Veterinary Internship – Selection Tips #2

2. Decide academic (university) vs. private practice internship.


  • If you are considering a residency program, I would strongly consider an academic internship over a private practice.  That being said, some private practice internships have good residency placement percentages, just be sure to inquire diligently.  Speak with current and past interns and ask the internship director about  residency placement rates.
  • In order to obtain a residency, it is highly advised that you publish a paper or two during your internship year. In order to accomplish this task during an already busy year, you will need a supportive environment with research-oriented clinicians.  This is very typical and can be easier to find at a university. In addition, this task is not always possible in a private practice situation due to the volume of the case load. Some of the specialists likely entered private practice to focus on clinical work versus research-based work, so not everyone at a private practice will be interested in conducting a great research project that will make for a great publication.
  • What is the day-to-day difference?
    • Academia: lower case load, less individual case management/responsibility, building contacts (aka recommendation letters) in academia, typically more rounds, and journal presentations than private practice.
    • Private Practice: higher caseload, more individual case responsibility (typically from the start), less educational rounds (this will vary greatly by hospital), some have less time for elective rotations.

Note: In a private practice internship, it can be trickier to defer your student loan payment.  It can be accomplished but may require more research and paperwork, then if you complete an internship with a university.  Contact your loan provider or student financial aid office for more information, as these policies change.

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