The Admissions Committee views a solid and broad undergraduate experience to be crucial preparation for successful completion of the veterinary curriculum. When evaluating an applicant, the Admissions Committee considers both academic and non-cognitive qualities which may include a personal interview. When evaluating an applicant’s non-cognitive qualities the Committee members ask themselves: Does the applicant possess the qualities of a successful veterinarian? In order to answer this question, the Committee considers various non-cognitive criteria, such as motivation, communication and teamwork skills, compassion and empathy, professionalism, integrity and ethics, maturity, experience with a veterinarian in your desired area of interest, and knowledge of the profession. The following paragraphs describe components of the application that are used by the Committee to evaluate these criteria. Applicants are encouraged to include experience in all areas as applicable on the VMCAS application.
Experience Categories on the VMCAS Application
The VMCAS application offers the applicant the opportunity to list several types of experience. It is best not to list a specific experience in more than one category (i.e. do not double list). Include all areas of experience as well as those not related to animals extending back through high school, beginning with the most recent. Applicants are evaluated on all of the following experience categories and are encouraged to include experience in all applicable areas.
Veterinary experiences should relate to any veterinary clinical, agribusiness, or health science experiences which took place under the supervision of a veterinarian. Veterinary experience provides a basic knowledge of the veterinary profession. Applicants will be assessed on the quality, depth, and breadth of their experience. While applicants are encouraged to aim for approximately 250-500 hours of clinical experience, there is no minimum number of hours necessary for consideration. It is also recommended that experience hours align with an applicant's identified species/career interest. Do NOT list any veterinary research experiences in this section. ALL research opportunities should be listed in the research section. The experiences you report in this section should also be different from those entered for animal and employment experience. Participating in public health, academic medicine, regulatory medicine, or industry can enhance an applicant’s appreciation for the breadth of the veterinary profession. The CVM Admissions Committee also takes involvement in seminars, practicums, and other veterinary professional activities into account. These experiences can be paid or volunteer, or part of a classroom/internship program.
Paid work done OUTSIDE of the animal or veterinary field; for example: a retail or restaurant job. Do not include any experience listed in veterinary, animal, or research experience. This information helps the Committee better understand time commitments an applicant has beyond the classroom, as well as gives some insight into the applicant’s work ethic. Both full-time and part-time work experience should be included in this section of the application as it helps the Admissions Committee with a composite evaluation of an applicant.
Animal experiences should include farm and ranch experiences, 4-H and FFA membership, animal training, or other similar activities which were NOT under the supervision of a veterinarian. The experiences you report in this section should be different from those entered for Veterinary and Employment experience. Animal experience may also include (but is not limited to) classroom experiences, pet sitting, care of personal pets, experience at rehabilitation facilities or humane societies and shelters, as well as breeding, rearing, feeding, and showing various companion animals, livestock, laboratory animals, zoo animals, or wildlife.
Volunteer Experience (Community Service)
This category includes volunteer work done outside of the animal care field; for example, working for Habitat for Humanity, tutoring students, church activities, participating in or working for a fundraiser walk, donating blood, donating clothes, donating time to political campaigns, etc. Community service activities are viewed as an indication of an applicant’s desire to contribute to society. The applicant should clearly and succinctly describe their level of participation in these activities. These activities should not be directly affiliated with animals or veterinary medicine, as those types of experiences should be included in other experience categories.
List and describe ALL extracurricular activities in which you were engaged, including those during high school beginning with the most recent first. Extracurricular activities may include (but are not limited to) participation in sports, clubs, music, arts, hobbies, religious groups, etc. This information provides the Admissions Committee with an idea of how well rounded an applicant you are, and how outside activities may influence your academic record.
Research should include all experiences in a research environment. Please report research experiences in THIS section, regardless of whether or not they were related to animals or under the supervision of a veterinarian. Be very specific about your work/involvement in the research experiences entered in this section. The CVM Admissions Committee values an applicant’s experience in the broad field of research. This experience does not have to be directly affiliated with veterinary medicine, and research experience is NOT required for admission to the DVM program.
List and describe honors, awards, or scholarships you have received, including those in high school. For honors, awards, or scholarships received in multiple years or semesters, you may either enter them as multiple entries with the same name, or, if the honor or award was received consecutively, as one entry spanning multiple years. Please enter in chronological order from most recent to least recent. If you are unsure of a date, please estimate. Honors and awards may include (but are not limited to) Dean’s List, President’s List, National Honor Society membership, and leadership positions in clubs, organizations, religious groups, and athletics. Achievements, leadership ability, and participation in academic and other activities will be evaluated carefully. These activities need not be directly affiliated with animals or veterinary medicine. The applicant should clearly and succinctly describe their level of participation in these activities.
Additional Submission Items
Evaluations/Electronic Letters of Reference (eLORs)
Each applicant should obtain a minimum of three evaluations (the program will accept up to six evaluations) to aid the Admissions Committee in assessing personal traits. The best individuals for these evaluations are those who know the applicant well enough to provide meaningful comments. At a minimum, your application must have the following three evaluations: (1) A licensed veterinarian with whom the applicant has interacted fairly extensively; (2) A current or former academic (e.g., professor, teaching assistant, laboratory instructor, advisor from college) who can speak to the applicant’s academic ability; (3) Individuals (e.g., another DVM, another academic, employer) who can evaluate the oral and written communication skills as well as the scientific background of the applicant. Graduate students should include an evaluation from their major advisor. Applicants who have been out of school for at least two years do not need to provide an academic reference.
This cycle, the VMCAS essay question will be split out into 3 distinct questions, all of which will be required for all applicants. The new questions are as follows:
- 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?
These questions provide applicants an opportunity to make a case as to why they are the best possible student for the DVM program. It is a chance to set yourself apart from other candidates, give the Admissions Committee background information that might not otherwise be included in the application, explain special situations or circumstances that have influenced you as a person, and describe where you see yourself in the future.
While this section is NOT REQUIRED, you can use it to record information that could not be listed anywhere else within the web application which require detailed explanation. This section can also be used to provide the Admissions Committee additional information that you consider vital to your application. Your explanation statement should be clearly and succinctly written. Examples of pertinent information might include explanations about interruptions in your studies or experiences, unique circumstances you have faced, or reasons for decisions you have made. Extenuating circumstances such as extensive extracurricular work commitments or family responsibilities are also taken into consideration.
After all information has been accumulated on academically qualified applicants, the Admissions Committee will meet to decide which applicants are best suited to enter the veterinary curriculum. Academic and non-cognitive factors will be used to reach a final decision. This process will generate a group of admitted students and a waitlist who may receive offers of admission at a later date. In the case of WICHE applicants, the process will yield a ranked list of all applicants from each sending state. Ranking of applicants from each WICHE state by the receiving regional colleges of veterinary medicine helps determine which applicants are funded each year by their respective states. Admission Committee recommendations for all applicant pools are submitted to the Director of Admissions and Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine for final review and approval.
Washington State University Non-Discrimination Statement
Washington State University (WSU) is an equal opportunity employer committed to providing equal opportunity in education, employment, membership and contracts without regard to race, ethnicity, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, age, marital status, the presence of any sensory, mental or physical disability, use of a trained guide dog or service animal by a person with a disability, and/or status as a veteran. WSU is committed to creating and maintaining environments in which students, faculty, staff and visitors can work, study and recreate free from all forms of prohibited discrimination and discriminatory harassment. If you have experienced an act of discrimination or harassment, including sexual harassment, please contact WSU Center for Human Rights via phone at 509-335-8288, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or file a complaint online at www.chr.wsu.edu.
At the time of notification of interview, all unsuccessful candidates are also notified of their status. All applicants who are interviewed are notified of their status within a month following their interview. A number of interviewed applicants who are not initially made offers of admission may be given waitlist status, and may be offered admission at a later date. Barring delays in the ranking process, WICHE applicants should be notified by early spring. Some WICHE applicants are also given waitlist status. Unsuccessful applicants who wish to be considered the following year must submit new application materials.
The Admissions Committee assumes the applicant, if offered admission, is fully prepared to enter the veterinary program starting the next fall semester. Deferral of admission is considered by the Director of Admissions on a case-by-case basis and granted only under special circumstances.