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Behind-the-scenes advice for your journey to become a vet

I Didn’t Get Into Vet School. Now What?

‘Tis the season for cookies and Christmas trees and… the most stressful emails of your life. Because this is the time of year when pre-vet students all over the US are finding out if they got into vet school or not.

If you didn’t, you’re not alone. Vet school is EXTREMELY competitive and many students don’t get in, especially on their first try. We know it’s a frustrating and difficult time. Here are some tips on what to do next.

1. Feel disappointed, but don’t give up.

It’s disappointing not to get what you had hoped and worked for. But, realize that many times the answer isn’t really “no”, but just “not yet”. Life doesn’t always work on exactly the calendar you had in mind, but you will likely have many decades of career and work experience – there’s no reason why one of those years can’t come before your next round of schooling.

2. Make a plan.

What about your application could use the most improvement? Are there courses you could re-take, or add? Do you need stronger references who know you better? Do you need more experience or more of any understanding about the veterinary profession? Did you apply to schools that were out of reach?

Having a concrete plan of what you can do to improve your application, and when you plan to do it, can help you move toward success the next time you apply. Get feedback from people who know about veterinary school applications, such as pre-vet advisors, vet school admissions professionals, and vets that you know.

3. Switch it up.

It can be tempting to keep doing more of whatever you showcased on your application the first time, and in some cases, that’s not a bad idea: staying with something, especially if you take on new responsibilities or leadership roles, highlights your abilities and character. But, you might look for opportunities to add something that either builds on a strength or fills in a weakness you have.

4. Continue your education in the fall on the Veterinary Semester Abroad.

If you were planning to start vet school in the fall but haven’t been accepted yet, consider the Veterinary Semester Abroad – an entire semester of pre-veterinary courses (300-level bio courses) and over 250 vet hours with small animal, exotics, wildlife, and aquatics, including experience in lab, clinic, hospital, and sanctuary settings. This semester is specifically designed for pre-vet students to help prepare them for vet school. Your small cohort will ensure that you build personal relationships with your teaching vets and get personalized, hands-on training in pre-veterinary skills. Vet schools know that this is an academically rigorous, competitive semester abroad that is fast-paced and builds knowledge throughout the semester.

In addition, you get to spend your semester in Thailand, South Africa, or traveling around the globe through South America, Asia, and Africa, depending on which of the semester options you choose.

5. Find a friend to encourage one another.

One highlight of the Veterinary Semester Abroad is that you are able to build close friendships with other students who are in the same boat as you, and you can support one another long after the program ends. But even if you aren’t traveling abroad, you can look for other students with the same goals as you, and work together to support one another in those goals. It really helps!