It’s that time of year again when prospective veterinary students are feverishly working away on their vet school applications. Whether this is your first year applying or your tenth, it is your time to shine…and by shine, I mean input your whole life story into your VMCAS portal.
VMCAS, or the Veterinary Medical College Application Service is the main hub for applying to just about all veterinary schools. VMCAS is a blessing as you have only to fill out one, excruciatingly long application for all the schools you are applying to, minus the supplemental applications some schools require. It was just last year that I was in all your future veterinary student shoes and when it comes to applying, I have a few tips.
- Start early. If you have not begun your VMCAS application, stop reading and start now. VMCAS opens every year in the middle of May and you will want every precious second up to September 15th to work on it. Sometimes the portal gets a lot of traffic, especially close to the deadline, and becomes slow. Having everything done sooner rather than later can help to make sure you get it turned in on time with everything in tip-top shape. In addition to starting early, be sure to ask for those letters of recommendation early as well. There is nothing a busy veterinarian or overwhelmed professor dislikes more than being asked a week before the deadline. Allowing them plenty of time to write their letter not only helps them but also you.
- Record all of your veterinary experience before it’s time to fill out your application. I carried a small notebook with me on all my farm calls, in the clinic, and when doing research. Writing down not only what days and how many hours I observed, but also what I observed and questions asked while shadowing helped me make my application as detailed and accurate as possible. It also can give you a little refresher on techniques and help you prepare for potential interview questions!
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, but be conservative. Applying to vet school can be expensive and adding schools to send your application to can become expensive, but you also don’t want to only apply to one and miss out on your chance of vet school if you don’t get accepted. Do your research and make smart decisions on where you are applying. Make sure that where you are applying is right for you and the program or path you want to take and not because it’s close to home or has sunny beaches. Let’s be honest, you won’t have time in vet school to sit on the beach every day anyways.