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Applying to Penn Vet

Applying to Penn Vet


You've made the decision to apply. What's next? Here's a checklist that will help you get through the application process. You can check out what you need to matriculate by learning about our requirements. You can get application tips for the VMCAS, and, finally, you'll have a direct link to our Supplemental Information Form, a requirement of your application. 

As always, if you have questions, call or email us. We're here to help!

Contact Admissions

Application Checklist
  • Before You Apply

Learn about our matriculation requirements. You don't need to complete all outstanding coursework before you apply, but this information will let you know what you need and by when we need your transcripts.

  • Apply to Penn Vet (VMCAS)

Like most veterinary schools, Penn Vet uses the Veterinary Medical College Application Service's VMCAS application, offered by AAVMC, the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges.

We consider exposure to practice, research, or other areas of veterinary medicine to be essential qualifications for aspiring veterinarians. Your VMCAS application should include references to these experiences.

  • Letters of Recommendation (VMCAS)

Letters of recommendation should be requested and submitted using the 'VMCAS eLor' provided in the application. We suggest that applicants request recommendations from people who really “know” them and can speak about the applicant beyond basic information. The recommendation should provide us with depth in relation to academic/intellectual ability, understanding of veterinary medicine, and overall social and communication skills. We require at least three 'eLors', one from each of the following areas:

  1. A faculty member (Science academic highly recommended) who can speak to the applicant’s abilities not just as a student, but also in how they approach science.  The faculty member DOES NOT need to be someone who has taught the applicant in class, but should be able to give insights in relation to other students they have taught.
  2. A veterinarian who can discuss, in depth, the applicant's ability to consider the complexities of the profession, the science of veterinary medicine, and any qualities that are essential to the applicant becoming a successful veterinarian.
  3. Anyone of the applicant's choice, although we suggest that this 3rd reference be from another vet or science academic source.

VMCAS will accept up to six recommendations in the application.  Penn Vet only requires the three listed above. However, if you would like to submit more than the three, please do so. We will read any 'eLor' submitted in the application. That being said, we recommend choosing wisely and selecting sources who know you well.  The quality of your references is more important than the quantity.

  • GRE (VMCAS)

Performance on the general test of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE).

Please note that Penn Vet only requires the following sections: Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning. 

  • All Applicants must submit scores obtained on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) to the veterinary schools to which they are applying. 
  • The GRE Institution Code for Penn Vet is 2775.  Scores must be received by Oct 15th.
  • Transcripts (VMCAS)

You will need to send transcripts to VMCAS (VMCAS-Transcripts PO BOX 9126 Watertown, MA 02471), including cumulative undergraduate grade-point average, achievement in required preprofessional courses, advanced degrees and academic honors.

  • Essays (VMCAS)

We require five essays: Two Penn Vet Specific Essay questions and Three VMCAS Standard questions.

Three of the essays are required with the VMCAS application and two additional essays are required for Penn Vet.

Although these are direct questions, we recommend being prepared to answer each question with more than a general overview. You should include depth in your answers, using specific experiences (in veterinary medicine, research, class, etc.) to detail why you feel a certain way or are interested in a certain area.

This depth should give the Admissions office an indication of the applicant's ability to think beyond the surface of veterinary medicine.

  • Supplemental Information Form

The Supplemental Information Form and Processing Fee System will be available in May. The form and payment must be completed by the due date of the VMCAS application. No application will be considered without the form and processing fee payment completed by this date.  If you have any questions about the Supplemental Information Form and Processing Fee Payment, don't hesitate to contact us at admissions@vet.upenn.edu or 215-898-5434.

Once you begin, you will not be able to save and reenter at a later time. If you choose to leave before completion, you will need to begin the process again (the process takes about 10 to 15 minutes).

Payment of the processing fee with a credit card (preferred method) must be completed after you have finished the Supplemental Information Form (you will be directed to the payment system). Reentry at this point will not be possible. If you choose to pay by credit card, please make sure to use the exact address on file for your account as our payment processing system is very strict as it relates to the address of record.  If you cannot pay by credit card, you may exit after completion of the Supplemental Information Form and send a *check for $75.00 payable to: The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania. It should be mailed, along with your complete name and VMCAS Application Number to:

The School of Veterinary Medicine 
University of Pennsylvania 
Admissions Office 
3800 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

*If you choose to pay by check and it is returned, you will be assessed a $35.00 fee on top of the standard $75.00 fee.

The 2020 Supplemental Information Form and Application Processing Fee page is now available.  

Supplemental Information Form

For International Applicants


Penn Vet welcomes international applicants. Currently, Penn Vet accepts the majority of the starting class of 125 students from outside the state of Pennsylvania. This includes all other states within the U.S., U.S. territories and internationally. Academic qualifications for admission are the same for international students as for U.S. citizens.  All international students must have their foreign transcripts evaluated by World Educational Services (wes.org) and sent electronically to VMCAS prior to the deadline date.  VMCAS will not accept paper versions of the evaluation.

All applicants whose primary language is not English are required to submit scores from the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). Scores for each section of the test are expected to be at the 90th percentile or above. For those applicants who have earned undergraduate or graduate degrees from a college or university where English is the language of instruction, the TOEFL may be waived. The TOEFL is administered by the ETS (Educational Testing Service, www.ets.org) through testing centers worldwide. For VISA information, please go to the website of the Office of International Programs (OIP) at the University of Pennsylvania,  www.upenn.edu/oip/isss.


Once We Receive Your Application

Once you've completed your application, the next step will be the internal review by the Penn Vet Committee on Admissions of all of applications. We will then invite a select number of applicants for an interview.

About the Penn Vet Committee on Admissions

All applicants to Penn Vet are reviewed by our Committee on Admissions, a standing faculty committee.  Applicants are selected on a comparative basis.  Because there are many more applicants than places in each class, meeting all requirements for admission does not ensure acceptance. 

When making its selections, the committee considers all aspects of an applicant's file. Those we consider to be the most important include:  academic ability; familiarity with the profession and resultant sincerity of interest; recommendations of academic counselors, science faculty and veterinarians; GRE scores; character; personality; and general fitness and adaptability for a career in veterinary medicine.

The obligation to understand and meet Penn Vet’s admissions requirements rests solely with the applicant.


 Tips & Details

  • About Grades

    A grade of C (2.0) or better must be earned for these courses (Pass/Fail courses will not be accepted for requirements).

  • Quarters vs Semesters

    For prospective applicants at colleges/universities on a Quarter system, please pay special attention to the conversion to Semester credits. Quarter conversions must be at or above the Semester credit requirement. Anything short, even if by the smallest of fractions, will not meet the requirements. (Penn Vet conversion is: Qtr Units x .66 = Semester Credits).

  • Applying in Your Junior Year

    While we do consider junior year applicants (90 credits to matriculate), the more academic course work you have completed, the stronger the application specifically in science based (bio) courses. Students entering (not applying to) Penn Vet without completing the bachelors degree is less than 1%.

  • About AP Credits

    AP credits will be accepted toward matriculation requirements, however the course and credits given must itemized on your official college transcript.

  • Additional Coursework

    The choice of additional courses (other than the above requirements) is left to you and your required curriculum set forth by the degree granting institution. We recommend taking as many science-based as possible prior to applying to Penn Vet (mainly biology as the spectrum of available courses is closely related to medicine). Many of our applicants have at least 15 semester hours in biology and in many cases significantly more. Upper level biology courses with solid grades not only help show academic ability, but also help broaden your knowledge base.

  • A Broad Education

    While courses in the sciences are important for the application, we recommend that students also broaden their college years by taking courses in the humanities and social sciences. These courses don't replace those recommended in the sciences, but supplement learning and growth that should be gained in your undergraduate studies.

Questions? Always Welcome!

If you have questions about our matriculation requirements, or about any part of the application process, we're here to help. Call us, email us, get in touch!