So now that I’ve covered some of the more peripheral concerns about applying to vet school, let’s talk about the real deal: the application(s). In the two times I’ve applied to vet school there are a couple of things I learned along the way that will make it a lot easier and lessen the amount of bumps in the road as you move through the application process.
First things first: Be sure you know what applications you need to fill out for the schools you’re interested in. Most of the schools use the VMCAS system (which stands for Veterinary Medical College Application Service), but make sure you check since there are schools that use their own application service. In addition to VMCAS and school-specific applications, verify which schools have a supplemental application (again, not all of them do). Verify all fees associated with applications and supplemental applications as well. An unpaid application will not be reviewed.
Second: Make yourself a checklist. Include all materials you will need to send to each school and all applicable deadlines, which can include transcripts, recommendation letters, essays, etc. One thing no one told me when I was applying was to verify with the schools whether deadlines are postmark deadlines or when the materials physically need to be at the admissions office in a school. In cases where the application is online, this won’t really apply, but if you have to mail anything in it can make the difference between early, on time and late. When you have everything laid out in front of you, it’s a lot easier to make sure everything is done on time.
Third (and this is really important): Start working on your application early! The most tedious part of applying is having to run down the history of every class you’ve ever taken during the course of your post-secondary education. When I finished undergrad I actually completed a dual degree program, so I had to enter information for 158 hours of coursework. That’s 158 hours of course titles, course code listings, entering grade and G.P.A. information. Let me be the first to tell you it takes an incredible amount of time. The second time I applied I had to tack on all my graduate coursework to what I had previously done. If you have a busy schedule, this is really something to keep in mind. Overall, I would say around 3 months (although more is definitely encouraged) ahead of the deadline is a good time to start working on it. The first time I applied I didn’t leave enough time for the hiccups that occurred along the way, and had to scramble to get everything together. Don’t make that mistake!
To be continued….