Your personal statement is a one-page essay that gives veterinary admissions committees a clear picture of who you are and, most importantly, why you want to pursue a career in veterinary medicine
UGA Supplemental Application questions for 2021-2022 application cycle:
- Veterinarians contribute to society in many different ways. Describe several roles they play in society and how you hope to contribute, including the qualities or traits you would bring to the profession. (3500 character limit)
- Describe a significant experience or challenge in your life that was unrelated to veterinary medicine, what you learned from that experience, and how you have grown from it. (3500 character limit)
- Personal Statement
What should be included?
Although there is no set of rules mandating what a strong personal statement should include, here are a few tips to help you successfully craft an effective personal statement:
- Explain a defining moment that helped steer you toward a career in veterinary medicine. Consider using that moment as the focal point of your essay.
- Be original and thoughtful: Discuss how you would contribute to the profession and patient care, all of which will help you stand out from other applicants.
- As you are telling us why you want to pursue a career in veterinary medicine, explain why you are good candidate for veterinary school. Ask yourself—in a pile of 100 applications, would I enjoy reading my statement? Be sure to convey your passion for veterinary medicine in your statement.
- Many of you have had meaningful experiences with animals or veterinarians as children and these are important but should only be mentioned briefly.
- Your application materials already contain a summary of your accomplishments, so avoid repeating information from your transcripts or reference letters.
- Give yourself time to organize your thoughts, write well and edit as necessary.
- Ask yourself if this essay is a good representation of your character, ideals and aspirations.
- Don’t forget to proofread!
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.
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.