We have been lucky enough to have two former employees get accepted into veterinary school at the University of Minnesota! They graciously took time out of their busy schedules to describe their individual application processes, both of which are very different! Read below to learn about their individual experiences.
This first excerpt is from Nikole Mader, she has shadowed with MVVS for about 6 years, and has worked for us for about 3 years:
I didn’t always know that I wanted to be a veterinarian, but once I figured it out I knew no other job would complete my life like becoming a doctor. I had several jobs on small dairy, beef, and swine farms where my interests were initially developed. I began to shadow veterinarians in high school in order to gain more experience in the clinic and on the farm. After high school I went to the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities for my undergraduate degree, where I received by Bachelors of Animal Science. I was part of the pre-veterinary club, an agriculture based sorority called Beta of Clovia, and took a heavy course load in basic sciences. At the end of my freshman year I applied to veterinary school through the VetFast program. This is a special, separate type of application reserved for freshman undergraduate students that want to pursue a further degree in large animal, rural, and production animal veterinary medicine. There is a national shortage of these types of veterinarians, and in order to maintain a safe and healthy food supply, we need large animal veterinarians to oversee these animals’ health. This program is only available to students majoring in animal science or biology at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Crookston, or Morris campuses. The application process is similar to that of a traditional veterinary school applicant, requiring three letters of recommendation, a high GPA from both high school and college, as well as those transcripts and a strong ACT or SAT score. If the application makes it through the first round of scrutiny, a behavioral interview is offered, and if the interview was satisfactory, a place in the veterinary class is earned.
The benefits of applying through the VetFAST program is that I was not required to take the GRE exam, and because VetFAST is internal within the University of Minnesota, I did not have to use the VMCAS application program, and overall saved money. I was also able to better plan my undergraduate semesters, knowing what classes I would be required to complete before entering vet school, and was able to complete my degree within three years instead of four. Not to mention, I had the peace of mind knowing I was accepted to vet school two years before normal applicants.
The program has a reserved number of people they can accept each year, and I was extremely fortunate to have been one of them. My time in vet school has been invaluable and I can’t wait to see what the years have to hold for me. If you are interested in learning more about this program, you can find it here.
This second excerpt is written by Jasmine Houska. She has worked at MVVS for over a year as a technician and inventory manager:
If you want to be a vet you have to start preparing years in advance. During middle and high school I spent several days shadowing at my local vet clinic to gain experience in how a clinic runs. In high school I always took a full schedule of classes and many of them were college level (AP) classes in math and science. In college, you have to take a heavily science based course load and gain experience through shadowing, interning, and through school clubs. I participated in Pre-Veterinary Club, Dairy Club, and completed an internship at the Como Zoo. It’s important to understand that all students applying to vet school will have experience in the field and academic success. Therefore, you have to find something that will set you apart from other applicants. My unique internship at the Como Zoo was something that most other applicants did not have.
Once you’re ready to apply, it’s important to remember that it is common to not be accepted on your first time, and many people apply 2-4 times before being accepted. My first time applying I sent applications to six schools and it cost me about $1000. In addition to the online application, some schools require an additional application, fee, or essay. After your applications are sent, you wait for four months to find out if you are granted an interview (only strong applicants will get an interview). My first year applying I was granted interviews at two different schools, Kansas State and University of Minnesota. The interview itself is a challenge. Most of the questions are behavior based that are hard to answer and prepare for. While I left both interviews feeling confident, I was put on the wait list at Kansas State and rejected from the University of Minnesota for the Fall 2018 semester. This was pretty devastating to me, as I had spent most of my academic life preparing for this and this was my dream. However, I knew that only about 10% of applicants get in any given year and this outcome is unfortunately common.
When I did not get in the first year, I decided to pursue further education and enrolled in an online program to get my veterinary technician degree through Pen Foster. I chose to do this as a way to keep learning and preparing for vet school so that I could reapply, as well as to provide myself a fallback career in the field I love. In the fall of 2018, I again filled out vet school applications. This time I chose to only apply to two schools, which cost about $600. I was again granted an interview at the University of Minnesota and was put on the wait list. After the previous year’s disappointment I didn’t expect to get in. At the end of April 2019, I got the email that I had been waiting for my whole life: I was accepted into vet school! It was a long road and very challenging to get here, but I am so happy that I never gave up. I hope that my story will help prepare and give insight to those considering becoming a DVM.