Non-cognitive Criteria
Non-Academic Criteria

Non-cognitive Criteria

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 work ethic, knowledge of the profession, motivation, compassion, integrity, leadership and communication skills, and desire to contribute to society. The Committee will also assess an applicant’s resiliency, willingness to accept responsibility, maturity, and breadth of experience. 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 Experience

Veterinary experiences should relate to any veterinary clinical, agribusiness, or health science experiences which took place under the supervision of a veterinarian. 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. Veterinary experience provides a basic knowledge of the veterinary profession. Participating in public health, academic medicine, regulatory medicine, or industry can enhance an applicant’s appreciation for the breadth of the veterinary profession. The 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.

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Employment Experience

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 Experience

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, 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. The Admissions Committee considers animal experience to be an important preparation for the curriculum.

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. 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.

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Extracurricular Activities

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. These activities do not have to be related to animals or veterinary medicine. 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 Experience

Research should include all experiences in a research environment. Please report research experiences in THIS section, even if they were also animal or veterinary experiences. 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 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. The Admissions Committee reserves the right to check references for verification and accuracy.

Personal Essay/Statement

The applicant is encouraged to discuss briefly the development of your interest in veterinary medicine. Include in the essay those unique activities that have contributed to your preparation for a professional program, along with discussing your understanding of the veterinary medical profession, what you have to offer the profession, and your career goals and objectives. The personal statement portion of the application is a candidate’s 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. You have 4500 characters (including spaces and carriage returns) to address the prompts.

Explanation Statement

While this section is NOT REQUIRED, you can use it to record information that could not be listed anywhere else within the web application, such as missing parental information, and disciplinary action(s) 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 – 2000 characters (including spaces) have been allotted for this purpose. 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.

Personal Interview

The non-cognitive evaluation of the top qualified applicants in the WIMU and nonresident applicant pools may include a personal interview. WICHE-supported applicants are not formally interviewed, but they are encouraged to visit the Pullman campus at any time. The interview consists of a 30-minute personal interview with two to four members of the Admissions Committee. Designed to ask behavioral and knowledge-based questions, the interview will be used to assess the applicant’s motivation, communication skills, compassion, professionalism, integrity, ethics, maturity, experience with a DVM, understanding of the profession, and desire to contribute to society through veterinary medicine, teamwork, and leadership. Individuals are encouraged to review their applications so that they are comfortable about any question that might be targeted toward something they put on the application.

Final Evaluation

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. Cognitive 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.

Washington State University Non-Discrimination Statement

Washington State University 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 the WSU Center for Human Rights via phone at 509-335-8288, via e-mail or file a complaint online.

Notification Procedures

At the time of notification of interview, all unsuccessful candidates are also notified of their status. All WIMU applicants who are interviewed are notified of their status by spring 2017. A number of interviewed applicants who are not initially made offers of admission are 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.