Do's and Don'ts of Applying to Vet School

KittenKiller

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Something I wish Id read before I started the whole application process. There should be a primer somewhere on what to do and what NOT to do. It might prevent a lot of headaches for next year's applicants.

DONT rely on the vmcas site to actually work. Ever.

DO get your letters of recommendations in early.

DONT try to sort of get all the requirements for many of the s
chools. Make sure you get all the requirements for a few you want to apply to.

DO follow up with s
chools to make sure theyve received all your application materials.

Anyway, those are just a few off the top of my head that were relevant in my own appli
cation process. Please add to this list! Maybe when this list is done I'll stick it up somewhere on a website.
 
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ri23

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DO write your personal statement early, and get many opinions on it from professors, family, advisors and vets

DO make sure that your classes fulfill the requirements for the school. If you aren't sure contact them beforehand, most are extremely willing and helpful to do an audit for you.

DON'T check SDN too much, it'll drive you crazy ;)
 

RazorDoc2010

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This is a great idea...here's the ones I could think of and I'll add to it if I think of anything else...

DONT ever plan on getting a hold of someone helpful using the vmcas hotline (took me at least 7 tries to get absolutely no answer to my question)

DONT procrastinate on all the apps. It'll reduce their effectiveness!

DO continue to vary your experience even after your app. is submitted and update the schools on your progress

DO try to visit all the schools you'll apply to to make sure it's a good fit for you before you spend the money on applying there (and it might help you meet some of the "faceless" people that will be evaluating your app, and they might give you some pointers!)

DO research the schools you're interested in before you get to your interview

DO try to submit your vmcas before the last minute (wasn't a problem of mine, but I can't imagine how bad I'd be freaking out if it wouldn't submit!)
 
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DO anticipate problems with application materials arriving where they are supposed to. It will happen, and is less stressful if you're ready for it when it does.
And as a corollary, if for instance you're mailing transcripts to schools yourself:

DO send your application materials with delivery confirmation, and DO keep the receipts until you get the "your application is complete" notice from each school. That way, when you get an e-mail saying "we haven't received your transcript" you can skip the panic stage and reply that your delivery confirmation number was #123XYZ, and the USPS website indicates that the envelope arrived at 8:10 in the morning 6 days ago, and could they please check to see if it was mis-filed before you mail another one.
 

ri23

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And as a corollary, if for instance you're mailing transcripts to schools yourself:

DO send your application materials with delivery confirmation, and DO keep the receipts until you get the "your application is complete" notice from each school. That way, when you get an e-mail saying "we haven't received your transcript" you can skip the panic stage and reply that your delivery confirmation number was #123XYZ, and the USPS website indicates that the envelope arrived at 8:10 in the morning 6 days ago, and could they please check to see if it was mis-filed before you mail another one.

Sounds like someone is talking from experience? At least you were well prepared!
 

PAThbrd

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DO apply to more than one school even if there's only one you want to go to. (If you only apply to one, they think "hey (s)he isn't going to be going anywhere else, so we can always take him/her next year!)

DO make friends with your mailman so he doesnt think you are crazy :)



As a side note- if/when there is a pretty good list, I can edit it together and "stick" the thread to the top of the pre-vet board.
 

kate_g

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Sounds like someone is talking from experience? At least you were well prepared!
Heh... Yeah, but I almost wasn't. I had the delivery confirmation receipts, and I kept them until the website said "delivered". Then in a fit of desk-cleaning efficiency I recycled them. Then weeks later I got the "we don't have your transcript" e-mail. Luckily, I hadn't put out the paper recycling in a while, so I dug back through the bin and found the receipt... Let's hear it for procrastination! :laugh: (Hey... that could make a darn good "tell us about a weakness but make sure it really comes out sounding like a strength" interview story...)
 

philomycus

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Yes Yes Yes to the transcript thing. I sent my transcripts certified mail to ensure their delivery. The USPS lost them for one school. Their response was "You'll get your $ back." I told the guy I couldn't get one year of my life back if my app. was incomplete.

I then called my university, had them overnight Fed ex them to me, just to overnight Fed Ex them to the admissions office. I still had a few days, so I'm glad I put in that "buffer" It cost me about $60 to send all those extra copies and Fed Ex charges. I'm glad I had ordered extra copies from my other institutions or I would have been in big trouble.
 

soxbox

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I really recommend NOT doing what I did... I took the GREs for the first time early September... didnt like my math score, so took them again on October 1st... last possible day for the vmcas submission... however, by doing that, you only know your verbal and quant. scores... and apparently I didnt remember the verbal score quite right, so I put down the incorrect score on my applications... so 3 weeks later when the official score came, I had to contact the schools and tell them I mistakenly put down the wrong score (I was only off by 20 points... but still) Disaster... and talk about feeling like an ass and getting off on the wrong foot...

DO NOT start your personal statement mid September. Horrible idea. You end up rewriting it like 20 times and 2 weeks to sum up your entire life into 5000 characters is just not a good idea.

I was lucky in the aspect that I submitted the VMCAS application I think 5 hours before the deadline and had no trouble with the system.. but again.. why risk it?

But even after my horrible planning and procrastination, I was able to get into one school and have a few more interviews... but just for your sanity DO start a few months early... at least doing the tedious stuff like writing down every single class you have ever taken along with grades and all the stuff that won't be affected by your summer activities.... Also, check with each school what their supplemental apps are (if any) those can also be horribly time-consuming...

oh yeah... one last thing... if at all possible, DO NOT take 4ish years off from school then decide it would be a great idea to be working full time and a weekend part time job while taking 4 pre-reqs (especially if they are orgo (and lab), biochem, and genetics... :) ) while throwing the stress of the whole application process into the mix!
 
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JIKJen124

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Here's another couple

DO go talk to admissions folks at your target schools either through appointments or by visiting their office during the school's open house. Their insight can be incredibly helpful.

DON'T get discouraged by honest conversations with admissions people. What your stuff may look like sitting by itself in late spring/summer might look completely different from how it looks in the pool of actual applicants that year.
 
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deadvet

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DO keep a printed copy of all completed applications in a file.

DO correspond (if at all possible) with admissions personnel by email. It is your paper trail. Then DO keep a copy of ANY AND ALL emails. This avoids the he said/she said issue should there be any problems with your materials. A phone call is nice for some things but if it is critical, you better have it in black and white.

DON'T assume anything. This includes things like: the registrar has sent your transcripts, that your letter of reference has been written, etc. Contact the school to make sure that everything has been received.

DON'T try to "get over". They don't like it when someone tries to play them; besides, that is a behavioral trait that is not wanted in the profession.

DON'T be narrow minded.

DO get out of your comfort zone. Clients will be different cultures, sexual orientations, income levels, education levels, abilities and disabilities.

DON'T assume you can communicate effective just because you can string several words together to make a sentence.

DO have a good understanding of the profession and the many things you can do with a veterinary degree.

DO observe every aspect of the practice if you are working at one to gain experience; that means the communication skills, the interaction between staff, the patient care, the client care, the commitment to continuing education, the community involvement as well as the medicine.
 

4theanimals

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I'll end up reiterating much of what has been said here, but that should point out it's importance:

  • DO Start Early - I'm so glad I did because even though I knew it was a lot of work...it was more than I thought.
    DO Get your personal statement going. If your a ways from applying jot down great stories or ideas that come to mind. They can help get you started.
    DO Get all sorts of people to look at your statement - I sent to marketing people, attorneys, veterinarians, just about everyone in my email address book. That input was incredible.
    DO early eLOR requests. I did my eLOR requests on August 1. I figured not so early that my references would forget and far enough away that they could get it done. Make sure you send them a separate email letting them know the eLOR is available. In that email you may want to include resume/CV, personal statement, and unofficial transcripts. Offer to get them anything else they need to make a great statement. Ask them to send a copy of their reference for your files.
    DO manage your eLORs. So long as you have a great relationship with your references don't hesitate to "sit on them" to make sure there eLOR is done. The first week of September I went in to one of my references and asked when I could make an appointment to watch him do my reference. ;)
    DO Keep a spreadsheet with your exeperience hours. I did this all along and boy did it save me time. I put the contact info as well as the hours.
    DO Get any supplemental applications. Some are very simple...others are VERY involved.
    DON'T procrastinate. Remember about the time the application is due you will most likely be submerged in school and you don't need the added stress of application worries.
    So in closing...DO prepare and DO start early and DO take a deep breath and step back once in a while to regain your focus.
 

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If you plan to apply to multiple schools, DO remember to start saving your application money months ahead of time, so you don't blast your credit card or bank account when it's time.
 

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curriculum vitae - your "life's work"

kind of an extended resume that focuses on one field.

if it's your life's work why would it focus on one field? I would think your resume should focus on vet related stuff and an extended resume would include "everything." For example if I apply for a job at a vet clinic I'm not going to list my experience working clothing retail (just an example).
 
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wildfocus

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if it's your life's work why would it focus on one field? I would think your resume should focus on vet related stuff and an extended resume would include "everything." For example if I apply for a job at a vet clinic I'm not going to list my experience working clothing retail (just an example).

it is an academic resume... you list such things as education, post-grad training, professional work experience (e.g., faculty/admin positions), awards/honors, invitations for speaking engagements (e.g., lectures on your area of expertise), scientific responsibilities (e.g., membership on boards, committees, etc.), memberships in professional societies, trainees, research interests, funding support, and pubs. it is a summ of your professional career. obviously, most of us are not going to have very extensive cvs (YET)
 
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Angelo84

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The only thing I can think of to add is this:
DO save all of those stupid honors/awards you get--just throw them all in a folder labeled imported documents! You will not remember them or the dates you got them!
 

dsharp

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I will be applying for admission in the next application cycle and was wondering which schools I have the best chance getting into. I have 3.41 overall and 3.75 science GPA's and 1150 on the GRE. I've been looking at each school's admissions stats but was wondering what my actual chances are and where. I have shadowing experience, 8000 hrs of volunteer experience with the local humane society, some equine and bovine experience, and helped teach anatomy to first year students at my state school. I will be applying to my state school but where else do I have a good chance at getting in?

Many Thanks!! :)
 

shuvball1

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Going through the process right now it seems that things are pretty random (probably not what you want to hear). You seem to have stats that are comparable and have diverse experiences. I would say, if you want to go to a school... apply there. You have no idea where you will get interviews/accepted ect. Good luck!
 

BobDog

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I think the best, most readily applicable advice for you will to work really hard and up your GRE score. Right now it is borderline, and that combined with a middle of the road (or slightly below) GPA (even though your science GPA is good) could be trouble. Up the GRE score and your list of schools looks fine (if they are places where you will be happy).

Is Auburn your state school? If not you may want to consider a school that takes more out of state students.
 

dsharp

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Thanks! Yep, Auburn is my state school. I'd like to get my GRE up to around 1300. I didn't study for it last time so If I study this time I think I'll do a lot better. My wife has worse stats than me and got in (she's finishing her 4th year). I'm hoping that having a M.S. degree will help too.
 

clawsbeatskin

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You also have to remember that competition has increased A LOT since 4+ years ago. I don't know the stats offhand, but more and more people apply every year, with out of state applicants easily surpassing 1000/school :scared:
 

ri23

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Actually, Ohio State had less applicants this year than last. I guess last year was a record year with 999 applicants, and I believe it was around 874 this year.
 
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dsharp

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You also have to remember that competition has increased A LOT since 4+ years ago. I don't know the stats offhand, but more and more people apply every year, with out of state applicants easily surpassing 1000/school :scared:

You're so right!! I think my state school will be the best bet but I'd like to go somewhere different. In the end, it probably doesn't matter where you get in as long as you get in and stay in for the duration.

I guess if all else fails, one could try Ross or St. George. I'm not up to date on their programs but back in the day those schools were easier to get into.
 

david594

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You also have to remember that competition has increased A LOT since 4+ years ago. I don't know the stats offhand, but more and more people apply every year, with out of state applicants easily surpassing 1000/school :scared:

According to the little vet school info book(yearly book with all the vet school stats) only UPenn and Colorado had over 1000 applicants last year for US schools. It also put the mean at 535 out of state applicants per school.
 

VetMed555

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*THIS IS IMHO ONLY**

I would not apply to Tufts and UPenn with your stats AS OF RIGHT NOW. They are extremely competitive (yes even among already competitive vet. schools), and GPA and GRE (especially GRE it seems) matter a lot to them. That said, their average GRE scores from last year: Penn (569V 702Q) and Tufts (710Q and 600V)--per VMSAR

Also, this is from Penn admissions' mouth: when I went there for a tour, they told me they look and place a big value on how competitive YOUR SCHOOL is. Meaning, they look at your undergrad school ranking. My GRE is 1260 (710Q, 550V), (GPA 3.6, Science GPA 3.9) and I decided not to apply to Penn and Tufts because I know, my school is not a first tier (or second), and it would be a very slim chance for me to get into an IVY league school, even though I worked my butt off to get to where I am today.

I just got an interview at Auburn, and one of the Drs I work with hightly recommends Iowa. I don't know much about KSU or CSU. However, KSU says they take up to 50% of their class from out of state--if I don't get in this year, I'm applying there as well :).

Again, this is just my humble opinion. Penn and Tufts students, no offense intended.
 

DaNNo

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*THIS IS IMHO ONLY**

I would not apply to Tufts and UPenn with your stats AS OF RIGHT NOW. They are extremely competitive (yes even among already competitive vet. schools), and GPA and GRE (especially GRE it seems) matter a lot to them. That said, their average GRE scores from last year: Penn (569V 702Q) and Tufts (710Q and 600V)--per VMSAR

Also, this is from Penn admissions' mouth: when I went there for a tour, they told me they look and place a big value on how competitive YOUR SCHOOL is. Meaning, they look at your undergrad school ranking. My GRE is 1260 (710Q, 550V), (GPA 3.6, Science GPA 3.9) and I decided not to apply to Penn and Tufts because I know, my school is not a first tier (or second), and it would be a very slim chance for me to get into an IVY league school, even though I worked my butt off to get to where I am today.

I just got an interview at Auburn, and one of the Drs I work with hightly recommends Iowa. I don't know much about KSU or CSU. However, KSU says they take up to 50% of their class from out of state--if I don't get in this year, I'm applying there as well :).

Again, this is just my humble opinion. Penn and Tufts students, no offense intended.


Well if you think he doesn't have the stats for Penn or Tufts, then I would certainly say that he doesn't have the stats for Cornell or CSU, being as they are #1 and #2, respectively. UCDavis is pretty difficult for an OOS as well, from what I've heard.

Personally, I'd say give Penn and Tufts a try if you could see yourself there. You might do better than you (or some of us) expect.

Cornell and UC Davis are a long shot.

You could try CSU, too. You might be surprised... I was.

Other than that, definitely go for Auburn. Isn't Tuskegee down there too? If I were you, I'd give that a go. Other than that, apply where you think you would enjoy living for 4 years, and where you prerequisites allow.
 

pupsforseeing

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*THIS IS IMHO ONLY**

Also, this is from Penn admissions' mouth: when I went there for a tour, they told me they look and place a big value on how competitive YOUR SCHOOL is. Meaning, they look at your undergrad school ranking. My GRE is 1260 (710Q, 550V), (GPA 3.6, Science GPA 3.9) and I decided not to apply to Penn and Tufts because I know, my school is not a first tier (or second), and it would be a very slim chance for me to get into an IVY league school, even though I worked my butt off to get to where I am today.

I was also worried about this because I am graduating from a very small, not very well known, liberal arts school. However, in all "the books" (Princeton Review, Barron's, etc.) it is noted for having an extremely rigorous science curriculum and a heavy work load. One of the (many) things that really impressed me about Penn was that the dean of admissions told me personally that he had spent some time looking up my undergrad institution because they didn't want to write it off just because they hadn't heard of it...and then found out it was a competitive school and now look on it highly (this was for someone from my school who applied to Penn a few years back). All that to say I really liked that they didn't just write it off because it doesn't have a big name, but spent the time to do a little research to see that people can come out of small no-name schools just as prepared for graduate level work as they can from the name-brand schools :)
 

david594

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This is what I came up with using a few different sources to give myself an idea what my OOS odds are at the different schools:

vetschools.jpg
 

lailanni

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Thanks! A very helpful chart!!

I was thinking of applying to Tuskegee -- couldn't find a scrap of information on admissions on their website. Terrible website.

Plus, I didn't want to send out additional score reports for the GRE - they stopped being free after 4.

But if I have to apply next year, it's on my list.
 

MISSV

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It's good to keep in mind, too, that some schools get pretty far through their out of state wait lists. Kansas's website says they offered spots to 183 people before filling their class last year. Of course, Kansas probably isn't most people's top choice.
 

VAgirl

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It's good to keep in mind, too, that some schools get pretty far through their out of state wait lists. Kansas's website says they offered spots to 183 people before filling their class last year. Of course, Kansas probably isn't most people's top choice.

Hey hey hey now...let's not hate on anybody. I, for one, thought KSU was amazing.
 

MISSV

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I didn't mean to say I hate it. I was quite impressed with the school too and hope I get in. The point I was trying to make was that I'm not sure every school goes through that many people on their waitlists. I guess I stated it poorly.
 

BobDog

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I didn't mean to say I hate it. I was quite impressed with the school too and hope I get in. The point I was trying to make was that I'm not sure every school goes through that many people on their waitlists. I guess I stated it poorly.

Just making sure that the OP didn't get the impression that some schools are not good.

They are all good :D, but you are probably right: UPenn, UC Davis, CSU, Cornell, etc... will probably not cycle through hundreds of people on their waitlist.... :D
 

runnerDC

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This looks like the number of OOS poeple who ended up matriculating, not the number actually accepted. Keep in mind that what you don't see here is the number that each school overadmits OR the number that they put on a waitlist who then get admitted from that.
Admission is tough, but not quite as grim as this chart makes it look!

Good luck, everyone!


This is what I came up with using a few different sources to give myself an idea what my OOS odds are at the different schools:

vetschools.jpg
 
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