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Frequently Asked Questions

 Applying to vet school is a big decision. You may want to know the facts before you start the process. Here are some answers to typical questions regarding the application process and beyond.


What are the criteria for PA residency?

  • To be considered a resident of PA, you must have lived in the state for 12 consecutive months prior to matriculation for other than educational purposes.

Do PA residents have a better chance of being admitted to Penn Vet?

  • Yes, about 34% of our class of 125 students comes from PA. Out of over 1,200 applicants, about 250 are from PA. That leaves about 1,000 applicants from outside of PA, from which we will take enough to fill the remainder of the class.

How do you apply to veterinary school?

  • Application is made by using the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS) application.

How do I get an application?

  • Information is available through the Association of American Veterinary Colleges (AAVMC) in Washington, DC. The phone number is 202.842.0773 or through the AAVMC Web site. This address will also give you access to the electronic application. There is no paper application.

Is there a secondary application and a secondary application fee?

  • Yes. You must pay the $75.00 processing fee and complete the Supplemental Information Form.  These must be completed online.   No application will be processed without the completion of the Information Form and payment of the processing fee by October 2 at 1:00 PM E.D.T.

    The Infomation Form and Payment will take about 10 to 15 minutes.  Please have your GRE Dates (and scores if applicable), the names of  your references on the VMCAS application and your GPAs (overall and last 45) available when you begin the Information card.  You cannot begin, save, then return to complete the information.  It must be completed in whole.  Your payment by Credit Card must also be made upon completion of the Information Form.

What is the average GPA of a successful applicant?

  • The average GPA for the 2013 entering class was 3.64.

Is there a standardized test to be taken?

  • Yes, the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is the test required for our school. The GRE reporting code for Penn Vet is 2775. The average verbal score is about 159.6 and the average quantitative score is about 158.2. We do not use the analytical score, and thus do not require the writing sample. When considering scores from multiple test dates, we will take the highest combined verbal and quantitative scores from the same test date.

What should my major be in college?

  • Your college major should be in an area of interest. Although about 85 percent of our applicants are science majors, it is not required. However, a series of science courses including chemistry, physics and biology are required by all applicants. Every year, we have students entering with degrees in language, history, business, fine arts, music and so forth. All of them have proven their ability to successfully complete science courses.

I've heard I need veterinary experience as part of my application. What kind of experience?

  • It is important for every applicant to understand the practice of veterinary medicine. Volunteering or working in a veterinary clinic will help you realize there is far more to veterinary medicine than just animals. The kind of practice depends on your interest area. If you are small-animal oriented, then you should work in a small-animal setting. If it is large animal, then your choice should be a large-animal practice. If you are curious, then try both or volunteer at a zoo or a wildlife rescue organization. If research is of interest to you, then get involved in a research project at your college or university. A minimum of 500 hours is recommended.

Do you admit students from some schools more readily than others?

  • An entering class represents from 75 to 85 different colleges and universities. A cluster of students always comes from Pennsylvania State University and from the University of Pennsylvania. While several schools have three or four students admitted, most have only one or two representatives. Choose a competitive school and, most importantly, do well.

Where is the veterinary campus?

  • The first two and a half years are spent on the University of Pennsylvania campus in West Philadelphia. The main laboratory and lecture facilities are located here, as well as the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital for companion animals. For those who are large-animal oriented, the school has a rural campus in Chester County, New Bolton Center. This 850-acre farm is home to the food-animal and the equine medicine programs.

What are the prerequisite courses required for admission to Penn Vet?

  • The following courses are required of all applicants to enter the school:

    • General chemistry + labs = two semesters
    • Organic chemistry + lab = one semester
    • General physics + labs = two semesters
    • Three biology courses of your choice, one of which should provide the basics of genetics
    • Biochemistry = one semester 
    • Microbiology = one semester
    • One semester of calculus
    • One semester of statistics 
    • Two English courses (including one composition course)
    • Two behavioral science or humanities courses (or one of each)

    Although these are the basic prerequisites, in the current competitive market, many applicants have more upper-level biology courses, and most have included at least one semester of biochemistry. Prerequisite classes must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or better to be acceptable.

Does Penn Vet accept international applications?

  • Yes, international applications are included in the non-Pennsylvania applicant pool. There are no additional prerequisite courses required. International transcripts must be evaluated by an agency on a course-by course basis as recommended on the VMCAS Web site. The TOEFL examination also is required.

Can I apply before I have completed all the prerequisite courses?

  • Yes, frequently prerequisites are being completed during the application year. All prerequisite courses must be completed by the time you register for classes at our school.

How much does it cost to attend Penn Vet?

  • The current cost of tuition is $47,668. Legal residents of Pennsylvania are awarded a subsidy for approximately $10,000 each year as a result of Penn Vet funding by the State of Pennsylvania.

Does Penn accept AP (Advanced Placement) and IB (International Baccalaureate) credit?

  • Yes, we do accept AP and IB credit for prerequisite courses as long as the AP credit has been accepted by a college or university for credit toward graduation. It should be recorded clearly on the transcript from that college or university.

Does Penn Vet accept transfer students?

Where should transcripts be sent?

  • Please send all transcripts directly to VMCAS.  They should not be sent to Penn Vet.

Are fall transcripts from the application year required?

  • Fall transcripts are not required for the application.  If they are needed, you will be contacted by admissions.

Does my international transcript from a semester or year abroad need to be evaluated by a VMCAS recommended agency?

  • Grades are important in the evaluation of your application to veterinary school. If your degree-granting institution does not document grades and credits for study abroad, then your international transcript must be evaluated course-by-course by an agency as recommended by VMCAS.

How is contact information updated after the VMCAS application is completed and mailed?

  • Please be advised, that once the VMCAS application is submitted information cannot be updated.  For our records you may submit address, e-mail, telephone and so forth to Admissions@vet.upenn.edu.

How are the total GPA and last 45-hour GPA calculated?

  • If only one school has been attended, the total GPA usually will be on the transcript. If you have multiple transcripts, the credit hours for each course must be multiplied by the numerical value of each grade (see back side of transcript), added up and divided by the total number of credits. The last 45-hour GPA is calculated in the same way except that only the last 45 credits are included. Include all courses/credits in the semester in which the 45th hour falls. You may then have more than 45 hours, which presents no problem.

Does Penn Vet interview applicants being considered for admission?

  • Yes, interviews are held on Fridays beginning in January and running into February. They are approximately one half hour in length with a member of the Admissions Committee. Interviews are very important to us because we want every student being considered to visit our campus, talk with our students and meet some of our faculty. It's an opportunity to see and learn in person what Penn Vet offers.

Are scholarships available for incoming students?

  • Recruitment Scholarships are used to help secure extraordinary students who will be important to Penn Vet and the Veterinary profession. Successful applications will illustrate high success in veterinary school, have a plan for the future that has begun to be acted upon and looks globally in practicing veterinary medicine. While grades and test scores may be important, they are not the deciding factor in the selection process.