Wednesday March 10, 2010
Overview of The Application Process
Students usually apply to veterinary medical colleges the summer between junior and senior year (that is, in the summer of the year before they expect to enter professional school). Twenty-three out of twenty-seven colleges of veterinary medicine participate in a centralized application procedure through VMCAS, the Veterinary Medical College Application Service. VMCAS is an organization that assembles, checks and duplicates your application material, forwarding it to the schools that you designate.
To apply to participating schools, submit one generic application, three letters of evaluation, standardized test scores, official transcripts and a processing fee. VMCAS has introduced a new electronic application that you complete and submit online. You can also download the paper application from its web site.
Applications for the following year become available in the spring. If you apply to schools with differing deadline dates, normally October 1 or November 1, make sure that all your application materials are postmarked by the earliest date. Some participating schools also require that you submit additional material to them after they have received the generic application from VMCAS. If a school does not participate in VMCAS, you must contact it directly to request their institution’s application.
When all application material has been received, selected applicants may be invited to visit the school and interview with members of the admissions committee. After the interview, the committee either accepts or rejects the applicant or places him/her on an alternate list. Apply as early as possible. It is your responsibility to be accessible if you are on a veterinary medical college’s alternate list.
If you are traveling, you should give the school the name and telephone number of a dependable person who can contact you. If a school finds that there is no way to reach you, it may offer the position to the next person on the list.
Schools require at least one standardized exam: the GRE (Graduate Record Examination), VCAT (Veterinary College Admission Test), or MCAT (Medical College Admission Test). The GRE is the most frequently required, although the VCAT is also required by a few schools. We do not recommend that you take the MCAT. GRE scores must be reported directly to the individual schools, while VCAT scores must be sent directly to VMCAS.
Prepare for your examination carefully and take it seriously. GRE scores that do not average above 600 per section (at least 1800 total) can hurt your chances, and scores averaging below 500 per section, total 1500, may be considered unacceptable. Plan to take the GRE by spring or early summer, so that you can repeat the test, if necessary. The GRE web site offers registration information, sample questions and access to paper and software study guides.
The school web sites and the Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements handbook (VMSAR) can help you to determine the entrance requirements, application procedure, accepted standardized test, selection factors and matriculant profile for the various schools. The VMSAR is available for reference in the Pre-professional Advising Office or you can obtain your own copy for appoximately $20.00, including shipping, from Purdue University Press, 1(800)933-9637.
IMPORTANT: Residents of Ohio must apply to The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine directly, not through VMCAS. Application information is available from OSU’s web site. In addition to their application, you must submit an official transcript from each college you have attended, exactly two reference forms–at least one from a veterinarian– and an application fee. Applicants must have a minimum of 50 hours of documentable work experience at one location under direct veterinary supervision.
Ohio residents should apply between July 1 and October 1 of the academic year preceding the desired year of enrollment. Note: No more than one required pre-veterinary medical course may remain to be completed by the end of the autumn term of the academic year in which you apply; that course must be completed by the end of winter quarter or spring semester of the academic year in which you apply.