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?
Do PA residents have a better chance of being admitted to Penn Vet?
Yes, about 30% 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?
How do I get an 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 September 15, 2016at 11:59 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?
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 (this code also sends the score to VMCAS). All scores must be reported by October 15, 2016 (reporting takes up to 4 weeks...please consider this when selecting your test date). The average verbal score is about 158 and the average quantitative score is about 157.5. 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. Please make sure to send all test scores so that we may determine which individual score is best.
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. All prerequisite courses must be completed and final transcripts received in the Penn Vet Admissions office by July 20th of the matriculation year.
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 (90th Percentile Scores).
Can I apply before I have completed all the prerequisite courses?
How much does it cost to attend Penn Vet?
Does Penn accept AP (Advanced Placement) and IB (International Baccalaureate) credit?
Does Penn Vet accept transfer students?
Where should transcripts be sent?
Are fall transcripts from the application year required?
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 World Education Services (www.wes.org) as recommended by VMCAS. VMCAS will only accept foreign transcript evaluations from WES and they must be sent electronically by WES to VMCAS before the Sept 15th application deadline.
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 applicants will illustrate great potential 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.
Food Animal subsidies equal to full tuition for four years may be offered to selected Pennsylvania residents who show a history of interest and experience in Food Animal medicine. Students must show very strong academic success in the past.