The Application Process
Last year, I wasn’t even sure if I would be applying to vet school. It had been my original plan to apply in 2015 but after a carjacking in January and an apartment fire in March (not even kidding), getting my application together seemed impossible. Honestly, a lot of things seemed impossible. I was lucky to have a lot of support getting back on my feet after the unfortunate events that had transpired earlier in the year. By July I had made the decision that, YES, I was going to apply.
Applying is a lot of work. There’s a lot to get together; references, transcripts, essays, parents’ information, etc. Though the VMCAS (Veterinary Medical College Application Service) makes things a little easier by having certain aspects of your application all in one place for all of the schools you may be applying to, most of the schools require supplemental applications as well. These supplemental applications are sometimes no big deal and just have a few extra questions, but a lot of them require extra essay responses, verifying all of your prereqs again (VMCAS has you input your entire transcript one class at a time), listing all previous work history and what each job taught you, etc. One school even required its applicants to write a full-blown research paper. As if that all isn’t enough, almost all of the schools require a supplemental application fee which is on top of the fee you pay for each school through the VMCAS. So applying is also expensive.
I would recommend having a bit of a savings before deciding to apply. I believe each school through VMCAS averages out to $115 per application. So if you are applying to multiple schools, this can add up quickly. One other expensive aspect of applying is taking the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) which most schools require. The GRE cost $200 when I took it last summer. Right after you finish the test you may send your scores to up to 4 schools so I would suggest having a list ready when you go. Beyond those 4 schools, for any other schools you choose to send your scores to, you must pay an additional fee per school. Again, this can add up quickly depending on how many you apply to.
This will shock some people, but I did not apply to my in-state school (Purdue). I did’t have a prerequisite they require: Animal Nutrition. This course was not offered at the undergraduate school I attended and though Purdue does offer it as an online course, after the carjacking and fire at the beginning of the year I had neither the time nor money to take the course in 2015. I told myself that if I didn’t get into a school this year, I could always look into taking that course and applying to Purdue the next year. To be honest, I really wasn’t that bummed about not going to my in-state school. Sure, no one can argue with in-state tuition – but I felt ready for a change. Indiana is not a bad place, but some pretty bad things have recently happened to me here and events like that kind of give you the “let’s move on” itch. So I applied to some out-of-state schools and the two accredited Caribbean schools. I remember looking through the list of accredited schools in the last couple of days before the application deadline and seeing University College Dublin on the list. I have ALWAYS wanted to visit Ireland. I thought, what the heck, I’ll just see what else they require for their supplemental application. The only extra requirement was another essay. It was supposed to be another personal statement that was to differ from the one I had already written in my VMCAS application. Part of it had to explain how I considered myself to be diverse. This wasn’t too terrible of a request since a few of the other schools had already touched on the diversity question and since I had always been so interested in going to Ireland, I figured it wouldn’t be too difficult to write an essay that expressed my passion for travel, animals and Ireland specifically. And so I wrote one more essay and paid one more fee – on a whim.