Since the vast majority of vet schools in North America use the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS) during their application process, I thought I’d tell you some of the tricks I picked up during my round of applications.
First off, I recommend getting started early. If you want to enter vet school in the fall of 2015, you must apply in the fall/winter of 2014. This means that you have to submit the 2014 version of the VMCAS application, which opens in June and closes October 2. There are 13 sections, which cover everything from prerequisite courses and employment history to essays and veterinary experience. I started drafting my personal statement early, because I know it takes me a long time to write essays, and because I wanted to make sure I had time to receive feedback. But actually, I was surprised that it ended up taking me much longer to write up my animal and veterinary experience than expected, because the word limit meant I had to be both creative and precise in my descriptions.
Also, pick your evaluators carefully. The VMCAS requires at least three evaluators, who are people with whom you have worked with closely and who can speak to your aptitude and skills. Some vet colleges have specific requirements for your evaluators. For example, Cornell required a recommendation from an academic evaluator and a veterinarian during my application cycle. So be sure to think ahead about which mentor, professor, or supervisor can give you the best possible letter of recommendation. Also, make sure they know what they should be writing about! Research what vet schools are trying to learn about you from the evaluations (since it varies a bit by college) and then communicate to your evaluator what you’d like them to discuss.
Read part two for some more tips! If you’d like to check out the VMCAS website for yourself, here’s the link: http://aavmc.org/Students-Applicants-and-Advisors/Veterinary-Medical-College-Application-Service.aspx .