vet school

Tips for Getting Accepted into Veterinary School

3 min read
FYI: This article is part of the veterinary culture manifesto — a set of guiding principles to create better culture in vet med.
Read & sign the veterinary culture manifesto here.

Applying & getting into veterinary school is one of the most competitive academic processes. With acceptance rates hovering around 10-15% across all programs (less than 50) worldwide, this process can feel daunting and even discouraging for prospective veterinary students.

To de-mystify the process, we teamed up with two veterinary students who recently went through the process. Below, Gabriela & Meghan walk through their best tips for prospective veterinary students and offer encouragement for you to keep the faith! 

What advice would you give to future vet students for the application process?

“Start the application process when you are ready. Don’t let anybody dictate when’s the right time to do so. 

Applying to vet school can be arduous; please be kind to yourself and remember what drives you to pursue this career. 

Find a support system and people that can mentor you through the process. Navigating VMCAS for the first time can be overwhelming, but if you have people by your side cheering you on and mentoring you through the process.”

— Gabriela Medina, Cornell, Class of 2027

"Start early, but don't stress! 

I broke up the application into attainable sections to complete & slowly chipped away at it throughout the summer. I definitely would not recommend completing the whole thing in just a few sittings, it could get super overwhelming and stressful! 

When writing a personal statement, I'd highly recommend getting as much feedback as possible as you revise it -- pick all kinds of people, including someone that knows you well, doesn't know you as well, a current veterinary student, or a veterinarian,  just to name a few! 

Regarding letters of recommendation, ask early and set a hard deadline for your inquiries, so those you ask will get them in with plenty of time to spare. Continue getting veterinary experience when you can throughout the whole process, even after you submit in September!"

— Meghan Lawlor, Mizzou, Class of 2025

Haven’t started the application process yet & don’t know where to start? Check out our blog “How to Apply for Veterinary School.”

What advice would you give future vet students about what they should do before applying?

"Take on leadership roles! Getting involved in an organization, volunteering, and creating initiatives that can help the community will prepare you to become a leader, be more empathetic, and have awesome communication skills with the people around you. 

Network, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You never know who you might run into in the future!

Find a clinic that understands your goals and is willing to mentor you. This will make a huge impact on your career and shape you into the excellent doctor you will become."

— Gabriela Medina, Cornell, Class of 2027

"Before applying, I'd highly recommend keeping detailed records of all your experiences, veterinary-related and non-veterinary-related - leadership roles, jobs, and volunteer hours, just to name a few. 

Experience that you may deem unimportant may prove super valuable for your application and set you apart! 

As you gain shadowing hours, take detailed notes on cases you observed and/or skills you learn along the way to include in your application. Finally, make as many connections as possible in the veterinary field along the way; you never know who you may turn to for letters of recommendation in the future!"

— Meghan Lawlor, Mizzou, Class of 2025

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What did you do specifically that set you apart in your application process?

"I showed my growth and resiliency through my experiences in veterinary medicine — qualities that you need to pursue this career."

— Gabriela Medina, Cornell, Class of 2027

"First was my summer study abroad experience in the UK, where I took 2 classes for course credit, including Equine Anatomy & Exercise Physiology. I was asked several questions about what life skills I gained from the experience during my interview, and it was a blast to talk about! 

Second, I assisted graduate students on various research projects in animal science throughout my undergraduate education and eventually conducted my own project senior year for course credit. I also was asked several questions about the skills I gained through this experience in interviews, and eventually discovered research is something I hope to pursue as a veterinarian in the future!"

— Meghan Lawlor, Mizzou, Class of 2025

Final words of advice:

"My advice to you: Every journey is unique. Whatever you do, do it with love. Never put yourself on the line for the application process. Pursue each experience for growth! You’ve got this, future doctor."

— Gabriela Medina, Cornell, Class of 2027

"Again, the application can be a long, stressful process, but do not forget to live life to the fullest while you can by spending time doing your favorite hobbies and spending time with your friends/family! 

The rigor of veterinary school requires an incredible amount of sacrifice, and some of these things may fall to the back burner in time. Lean on your support system along the way throughout the whole journey!"

— Meghan Lawlor, Mizzou, Class of 2025

Need some help in the self-care department? Read our Starter Guide to Self-Care in Vet Med!

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