Additional Criteria

Non-Cognitive Criteria

Additional Criteria

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-academic qualities which may include a personal interview. The Admissions Committee members ask themselves whether applicants possess the qualities of a successful veterinarian and have a holistic understanding of the profession. In order to assess this, the Admissions Committee considers various criteria, such as motivation, communication and teamwork skills, compassion and empathy, professionalism, integrity and ethics, maturity, and knowledge of the profession. The following paragraphs describe components of the application that are used by the Admissions 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 experiences. 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 that have had a significant impact on your personal or professional development beginning with the most recent. These experiences may extend back through high school as appropriate. Applicants are evaluated on all of the following experience categories and are encouraged to include experience in all applicable areas.

Veterinary Experience

Reviewing veterinary experience provides the committee with an opportunity to evaluate an applicant's exposure to and understanding of the field of veterinary medicine. Veterinary experiences should relate to any veterinary clinical, agribusiness, or health science experiences which took place under the supervision of a veterinarian. The Admissions Committee also considers your involvement in seminars, practicums, and other veterinary professional activities. All experiences can be paid or volunteer, or part of a classroom/internship program. Applicants will be assessed on the quality, depth, and breadth of their experience. The committee values diverse experience indicating the applicant has exposure to multiple facets of veterinary medicine. This diverse experience can be gained by working in multiple clinics, under multiple veterinarians, and/or with multiple species. It is recommended that experience hours generally align with an applicant's identified area of 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. 

Veterinary Experience

Employment Experience

List and describe all 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 Admissions Committee better understand the time commitments an applicant has beyond the classroom, as well as giving 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 animal related 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 experiences may include (but are not limited to) farm and ranch experiences, 4-H and FFA membership, animal training, classroom experiences, pet sitting, 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. Applicants are welcome to include pet ownership in this category, however, should only include active hours engaged with personal pets. This may include (but is not limited to) training classes, competitive events, medical care, etc. While pet ownership is an important piece of an applicant’s background, these hours should not overshadow other animal experiences.

Volunteer Experience (Community Service)

Participation in community service activities is viewed as an indication of an applicant’s desire to contribute to society. 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 time to political campaigns, etc. The applicant should clearly and succinctly describe their level of participation in these activities. Volunteer activities affiliated with animals or veterinary medicine should be included in other, more appropriate, experience categories.

Volunteer Experience (Community Service)

Extracurricular Activities

Extracurricular activities should include those that have had a significant impact on your personal or professional development. List and describe activities in which you were engaged, beginning with the most recent. Extracurricular activities may include (but are not limited to) participation in sports, clubs, music, arts, hobbies, 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. High school activities may be listed here if directly relevant.

Research Experience

Research should include 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 (for instance: data collection and/or analysis, animal husbandry, manuscript development, presentation, or publication of data). The Admissions Committee values an applicant’s experience in any field of research; it does not have to be directly affiliated with veterinary medicine. 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 achievements in order beginning with the most 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)

All applicants are required to obtain a minimum of three letters of recommendation (submitted directly from the evaluator through VMCAS), and at least one must be from a veterinarian. A maximum of six LORs can be submitted.  It is recommended but not required that one LOR be from an academic (e.g., professor, teaching assistant, laboratory instructor, academic advisor) who can speak to the applicant’s academic abilities. Graduate students are encouraged to include an evaluation from their major advisor, and longtime employers can be valuable resources as well. All evaluators selected should know the applicant well enough to provide meaningful comments. Letters of reference from family members, personal friends, and high school contacts are discouraged.

Essay Questions

VMCAS Application Essay/Personal Statement

This cycle, VMCAS has a personal statement in the form of a one-page essay that gives the Admissions Committee a clear picture of who you are and, most importantly, why you want to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. Although there is no set of rules mandating what a strong personal statement should include, here are a few tips to help you successfully craft an effective personal statement:

  • Explain a defining moment that helped steer you toward a career in veterinary medicine. Consider using that moment as the focal point of your essay.
  • Be original and thoughtful: Discuss how you would contribute to the profession and patient care, all of which will help you stand out from other applicants.
  • As you are telling us why you want to pursue a career in veterinary medicine, explain why you are a good candidate for veterinary school. Ask yourself—in a pile of 100 applications, would I enjoy reading my statement? Be sure to convey your passion for veterinary medicine in your statement.

This question provides 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.

WSU/WIMU Supplemental Application Essay Questions

Applicants will answer three essay questions as part of the WSU/WIMU supplemental application. These questions give the Admissions Committee insight into the reasons an applicant has chosen to apply to our program specifically, and how their personal values and experiences will contribute to their veterinary education.

  1. What opportunities or factors about our program influenced your decision to apply, i.e., what does our program offer you? In your answer please also discuss what qualities you possess that would make you a good fit for our program, i.e., what do you offer our program?
  1. The veterinary profession requires veterinarians to collaborate with people from all walks of life.  What is your experience building professional relationships?  What do you see as your strengths in this area, and what would you like to improve?
  1. How does the concept of inclusivity relate to your veterinary education and to your future career and leadership role in veterinary medicine?  Please provide concrete examples in your answer.



Personal Essay / Statement

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 which require detailed explanation. We recommend addressing relevant impacts of COVID-19 in this section. 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.

Final Evaluation

After all applications have been reviewed, the Admissions Committee will meet to recommend which applicants it feels are best suited to enter the professional DVM program. Both the academic and the additional application criteria will be used to reach the Admissions Committee’s final recommendation. 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 other applicant pools, including recommendations of applicants who are acceptable for admission and those recommended for denial of admission, are submitted to the DVM Admissions Committee Director and Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine for final review. This final review of Admission Committee recommendations is to ensure that the college is admitting a class that reflects a broad diversity of anticipated career pathways and goals, life experience and circumstance, and stated interests in serving the veterinary profession and society. This process will generate a final grouping of applicants into those who will receive offers of admission, a waitlisted group from which offers of admission may be made at a later date, and a group denied admission.

Washington State University Non-Discrimination Statement

WSU does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. For additional information please visit

The Admissions Unit will not automatically or unreasonably deny an applicant's admission based on an applicant's criminal history.

Notification Procedures


Applicants in Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Utah who have been invited to interview will receive notification via email approximately one month before interviews occur. See our important dates page for more information. Upon completion of interviews all applicants will receive a status update within four weeks. 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.

Non-resident applicants are not interviewed for our program and will receive their admissions decision via email by the end of December.

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.