School & Program Selection
When deciding on which veterinary schools to apply to, ask yourself two questions:
1. Am I competitive at this institution?
The application process for veterinary school can be arduous and expensive. Therefore, it is important you apply to schools that you actually have a chance of gaining admission. This means paying attention to average GRE scores and GPAs as well as the types (and amount) of volunteer/extracurricular activities accepted applicants usually have.
Another thing to consider is where accepted applicants are coming from (i.e., in-state vs. out-of-state). Private out-of-state schools are often a better bet compared with state schools. For instance, as a Georgia resident, the likelihood of gaining admission into the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine is low, as they accept few out-of-state applicants. Similarly, a Washington resident would have a difficult time gaining admission into the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine. For a breakdown of admitted students’ statistics, review the AAVMC website.
2. Would I feel comfortable attending this institution?
Veterinary school is an incredibly strenuous (though rewarding) experience. Therefore, it is also important to consider whether you would be happy attending a particular vet school. If you prefer warm weather, a vet school in Michigan may not be the best choice. Moreover, living in Ithaca, NY or East Lansing, MI will certainly offer a different experience than living in Athens, GA or Gainesville, FL.
Curriculum and the structure of a particular veterinary program should be considered as well when deciding which schools to apply to. Do you prefer lecture-style classes over small-group activities? Do you hope to conduct research?
Additional factors to consider:
- Tuition/Cost of Living Expenses
- Research opportunities
- Teaching Hospital and Caseload
- Years in Clinical Rotations
- Areas of Specialty
- Time Allowed for Off-Campus Training (Externships, Preceptorships, etc.)
- The North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) Pass Rate
- Dual-degree programs
The best resource to use when deciding where to apply is the Medical School Admissions Requirement (VMSAR) handbook. Admission statistics, requirements, and applicant data is compiled every year for each accredited veterinary school.