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How to Apply to Veterinary School

Becoming a veterinarian is not easy and preparations should be started as early as possible.  Students wishing to become a vet will need to apply for veterinarian schools after completing their bachelor’s degree.  While not all of the schools require a bachelor’s degree most applicants will have one.  Degrees should be in a related field like biology or animal sciences.  The majority of veterinary schools require applicants to use the VMCAS (Veterinary Medical College Application Service).  In addition to the VMCAS, many schools have supplemental applications and specific requirements. 

Make sure you research each of the schools you plan to apply to, and be sure that you understand all of the requirements for each.  You should also learn how the VMCAS Evaluation Process works.  The VMCAS application cycle is five months long – June through October and there are no exceptions to the deadline in October. 

So what materials will you need to complete your VMCAS application?

  1. A VMCAS web application.
  2. The fee payment.  You will need to include a payment for each school you wish to apply to. Please note the VMCAS accepts credit card payments only.
  3. A minimum of three electronics VMCAS evaluations, completed. You can submit a maximum of six electronic evaluations.  These are often referred to as eLORs (electronic letters of recommendation). These should be from veterinarians and professionals that can evaluate you; usually someone you’ve worked with in the field or a professor. 
  4. You must send an official transcript from each college you have attended to each of your selected schools; do not send transcripts to VMCAS. 
  5. Scores from any necessary standardized test must be delivered to the colleges before their deadlines; do not send test scores to VMCAS.  Most schools require the GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) score.

You will not be able to make changes to your application once it has been submitted so make sure all the information is correct before submitting.  Some helpful hints for a successful application are: submit your application early, read all the instructions carefully, verify that you have submitted all the materials before the deadline, read the schools descriptor pages for their requirements, confirm with your evaluators that your evaluations (letters of recommendation) have been submitted on time.

Applicants will be required to write an essay called a personal statement. The statement should explain why they want to study veterinary medicine.  A successful statement should demonstrate three qualities in the writing; personality, desire, and the ability to communicate well.  You should start working on your personal statement early and let others evaluate it for you before submitting it. Competition for admission to the top ranked veterinary schools is very intense so making yourself memorable to the admissions department is a great way to stand out of the pack.

Most admissions committees will use your grades, test scores, experience, letters of recommendation and your personal statement to narrow down the pool of applicants.  The final step is usually your interview with the school.  Preparation is the key to a successful application process and for your interview. So start early and be prepared!

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