I run into people all the time that say, “I was going to go to vet school, but decided not to.” This statement always makes me smile. For one, I think it is great that being a veterinarian is something you wanted to do. But on the other hand, did you know that it is extremely difficult to get into veterinary school? And some of those who do get in have to put up a pretty good fight (mentally) to get in.
To be a competitive candidate for veterinary school you need to strive for a 3.5 or higher overall GPA and a 3.5 or higher science GPA. This is not a set in stone rule, but it will help make your application stronger by having a good GPA. If you do have a lower GPA, it isn’t a death sentence, look into what can make the other parts of your application stronger.
Did you know you have to take a test called the GRE? Supposedly it stands for Graduate Record Examinations, but I think it really stands for Good luck Remembering Everything…you ever learned. This test doesn’t exactly show whether or not you can make it through veterinary school, but rather if you know Greek… and maybe if you remember anything from high school math. I did not. Depending on the school, this test does play a heavy role on your application.
Also, don’t forget you need to have shadowed/volunteered/worked for a veterinarian. And not just a weekend volunteer gig; no, you need several hundred hours to look good on your application.
What makes you different? This is a biggie. Your essays are right up there with grades. Writing an essay that sets you apart from everyone else can be tough. Because we all love animals, right? What is an experience you went through that made you decide to be a veterinarian? Did you always want to be one? In my case, I didn’t grow up wanting to be a veterinarian, but I had a lot of experiences that lead me to that decision.
You may put in all the hard work, blood, sweat, tears and still get rejected. In Oklahoma last year there were over 600 out-of-state applicants and only about 50 available spots. The odds don’t look that great when you look at the numbers.
You know what? Even if you don’t get in the first time you should NEVER give up! It took me two tries. But I have several friends and veterinarians I worked for years ago that tried four and five times before they got in. If this is what you truly want to do, don’t give up and keep trying.
But next time instead of telling a veterinarian that you were going to go to veterinary school, try saying, “Wow, you must have worked really hard to become a veterinarian!” LOL. Just keep in mind what it took us to get where we are. And hey, it is NEVER too late to go back to school!