Veterinary Medicine

“Embark on an exciting career path in veterinary medicine, where you can put your knowledge and compassion into practice. Preventing disease and healing animals is at the heart of what veterinarians do. But they also do so much more.” – Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges

“Whether they’re pets, livestock or working animals, animals matter to individuals and society. Every community needs veterinary professionals to provide animal health care, but veterinarians also do many other kinds of jobs. They make sure the nation’s food supply is safe. They work to control the spread of diseases. They conduct research that helps both animals and humans. Veterinarians are at the forefront of protecting the public’s health and welfare.

Besides medical skills, veterinarians often take a holistic approach to human well-being and animal welfare that, combined with communications and problem-solving skills, makes veterinarians uniquely qualified to fulfill a variety of roles. Many veterinarians, of course, provide care for companion animals through private medical practices, but veterinarians are also involved in promoting the health and welfare of farm animals, exotic animals, working animals (like those in the equine industry), and those that need a healthy environment in which to thrive, whether that environment is a rain forest, a desert or even the ocean.” – read the full description on the AAVMC website.

 

  • Private practice, either general practice or (with advanced training and experience) a specialty field, such as ophthalmology, orthopedics, aquatic animal medicine, marine biology, wildlife animal medicine, or emergency animal medicine.
  • Corporate veterinary medicine, for example, with corporations that provide veterinary care, test human drugs for safety, or produce animal-related products.
  • The Federal Government employs veterinarians through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) working on biosecurity, environmental quality, public health, meat inspection, regulatory medicine, and agricultural animal health, or the investigation of disease outbreaks.
  • The U.S. Army Corps and U.S. Air Force offer career opportunities in areas such food safety and military working dog veterinary medicine. The military also provides advanced training in specialty areas for those who commit to service.
  • Research, either in a university setting or with companies that produce animal-related products or pharmaceuticals.
  • Teaching, either in academia or non-professionals schools. With 40 percent of aging faculty in academia eligible for retirement over the next 10 years, projections indicate an increasing need for qualified academics to teach in all disciplines of veterinary medicine.
  • Public Health, particularly with governmental agencies such as the United State Public Health Service, which works to control the transmission of animal-to-human (zoonotic) diseases.
  • Food supply medicine, with either the government or a food animal company.
  • Global Veterinary Medicine, in private practice or with international agencies working in areas such as food production and safety or emerging diseases.
  • Public Policy, working for governments on animal and zoonotic diseases, animal welfare, public health issues, or as consultants with non-governmental agencies.
  • Shelter medicine, working with communities, and private or public agencies to ensure the health and well being of animal populations housed in shelters.

Veterinary Medical School Application Requirements (VMSAR)

  • Free!
  • Updated each year
  • View detailed statistics for US, Canadian, and international programs

Centralized Application Services

Personal Statement

  • Veterinary Medicine (maximum length 3,000 characters)
    • Prompt: Explain a defining moment that helped steer you toward a career in veterinary medicine. Consider using that moment as the focal point of your essay. Discuss how you would contribute to the profession and patient care, all of which will help you stand out from other applicants. As you are telling us why you want to pursue a career in veterinary medicine, explain why you are good candidate for veterinary school. Ask yourself—in a pile of 100 applications, would I enjoy reading my statement? Be sure to convey your passion for veterinary medicine in your statement.
      • Brainstorming: A well-crafted personal statement takes time. Begin by brainstorming ideas for your statement, thinking about what you would like to share with the admissions committees. Consult with mentors, friends and family on topics.
      • Outline: Look for themes within your list of brainstorm ideas. Choose a few points from your list that seem especially salient, and develop them into an outline of your essay.
      • Working Draft(s): Once you have written a draft, have people read it and give you honest feedback. Incorporate feedback and come back to it in a couple weeks and see if you still feel that it conveys the impression that you meant to give, and make necessary edits. Consider making an appointment with the Writing Center. Make sure that you have a developed draft on MAP, to review during your Application Readiness Meeting.
      • Resources:

Secondary Applications

  • Secondary applications may be included within the primary application or sent directly to applicants by a school’s admissions office. In most cases, you will receive secondary applications after your primary application has been verified by the application service (4-6 weeks after submission).
  • Schools have varying criteria for who they invite to submit a secondary application. Some schools will send them to every candidate who applies to their program. Others will send them only to applicants who meet their GPA and entrance exam score requirements. Some schools will select only candidates who they are very interested in for secondaries. Your application is not considered to be complete until you have submitted your secondary application.
  • Secondary applications are designed by individual programs to learn more about applicants. It is important to realize that secondary applications are both labor intensive and expensive. They typically require answers to essay questions and a fee. Set aside time and money in preparation for writing your essays and paying for submission. Returning your secondary applications within a week or two of receipt demonstrates your continued interest in that program. Waiting longer may hurt your application.
  • When you formulate your list of schools to which you plan to apply, take these secondary applications into account. Don’t apply to so many schools that you won’t have the time or money for secondary applications.

General Timeline

  • January of year prior to matriculation – VMCAS opens to edit
  • May – Schools may be added/VMCAS may be submitted
  • September 15 – Application is due
  • Late Fall/Early Spring of year of matriculation – Interview invites/interviews
  • April – Make final decision if holding multiple offers
  • Summer – Start vet program

Graduate Record Exam

  • The GRE is offered year-round
  • A limited number of programs require the GRE, and as a result fewer and fewer applicants need to sit for any entrance exam
  • You can check which programs require the GRE using the VMSAR database

Veterinary applicants can begin to prepare for their application cycle by participating in the PreMed and PreHealth Advising Application Readiness Program. This includes completing a self-assessment form through Qualtrics, which encourages applicants to reflect on academic and experiential preparation for their designated health profession program. After applicants complete their self-assessment, they will be invited to set up an Application Readiness Meeting (ARM). This 45-minute meeting will allow the applicant to meet with their advisor to discuss their self-assessment and plan for the upcoming application cycle. This will also be a great time to ask questions about the VMCAS application, GRE, and other elements of the application process.  

Please refer to the following timeline for important dates regarding the Applicant Readiness Program.  

VETERINARY APPLICATION READINESS TIMELINE*

January 31: Self-Assessment Due 

April 15: Deadline to complete required Application Readiness Meeting with your assigned PreMed/PreHealth Advisor

*To be completed in your application year

Individual Letter Processes

As Committee Letters are not a traditional piece of a veterinary school application, those applying to veterinary programs will apply with individual letters of recommendation. Please do not request individual letters through MAP. Instead, follow the instructions in the common application for your profession (Veterinary School Directory, under “Entrance Requirements” tab of each program), or the directions of the specific schools if they have a different application process.