For those of you who are applying to veterinary school there are a few things you must keep in mind as you look to begin the process.
In early June, the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges will launch the VMCAS application. VMCAS is the main processing service for applications to all 30 US veterinary medical colleges.
As you start to examine your list of target schools, there will be some things you will definitely want to remember. We therefore advise you to consider the five following key items when creating your final list of schools.
- Know the course requirements for admission to each school. Take time to verify with the schools that you have, indeed, met all course requirements.
- Know the focus and strengths of the schools that interest you. For example, if your background and plans for the future are in exotic animal medicine, you are best served attending a school with an exotics program. For personal opinions, go online and find students at that school and ask them some specifics about the program.
- Know what your education at each school is going to cost and how you will pay for it. There is limited grant money for professional education. Federal (inexpensive) loans do not cover the full cost of out-of-state tuition and fees, not to mention living expenses. For a veterinary student paying in-state tuition and fees, typically federal loans do cover these, as well as some living expenses. Ninety percent of veterinary students use loans to cover the cost of their education, and much of that money is borrowed in private loans. Average indebtedness for veterinary school graduates has passed $140,000, so this debt needs to be taken seriously.
- Ask each school about its curriculum. If you are a person who works best with structure, for example, a problem-based curriculum might be more difficult and a less ideal fit for you. If you are a person who likes to dig for information and whose thought processes are more conceptual, lecture-style classroom learning is less than ideal.
- Visit the schools that interest you! Make an appointment beforehand, and do your homework so that your time with the school is well spent. Know the questions you want to ask. If you want a companion with you, a parent or spouse is a good choice, but a girlfriend/boyfriend could be more of a distraction. Make the most of your visit and enjoy what the school has to offer.