smilin1590

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I was just wondering what exactly I put in my personal statement. Do I have to talk about the moment I decided I wanted to be a vet, my experiences, I really am unsure. Not sure if I'll be applying my first time this next cycle but was just wondering. Also what would be good ways to have your personal statement kind of jump out and be noticeable?
 

lalzi22

The OSU CVM c/o 2014!!
Nov 10, 2009
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I was just wondering what exactly I put in my personal statement. Do I have to talk about the moment I decided I wanted to be a vet, my experiences, I really am unsure. Not sure if I'll be applying my first time this next cycle but was just wondering. Also what would be good ways to have your personal statement kind of jump out and be noticeable?
The VMCAS will give you promt questions of what they want answered in the PS. For this last cycle it was basically- Why do you want to be a vet? What are some of the positive and negatives? Where do you see yourself going with this? Other than that it was pretty open ended, and I'm assuming most years prompt questions are pretty similar.
 

zxz130

Mizzou CVM c/o 2014
Jan 12, 2010
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Well, when I was writing my essay, a lot of people said I should put in some sort of future vision for myself of how I would benefit veterinary medicine on a large scale. I eventually talked how I wanted to apply my knowledge and skills in math to help combat new infectious diseases that may threaten animals and people. I'd like to think that helped me get in but who knows :D.
Anyways hope that helps.
 

Tobysgirl81

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Jan 24, 2010
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The first time I wrote a personal statement, I included my "aha" moment at age 5. I didn't get in ;)

The second time I used a really unique experience I had (helping with an abcessed canine removal on a tiger) to open the paper, talked about how my love for patient care grew and then about how my love for client care developed (two separate experiences). I DID get in. Whether or not that had anything to do with it, I don't know.

However, the best thing you can do is make a very engaging opening statement. Be creative and tell a story to open up with to get them interested in reading more.

The biggest problem I had was it was only 6000 characters (not words). I wrote a WONDERFUL PS, and then had to basically cut it in half to get it to fit the VMCAS size restrictions. It was very frustrating to cut out big chunks just to get it all to fit, especially since I REALLY liked it as it was. Even reading back now, the original is much more interesting and engaging than the cut version. But you do what you have to I guess! Just make sure that you watch your length and cut out what needs to be cut out!

ETA: Was just reading on another post how someone got into UCD out of state because they were interested in equine med. My first cycle of applying I did NOT specify what area of vet med I was interested in (which at the time would have been Equine and I was applying to UCD). This time around I made SURE I included what area of vet med I'm interested in (which is now SA surgery) and that I am interested in eventually teaching as well. I now wonder if I had have been more specific back in the day if I would have been taken more seriously.
 
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BlacKAT33

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"Your personal statement should be written clearly and succinctly - 5000 characters (including spaces) have been allotted for your statement.

Discuss briefly the development of your interest in veterinary medicine. Discuss those activities and unique experiences that have contributed to your preparation for a professional program. Discuss your understanding of the veterinary medical profession, and discuss your career goals and objectives. "

I agree with tobysgirl that the hardest part was getting it to fit with the word count. But dont worry about that first. Just write it all out, then start shortening things, cutting unimportant fluff...you can eventually get it down with the help of people to edit it for you. I suggest a friend who is an english major, or a parent who is really good with writing/editing.

I basically followed the outline of the above statement. However, it flowed very well and it wasnt just a cookie cutter answer. My first paragraph was very catchy, kind of sci-fi and was about my first extreme animal experience. I kind of glossed over my "love" for animals with one sentence...i mean, they already know u love animals. so i had about 5 sentences of catchyness/love and that was it. The rest of the essay was straight to the point and focused especially with what you want to accomplish with your DVM and why you, what makes you unique. etc...

i got in my first try but i mean...there are tons of other things besides personal statements so i dont necessarily think u can tell if someone's was great or not by how many tries it took them. But i def think some crazy story for the first couple lines so they are like what?? with a lil surprise at the end. THis doesnt have to be made up--think abstract description for a normal story. I got a lot of compliments on my PS especially the first paragraph because of my abstract writing.

You have 6 months! good luck!
 

Fenlie

Class of 2014
Nov 20, 2009
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I started my statement with a personal story about my dog which tied in to why I wanted to become a vet. Then I went into personal experiences (not all were animal related) and how I could apply each experience to vet med and how it would help me in the future. I also tied it all in to the area I am interested in.

I think it really helps to like what you write. I loved my personal statement, and I felt I put a lot of myself into the statement. Thankfully I was accepted this cycle because I really would have had a hard time changing it.
 

HopefulAg

Texas A&M CVM c/o 2014!
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Lol well I didn't read the prompt (didn't know it had a prompt, which may have been my problem the first time I VMCASed), just copy-pasted my last year's and editted it, but I wrote basically what it requested.

1st paragraph: Anecdote of what got me interested in vet med.
2nd: My philosophy and views on veterinary medicine, the care of animals, and human-animal relationship
3rd: What I wanted to do in the future and how I'd utilize my various degrees to achieve those goals.
 

variegata

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Mine was actually only loosely tied to vet med for the bulk of it. I closed it with some of the things about my experiences that really got me excited and interested in vet met, maybe a sentence or two about what I wanted to do in the future. The bulk of it was about how I became a more confident person in general when I studied abroad. I got in, so apparently it worked well enough.
 

Minnerbelle

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When I met up with admissions at Tufts to discuss my application last July, they gave me great advice about what to put in the PS. I was told that the way to stand out was NOT to write in the format where you go through a paragraph each for each of your experiences ending with some one liner about what you learned from that experience, unless all of these stories really blend together and have a significant message. Only put in experiences and examples from your experiences that were meaningful to you and demonstrate 1.) your personality 2.) your knowledge of the field 3.) depth of understanding. You DO NOT have to put all of your experiences in there (e.g. "I shadowed a zoo vet for 2 days and I saw the vet draw blood from an elephant. I learned that ..." is not very helpful when you have a bunch of those back to back). I was told instead to really bring out a moment and make it seem real and believable. That the most memorable ones revolve around a theme, but also manage to tie together different types of experiences that all fit neatly together and make one profound statement. It's definitely easier said than done, but if you really want yours to stand out, you have to put a lot of effort in to make sure that everything about your PS (structure, thoughts, examples) are unique.

Their PS is shorter than the VMCAS (500 words I think)... and had a much more directed question, which was pretty much "Why should you still be admitted if only 100 people across the nation could get into vet school every year?" But I personally didn't change much between the VMCAS and Tufts statements. I know a lot of people wrote a separate one for Tufts and tacked on the VMCAS PS in their "additional info" section.

I didn't hear too many direct feedback about the quality of my PS during my interviews, so I can't say mine's a good one to emulate... but I think it came out super unique, focused, and full of insight that I couldn't have had without my experiences. It was pretty much my personal journey to understanding what euthanasia means in the context of shelter medicine, and how my thoughts evolved as I went through different experiences. I talked about how I found balance between the two extremes, emotional highs and lows I felt while dealing with it, what I've found to be essential in minimizing unnecessary euthanasia, and what my career goals are based on these things. Fitting in 5 image heavy anecdotes from 4 experiences plus a concluding paragraph all under 5000 characters was super challenging... but it was doable once I allowed myself to "let it go" and allow people I trust to hack away at the parts they didn't think was helpful. I'd say that's the best advice I can give you. To have good people cut away EVERY single word that they don't think contributes positively (Yep, even that super awesome adjective that you think is soooo cool!)
 

twelvetigers

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Haha. Well, I'm definitely not rewriting it completely!

So many people angry on my behalf, that's gotta cause some sort of cosmic karma shift or something...
 
Jan 9, 2010
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I think people stress out way too much over the personal statement... the way I feel about it is that they care WAY more about how you write it as opposed to what you write about. And as proof, I actually know a friend who recently got into med school writing her entire PS about getting frustrated with a broken copier one day at work and how she dealt with that. Regardless of what you say, make sure that you express the values that are important to you and that you think make you unique/qualified for vet med (and if you're like me and have no clue how you are unique or special then just write....you won't notice it but your values will come through in your prose). That being said, I spent the first half of my statement detailing a specific event between my dog and myself. I then spent the second half of my paper writing about what I have done to expose myself to the profession as a result of my past experiences, then I finished up with where I hope to go in the field and how I hope to influence the profession (literally one sentence for each in the closing paragraph).
I don't think that you need to follow the prompt posted by VMCAS. I did for my first draft and ended up with a paper that covered one million topics in absolutely no detail because they give you so many options. Pick something important to you, or a couple important things, and explain your feelings clearly and concisely and you should do fine.
 

katryn

UTCVM c/o 2014!!!!
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I can definitely second/third/fourth/etc the advice above. The best place really is to just start writing and edit as you go along....I think by the time I'd finished my statement I'd written a total of about 7000 WORDS, and got it down to 4800 characters, and I love the way it turned out.
 

GellaBella

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I totally agree with everyone else (people here are so smart!) you do NOT want the ps to be a list of things you've done and seen ... Can you imagine being an adcom member reading hundreds of those back to back?! I'd be bored outta my mind. Tell a story, make it interesting. You want the adcom guys to be falling asleep reading everyone elses ps, flip to yours, read your opening lines and be all of a sudden sitting up and paying attention.

When I was thinking about mine I kept coming back to the same situation from my childhood (I killed a frog... That's actually my opening sentence) that had nothing to do with wanting to be a vet, so I sat down and just started writing and I'd say I wrote my ps in about 20 min. Then I edited it and had many others edit it and then just kind of sat on it a few weeks to see if I still liked it...which I did.

I think the ps is a unique opportunity to let your personality come through. This is especially important for schools that do not interview cause this is your shot to say "look how cool I am! Pick me!"
 

livvie

UF c/o 2014
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In the VMCAS you'll fill out little information blocks for every activity you've ever done, so don't repeat that information in your PS, instead draw some conclusions about them, explain how they make you unique, and justify them as learning experiences.

My advise - put some personality into it.
 

purplesaurus

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Mar 5, 2010
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I had trouble figuring out what to put in my PS and how to write it, so I found some PSs from applicants who had been accepted (if they were being honest.... I think I found them on here). They were all different, and there were even a couple where I was thinking, "Gah! Did you not proof read?!" But I put my critical eye aside (I mean, these people did get into vet school, so I should get off my high grammar horse) and looked at what was really there.

The common characteristic among all of them was that after reading the PS, I felt that I knew this person, as if we had just had a conversation. I took that inspiration and asked myself, "What do I want to portray about myself? What do I want the adcom to know about me after reading this?" I picked out some of my qualities that I wanted to describe, and I thought of some situations where I showed those. Now, I haven't been accepted (yet!), but I have received a lot of positive feedback about my PS (including from adcoms), especially where it includes information about me that is not otherwise in my application.
 

that redhead

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In some ways, I think it may be about what you exclude from your personal statement, if that makes any sense. From speaking with various vets and recent students accepted into vet school, they ALL said not to say "I love animals!" anywhere, in any way. And although that may be a true statement or even what got you into vet med, stay away from it altogether.

I got an interesting piece of advice from my current boss who is campus veterinarian where I go to school. He said I should not mention welfare in any way shape or form. I'm on the fence about this because I've learned and come to understand welfare from a variety of perspectives and production animal welfare in particular is an interest of mine. Also, I think "animal welfare" has evolved substantially since he applied what, 30 years ago?

My advice to you is to filter the advice you receive on this topic carefully:p I think many different ways of writing and many different topics have been acceptable and helped people to gain admission but I think the bottom line is: make it your own, not just a patchwork of other peoples' ideas. Have lots of other people read your statement, too; it's really helpful and you get ideas/feedback you hadn't even thought of. Other people will be able to tell you if it draws them in or leaves them cold. Good luck :)
 

StartingoverVet

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My advice to you is to filter the advice you receive on this topic carefully:p I think many different ways of writing and many different topics have been acceptable and helped people to gain admission but I think the bottom line is: make it your own, not just a patchwork of other peoples' ideas. Have lots of other people read your statement, too; it's really helpful and you get ideas/feedback you hadn't even thought of. Other people will be able to tell you if it draws them in or leaves them cold. Good luck :)
Good point. Hell, I didn't even listen to my own advice. I mentioned in one post how trite it would be to talk about love of animals but I realized I did mention it in passing in my PS. In mine it was just a segue to talk get deeper into my issues for wanting to be a vet, but there are many ways to write a good statement.
 

sumstorm

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I thought of things that were important for me to share, and over a couple of weeks, I would jot down single thoughts, ideas, and sentences. I put each on on it's own line, then, when it came to putting my PS together, I figured out how to smoothly connect those ideas by filling in around them and moving them around. Then I pared it down, and sent it to every one I could think of that was good at editing, then refined it a bit more, and ended up with a statement that held sparks of information with more polish than I could have created myself.

I didn't have any luck with sitting down and writing it out, so if you find yourself stuck that way, just jot stuff down as it comes to you. This allowed information that was important to me to surface. I realized that I wanted to share my gratitude of my parent's interests and creativity which coalesced to provide me with unique experiences, my perspective on veterinary medicine in a global setting, my willingness to explore and try new things, my love of a puzzle, and my ability to hold my own under extreme stress. It came out as a story from my travels that I opened the essay with, then kept touching back on throughout the rest of the PS. So, essentially, I started with an encounter that represented everything I felt was important in vet med, delved into my history to related why it was so valuble, then explored the recent past and the oppurtunities that experience had provided and why vet med is the next step on this path. I only had one admissions offer, but I have met quite a few people who remember my PS over a year later, here and at another school.
 

sumstorm

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I got an interesting piece of advice from my current boss who is campus veterinarian where I go to school. He said I should not mention welfare in any way shape or form. I'm on the fence about this because I've learned and come to understand welfare from a variety of perspectives and production animal welfare in particular is an interest of mine. Also, I think "animal welfare" has evolved substantially since he applied what, 30 years ago?

My advice to you is to filter the advice you receive on this topic carefully:p I think many different ways of writing and many different topics have been acceptable and helped people to gain admission but I think the bottom line is: make it your own, not just a patchwork of other peoples' ideas. Have lots of other people read your statement, too; it's really helpful and you get ideas/feedback you hadn't even thought of. Other people will be able to tell you if it draws them in or leaves them cold. Good luck :)
I think you have to approach some topics with alot of knowledge to write on them, and welfare is one such topic!

I did a cardinal sin on mine, and am still glad I did; I mentioned briefly (1 sentence) my lower GPA in the context of working FT + PT jobs through out college and my resolution to not distract myself from my studies in vet school. It was more elegant, and I had a couple of adcoms say it dispelled their concerns about my ability to handle the coursework and whether I was realistic about how hard vet school is.
 

HopefulAg

Texas A&M CVM c/o 2014!
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Pretty sure I put 'I love animals' in mine, though not in so many words. I guess one way of putting it is that it was a theme rather than a statement.

I think it just depends on how you incorporate it. I mean they certainly know that you love animals (they also know that every other applicant loves animals too) but if you have a way to put it in there without it being obtrusive, then I'd go for it.
 

BlacKAT33

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I got an interesting piece of advice from my current boss who is campus veterinarian where I go to school. He said I should not mention welfare in any way shape or form. I'm on the fence about this because I've learned and come to understand welfare from a variety of perspectives and production animal welfare in particular is an interest of mine. Also, I think "animal welfare" has evolved substantially since he applied what, 30 years ago?

wow i agree with you. im surprised your vet said that. i think mentioning animal RIGHTS is a bad idea hahaha but I def wrote about animal welfare. it was kind of my whole theme for why i want to be a lab animal vet. of course...i spiced it up a bit more than just one boring sentence lol but i think the whole passionate side of my PS came from animal welfare. i was asked specifically about this at Penn and i think 15 min of my interview was about it. Oh, not to scare anyone away from penn interviews lol i think they knew i was comfortable talkin about this issue since i wrote a lot about it
 

PigsRock

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May 9, 2009
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Well, everyone's pretty much said all I'm gonna say, but I really liked my PS so I'm gonna talk about it anyway! :) The best part was that I got to use it for an assignment my written communication class, so other people read it and I got lots of feedback!

I opened with a story about flipping sheep, then I basically talked about how I've always had animals in my life, and how I got really excited about agriculture when my family moved to a small farm. Now, I want to combine my love for science (yes, it's cliche), animals, and agriculture while working as a USDA FSIS vet.

I tried to emphasize my diverse animal experience and that, even if my hours didn't show it, I had enough experience with different types of vets to "explore" the profession. I also kept the sheep theme running through a little bit to make it cohesive...

Good luck! Getting started is the hardest part!
 

that redhead

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wow i agree with you. im surprised your vet said that. i think mentioning animal RIGHTS is a bad idea hahaha but I def wrote about animal welfare. it was kind of my whole theme for why i want to be a lab animal vet. of course...i spiced it up a bit more than just one boring sentence lol but i think the whole passionate side of my PS came from animal welfare. i was asked specifically about this at Penn and i think 15 min of my interview was about it. Oh, not to scare anyone away from penn interviews lol i think they knew i was comfortable talkin about this issue since i wrote a lot about it
Yeah, and he did mean welfare and not rights, too. I politely rejected that advice, because I think welfare has come such a long way and how to analyze it has just as much science as anything else, although its definitely a hot topic. Like you, I'd definitely be comfortable talking about it because I feel well-informed, although by no means do I know everything!
 

that redhead

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I did a cardinal sin on mine, and am still glad I did; I mentioned briefly (1 sentence) my lower GPA in the context of working FT + PT jobs through out college and my resolution to not distract myself from my studies in vet school. It was more elegant, and I had a couple of adcoms say it dispelled their concerns about my ability to handle the coursework and whether I was realistic about how hard vet school is.
I have a low GPA and have worked PT/FT all during undergrad, so this is something I will consider in my PS. Thank you :)
 

kootz

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Jan 25, 2010
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I have a low GPA and have worked PT/FT all during undergrad, so this is something I will consider in my PS. Thank you :)
I'll consider doing this too since I worked PT and ran XC competitively throughout school which zapped a lot of my time.

I wrote 3 different PS drafts and finally settled on one that was really personal and opened me up. In the class I'm taking now (a speaking class), the prof says that the best speeches are ones that expose the person to the audience. The audience feels connected and trusts the speaker for showing himself to them.

I finally wrote how my dog almost drowned when he fell through ice and how I jumped in and had to find a way to rescue him (despite being a lifeguard for many years!) I related it to the relationship pets and owners have and how a vet must respect that and keep it in mind while practicing. I showed it to a lot of people and my brother who's in med school was the most helpful in making sure it had a point and told and interesting story that pulled the reader in.

If you're too embarrassed to show it to EVERYONE, then it's not good enough for adcom to read. Seriously the best thing I did was show all my drafts to everyone and had them pick the best one and edit it. ;)

I'll most likely use the same one, but edit it so it's a little different.
 
Dec 2, 2009
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Definitely have a focus. I think when the admission committee sees that you know what you want to do with your degree, it impresses them. It shows you have an understanding of the career. Talk about a really great specific animal experience you had. Bring out your most valuable qualities and explain how those qualities will help you be a great vet.

For example:

I want to be a zoological pathologist, so I talked about my wildlife experiences and performing necropsies with my veterinarian.

My valuable qualities are that i have worked with a large variety of species, my excellent communication skills (from being a tour guide), and my leadership involvement in clubs.