Applying to a Veterinary Medicine School
A veterinary student's perspective on the process.
By: Charles (Clint) Peacock (DVM candidate for Purdue class of 2022)
Are you or someone you know thinking about applying for Veterinary Medicine school? Below, is everything you need to know ahead of next year’s application cycle (opening May 2019)!
If you’re thinking about applying to Veterinary Medicine school, you’re not alone. In 2017 alone, just over 7,000 students applied for a spot in one of the 4,000 highly-coveted chairs in the 46 AAVMC-accredited schools around the world (30 of which are in the United States). In the United States, the average Applicant-to-Seat ratio per school in 2018 was 8.9, meaning that each Veterinary Medicine school received almost 9 times as many interested applicants than they could accept1! Therefore, being able to stand out in your application and in your interview is critical to receiving an acceptance offer from your desired school.
The application for Veterinary Medicine school can be broken down into 3 phases: Common Application, Supplemental Application, and Interviews.
1. Phase 1: Common Application
All AAVMC-accredited Veterinary Medicine schools utilize a common, online application, giving you the ability to apply to only 1 school or as many as 20 or more schools with only a few more clicks of your mouse (the only catch is it can cost anywhere from $50 to $300 per school to apply, depending on what each school’s desired application fees). The common application covers almost everything in your life up until the point of application, including personal and family information; high school and undergraduate transcript grades; awards, honors, and scholarships received; animal, veterinary, and research experience; recommendation letters and a few essays. It’s important in every section to be as specific and thorough as possible, especially in the “experiences” section. In this section, application reviewers will try to gauge how prepared you are for Veterinary Medicine school by evaluating your number of hours spent and the quality of the experiences you have with research, veterinary medicine, and with animals (without a Veterinarian present). In 2018, the average applicant had 228 research hours, 1,235 veterinary medicine hours, and 1,538 animal hours1.
2. Phase 2: Supplemental Applications
Some Veterinary Medicine schools require applicants to fill out a separate application along with the common application. Depending on the school, this application may be due at the same time as the common application (Mid-September) or may only be given out to select number of applications to help wean down their application pool even further. Typically, these applications will consist of a few short essay questions that the school feels will better help judge a person’s preparedness for acceptance into a Veterinary Medicine school.
3. Phase 3: Interviews
In mid-to-late winter time, schools will begin offering interviews to a select number of applicants. This can be the most important and most stressful time of the application process. Just remember to relax, be yourself, and my importantly, by truthful in your experiences and knowledge. Interviewers aren’t looking for someone who is already proficient in veterinary medicine or someone who has the perfect answer to every situational question, they want someone who shows great ability and desire to learn, lead, and grow.
Going through the entire application process can be a daunting and tiring task; however, if you’re lucky, by late Winter to early Spring you’ll start receiving offers from all your top schools. Then, the hardest part of the whole process comes, the decision on which school’s admission acceptance to accept!
If you’re interested in applying next year, it’s never too early to start preparing for your application now. Good luck and best wishes on getting into the Veterinary Medicine school of your dreams!
1. Greenhill, Lisa. “Annual Data Report.” AAVMC, Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, June 2018, www.aavmc.org/about-aavmc/public-data.aspx.