As an overview of the standard list of admissions requirements, I’ll briefly describe each component, tell you some things to look out for, and dole out some helpful tips. Most vet schools use the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS), which is an online, common application. I’d advise visiting the website and checking out the resources under the “Students, Applicants, and Advisors” tab on the home page (www.aavmc.org). I found that the map of accredited institutions (http://aavmc.org/Member-Institutions.aspx) served as a great jumping-off point when starting my research of prospective schools, and there is a great link chock full of helpful hints, deadline timetables, college descriptor pages, and sample applications.
Prerequisite Courses. This includes classes like biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, humanities and social sciences, and genetics. For a more comprehensive list, check out http://www.aavmc.org/Students-Applicants-and-Advisors/Veterinary-Medical-College-Application-Service.aspx. If you tool around the Internet you can find charts that tabulate the average GPA of accepted students at each vet school, but generally the average GPA is a 3.5. A competitive GPA is a 3.7 or above, so if you’re one of the lucky ones in this group, this will help strengthen your application. Don’t worry overmuch about the C you got in an elective course; what really matters is the averaged GPA of your prerequisite classes. It’s very important that you learn and retain as much as your can from your biology, chemistry, genetics, and microbiology classes, as these lay the groundwork for the information you’ll learn about normal body functions and the progression of disease during vet school.
GRE Scores. This standardized test examines your math skills, reading comprehension, and your logical reasoning. I strongly suggest practicing before taking the test; it’s quite a bit different than the SAT, and I personally had quite a bit of trouble with the unorthodox math portion. I used Kaplan test books to prepare, and even with three months of fairly intensive studying I still didn’t do very well on the math section—and I had gotten A’s in my two semesters of calculus! Most schools require GRE scores less than 5 years old, so be sure to schedule your test well in advance of your deadline to ensure the results make it onto your application, or in case you would like to retake the test and try for a better score.
Now that we have finished going over the slightly boring stuff, read on for information about animal and veterinary experience, the value of extracurricular activities and employment history, and the importance of writing an outstanding personal statement.