Where are veterinary students going?
Cornell has tracked the post-graduation paths of its veterinary students since its beginnings, Smith says. The school has
always had an open-door policy, admitting students from other states and, sometimes, other countries. With that in mind, Smith
says the number of Cornell's students who have opted to stay in New York after graduation have dwindled since the 1940s, when
about half of its new veterinarians went outside the state for jobs and half stayed in New York. Every five years since then,
the numbers drop more. In the late 1970s, about 47 percent stayed to practice in New York, and, today, only about 30 percent
"Cornell has always had a substantial number of its graduates go elsewhere," he says. "We're kind of a net exporter of our
Penn probably has a similar trend, Smith says, but he can't say for sure. With higher admittance of out-of-state students,
Smith says it makes sense that more will leave New York once their education is complete. That's in contrast to states like
California and Texas, which primarily admit in-state residents.
"They tend to keep most of the graduates in those programs," Smith says.
He hasn't done any sociological studies on what factors contribute to a student's post-graduation decision to relocate, but
it does seem like states that admit mostly in-state students tend to keep more graduates in-state once they enter the profession.
Fenn says her class at Cornell is no exception. With a mixture of students from Western states and New England, she says most
of her peers are eyeing a return home after earning their degrees.
"People do seem to want to go back home, in general," she says. "Personally, I have no idea where I want to end up."
She may not specifically return to her home state of Arizona, but Fenn says she can see herself returning to the West Coast.
An interesting experiment in tracking where students end up is in play at Ross University. The Caribbean school seems to be
supplying high numbers of veterinarians to pockets of the United States—including two states without veterinary schools, Smith
says. Although he doesn't know what the profile of students admitted to Ross is, data from the American Veterinary Medical
Association (AVMA) reveals that New York has the largest population of AVMA members who are Ross graduates at 11 percent,
Smith says. And that number is growing at double the rate of Cornell graduates in New York. Ross graduates are concentrated
even greater in New York City and Long Island. In fact, 30 percent of veterinarians in Staten Island are Ross graduates, he
says. Other more populous states with a high proportion of Ross graduates include Florida, Arizona, New Jersey and Illinois.