MSU vet school has about 1,000 candidates apply each year.
Maria got into MSU vet school by being taken off of a waitlist. Mississippi State University usually admits around 92 students each year and Maria was one of them. The MSU vet school class is typically chosen in mid to late February. Maria applied to veterinary school 2 years in a row, got invited to interview at 5 schools, and got into MSU vet school on her 2nd application cycle.
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If you are thinking about applying to one of the accredited veterinary schools, they all have different requirements. Some schools require organic chemistry lecture and lab and others just lecture, and then some require organic chemistry lecture and lab for orgo 1 but just lecture for orgo 2. 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.
Maria, Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine, 2017
What was your major in undergraduate college?
At what age did you first apply to vet school?
How many schools did you apply to?
4 my first cycle, 7 my second year
How many application cycles did you apply to, before being accepted to MSU vet school?
How many schools invited you for an interview?
2 my first cycle, 3 the second
How many schools were you waitlisted at?
2 my first cycle, 3 the second
I think two of the schools I applied to automatically put people who weren’t accepted on their waitlist.
How many of those gave you an acceptance letter?
1 (was taken off a waitlist) for MSU vet school.
Do you remember any specifically challenging interview questions?
Most of the challenging ones I can think of are from a school we were made to sign an oath requiring us not to share interview questions, sorry. I will say SDN (studentdoctor.net) helped me prepare much better than I would have just googling “common interview questions.”
What was your GPA (in undergraduate)?
What was your GRE score?
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Did you attend grad school?
Did you have large and small animal experience prior to applying to veterinary school?
Both. A much higher amount of small animal experience my first cycle, and no large animal vet experience until my second cycle
What types of paying jobs did you have before getting into MSU vet school?
Lifeguard, veterinary assistant
How many people read your personal statement before submitting it?
3 I believe. My mom, my boyfriend (had them look for grammatical errors, made sure I didn’t ramble), and my mom’s friend who used to be a graduate professor (had her look for the more technical stuff that would have had it go from a good to a great statement, hopefully).
Did you volunteer? If so, where?
Yes. I did NHS and Interact Club in HS (I was recommended by one admissions dean to put in high school stuff for my second cycle), as well as working at the local animal shelter throughout college.
When did you decide to become a vet?
Pretty much as soon as I knew it was a job. I’ve always loved animals (cliche, I know), and I had a growing interest in medicine as I went through school and learned more about it.
Did you interview any vets before starting the application process and finally getting into Mississippi State University? If so how did you approach them?
Not really. I worked for a few vets before applying and they would give some advice here and there. I also had a cousin going through medical school and since they had a similar application process he also gave me advice.
Were you a member of any clubs at your school? If so, which ones?
Yep, haha. I started a quidditch team my freshman year of college. I also added that in high school I was in NHS, book club, art club, band, musicals, and possibly more, can’t remember.
Did you apply for vet school after, or during your Bachelor’s education?
I applied the summer after my junior year of university.
Who gave you your letters of recommendation? Did you know them well?
I had them from both Professors and vets. Did I know them well? Not as well as I would have liked for some of the vets. My professor, I knew fairly well, we had a ~16 person class and we went on a weekend-long camping trip as a class, so I definitely knew him much better than all my other professors. For two of the vets I was only shadowing them for a few months, so didn’t get to know them very well. For the other two, I shadowed/assisted them for around 5 months before I asked for letters of rec, and they were large animal vets so we spent a lot of time in the trucks between calls. Plenty of time to chat about just about anything.
Did you find the application process stressful? Why or why not?
Yes. There’s an absurdly large amount of waiting. Waiting for the process to start, waiting for your letters to be sent in, waiting for a phase 1 answer, then phase 2, then an interview (some schools just skipped to the interview offer), then waiting for an acceptance/denial/waitlist decision.
There’s also a lot of anxiety that comes with it. So much of the process is you clinging on the judgment of others (admissions directors). Since there’s no “right” answer to anything in this process, a lot of whether you get a call depends on the minutiae of what you write, along with what other applicants are like this year. I had one school who put me on the waitlist the first cycle not even give me an interview my second cycle, even though I “fixed” everything they asked me to. No explanation as to why there was such a discrepancy on their decision for the same person, especially when I thought I had significantly improved my application.
Do you have any last words of wisdom?
Start early. A lot of schools expect a lot of experience hours, and I think mine were lower compared to a lot of applicants, some of whom started getting vet experience at 13. Variation is also definitely appreciated. Probably most of the applicants have some type of small animal experience, much less have the large animal. Most programs have you working with both types, so it’s good to have knowledge of both so you at least have the ability to handle yourself around them.
Include everything on your application that could possibly be helpful, you don’t get points for leaving things out. Include high school jobs, experience, extracurriculars. Include that one time you went to a wildlife first aid seminar for 2 hours. Include that you’ve had pets since you were born. Seriously, everything you can think of.
I know this might conflict a bit with the first, but have hobbies! Vet school acceptance is no longer just about the best GPA, they also want to see that you can communicate with other human beings. I swear a big reason I was accepted was that I was the founder and president of a freaking quidditch team. It’s an awesome thing to talk about when it came up in interviews (¾ that I had) and relaxed me a lot that I could talk about something I knew well and that brought up fun memories.
Again, probably contradicting myself again, but keep track of your GPA. 3.5 is no longer average like I was led to believe, it’s closer to 3.7-3.8. Obviously, it won’t keep you out of vet school (I got in!), but I have a feeling that they care more about it than they let on.
Finally, know that you don’t have to give up if you don’t get in your first try. Go get file reviews from the schools you applied to so you can improve, it’s incredibly helpful and enlightening. Just know that if it was stressful for you the first time, it may be doubly so the second, or third. Definitely, use the gap year to improve yourself in some way, whether that’s retaking a class, taking classes other schools required so you can apply to more (I did this), adding to your experience (did this too), or anything else that may help.
If you get in, you are meant to be here! I was a bit worried about doing well since it took me two attempts to get in, but as I finish my first semester, I’m currently doing better in vet school than I did in undergrad!
Any Study tips?
Here’s a link to tips that I’ve learned during the first semester. “Things I’ve learned about studying in the first three months of vet school”
How can people find you?
vulnera-sanentura.tumblr.com (vet school journey blog)
awomanofletters.tumblr.com (main, fun blog, also some vet stuff)