The old Personal Statement prompt for the VMCAS application has been retired. The following three essay questions are now required for the VMCAS application instead of a single 5,000-character personal statement prompt. Note that individual programs may require additional essays and/or short answer questions.
- There are many career choices within the veterinary profession. What are your future career goals and why? (2,000-character limit)
- In what ways do veterinarians contribute to society and what do you hope to contribute? (2,000-character limit)
- Consider the breadth of society which veterinarians serve. What attributes do you believe are essential to be successful within the veterinary profession? Of these attributes, which do you possess and how have you demonstrated these in the past? (2,000-character limit)
When should I start writing?
You need to begin working on your essays early in the fall semester prior to the application opening in January. Remember that the people who are helping you with your essays will need time to review them and you will need time to work through multiple drafts. You should have several different people objectively read your personal essays and provide constructive feedback. There are also resources on campus that can assist you, such as the Career Center and UGA Writing Center. Consider the feedback you get carefully, but be sure that the essays are still written in your voice. In addition, some of your letter writers will want to see a copy of your essays before they write your letter, so you should strive to have competent drafts on hand by October or November. Your letter-writers are often a great option to help review your essays.
What should be included?
You should always stick to the prompt given to you. However, some questions you may want to consider while writing these essays are:
- Why have you selected the field of veterinary medicine?
- What motivates you to learn more about becoming a veterinarian?
- How have you demonstrated your interest and commitment to your decision?
- What experiences have allowed you to develop the skills necessary to be successful in vet school and to become an effective veterinarian?
- Did you have any exposure to role models who influenced your decision? Which of their attributes inspired you?
- Are your perceptions of the veterinarian profession realistic?
- What are your professional goals?
- Is there anything you wish for vet schools to know about you that hasn't been disclosed in other sections of the application?
What should NOT be included?
- Avoid cliches: How many times do you think admissions committees have read the phrase, “I love animals”?
- Avoid being vague: "[Insert experience] was challenging and rewarding." What does that mean? Be specific about what was impactful and how it affected you.
- Avoid brash decision-making: Your decision to become a veterinarian should be the result of a series of thoughtful, conscious, and reflective decisions. NOT an instantaneous realization. Similarly, you have not “always known” that you want to be a vet. No one is "born to be a vet." Nothing is innate, you have to work for it.
- Avoid excuses: In general, there are better uses for your essays than explaining away and justifying poor grades, incidents of misconduct, etc. However, if you choose to address these subjects, be sure to focus on what you have learned from those incidents and how your experiences have made you a stronger person. Never, ever blame anyone else for your mistakes.
- Avoid restating resume: Choose ONE or TWO significant and distinguishing experiences to elaborate upon.
- Avoid grandiosity: For example, claiming that you “know what it is like to be a vet from [shadowing/clinical volunteer experience].” No, you do not. That is precisely why you are hoping to go to vet school.
- Avoid inflammatory or controversial topics: You do not know the values, beliefs, and background of the person who is reading your essay. For these reasons, it is advisable to avoid making any strong statements regarding politics, religion, and other polarizing topics. Be extremely cautious to avoid expressing any views that could be construed as derogatory to any group. Additionally, your beliefs are not the only “correct” beliefs.
- Do not lie: Honesty and ethical behavior are the hallmarks of being a veterinarian. Do not include details that you are not prepared to talk about or are simply untrue.