College of Veterinary Medicine Graduate Admissions
Each veterinary school has specific requirement criteria for eligibility. Most veterinary schools require specific pre-professional coursework, animal experience, veterinary experience and GRE or other standardized test scores. The American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) maintains the most up-to-date information on the individual veterinary college eligibility criteria. To see the latest DVM applicant eligibility requirements, please visit this link.
VMCAS, or the Veterinary Medical College Application Service, was created in 1995 by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC). It is an online, electronic, centralized application service used by the majority of veterinary schools in the United States. In the U.S., the only veterinary school currently using an alternative application system is Texas A&M. The VMCAS application is available through the following website: https://portal.vmcas.org/. The application portal is live beginning in May and closes in September.
Required coursework varies by institution. For a comprehensive list of the courses required at each of the 28 veterinary schools within the U.S., please select the “College Prerequisite Comparison Chart” document on the following AAVMC webpage via this link.
CVM NCSU dictates that the minimum requirement is 200 hours. Having more hours will make you more competitive, but the quality of the experiences and what you learn are what will make you stand out.
Check out each individual institution’s guidelines to ensure you meet their minimum requirements. There is a difference between attaining a school’s minimum requirements and being a competitive applicant, so it is important to review the stats of your desired veterinary school. CVM admissions statistics can be found here.
The GPA calculated in the VMCAS application includes all college-level courses that completed by the applicant. This includes study abroad credits, summer school courses, and transfer credits. Be aware that the highest grade recognized by veterinary schools is an A, or the equivalent of a 4.0. For undergraduate institutions such as NCSU where an A+, or the equivalent of a 4.3333, is awarded, these grades will be averaged as a 4.0 in your veterinary school application. An applicant may calculate his or her GPA using the grade conversion chart found on NCSU-CVM’s website via this link.
To what extent is my GPA factored into my application? Is major specific GPA more important than overall GPA?
Veterinary schools look at three categories of GPA including pre-requisite course GPA, GPA from grades received in the last 45 hours of courses, and cumulative GPA. While Veterinary school admissions utilize a holistic review process, GPA is still an important admissions factor as it is viewed by CVM as a measure of a students ability to handle academic rigor; especially within the first year of a DVM program. The GPA application criteria differs by CVM. Please visit your school of interests website and look for their application criteria under their admissions pages to see what specific GPA’s are taken into consideration as well as their minimum GPA requirements.
Veterinary schools will allow up to two required courses to be IP (in progress) or P (planned) at the time of the application process. However, the majority of the required coursework must be completed so the veterinary schools may adequately evaluate an applicant’s required coursework GPA. Veterinary colleges will typically require a transcript to be sent after the fall semester during the application process, and again after the senior spring semester to ensure the required coursework was completed with an appropriate grade.
There is no time limit on coursework completion; so long as the applicants can provide a transcript or other form of proof the course was completed. All the courses (required as well as others) will count towards the calculation of the GPA regardless of when they were taken. However, applicants may consider re-taking courses to better understand the material; these grades will also be averaged into the cumulative GPA calculation.
What is a supplemental application? Does every Veterinary School require a supplemental application?
A supplemental application is often a list of additional, thought-provoking questions supplied by a veterinary school which applicants must submit to the individual schools separately from the general VMCAS application. These open-ended questions are often limited to around 500 words, and are similar to a short-essay format.
An applicant must submit at least three, but no more than five, letters of recommendation within the VMCAS system. Some instutions will accept more than five to be submitted through the supplemental application process. However, different veterinary schools have varying requirements and recommendations as to how many letters an applicant should provide and from whom an applicant should request letters. Thus applicants should check the websites of individual veterinary schools, which can be found here, to determine the suggested procedure for recommendation submission. For example, NCSU-CVM requires-and prefers to receive-only three letters of recommendation per applicant. NCSU-CVM also highly recommends that two recommendations are written by veterinarians or PhD scientists, whereas the third can be from an academic advisor, employment supervisor, or other reference of the applicant’s choosing. When requesting a letter of recommendation, it is recommended to inquire whether the reference can provide a strong and favorable letter.
VMCAS has a minimum requirement of 3 eLORs that you must acquire for your application. However, the requirements per school vary, and can be found here. Each school has specific requirements for who your eLORs must be from, but generally at least two of the eLORs should be from a veterinarian. It is recommended to specifically ask individuals who know you well for a “strong letter of recommendation” when inquiring if a professor/supervisor/mentor has the time and willingness to write one for you.
What is the GRE and when is the deadline to take the examination? Can the GRE be taken more than once to improve overall scores?
The GRE, or Graduate Record Examination, is a standardized test created by Educational Testing Services, or ETS. It is an examination including verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing sections. All veterinary school applicants are required to take the exam as part of the application process; however, some veterinary schools will accept alternative exams, such as the MCAT, in lieu of the GRE. However, as this varies by institution, an applicant is required to consult the websites of each instution to confirm his or her testing schedule. For an overview of required tests and deadlines, please visit AAVMC. The GRE must be taken by October 1st of the year in which you apply in order to be included in your application. However, it is highly recommended that you take the exam prior to October 1st to ensure your scores are included, and VMCAS recommends that applicants take all required standardized tests prior to the fall of the application cycle to ensure all institutional test deadlines are met. GRE scores are valid for 5 years after the testing date. For more information on the GRE, or to register for the exam, please visit http://www.ets.org/gre/. If an applicant’s scores are not competitive, it is recommended that an applicant retake the GRE. To make sure an applicant’s scores are competitive please review the admissions data at AAVMC. However, re-taking the GRE can have different consequences based on different veterinary school’s policies. For example, some instutions accept only the highest overall score from a single testing date; others accept the highest section scores, such as from multiple testing dates; other schools will average all scores received.
The four biggest components of a veterinary school application are grades, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and required experience. To be competitive, an applicant must maintain a high GPA, earn a high GRE score, receive strong letters of recommendation, and accumulate at least 400 veterinary experience hours in four main areas: small animal, large animal, exotic animal, and research experience. See below for more information concerning each of these areas of the application process.
Colorado State has a video explaining what they, and several Veterinary Schools look for on an application. You can view the video via this link.
VMCAS applications are due mid September. Please visit the VMCAS website for more information. Please visit the AAVMC website for a complete listing of supplemental applications. Notification of acceptance or rejection is generally sent out between the months of January to May, depending on the institution.
Not all veterinary schools require interviews as part of their admissions process. For example, NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine does not interview applicants. The AAVMC provides a list of schools that require interviews here.
According to the AAVMC website, in 2020 the average number of vet schools applied to was 4.9- almost 5 schools per applicant. When choosing how many schools to apply for, applicants should consider the sum cost of applying/interviews/travel/etc for each school. It is also important to note that the above statistic is an average, and not necessarily a recommended number. You should look into the cost of each application and consider how many schools you can afford to apply to in a given cycle, as well as evaluate the potential cost for traveling to interview if your school hosts in person interviews.
It is strongly and sincerely recommended that an applicant re-apply if they are not accepted the first time around. Many applicants do not succeed in securing admission until their second or third application. It is advised that an applicant attend a session for the denied applications and identify the areas in which their application can be made more competitive. Please check this link for exact dates.