Guidelines for listing your experience on the VMCAS application

The admissions committee views a solid and broad undergraduate experience to be crucial preparation for successful completion of the veterinary curriculum. When evaluating an applicant, the committee considers both academic and non-academic qualities. The committee members ask themselves whether applicants possess the qualities of a successful veterinarian and have a holistic understanding of the profession. In order to assess this, various criteria, such as motivation, communication and teamwork skills, compassion and empathy, professionalism, integrity and ethics, maturity, and knowledge of the profession, are considered.

The VMCAS application offers you the opportunity to list several types of experiences. Include all areas of experience that have had a significant effect on your personal or professional development. Begin with the most recent, but your experiences may extend back through high school as appropriate. It is best not to list a specific experience in more than one category.

Applicants are evaluated on the following experience categories and are encouraged to include experience in all applicable areas.

Veterinary experience

Reviewing veterinary experience provides the committee with an opportunity to evaluate an applicant’s exposure to and understanding of the field of veterinary medicine. Veterinary experiences should relate to any veterinary clinical, agribusiness, or health science experiences that took place under the supervision of a veterinarian. Applicants will be assessed on the quality, depth, and breadth of their experience. The admissions committee also considers your involvement in seminars, practicums, and other veterinary professional activities. All experiences can be paid or volunteer, or part of a classroom/internship program.

The committee values diverse experience indicating the applicant has exposure to multiple facets of veterinary medicine. This experience can be gained by working in multiple clinics, under multiple veterinarians, and with multiple species. It is recommended that experience hours generally align with your identified area of interest.

Do not list veterinary research experiences in this section. All research opportunities should be listed in the research section. The experiences you report in this section should also be different from those entered for animal and employment experience. 

Employment experience

List and describe all paid work done outside of the animal or veterinary field, for example, a retail or restaurant job. Do not include any experience listed in veterinary, animal, or research experience. Both full-time and part-time work experience should be included in this section of the application, as it helps the committee with a composite evaluation of an applicant.

This information will help the admissions committee better understand the time commitments an applicant has beyond the classroom, as well as give some insight into the applicant’s work ethic.

Animal experience

Animal experiences should include animal-related activities not under the supervision of a veterinarian. The experiences you report in this section should be different from those entered for veterinary and employment experience. Animal experiences may include farm and ranch experiences; 4-H and FFA membership; animal training; classroom experiences; pet sitting; experience at rehabilitation facilities or humane societies and shelters; and breeding, rearing, feeding, and showing various companion animals, livestock, laboratory animals, zoo animals, or wildlife. You can include pet ownership in this category, however, only include active hours engaged with personal pets, such as for training classes, competitive events, and medical care. While pet ownership is an important piece of an applicant’s background, these hours should not overshadow other animal experiences.

Volunteer experience

Participation in community service activities is viewed as an indication of an applicant’s desire to contribute to society. This category includes volunteer work done outside of the animal care field, and examples include working for Habitat for Humanity, tutoring students, church activities, participating in or working for a fundraiser walk, donating blood, and donating time to political campaigns. Clearly and succinctly describe your level of participation in these activities. Volunteer activities affiliated with animals or veterinary medicine should be included in other experience categories.

Extracurricular activities

Extracurricular activities should include those that have had a significant impact on your personal or professional development. Extracurricular activities may include (but are not limited to) participation in sports, clubs, music, arts, and hobbies. This information provides the admissions committee with an idea of how well-rounded an applicant you are and how outside activities may influence your academic record. High school activities may be listed here if directly relevant.

Research experience

Research should include experiences in a research environment, regardless of whether they were related to animals or under the supervision of a veterinarian. Be specific about your work or involvement in the research experiences entered in this section – for example, data collection and analysis, animal husbandry, manuscript development, presentation, or publication of data. The admissions committee values an applicant’s experience in any field of research, and it does not have to be directly affiliated with veterinary medicine. Research is not required for admission to the DVM program.


List and describe honors, awards, or scholarships you have received, including those in high school. For achievements received in multiple years or semesters, you may either enter them as multiple entries with the same name or as one entry spanning multiple years. If you are unsure of a date, please estimate. Honors and awards may include Dean’s List, President’s List, National Honor Society membership, and leadership positions in clubs, organizations, religious groups, and athletics. These activities don’t have to be directly affiliated with animals or veterinary medicine. The applicant should clearly and succinctly describe their level of participation in these activities.

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