It’s that time of year again. The VMCAS portal is now open, and pre veterinary students can begin working on their applications. It is a very stressful but important part in all of your futures. Having gone through the exact same process last year, I would like to offer up my two cents on how to go about crafting your application.
My first suggestion is that you start as early as possible. One of the major parts of the application is your personal statement, which took me almost 3 months to perfect. Each school that you apply to will require supplemental essays and forms, which can take a lot of time to do. You also want to give the people you ask to write your recommendation letters plenty of time to do so. Ideally, I would suggest having the essays done before returning to school in the fall, so that fall classes and the application process don’t overlap.
Be sure to include all your experiences and previous jobs, even if they aren’t animal related. This shows the admissions people that you are a real human being and have other interests besides veterinary medicine. The schools want people who are multifaceted and have different backgrounds and skills to bring to the table. Accordingly, you might consider including a variety of people with different backgrounds to write your recommendation letters.
Be prepared to spend a lot of money! There is a VMCAS fee for each school that you apply to, and most schools have a supplemental application fee. Most schools also require in-person interviews, so travel expenses can add up. Add on fees for the GRE exam, and things get even more pricey. I spent upwards of $2000 just for the application fees and another $1500 for interviews. People often talk about how much vet school costs in the long run, but the initial application fees are definitely something to keep in mind.
I think the most important part of the application is the personal statement. This is your opportunity to speak directly to the admissions counselors. You have 5000 characters to distinguish yourself from other applicants — use them wisely. Think about how your unique experiences have shaped you into a future veterinarian and present them in a way that is outside the box. For example, I come from a hunting family, and I knew that was something people wouldn’t expect to hear about in a personal statement. I started off by including a first-person story of myself shooting the deer and then cleaning the deer out. By cleaning the deer out, I was essentially performing a dissection, which made me realize that I could handle performing surgeries on live animals. I felt like this hook was a unique way to show how my interest in veterinary medicine started. I urge you all to do something creative with yours!
Hopefully, you all will have as much luck as I did and get accepted into the school of your dreams! Congratulations on making it this far, and best of luck!