Application Submission | May- September
When to apply: quality over speed You don’t need to apply as soon as the VMCAS opens in May. This isn’t a ‘first come, first serve’ process. Although we don't advise waiting until the last minute, there is plenty of time through the months of June, July and August to include all information in your application and submit all the required items to VMCAS. To make sure we are comparing applications fairly and inclusively, we start reviewing our applications in late fall (November).
All applicants are notified of receipt of their application by email no later than December 5. At this time, if an application is missing items, applicants will be notified.
Application Review | October-November
Your academic record matters. Includes cumulative undergraduate grade-point average, achievement in required pre-professional courses, advanced degrees and academic honors.
Veterinary, animal and/or health science experienceThis may include the care, knowledge, and experience gained working in a veterinary, agricultural, research, human health and or biomedical setting. Such experience should be of appropriate breadth and depth and should entail more than having provided routine care and feeding of companion animals or family pets.
A well-rounded and exceptional individualExtracurricular activities, community engagement, leadership roles, employment not related to animals. Potential for contribution to, and advancement of, the profession.
Invitations for an Interview | December-February
Personal interviews with the Committee on Admissions are by invitation only. We unfortunately can't guarantee interviews for all our applicants.
We will send out invites for interview throughout January and February, in many groupings and usually right up to our last interview day.
While we try to give at least two (2) weeks notice prior to an interview, we also have openings that become available for a specific interview day inside of the standard two (2) week window.
Interviews | January-February
We will hold interviews in January and February and suggest that you not schedule any trips, vacations, or events that cannot be canceled during this time, as we will not reschedule an applicants interview day. It is best to keep these months open for a possible interview.
Interviews are required and virtually using the Zoom platform.
File Your FAFSA | January-February
Use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form to apply for financial aid. Learn more about the FAFSA
Decisions | February-March
All applicants are notified of the committee's decision by email between January and April. However most applicants will be notified by the end February.
Applicants who have not been accepted may request an appointment for counseling in late spring in preparation for an application the following year. If you have previously applied, but were not selected, you must apply again through the complete VMCAS process to be reconsidered.
The Interview: What We Look For
After applications have been reviewed, Penn Vet will hold interviews for anyone being considered. These interviews allow the Admissions Committee to evaluate an applicant’s understanding and commitment to veterinary medicine, communication skills, determination and overall interest in Penn Vet.
Solid academic ability
We ask, “Can the applicant do the work that will be required in vet school?”. We won’t just look at the GPA and make a decision. We look at all grades, and coursework taken to evaluate an applicant’s academic ability and will focus on the sciences, especially the upper level science courses.
Veterinary experience and an understanding of veterinary medicine
Vet experience is necessary for developing an understanding of the field. While we recommend getting as many hours in as many different areas of vet med as you realistically can, it is not just for the sake of making your application look great. We recommend getting these hours and seeing as many different types of medicine because it allows the potential vet student to mature their thinking regarding the profession. Vet med is a dynamic profession with an extremely wide scope that impacts animals and humans alike. We value a true understanding in what veterinarians provide and how they provide it. The only way to obtain this understanding is through vet experience. We won’t ask you to get experience in every single area of vet med. Your goal, however, should be to get as much quality experience as you can, so that you will have meaningful experiences to draw from in explaining why you want to be a veterinarian and what you understand about the profession.
An area of interest
We ask our applicants to indicate their area of interest. This is not a binding decision, as we know an education in Penn Vet’s VMD program will open a lot of different doors for students. We recommend that when applicants select an area of interest, they have vet experience to support the decision. Applicants should have some basic understanding of where they see their career going and should be able to speak about their area of interest with a clear understanding.
Applicants should have recommendations from Science faculty members and veterinarians who can go beyond basic characteristics (E.g., they were on time, smiled a lot, did what they were asked). Your recommendations should speak to those things, but more importantly should be able to tell us why you will be able to succeed both academically and professionally.
Animal experience is experience around animals but not with a veterinarian. Although these experiences aren’t as important as the vet experience, time around animals in shelters, labs, barns, zoos and farms can all have impact on an understanding of the veterinary profession.
A Well-Rounded Individual
Extracurricular activities, community service, social clubs, athletics, music, leadership roles and employment is important. As much as we value vet experience, we additionally value students with a wealth of experiences that have matured their thinking in veterinary medicine and on a holistic level.