How to create a strong application

When reviewing application materials, we answer two primary questions about each candidate. 

  1. How likely is it that the applicant will be able to successfully complete our rigorous, science-based veterinary curriculum? When evaluating an applicant, emphasis is placed on physical and biological science preparation. Prerequisite coursework is considered an essential foundation, while excellence in additional upper division science courses further indicates an applicant is more likely to be able to successfully complete our program.
  2. Does the applicant possess the qualities of a successful veterinarian and have a holistic understanding of the profession? We consider various criteria such as motivation, communication and teamwork skills, compassion and empathy, professionalism, integrity and ethics, maturity, and knowledge of the profession when evaluating an applicant.

Providing information in your application and your personal essay to help answer these questions will make your application strong and more competitive.

  • Demonstrate quality academic performance to successfully complete our rigorous veterinary curriculum.
  • Show what makes you unique and that you possess the qualities of a successful veterinarian, including diversity of background, interests, and experiences. We look for candidates who are well-rounded.
  • Ask for recommendation letters early so people have time to prepare a thoughtful letter for you. Ideally, recommendation letters will highlight your academic and non-academic experiences.  At least one letter must be from a veterinarian with whom you have worked or volunteered. We also recommend including one letter from a faculty member or academic staff and one from an employer.
  • If you have a personal interview, provide answers demonstrating your communication and teamwork skills, compassion and empathy, professionalism, integrity and ethics, maturity, and knowledge of the profession.
  • Communicate to us any special circumstances.

The one-page personal statement gives a clear picture of who you are and, most importantly, why you want to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. 

Although there is no set of rules mandating what a strong personal statement should include, here are a few tips to help you successfully craft an effective personal statement.

  • Explain a defining moment that helped steer you toward a career in veterinary medicine. Consider using that moment as the focal point of your essay.
  • Be original and thoughtful: Discuss how you would contribute to the profession and patient care, all of which will help you stand out from other applicants.
  • As you are telling us why you want to pursue a career in veterinary medicine, explain why you are a good candidate for veterinary school. Ask yourself — in a pile of 100 applications, would I enjoy reading my statement? Be sure to convey your passion for veterinary medicine in your statement.

The final question provides applicants an opportunity to make a case as to why they are the best possible student for the DVM program. It is a chance to set yourself apart from other candidates, provide background information that might not otherwise be included in the application, explain special situations or circumstances that have influenced you as a person, and describe where you see yourself in the future.

Applicants will answer essay questions as part of the WSU supplemental requirements. These questions give insight into the reasons an applicant has chosen to apply to our program specifically and how their personal values and experiences will contribute to their veterinary education.

  1. WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine values a diverse and inclusive learning environment that emphasizes community and professional growth. As a student, how might you contribute to this culture?
  2. Pursuing a career in veterinary medicine can be academically and financially challenging yet can be highly rewarding. What drives you to pursue a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) at WSU in the face of these challenges?
  3. There may have been circumstances in your life that you feel have affected your ability to achieve your academic/career goals. Please indicate if you feel you have had to overcome one or a combination of economic, educational, and/or cultural-environmental factors as outlined below. If you check yes to any factor you will be given the opportunity to explain your circumstances.
    1. Economic factors: a demonstrated history of low income of applicant and family unit prior to college entrance and pre-veterinary education; significant financial support provided by applicant to the family unit prior to and during pre-veterinary education; if applicant has a major financial responsibility to a household; and history of financial aid. 
    2. Educational factors: inadequate early education because of frequent change of schools during elementary and secondary education; unusual number of hours of employment or necessitated other time commitments for supporting self or family unit during high school and pre-veterinary education; lack of exposure to academic role models and of participation in sound educational programs. 
    3. Cultural/environmental factors: born to immigrant parents; reared in an ethnic minority culture; reared in a family with English as a second language; experienced cultural stress as a result of transition from a predominantly ethnic minority community to an academic environment; reared in an economically depressed area; reared by someone other than parents; reared in an environment lacking exposure to opportunities offered by higher education; reared in an environment of abuse such as alcohol, drugs, child abuse and other physical abuse.
  4. Have you previously applied to Washington State University’s DVM Program?
    1. If you select yes you will be asked to briefly describe how you have strengthened your application since your previous submission.

While this section is not required, you can use it to record information that needs detailed explanation and is not listed anywhere else in your application. This section can also be used to include additional information you consider vital to your application. Your explanation statement should be clearly and succinctly written. 

Examples of pertinent information might include explanations about interruptions in your studies or experiences, unique circumstances you have faced, or reasons for decisions you have made. Extenuating circumstances, such as extensive extracurricular work commitments or family responsibilities, are also taken into consideration.

Additional application resources