How hard is it to get into vet school?   There are numerous factors that contribute to a vet school acceptance letter. How hard is vet school? The contributing factors are: GPA, GRE scores, unique experiences, veterinary experience, how well you interview, and letters of recommendation are just a few of the many items that play a part in your acceptance.

This interview with Kelly Ellis will provide some insights into how she got accepted to Lincoln Memorial University. How hard is vet school? Well, Kelly goes into detail about why she chose the people she did for her letters of recommendation and so much more!

If you are thinking about applying to one of the 30 US veterinary schools, they all have different requirements. Some schools require microbiology but a few don’t. This book will lay it all out for you in a comprehensive guide.  Check it out here: Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements (VMSAR)

Name, Veterinary School attended, and year that you started.

Kelly Ellis, Lincoln Memorial University, 2016

Who are the animals that you currently share your life with?

Rafiki, a loveable miniature schnauzer

Kelly Ellis holding a pig. Student at LMU vet school.

Where did you attend undergrad and what was your major?

Texas A&M University, Biomedical Sciences

At what age did you first apply to vet school? 


How Hard is Vet School?

If you’re wondering how hard it is to become a vet, most applicants have to apply multiple years in a row in order to be accepted. The path to becoming a veterinarian involves numerous steps.

While becoming a vet is already challenging, you have to make it through veterinary college.

How many schools/application cycles did you apply to before being accepted?

12 schools, 3 application cycles

Notable mention: [If you want to see a research comparison on how many vet schools other students applied to, we compiled data this past year.]

Many people ask the question “How hard is it to get into veterinary school?”. Having a strong application takes years of dedication. Is there anything aside from grad school that you think specifically strengthened your application between cycles and got you accepted?

I believe that working full-time between application cycles helped tremendously. I was able to gain so many more veterinary hours. In addition to the hours I gained, I was also able to expand my animal experience not only with companion animals but pocket pets and birds as well. Oh, I also rewrote my admissions letter and had multiple people proofread it.

Being waitlisted for vet school is tough. Did you experience this?

Yes, I was waitlisted at Western University.

How many schools invited you for an interview? 


How many of those gave you an acceptance letter?


If you were accepted to more than one school, what were some reasons in your choice of school?

The programs, research focus, and location played a huge role in why I chose to attend  Lincoln Memorial University veterinary school.

Do you remember any specifically challenging interview questions?

How do you handle change?

What was your GPA (in undergraduate)?


What was your GRE score?


Here are some ideas for free GRE timed practice tests.

Did you apply to vet school after, or during your Bachelor’s education?

The first time I applied was during my senior year of my Bachelor’s degree.

Did you attend grad school?

New Mexico State University

How many extracurricular activities did you list on your application?


Getting into vet school can be a hard and competitive experience, did you have exotic, large, and small animal experience prior to applying to veterinary school?

Yes, I was lucky enough to get quite a bit of large animal experience during my Master’s program. At the clinic, I volunteered and worked at, I was exposed to exotics, small and large animals. 

What types of paying jobs did you have before getting accepted to Lincoln Memorial University  College of Veterinary Medicine? 

Work-study at Texas A&M’s library

House & Pet Sitting Services

Veterinary Technician

Did you volunteer? If so, where? 

Small animal hospital (Johnsen Animal Hospital)

Small and Large animal hospital (East El Paso Animal Hospital)

Comparative Anatomy: Manual of Vertebrate Dissection
  • Fishbeck, Dale W. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 576 Pages - 03/01/2015 (Publication Date) - Morton Publishing Company (Publisher)

Learning how hard it is to be a vet is part of the process and the more volunteer and vet experience hours you get the better.

How many people read your personal statement before submitting it?

2 (both English majors)

When did you decide to become a vet?

When I was 6 years old and asked my mom, “who takes care of animals when they are sick?”

Did you interview any vets before starting the application process? If so how did you approach them? 

The clinic I work at has 6 doctors and they were all active players in my application process. I have a great relationship with them and just started a conversation with them, usually when we were out on a farm call.

Were you a member of any clubs at your undergraduate school? If so, which ones?

Pre-Vet Society

Biomedical science student association

Did you join student clubs in your DVM program? If so, which ones? Were they helpful?

Student Future Theriogenologists (SFT)

American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) If you are working with horses, it’s important to have a large animal stethoscope.

Student Chapter American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners (SCAASRP)

Student Chapter of American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA)

Yes, these clubs have been extremely helpful. I already had an interest in reproduction and large animals and through my involvement in these clubs, I have had amazing opportunities to further expand my knowledge and experiences. SAVMA is a great way to get connected and network with others in the veterinary field, especially if you participate in the annual SAVMA symposium. 

Kelly Ellis LMU student in white coat.

Who gave you your letters of recommendation? Did you know them well?

My anatomy professor wrote one of my letters. I often went to her for help as a student in her class and later when I connected her with my sister, a marine biologist, who provided help to the professor and anatomy course students. My sister provided marine anatomy experiences for students. 

My boss of 7 years and associate doctors at the clinic I worked at also wrote letters for me. I have known these doctors since I started as a volunteer and they have watched me grow and mature into the person I am today. They were my biggest advocates during my whole application process and are still a big part of my life today.

My Master’s advisor wrote one of my letters. He has been one of the most influential people in my life. My master’s only lasted a year and a half, but the relationship and impact he has had on my life will last a lifetime. I credit him with my love of small ruminants, endocrinology, and reproduction.

Did you find the application process stressful? Why or why not?

Yes, the daunting task of entering in all of your classes, figuring out what schools you would like to go to, and completing all of the supplemental applications was very stressful. Oh and don’t forget the deadlines!

Are you happy that you chose this career? What makes you most happy about this career choice?

I am extremely happy I chose this career. The look on the owner’s face when you are able to heal their animal, calm their nerves and fears, and convey to them how much you care for their animal’s wellbeing.

Since getting into vet school is sometimes considered harder than medical school, do you have any advice for students, once accepted?

Remember how hard you had to work to get accepted into a DVM program. You did it and you belong here. Now enjoy the journey!

Any study tips for the extreme course load in a hard program like veterinary medicine?

Start studying now. It is easier if you study as you go, instead of trying to play catch up. Find a small study group and you’ll be able to feed off and each person’s strengths, which are different from yours.

Unlimited Memory: How to Use Advanced Learning Strategies to Learn Faster, Remember More and be More Productive
  • Horsley, Kevin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 141 Pages - 03/28/2016 (Publication Date) - (Publisher)

What have been some of your favorite classes, within your DVM program?

Physiology and Veterinary Pathology.

What has been the most challenging class, in your DVM program so far?


As a student, did you have to take out loans for your education? If so, are you concerned about the amount of debt you will have after graduation?

Yes; Yes, but I know that with a strict budget and vigilant payback schedule I will be able to manage it.

Is there anything in particular about your DVM program or the school itself that you like?

I love the sense of community my school provides. I truly believe that the professors and staff care about our learning process and are giving us the best opportunities to learn the skills we will need once we graduate. If you are not from an area that has a Fall season, this is a beautiful place to see the colors of Fall.

Do you have any advice for students thinking about attending your University?

Apply. You never know until you try. If you can come down for a campus visit, the student ambassadors will be happy to answers any questions or concerns you have.

Visiting this Lincoln vet school and talking to other students can assist you in making an informed decision.

At this point do you think you will have a specialty?

The jury is still out on that one.

As a student have you had any challenging cases yet?

Not yet as I am only a second year, but I look forward to the challenge.

Do you have any last words of wisdom?

Trust in God, he has a plan, but if you want to make him laugh tell him yours.

How can people find you?; Facebook