What To Do If You Are Rejected From Vet School: Practical Steps and Alternatives

Rejections can be disheartening, but being turned down from veterinary school doesn’t mark the end of your journey. Many factors can contribute to not getting accepted into your dream program, but it’s important to remember this rejection may be just a temporary setback in achieving your goals.

In this article, we’ll explore the steps you should take if you find yourself in this situation.

Firstly, please take a moment to acknowledge your disappointment and understand that it is okay to feel upset. But more importantly, congratulate yourself on how far you’ve come. You’ve put in tremendous effort and dedication, and it’s natural to feel this way.

However, use this experience as an opportunity to re-evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. Reflecting on these aspects will help you prioritize your actions and better prepare for your next attempt.

Additionally, it’s essential to remain proactive and seek guidance from various sources. Reach out to advisors, friends, and other professionals in the field for their insights and advice.

They may provide a fresh perspective or share their experiences, which can help you identify the best path forward and offer hope for future success.

Understanding The Reasons For Rejection

Academic Performance

Your grades play a significant role in the admission process. Many vet schools have minimum GPA requirements; unfortunately, lower GPAs may affect your chances. Remember that the more competitive the school, the higher the GPA requirement.

Too Many “W’s” on Your Transcript

A transcript full of course withdrawals can make some admissions committees question your long-term commitment. It might be a red flag that you struggle with completing what you’ve started.

We wrote this: to help you learn more about how a “w” affects your VMCAS application.

Lack of Experience

Vet schools seek applicants with a range of experiences in animal care. If your application needs more animal care hours or diversity, admissions committees might hesitate to offer you a spot.

Strong veterinary experience can allow you to get into vet school even with a 3.2 GPA.

Letter of Recommendation – Not Good Enough

Sometimes if the person who writes your letter of recommendation doesn’t know you well enough, the letter may need to be stronger. It’s imperative to ask for LOR from people who know you well.

Check out how this student, Caitlin realized their letters of recommendation needed to be better. When they were ready to ask new people to write one, the letter showcased them favorably. So they took a gap year while building relationships.

Personal Statement

Your statement showcases who you are and why you are a perfect fit for a vet school. Weak writing or an unclear message can give the wrong impression, impacting your chances of acceptance.

Interview Skills

The interview process helps vet schools assess your interpersonal skills and passion for the field. Poorly answering questions or not connecting well with the interviewer may hurt your chances.

Benjamin, a student graduating from Ohio State, says, “The best prep, in my opinion, is to have mock interviews and have friends find or come up with challenging questions to hone your ability to answer calmly and coherently when under pressure.” Read his full interview here.

You Didn’t Meet the Criteria for the School You Applied to

Each vet school has specific admission requirements. Your application may be rejected if you do not meet these criteria (e.g., prerequisite courses, standardized tests).

The Applicant Pool Was High = More Competition

Admissions can be competitive; sometimes, even with a strong application, you might face an exceptionally talented pool of applicants. This circumstance is often beyond your control.

The best thing you can do is to improve your application by adding more veterinary experience hours and try again.

No Good Reason

In some cases, the reason for rejection might not be apparent. It’s important to remember that many variables come into play during admissions.

Furthermore, rejection doesn’t necessarily mean you are not fit for a career in veterinary medicine. Some of the best veterinarians in the world have to apply to vet school more than once.

Improving Your Application After Vet School Rejection

Rejected From Vet School

Boosting Your Grades

Maintaining a strong academic performance to showcase your passion and dedication to veterinary medicine is crucial.

If your grades were weak, take the time to retake specific courses or consider enrolling in additional classes related to animal sciences. Also, try finding a tutor or forming a study group to improve your understanding of the subject matter.

Gaining Veterinary Experience

Hands-on experience is vital for any aspiring veterinarian. If you haven’t already, seek opportunities to become involved in animal care environments. Veterinary experience can include:

  • Volunteering or shadowing at a local veterinary clinic, animal hospital, or animal shelter
  • Participating in relevant animal care and research internships
  • Joining clubs and organizations related to animal care or veterinary medicine

Enhancing Your Personal Statement

A strong personal statement can help set you apart from other applicants. Reflect on your experience, motivation, and goals, then rewrite your idea to make it compelling and engaging. You may want to:

  • Address the setbacks you’ve experienced and illustrate how they’ve shaped your commitment to veterinary medicine.
  • Provide clear examples of your experiences or achievements
  • Ask for feedback from friends, family, or professionals within the industry
  • Make it personable and unique

Practice Interview Techniques

Re-evaluate your interview performance and seek ways to improve. Consider participating in mock interviews, pursuing peer feedback, or working with an interview coach. Ultimately, your communication skills are just as essential as your academic record in the veterinary field.

Focus on:

  • Keeping up to date on vet med news and current events
  • Articulating your reasons for pursuing veterinary medicine
  • Demonstrating your understanding of the profession’s challenges and rewards
  • Highlighting your skills, experience, and passion for animal care

Alternative Career Paths if You Are Rejected from Vet School

Veterinary Technician

A veterinary technician is a great alternative career path. You’ll be able to work closely with animals and assist in their medical care. Enrolling in a veterinary technician program typically takes two years to complete, leading to an associate’s degree.

As a veterinary technician, you’ll conduct lab tests, administer medications, and assist in surgeries. Afterward, you may need to pass a state licensing exam, but requirements vary by location. Learn more about the differences between vet techs and vet assistants here.

Animal Behaviour Specialist

Consider becoming an animal behavior specialist if you are passionate about understanding why animals behave as they do. You’ll help address behavioral issues in pets and work with owners to create customized training plans.

Pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in animal behavior, psychology, or a related field will provide you with the necessary knowledge. Check out some of these incredible animal behavior books to get you started.

Additionally, consider obtaining certifications from organizations like the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) to enhance your credibility.

Wildlife Rehabilitation

Wildlife rehabilitation might be the right path for you if you want to help injured, sick, or orphaned wild animals. To gain experience, volunteer at a wildlife rehabilitation center or pursue formal education in the field.

You may study programs such as wildlife management, zoology, or biology. Depending on your location, you may need to obtain a permit or license before starting this career.

As a wildlife rehabilitator, you’ll assess, treat, and rehabilitate animals before releasing them back into their natural habitats. Check out some more ideas for jobs related to animals.

Animal Nutritionist

Lastly, consider a career as an animal nutritionist if you have a strong interest in animal health and wellbeing. Animal nutritionists formulate diets and feeding plans to ensure the optimal health of pets, livestock, or zoo animals.

To become an animal nutritionist, obtain a bachelor’s or master’s degree in animal science, animal nutrition, or a related field. Depending on your chosen area of specialization, you may also need board certification to be considered a professional in the field.

Reapplying After You Are Rejected From Vet School

Consider A Different Vet School

Don’t lose hope if you have been rejected from your desired veterinary school. It’s worth considering applying to different vet schools, as each institution has varying admission requirements and preferences.

Research and compare vet schools to identify those that align with your qualifications, experiences, and interests.

By expanding your range of options, you increase your chances of being accepted and pursuing your dream career. Be bold in checking out some of the Caribbean veterinary schools.

Improve Overall Application

Take the time to critically examine your application and reflect on areas that need improvement. Here are some ways to enhance your overall application:

  • Academic Performance: Strengthen your academic record by retaking courses with low grades or enrolling in post-baccalaureate programs. If your transcript doesn’t accurately represent your capabilities, consider writing a supplemental essay explaining any extenuating circumstances.

  • GRE Scores: If your GRE scores fall below the average range for your target schools, consider retaking the exam. Invest time in adequate preparation, utilizing resources like practice tests and study guides to help improve your scores. Learn more about how many GRE practice tests to take.

  • Veterinary Experience: Accumulate more hands-on experience in the veterinary field. This may include internships, volunteering at clinics or animal shelters, or working as a veterinary assistant. The more exposure you have, the better your chances of acceptance.

  • Extracurricular Activities: Participate in clubs, organizations, or research projects related to your field. Engage in leadership roles or community service to demonstrate your commitment and passion for your chosen career.

  • Letters of Recommendation: Reach out to new or additional references who can attest to your skills and qualities as a future veterinarian. Ensure your letter writers are familiar with your experiences and can provide a strong endorsement.

By addressing these aspects of your application, you’ll be better positioned for success when reapplying to vet schools. Stay persistent, and remember that rejection is not a reflection of your potential but an opportunity for growth and improvement.

Seeking Advice And Support When You Are Rejected from Vet School 


Seeking advice and support from mentors can be highly beneficial during the veterinary school application process. Connect with professionals in the field, like veterinarians or veterinary students, whose guidance can help you move forward after being rejected.

These individuals may also offer insights to strengthen your future applications and provide emotional support for times of difficulty.

Veterinary Forums

It’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed or discouraged during the application process. Take advantage of online communities and forums (like Student Doctor Network, APVMA FB group, and Reddit), which are full of helpful advice from other individuals who have gone through similar experiences.

These resources provide a supportive network for like-minded individuals to share their challenges and successes as they pursue their dreams of becoming veterinarians.

Professional Associations

Reach out to professional organizations like the American Pre-Veterinary Medical Asociation (APVMA) or the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). These associations can provide support and resources to guide you through the application process.

Furthermore, they’ll often host events, such as webinars or workshops, which may give invaluable advice for overcoming rejection and acquiring skills for a successful veterinary career.

Final Thoughts for Rejected from Vet School 

Rejection is a hard pill to swallow, but it’s imperative to focus on the fact that there are many paths to success. Keep sight of your goals and utilize effective strategies to improve your chances of acceptance into veterinary school.

Realize that rejection can be an opportunity for growth and improvement—not only in the academic realm but also in the personal realm. Utilize this time to reflect and evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, and goals.

Remember to seek advice and support from mentors, online communities, and professional organizations as you pursue your dreams of becoming a veterinarian. Best of luck!