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Applicants compete for selective vet school slots

Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 01:09

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The College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M accepts 132 students each year, and in 2011, 284 students fell short of the school’s rigorous admission requirements.

The college was established in 1916 and is one of 28 veterinary medical programs in the U.S. accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association — the only accredited doctor of veterinary medicine program in the state of Texas. There are only 10 possible positions for out-of-state applicants.

“We are so focused on Texas students that spending the extra time on out-of-state students is not worth the trouble. Eighty to 85 percent of all applicants are Texans,” said Kenita Rogers, associate dean for professional programs in the college.

Rogers plays a role in the review process and said 50 percent of applicants earn the opportunity to participate in the multiple mini-interviews, a format adopted with recent application years.

“I’ve actually had people tell me they had fun [with the interviews],” Rogers said.

Not all students gain admission on the first go-around. For many, the interview presents a hurdle. Charlet Hubertus, a third-year student in the veterinary medicine program, encourages interview preparation.

“I didn’t get in my first time. If you don’t get in the first time, you can go talk to admissions and they’ll tell you where your weak points were,” Hubertus said. “No matter how comfortable you are talking to people, practice your interview with others.”

Hubertus was accepted prior to the institution of multiple mini-interviews, which now consist of six different interview rooms led by a faculty member and a current veterinary practitioner — and a clean slate with each room. In the past, an interview panel of three faculty members would spend half an hour with each applicant. Now each room contains a five-minute discussion around a scenario question posted at the door.

Whitney Zamarripa, a second-year student in the veterinary medicine program, was in the first acceptance class to experience mini-interviews.

“I personally enjoyed [the interview process]. There were interesting topics to talk about,” Zamarripa said. “I think it took away some of the stress of not knowing.”

Applicants require more than interview skills, though, with an average acceptance GPR of approximately 3.61 points overall and an average of 3.9 points for the out-of-state applicants. A competitive GRE score and practical exposure to veterinary medicine are also required.

Anna Goodroe, a third-year student in the veterinary medicine program, had not chosen a path toward veterinary medicine until the year prior to her application.

“The most important thing [during applications] is the diversity of experiences,” Goodroe said. “I came in really late in the game as far as experiences. I only had one chance to intern with a vet.”

Doctors of veterinary medicine may work in small-animal private practice, in agricultural cattle industries and in food inspections, in equine science or even in the military.

“What I originally thought a vet does is nothing like what a vet actually does,” Goodroe said.

Also unique to TAMU-CVM, the school uses the Texas Medical and Dental School Application Service (TMDSAS) instead of the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS), the general application for most veterinary programs in the U.S. By requiring a different application service, TAMU-CVM aims to receive applicants directly interested in the Aggie program.

Spanning from May until October, applications remain open and acceptable applicants are notified for interviews in December. Applicants don’t know if they’ve been accepted until late spring.

“The year you apply is very stressful because it’s a lot of work and a lot of waiting,” Hubertus said. “It’s definitely worth the work.”

The College of Veterinary Medicine is a highly competitive program, with many applicants rejected on their first attempt. During the 2011 application year, 416 students applied for admittance. The process cut applicants to 132 close-working students, supported by faculty who want them to succeed — making the students a family and the school a home.

“Never give up on the dream. A rejection letter can discourage you, but don’t give up,” Hubertus said. “The only people who don’t get into vet school are the people who stop applying.”

 

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