animal Science or Biology major to gain admission to Cornell's Veterinary Medical College?
We don't require any specific major when preparing to apply to Cornell. You will need to make sure that the major you choose allows enough electives to gain the 10 prerequisite science courses.
Does Cornell require GRE's or MCAT's
No, Cornell does not require GRE's or MCAT's.
College Transcript Questions
Should I gather up all my college transcripts and send them to you in one envelope?
We require all college transcripts to be sent to VMCAS directly from the college registrar. Please contact each college's registrar's office to have these transcripts sent to VMCAS.
What if all my courses transferred to one of my colleges, do I still need to have both transcripts sent?
Yes, we need official transcripts from ALL colleges attended, whether courses transferred to another college or not. This will allow us to evaluate all your college work from the original college where the courses were taken.
If I took courses in high school but they were through a college, should I have that transcript sent?
Yes, you will have a transcript with that college and we will need the official transcript from that college (not the high school transcript). Even if this was for one or two courses we will need the official college transcript.
Animal/Veterinary/Biomedical Research Experience Questions
Do you require a letter of evaluation from a veterinarian?
We do require at least one letter from a veterinarian. While we don't require a letter for all your experiences, it is helpful to at least one (or two) in addition to your veterinary letter. These can be from animal experiences. Again, minimally one letter from a veterinarian is required for experiences. Guidelines for Evaluators
Can I list an experience that is only 10 or 20 hours?
Yes, you are welcome to list any experience on the VMCAS you would like considered part of your application.
Is research experience required?
Research experience is valued, but not required.
How can I strengthen my preparation for a future application?
If you take a look at the Admissions Formula, you will be able to see where you have certain strengths and where you might seek to strengthen your background.
You are encouraged to attend an Admissions Presentation on campus or should there be one offered at a location near you. Dates, time and locations of the presentations can be found at: Presentations and Tours
You are also welcome to set up a phone or Zoom appointment to talk with the Director of Admissions about your background and ways you can strengthen your preparation for a future application. We also offer Pre-Vet and Applicant Roundtables where you can learn more about how applications are reviewed and ways to strengthen a future application. Visit our web site to for these dates or to schedule an individual appointment.
Post-baccalaureate Applicant Questions
As a post-baccalaureate student, do I need to retake courses older than 10 years?
We recommend courses not be older than 10 years. In some cases you will want to retake the specific courses (for example organic chemistry, biochemistry, or an Advanced Life Science course). In other cases you could take high level courses in the subject areas (for example, take higher level biology courses with labs instead of completing general biology again).
Does it matter if a I go through a Post-Baccalaureate program or just take the courses on my own at a college?
We don't place an emphasis on one method of gaining your prerequisite courses. Post-bac programs are often easier to navigate with specific advising from someone at the college. Taking the courses on your own at a four-year college is also an option many take for the flexibility.