There’s a lot of moving parts when applying for vet school. You have to get different prereqs for different schools, you have to take the GRE, you have to go through the VMCAS process, and you have to get your VMCAS essays, experiences, and letters of recommendation all put together. It’s understandable you may make a mistake here and there. These are some of the common or prominent ones I have encountered with vet school applications, ranked from most important to least.
1) No veterinary experience. Even if you have a ton of animal experience, if you have not spent time working or volunteering with a veterinarian, you won’t be able to demonstrate you know what the job entails. You’d be surprised, but I have absolutely seen applications with no vet experience. Make sure to get some.
2) Not double-checking all materials. Just because you send a request for your transcript doesn’t mean it is actually delivered. Trust but verify- make sure everything actually makes it to the VMCAS.
3) Having poorly-prepared materials. This is your FUTURE. How many hours should you spend on your application materials for something you may have wanted your whole life and will be your future for decades??? I am always shocked to read letters of intent or CVs where it is clear the applicant didn’t even go to Google and type in ‘how to do a CV’. This reflects their lack of work ethic, curiosity, and dedication– all of which are key characteristics in a vet. It’s not only that the materials are poor, but it’s also what it tells me about the applicant’s personal characteristics.
4) Not having someone else read your work. I don’t care if it’s your mom and your art-history-major roommate, you MUST have others review and edit your application materials. Typos, grammar errors, and even bizarre sentences can all be cleaned up by trusted friends and advisors.
5) Not enough advance notice. Those writing letters of recommendation for you may feel overworked and stressed out. Make sure you give them plenty of notice. I recommend at least a month, but more if possible. You should check in/remind them 2 weeks before letters are due if you have not gotten a confirmation of their submission.
You would think I wouldn’t have to tell anyone these things, and you would be wrong. I see applications all the time which make these mistakes. Fortunately, you are reading this blog so you certainly won’t make them! Let me know if there are any mistakes you have seen or worry about in the comments.