One of the first steps in applying to vet school is completing the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS).
Like with any other website you actively use, creating an account is the first step with the usual – name, address, phone number, email, username, password, etc. From then on you log into your account when you need access to it. Your immediate homepage is your dashboard which will present any important notifications and allow you to keep track of what has been completed and how much still needs to be done.
The four main parts of the application are as follows: Personal Information (7 sections), Academic History (4 sections), Supporting Information (3 sections), Program Materials (will vary depending on how many vet schools you’re applying to).
Release Statement: Consists of agreements such as the code of conduct, general information (when the application must be submitted by), agreeing to not giving falsified information or withholding important information.
Biographic Information, Contact Information, Citizenship Information, Parent/Guardian, Race & Ethnicity: The following 5 sections are pretty self-explanatory, general personal information along with parental information. This section allows you to put 2 addresses if needed.
Other Information: Necessary miscellaneous factoids about yourself such as, language, military status, criminal record (if any at all, allows a chance for explanation), any previous applications, and the essays. This application cycle there were 3 essays allotting a max of 1,000 characters per essay. This cycle’s prompts were:
- There are many career choices within the veterinary profession. What are your future career goals and why?
- In what ways do veterinarians contribute to society and what do you hope to contribute?
- Consider the breadth of society which veterinarians serve. What attributes do you believe are essential to be successful within the veterinary profession? Of these attributes, which do you possess and how have you demonstrated these in the past?
Can you imagine squeezing all you can about yourself, your dreams, career goals, and experiences into 1,000 characters!? It wasn’t fun, and had to be one of the hardest parts of the application for me to complete, I notched each prompt at ~970 characters.
High School Attended, Colleges Attended: Here you input the name of the high school(s) and college(s) you attended throughout your undergraduate journey, the time you attended, how their system works (semesters, etc.), and what/if you graduated with any degrees/certificates.
Transcript Entry: This is a very tedious but important aspect of your VMCAS, here you must input the courses taken at the college(s) attended in the prior section. You are also required to send an official transcript to VMCAS, which they will use to verify whether or not you entered in your transcript information correctly. Here they have the right to be very particular about how the information is entered, so make sure it is identical to how it appears on your official transcript! It can take a few weeks for them to verify your coursework. My transcripts were received on August 4th and my coursework was verified on September 12th. Make sure you give them ample time to verify the coursework, don’t wait last minute to submit this stuff!
Standardized Tests: Input any test results here, MCAT, GRE, IELTS, TOEFL. Not all of these exams need to be taken, most vet schools will require the GRE (whether they want it sent through VMCAS or directly to their school can be found on their website). Some schools may require or encourage the MCAT, TOEFL/IELTS are basically English proficiency exams and most schools won’t require these unless you are an international student.
Evaluations: These are your electronic Letters of Recommendations (eLORs) and your school(s) of choice should have their preferences of who they should be from, listed on their admissions page. I had 2 written by veterinarians I worked for, 1 was written by a HS teacher, another was written by my previous volunteer coordinator. Usually they’re looking for someone to vouch for your personal integrity and qualities, as well as academic supervisors or profs., and preferably at least 1 veterinarian. Through the VMCAS you may have a maximum of 6 eLORs, but some schools will strictly look at 3 and will typically ask you in “program materials” which 3 you would like them to review.
Experiences: There are four main categories of experiences: Animal, Veterinary, Research, Employment; and two other categories: Extracurricular Activities and Volunteer. You must list these experiences along with contact information to verify your hours. You are to provide the start and end dates of these experiences and are given a spot to insert your estimate weekly hours. This was a bit difficult for me, I didn’t keep a hard track of my hours (work, volunteer, or otherwise) so it was a bit of a guesstimate for me. My hours weren’t always consistent which made it a bit more difficult to allot for the time I spent without going over or under.
Achievements: Here you enter awards, Honors, and/or Scholarship information. I added dean’s list, among other awards I’ve been granted throughout the years and scholarships I’ve accepted. I wouldn’t recommend adding those scholarships you earned but did not use, it can clutter the application; adding the pertinent information will be less tedious to the board.
The sections within this part of the application will vary depending on how many schools you are applying to. Each school will have its own supplemental information for you to fill out, whether it be which eLORs you want them to read, any additional essay(s) they want you to complete, or a simple tracker of the prerequisites. Some schools may have additional instructions here or on their website, make sure you follow these to their entirety in order to complete the application.
Once your application is submitted, you may be contacted in regard to it being marked as complete by your school(s). Once that occurs you await an interview invitation, some schools it may occur sooner than others, and some may send them on a rolling basis – meaning they send as they receive, first come first serve basis for the interviews.
Make sure your application is submitted prior to the final submission deadline, VMCAS can have technical difficulties, submissions can take a while to finalize, if there is an issue with your transcript entry then an early submission allots you enough time to fix it.
After the hustle and bustle of collecting, writing, and completing everything for the submission of your VMCAS, it’s a waiting game. So far, waiting is the hardest part.
Until next time,