Navigating the Veterinary School Application Process
To apply to most veterinary schools in the United States, you’ll use the Veterinary Medical College Application Service® (VMCAS®), which is the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges’ (AAVMC) centralized application processing service. VMCAS consists of an online application, 3 letters of recommendation submitted electronically to VMCAS, and all official transcripts from each school you attended. VMCAS does not collect standardized test scores – those must be sent directly to the colleges.
The VMCAS application goes live in May and closes in early October. Thus, our students generally submit the application in early summer. If you’re planning to begin veterinary school in 2017, your application would be submitted in summer of 2016. It’s best to begin preparing your application materials several months before the application date. You will need to:
- request your official transcripts
- select and notify the people who will write your electronic letters of recommendation
- collect information about your extracurricular activities – many schools are looking for applicants who have experience with the veterinary profession and in the care and handling of a variety of animals. Activities like 4-H, FFA, or volunteer work can provide important preparation for the curriculum.
- take the GRE or MCAT as early as possible to ensure your scores will be reported on time
VMCAS does not make admissions decisions; each participating school is responsible for making its own individual admissions decisions. To apply to VMCAS participating schools, you’ll only need to submit one online application to VMCAS and complete any supplemental application requirements as dictated by the veterinary medical colleges. We recommend that you complete your applications well ahead of the deadline to allow your application time to go through the transcript verification process. This process may take up to three- four weeks.
Schools often request additional information from applicants in the form of a supplemental application. This may include a request for further information or documentation – letters of recommendation, an essay, and additional forms. A supplemental application will also likely have an application fee. Fees and required additional materials will vary from school to school, and it’s important to complete this step promptly. You may spend much of the late summer working on and submitting your supplemental applications.
Most veterinary schools require an interview, though the process varies by school. Interviews can take place on or off campus and may be conducted by one admissions committee member, by multiple members of the committee, or by off-campus interviewers, such as a representative from the respective state veterinary medical association. Among other things, you may be asked about your background, your motivation to enter your profession, your perceptions of the profession, current events, questions relating to ethics or moral judgment, and your desire to contribute to society through veterinary medicine. Generally, the interviewers complete evaluations that are added to the rest of your application materials.
Want to practice your interview skills? Schedule a mock interview with the Pre-Health Sciences Advising Team.
Choosing the Right Veterinary Medical School for You
U.S. veterinary schools offer a variety of excellent educational experiences in a variety of settings. Some schools are public and some are private, and they vary in size, curriculum, and character. To find out which schools might best meet your needs and goals, review the AAVMC’s list of veterinary schools.