St. Mary's College of Maryland

Pre-Veterinary Advising: Timeline

Congratulations on considering or choosing veterinary medicine as your future career field! On this portion of the site, you will find resources for choosing, applying to, funding, and preparing for medical school.

Pre-Vet students must decide if they want to go through HSAC or not. Most vet schools require letters of recommendation from two different veterinarians who you have worked with, along with either a single letter from a faculty member or a letter from HSAC. If the school only requires a single letter from a faculty member, it is generally fine to submit a committee letter in its place. Therefore, applying without HSAC assistance is fine, but we encourage students to take advantage of what HSAC can offer-- a composite committee letter with input from many supportive voices and participation/practice with a mock interview. Students may build files with HSAC and decide at any time to apply independently or with our assistance.

Below is a timeline for the veterinary school application. This is meant to be a guideline for what's coming, so use this to help get you started with planning.

First year and Sophomore Students: Getting Started

  • This is a time to make sure being a veterinarian is what you really want to do, and to start gathering practical experience to see what the field is really like.
    • Visit the Prospective Students page to better understand the logistics of the HSAC process and to help you decide if a career in healthcare is right for you.
    • Visit the Getting Started page for resources about choosing a career path, course planning, and practical experience.
    • Note: Practical experience is extremely important for the veterinary school application. It is imperative that you start with hands-on experience as early as possible, because many schools expect or even require a large number of hours before you even apply to schools. Click here to read more about practical experience for vet schools.
    • Buy the Veterinary Medical School Admissions Requirements book-- this will help you choose schools and plan your undergraduate coursework accordingly
  • Use this time to start preparations for your HSAC file.

Junior Year: When things start to get busy.

It's time to get organized.

If you are planning to go directly to veterinary school the fall following graduation from St. Mary's College, you will be applying through the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS) the summer following your junior academic year.

Please note: If you wish to take a year off after graduation before entering your chosen program, this schedule will shift to your senior year. Whether you are applying after your Junior or during your Senior year, it is wise to get your file and committee established during your Junior year and begin collecting information and writing your personal statement.

Important: By this time you should be able to answer these questions and you should have had, or plan to get soon, some practical experience in the medical field.


It's time to establish a file with the chair of the Health Science Advisory Committee. Submit the "HSAC Introductory Worksheet" if you have not already done so to the HSAC chair (listed here).

It's time to begin to request letters of recommendation. Note that many schools allow/require electronic submissions through VMCAS. To do this, you will write the names of the professors/veterinarians who have agreed to write you letters of recommendation. VMCAS will then send your contacts information necessary for them to submit their letters. Click here for more information about VMCAS electronic letters of recommendation.

If you want HSAC to submit a committee letter, you will need to send them at least four letters from faculty, supervisors, and mentors who know you well. Use this recommendation form for submitting to HSAC.


It's time to start writing your personal statement. This essay is often difficult to write and usually requires multiple drafts.

  • IMPORTANT: Each student who wishes to interview with their committee in the spring for a summer or early fall application process must present without exception a strong working draft of their personal statement by the Friday following Spring Break.
  • These statements should be submitted directly to the HSAC Committee member assigned to you as your HSAC mentor.

JANUARY: After returning to campus.

It's time to request that a copy of your transcript be sent to your assigned HSAC mentor/advisor. Transcripts from coursework taken at other institutions should also be requested at this time.

It's time to choose faculty members who will serve on your committee and tell your HSAC advisor/mentor who they are. Please ask two faculty members who you feel know you well to serve on your HSAC. Selecting faculty from across divisions often enhances your interview experience. Your final committee will consist of your chosen faculty members, your HSAC advisor/mentor, and another HSAC committee member who will be assigned to your personal committee.

It's time to ask for help with your personal statement.

It's time to prepare a résumé highlighting your activities and accomplishments; submit this to your HSAC advisor/mentor.

The Home Stretch

During the first week of MARCH:

It's time to check on your file with the HSAC advisor/mentor to see what has come in and catch up with what is missing.

MARCH, by the Friday following Spring Break:

It's time to add a polished working draft of your personal statement to your file.

At this time your file should contain:

  • Letters of recommendation from professors, supervisors, and veterinarians. Two from faculty within your major, one from outside your major, and at least two from a veterinary practitioner.
    • If HSAC is submitting a committee letter, your file should contain: Two letters from veterinarians, two letters from faculty within your major, and one letter from a faculty member outside your major. You can have other mentors and supervisors submit letters to HSAC as well.
    • If HSAC is not submitting a committee letter, your file should contain: Two letters from veterinarians, and one letter from a faculty member. Check with your schools to make sure that is enough.
  • A current St. Mary's College transcript, and transcripts from classes taken outside of St. Mary's College.
  • A draft of your personal statement.
  • A résumé highlighting your activities and accomplishments.
  • A log of all practical experiences in veterinary medicine.
  • Previous GRE scores, if applicable.

Mid-MARCH through APRIL:

It's time to schedule your interview and meet with your committee. Due to the growing number of students applying to graduate programs in the health sciences, committee meetings must begin soon after Spring Break and continue throughout April. All meetings should take place before May. Meetings will not be planned during finals or Senior Week.

*Note: You may schedule your interview for early fall instead. This is a good option if you have not yet completed enough practical experience, and plan to get more over the summer. Because vet schools often do not review your application until October 1st anyway, it is fine to wait until September or very early October to undergo the mock interview.

Also in the Spring, usually in APRIL:

It's time to take the GRE! If you apply during the summer following your junior year, you need these scores; without these scores, you may be passed over for consideration until your August or fall test scores are processed and sent to your selected schools, usually about two months from the exam date. Since many veterinary schools begin interviews in the early fall and may begin to accept students on a rolling basis, postponing the completion of your file and its evaluation reduces your chances of acceptance.

REMINDER: Please forward or provide a copy of your GRE scores to your HSAC advisor/mentor for your file.

MAY/JUNE: Following Junior year

It's time to prepare your application and apply to medical school! VMCAS begins accepting applications in the early summer. Note that the VMCAS deadline is October 2nd, but you should plan to be done with the application far sooner than that.

*VMCAS Application Checklist

*VMCAS Electronic Letters of Recommendation Information

Once your primary application (VMCAS) is complete, veterinary schools may require you to complete a secondary application. If this is a requirement, you will receive all the necessary information for completing it once your primary application is processed. Many schools require an interview, so if you get that far along in the admissions process be prepared to travel to vet schools in the Fall!

Make sure you update HSAC with all acceptances/rejections for our files.

Congratulations! You have survived the veterinary school application process!

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