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The Seven Secrets

Interview at Auburn University

Interviews at Purdue University and  Mississippi State University

Interview at University of Illinois

Do's and Don'ts for Veterinary School Hopefuls (The Seven Secrets)
by Kelly Shanley
  1. Choosing Schools
    • when narrowing down the list to apply to, keep in mind that you may have supplemental applications for all those schools in addition to processing and university fees
    • Book to buy and use: Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements by the AAVMC
    • I applied to 6 schools and looking back I think 4-5 is a smart number
    • When making the final list I used these criteria and it made my decision easier:
      • Price- tuition costs do vary so be aware of this and the cost of living;
      • Location, location, location- it is only 4 years, but it is 4 years, so choose states and regions you could live in;
      • Probably the most important factor is the number of out-of-state students accepted. UC Davis only takes about 4 students as compared to other schools that accept up to 25% of the incoming class from other states.
  2. Prerequisites
    • although it is not always possible, your best bet is to narrow your veterinary school list at least a year in advance to allow ample time to complete all the needed courses. Many schools have different required classes and some may only allow you to have 1-2 classes still pending at the time your application is sent in.
    • You CAN interview/ be accepted at a school where you donít have all the prerequisites. Plan on having all needed classes done or in progress, but if you indicated on the application (VMCAS) that you were planning to take a course and it is not possible to complete that class contact the school after you are invited to interview
    • VMCAS has the addresses, prerequisites, and stats for the schools that use them on the application web page.
  3. Applying
    • no matter what people tell you, you can never start gathering the needed materials early enough.
    • Give those who are writing letters of reference/recommendation a time frame (2 weeks) to complete your letter. Donít be afraid to bug them about the letters if they go over this time frame, this is your future after all.
    • DO NOT trust that VMCAS will get your application in on time.†Send them the application as soon as possible so that worst possible scenario you could still get a copy to the schools in time.
    • Have the school(s) send your transcripts as soon as possible. I almost missed the deadline because of a school that shall remain nameless didnít send all the transcripts to the correct addresses
    • Try to take the GRE with enough time to retake it before the deadline (Oct. 1). However, donít fret too much over your score, as long as it is at least the minimum needed for the schools you chose (and you are otherwise competitive) you will likely be fine. Most schools only base around 5-15% of the total application package on the test score.
    • Have as many people as possible read your personal statement. A wide variety of feedback allows you to see the different ways your statement will be interpreted by the admission committees (they do read it).
    • Call the schools if you have any doubt that they received your materials. Even though they are busy, it is important for you and for them that everything arrives in a timely fashion.
  4. Waiting
    • after the initial fervor to get the application submitted and filling out a few supplemental applications there is a lot of down time. Donít be worry (yeah, right) during this time. I didnít hear from any of schools regarding interviews until late January, and some schools wonít contact you until March.
  5. Interviewing
    • I have typed interview questions and bits of info for the schools I visited. I recommend using these as a guide, only. The last thing you want to do at an interview is reply with scripted answers.
    • Dress professionally, but be comfortable. It is better to be overdressed than underdressed and some schools have a mandatory dress code for the students, so you want to fit in.
    • Plan to be invited for interviews during February and March so make sure the classes and professors you have will allow you to be away during this time.
    • If you feel it will help, schedule a mock interview with the Biology department to practice.
    • Be yourself and ask questions. They already know you can get the grades so use the time to let them know you and find out about the school.
    • Rent cars wherever possible when you travel so you can get a feel for the area that you will be living.
    • Contact the schools if you have questions about airports, hotels or just want to know more about what will happen while you are there. In my experience, they were always happy to help.
  6. Picking Your School
    • I can't lie, this was really hard. However, I came to the realization that any school you go to is going to make a vet out of you so trust your intuition and go to the one that feels right. If you only get one acceptance, go there!
  7. Please contact meif I can help you with anything. I donít know it all, but I may be able to save you some grief.

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