Applying to a veterinary college is not a simple procedure and it is actually a long journey just to get to that point. That application process is only half the battle while waiting for acceptance or denial can be a painstaking time for those who aspire to be veterinarians.
Just as it is in medical school, the competition for admission to a veterinary college is very competitive. The acceptance rate is typically between 10% and 15%. Meanwhile, 50% or more of applicants who are accepted reside in the same state as that respective veterinary college. A few veterinary schools hover right around the 50% mark while some schools take more than 80% of its accepted applicants from within its own state. There seems to be an advantage when applying to a veterinary college in the same state in which the applicant resides.
Many states are left without a veterinary college, meaning that applicants have to apply to places that are not very close to home. There are 27 states that house veterinary colleges while Alabama, Tennessee and California are the only states with more than one.
Keep in mind that there are only 30 accredited veterinary colleges throughout the United States and it is not uncommon to apply to multiple schools more than once. When applicants have exhausted those opportunities, there is always the option of attending a veterinary school in the Caribbean or across the Atlantic Ocean in Europe. However, those alternatives can become costly as the added expense of moving out of the country quickly add up.
The difficulty that comes with gaining acceptance to a veterinary college is largely based on the limited availability. The number of veterinary colleges dims in comparison to the number of medical schools in the United States. There are hundreds of medical schools throughout the country and more openings for doctors every year. Now, there is no denying the rigorous demands placed on medical school applicants, although the sheer quantity of applicants accepted to medical school dwarfs the number of applicants accepted to veterinary colleges.
There may also be a common difference among vet school applicants and med school applicants. Becoming a doctor is a pathway towards elite social status and it also comes with a very hefty paycheck. Most veterinarians get into that line of work because of their genuine love of animals. That same kind of care and dedication is not always present in those individuals looking to pursue a career in medicine.
For that reason, getting denied acceptance to a veterinary college can be tough on applicants. That is why so many applicants attempt to bolster their resumes that go beyond education. This means acquiring real-world experience in veterinary medicine. In such a competitive environment, every little bit helps. It should also be noted that some schools recommend applicants acquire at least 1,000 hours of actual experience in some type of veterinary capacity.
Taking all of that information into consideration, it often takes more than good grades to gain admission to a veterinary college. Test scores and GPA are just a part of the equation.
There are also trends in the veterinary field which are helpful when applying. For example, the veterinarian profession is dominated by females as less than 30% of veterinarians are male. Another ongoing shortage applies to large animal specialties while those looking for a future in this specialization could increase their odds of acceptance.
Even then, it is difficult to gain admission which leads many aspiring vets overseas or down to the Caribbean for veterinary school. Choosing a school in Canada is also limited as there are only five accredited veterinary colleges in that entire country. Any of those paths that lead to a veterinary college outside of the United States always results in a much higher amount of debt as the cost of tuition, living expenses and relocation all see an increase.