This may be the question that you secretly (or maybe not-so-secretly) want the answer to. In fact, many of you have found this blog by searching for “easiest vet school to get into” on Google. I really wish there was a simple answer to this question, but the reality is, there is no vet school that is truly “easy” to get into.
Fact of the matter is, there are currently only 28 veterinary schools in then entire United States. That’s just about 1 vet school for every 2 states. Each school has a very limited capacity for students usually between 80 and 130 students. When I applied to veterinary school there were over 6200 applicants who submitted applications to VMCAS. Assuming that there are on average 110 students admitted to each veterinary school, less than half of all applicants who apply will actually be accepted and attend in any given year. Some schools receive more applications than others (a few hundred at some schools compared to 1200-1800 at UC Davis and Colorado. Given the variance in number of applications, it is clear that some of the schools are more competitive than others. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you should apply to the schools that receive fewer number of applications, though! I am a firm believer that you should apply to schools that:
- You have completed all of the pre-requisite coursework for. Why bother applying to schools that you have not completed the prerequisites for! It’s a waste of time and money!
- Are located in a place where you can see yourself living. I know for sure that I would be able to live in some of the locations where vet schools are located. Weather, political and religious affiliations are all things I recommend taking into consideration.
- Are good matches for your interests. Some schools have better caseloads for given fields than others (be it equine, large animal, small animal, etc). It’s generally a good idea to choose to apply to schools that are good match for your interests.
So what happens with the other 3000+ applicants each year? Well, many will reapply the following year (after all it is touted to take on average 3 applications before one is admitted to vet school), others will pursue other means of obtaining their goal without losing too much time (or money). For many, this entails pursuing veterinary school internationally.
There are some schools outside of the United States that are fully accredited by the AVMA. However, there are many schools, particularly those located in the beautiful Caribbean islands, that are not accredited by the AVMA and may, in fact, be easier to gain acceptance to. Although some of these schools are pursuing accreditation by the AVMA, none have been successful yet. Whether or not these schools provide an education that is equivalent to the education students receive at AVMA accredited schools is debatable. What is for certain is that students can attend veterinary school in the Caribbean and become a licensed veterinarian in the United States so long as they pass through a few extra (rather pricey) hoops.
Although I do not want to necessarily recommend that students pursue veterinary school at Caribbean schools simply because they may be easier to get into than US schools, I must mention it as a possibility as some students do not have the time or money to wait around and keep reapplying — some of us are changing careers, have families or want to start, or are otherwise pressured for time and/or money.
While applying to Caribbean schools may seem like a decent option for some (or at least something to consider), there are complications that many people don’t necessarily think about when they have their eyes so firmly fixated on their goal of becoming a veterinarian. For instance, some of the issues I’ve heard of from friends and colleagues who attend school in the Caribbean include:
- Getting to/from the islands to the mainland can be a cumbersome and expensive task
- Getting pets there can be an even more difficult
- Limited ability to visit family & friends
- Loans are more difficult to acquire and often need to be private
- Food items are extremely limited and expensive (don’t expect to be able to get all your favorite items easily or at all while living there)
In the end, the message I want you to leave with is this: vet school is not easy to get into; it is extremely competitive and there are far too many applicants with far too few schools. While this is good in that a fewer number of graduates each year means that there will virtually always be a demand for veterinarians. Rather than focusing on which schools are easier than others to get accepted to, focus on preparing the best application possible so as to give yourself the best chance of success!