Navigating the Application Process with Confidence

Jan. 24, 2024

With VMCAS open for the 2024-2025 admissions cycle, it's the perfect time to set your veterinary aspirations into motion.

Students working together at a lab

Chris Richards | University Communications

As the new year unfolds, so do opportunities for future VetCats to embark on their journey towards veterinary school. With VMCAS open for the 2024-2025 admissions cycle, it's the perfect time to set those aspirations into motion. We spoke with Ryan Maldonado, Senior Coordinator for Admissions and Recruitment, to learn his top tips for beginning your application. While these tips can't guarantee admission, they can help you put your best foot forward and submit an application you're proud of.

DVM students at the white coat ceremony

What advice do you have for applicants who aren't yet sure where to start?

RM: Whenever we interact with a first-time applicant who doesn’t know where to start but has a passion and career goal of becoming a veterinarian, we always highly recommend they attend one of our Information Sessions or Campus Tours. During these sessions, we break down the DVM program, the admissions and prerequisite process, as well as provide tips & tricks when submitting their application. They get well-rounded information about our program and the application process. Plus, they get to hear directly from someone in the Admissions Department, who is going to be the most up-to-date on requirements changes or recommendations as we interact with applications on a yearly basis.

Crafting a great application takes some planning. How can applicants create a strong plan and prioritize useful strategies?

RM: The VMCAS application opens in mid to late January every year. Specific DVM programs will not open until around the middle of May. That gives applicants a solid 4 months to start the beginning of the VMCAS application, which typically contains more personal questions/experiences for the applicant. This does not mean you need to have everything completed in a day or even a week, but it gives you, as the applicant, plenty of time to work on areas that can be time-consuming. For example, thinking back to experiences you had in high school can be difficult to track or recall. In giving yourself time and patience to complete these areas, it can be much less stressful to worry about your application once more specific questions and tasks arise when selecting a DVM program to apply to.

Depending on your circumstances and when you plan on applying to a DVM program, there are also time-consuming areas out of your control. For example, requesting Letters of Recommendation from professionals you have interacted with or even requesting transcripts from institutions you have attended can take longer than expected. People can forget to submit their documents, or an error can occur within a computer system. Depending on when an error like this occurs, there is the possibility that our deadline has now passed, and your application can no longer be considered. The earlier an applicant begins this process, the easier it is to pivot and find solutions to these errors, as the deadline would still be weeks to months away.

What resources are available to applicants?

RM: The Admissions Department for any program you apply to will be your most valuable resource, as they know to answer any admissions-related questions or concerns you may have. They are the most up-to-date on program requirements and the application processes and can provide recommendations on specific areas of the application. If an unrelated admissions question is asked, they can also point you in the right direction on where to obtain the answers they are looking for. Coming from someone who works in the admissions department, we want to help and assist as many applicants as possible. Please reach out and ask your questions!

The program you are applying to may also have additional resources such as current students to get in contact with, tours of their campus, and information sessions/workshops that go into depth on the program.

Don’t forget to look at the program’s website as well! Just about all the information you will need will be on there.

What should applicants keep in mind when beginning their application?

RM: Ensure you have properly read the requirements to apply to the program you are interested in! Unfortunately, we get many applications yearly that do not meet our initial requirements, and we have to decline them. This is unfortunate because those applicants put a lot of time, effort, and money into applying. If you are unsure about the requirements, contact those in the admissions department and ask your questions.

Be mindful of how much time you have given yourself to apply to your DVM program. At the absolute minimum, give yourself over 1 month to complete and submit your application, as Letters of Recommendation alone can take 1 month to obtain (i.e., Be aware of application deadlines).

Is there anything else you would like applicants to know?

RM: Reach out and ask questions. We in the admissions department are here to help! We do not get to make the ultimate decision on whether you get admitted into the program or not, despite working in the “Admissions Department.” But we want to make sure that all of your application material is as polished as possible, so when the Admissions Committee reviews your application, it’s a very easy and resounding “YES” we want this applicant in our program.

Invest time in getting to know the programs you are interested in. We want to observe within your application that our program is the perfect fit for you and that you, as the applicant, are the perfect fit for our program. Reflect on “Why am I applying to this program?” and make that known in your application. We typically hear many applicants say they want to come to UACVM due to the weather, environment, or proximity to family. Although those can be very important factors in making your decision, we typically want to hear what specifically about our program resonates with you.

Beginning the Journey

As you take the next steps on your veterinary education journey, remember that the path to admission is as unique as each applicant. With VMCAS open, make 2024 your year by crafting a polished application that reflects your passion for veterinary medicine.