Applying to Veterinary School
Veterinary Medicine (DVM) Application Timeline
The application process is divided into two phases:
- The GRE Study Phase starts at least 15 months prior to a student’s expected matriculation to veterinary school and typically lasts for 3 months. Individual pathways and study times vary per student. Students should strive to take the GRE (General Test), once. If a student scores poorly on the first exam attempt, then a re-test is recommended and thus GRE study time would exceed the aforementioned 3 months.
- The Centralized Application Service Phase (VMCAS) also starts approximately 15 months prior to a student’s expected matriculation to veterinary school and ends about 11 months prior to the beginning of veterinary school.
The veterinary school application process varies greatly from the rest of the careers that fall under the PreMedical and PreDental Advising Office. One significant difference is that the content of the veterinary medicine prerequisite science courses is not tested by the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test, the standardized test required by all veterinary colleges in the United States. The pre-medical, pre-dental, pre-optometry, and pre-podiatry pathways require the completion of the science prerequisite courses prior to a student sitting for the different standardized tests required by those types of professional schools. Conversely, the timing of when a pre-veterinary student takes the GRE is not connected or relevant to the completion of the veterinary college prerequisite courses, thus giving pre-veterinary students much greater flexibility when it comes to planning the completion of their prerequisite coursework at UMBC.
To that end, most veterinary colleges require that students complete all prerequisite coursework by the end of the Spring semester that precedes Fall matriculation.
If a student is planning on matriculating to veterinary school in the Fall of 2013, that pre-veterinary student has until the end of the Spring 2013 semester to complete all coursework required by the veterinary colleges.
Despite the veterinary medical colleges sharing a primary, centralized application (VMCAS); the veterinary admissions process at each individual college of veterinary medicine is unique and can vary greatly from school to school. Admission requirements vary per school and it is a student’s responsibility to be knowledgeable about the nuances of each veterinary school to which they plan on applying. Please refer to the Association of American Veterinary Medical College (AAVMC) website which provides links to all of the veterinary schools and their admission requirements.
Because of these variables and how VMCAS functions, pre-veterinary students at UMBC do not complete the pre-application process, also known as the Health Professions Evaluation Committee (HPEC) process. As students prepare their VMCAS applications, they should email Ms. Roelke to let her know that they are starting the application process so that additional resources can be provided to those applicants.
Every individual student follows a different and unique pathway as they prepare themselves to become competitive applicants for veterinary school. Students should only enter the application process if they are at their most competitive stage and do not possess overt weaknesses such as a weak GPA, are missing clinical related experience, or lack strong letters of recommendation.
To gain insight into the competitiveness of the veterinary school admissions’ process, please review the First Year Class Profiles and Recent Student Enrollment statistics from the past five years published by the Association of American Veterinary Medical College (AAVMC). Students should also reference the web pages of individual veterinary schools which sometimes post individual school statistics on acceptees and matriculants. Please review the Incoming Statistical Profile of the most recent veterinary class at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.
The GRE Study Phase
Approximately 15 months prior to expected matriculation to veterinary school
Most pre-veterinary students start intensively studying for the GRE (General Test) during the same summer in which they submit their VMCAS application, approximately 15 months prior to expected matriculation to veterinary school. This allows most students sufficient GRE study time prior to sitting for the exam. In order to meet the requirements of most veterinary schools, it is strongly recommended that students take the computer-based GRE by the end of August (the same year during which students submit their VMCAS application; the year of application) so that their score reports can be arrive at the veterinary schools before October 1. Many veterinary schools require receipt of GRE scores reports by October 1.
If a student takes the computer-based GRE, their score reports will be sent by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to the veterinary colleges within 10–15 days after a student takes the GRE. If a student takes the paper-based GRE, they would have to plan their GRE exam date carefully, given it takes the Educational Testing Service (ETS) six weeks to send score reports to the veterinary colleges. For more information about the processing time of GRE General Test score reports, please visit the ETS website. Students are responsible for knowing all GRE dates and deadlines that could affect their veterinary school applications.
Admission requirements vary per school and it is a student’s responsibility to be knowledgeable about the nuances of each veterinary school to which they plan on applying. Please refer to the Association of American Veterinary Medical College (AAVMC) website which provides links to all of the veterinary schools and their admission requirements.
UMBC students who posted competitive GRE scores reported that they studied 8–10 hours per week for a minimum of 15 weeks (the equivalent of one semester) prior to taking the GRE. Individual pathways and study times vary per student. Some students preferred 30 weeks of study time especially if they had a history of difficulty with standardized tests. Each student should approach GRE study with an individualized strategy based on their academic record, mastery of the tested content, and overall test confidence. “Trialing” the GRE is never recommended, leads to poor scores, and makes it very difficult for an applicant to gain admission.
If a student is applying for matriculation to veterinary school in September 2013, their pathway would resemble one of the examples below:
Centralized Application Service Phase
June (15 months prior to expected matriculation to optometry school)
June marks the beginning of the Centralized Application Service phase. Each year, the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS) process typically opens for registration during the first week of June. VMCAS is the centralized application service for applicants applying to veterinary schools. VMCAS is also known as the “common application” and the “primary application.” Students complete one common application which is then sent to all of the veterinary schools to which the student is applying.
July–October 1 (14–11 months prior to expected matriculation to veterinary school)
Students complete their VMCAS centralized “common” applications, along with their secondary applications (additional questions sent directly to the applicants from the veterinary schools) before October 1. It is best to apply as early as possible and therefore students should strive to complete all of their primary and secondary applications before the end of August. Deadlines are determined by the individual veterinary schools, not by VMCAS. Each veterinary school determines what is required by their deadline date. It is the applicant’s responsibility to research each program’s deadline requirements before submitting their VMCAS application. You can find these deadlines on each individual school’s admissions website.