VMCAS: What You Need to Know

November 13, 2023
7 min read


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 11/13/23

If you’re preparing to submit your VMCAS application, you won’t want to miss this guide!

Deciding to become a veterinarian is a huge step! Along with choosing the perfect major to develop your academic skills, ensuring you complete all of your prerequisite courses, and gaining experience in the field, you’ll have to submit a VMCAS application demonstrating just how much effort you’ve put into your career. 

This application is crucial in your veterinarian journey, so it’s essential you know exactly what it is, how to complete it, and its important deadlines! All of this, and more, will be covered in this guide!

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What Is the VMCAS?

Before delving into the details, let’s answer the most pressing question: what is VMCAS?

Male vet with Corgi

The Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS), sponsored by the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), is an application that simplifies the process of applying to veterinary school. 

Rather than submitting several applications to the schools you’re interested in applying to, you will complete one application through your VMCAS account that will be sent out to all of the schools you’re interested in.  

How the VMCAS Application Works

While the VMCAS may seem simple, the application process is lengthy and involves many components:

Step One: Create an Account

The first step to begin your application is to create an account through VMCAS. As you create your account, you must provide accurate contact information, as it will be shared with the admissions committees of the schools you apply to. 

Step Two: Pick Your Programs

Before you begin your application, spend some time researching the best veterinary schools and programs. Consider your GPA, prerequisites, location, specializations, faculty, learning opportunities, and application requirements. You will have to select at least one program to apply to before moving on to the next part of your application. 

Step Three: Fill In Your Personal Information

Next, you’ll have to fill in your personal information. This section will ask you for the following details:

  • Biographic information
  • Contact information
  • Citizenship information
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Parent/guardian information 
  • Other information involving military status, academic infractions, and more

You will also need to sign a release statement confirming you understand the purpose of the VMCAS application and you are sharing accurate information.

Step Three: Share Your Academic History

Veterinarian schools place great emphasis on their applicants’ academic performance, which is why there is a lengthy academic history section on the VMCAS application. Here, you’ll have to list the high school and all colleges you attended, even if you transferred credits from a college.

The next part is the transcript entry. Before beginning your application, ask all of the colleges you’ve attended to send you your official transcripts so you can submit them to VMCAS. You will have to manually enter all of the coursework you’ve completed one by one. 

If you do not want to go through this tedious process, you may apply to use the Professional Transcript Entry Service (PTE) for an additional fee. Once you’ve completed this, you can upload your GRE, MCAT, IELTS, or TOEFL scores, if applicable. Keep in mind that some schools don’t require these tests. 

Step Four: Submit Your Statement of Purpose

As part of the VMCAS application, you’ll be required to submit a statement of purpose. Your statement of purpose is a one-page essay that answers the question: “Why do you want to pursue a career in veterinary medicine?” While there is no perfect answer to this question, VMCAS offers students the following tips to craft compelling statements:

  • Explain a defining moment that influenced you to pursue veterinary medicine. Use this moment as the focal point of your story.
  • Only briefly mention any meaningful experiences with animals or veterinarians you had as a child, if absolutely necessary. 
  • Be original and thoughtful.
  • Discuss what you would contribute to the profession to help you stand out as an applicant.
  • Explain why you are a good candidate for vet school – ask yourself: in a pile of 100 applications, would I enjoy reading my statement?
  • Convey your passion for veterinary medicine.
  • Avoid repeating information from your transcripts or reference letters.
  • Ask yourself if your essay is a good representation of your character, ideals, and aspirations.

Ensure you begin your essay early and proofread it multiple times before submission! Once you’ve submitted your application, you will not be able to edit it. 

Step Five: Recommendations

You must submit at least three recommendations and a maximum of six with your application. Begin asking your mentors for recommendations a few months prior to the deadline to ensure they complete their recommendations on time.

You must request these recommendations through VMCAS. Your recommenders will submit their evaluations themselves via Letters by Liaison. You can still submit your application if they have not completed their recommendations, so long as you have requested them to. 

Step Six: Share Your Experiences

In this section, you will share all your relevant experience in various categories, including veterinary experience. Once you have written out all of your relevant experiences, you will be asked to choose your top five to be highlighted on your application PDF.

Step Seven: List Your Achievements

The final part of the application process is listing your achievements. You will be asked to include the type of achievement (i.e., award, recognition, etc.), the date, achievement title, and the organization involved. 

If you would like a visual example of how to fill out your vet school application, consider going over this VMCAS sample application.

Male student filling out application

VMCAS Application Dates

Here are some important dates to keep in mind for your VMCAS application:

Application Milestone Date
VMCAS applications open January
The first day you can select programs in the application Early May
The last date to order PTE Early August
VMCAS application closes Mid-September
Last day to re-submit your application if you are in the undelivered status Early October

Source: VMCAS

Considering how long the application process is, it’s important to start early and submit your application well before the deadline to avoid any delays!

What Should You Do After Submission? 

After submitting your application through VMCA, you will receive a confirmation email to acknowledge the submission. However, please note that submission does not imply that your application is immediately under review by the programs you've applied to. 

Instead, the status of your application will change from "In-Progress" to either "Received" or "Complete," depending on the materials that have already been received.

To ensure your application is considered complete and placed in line for verification, several criteria must be met. Your application is generally considered complete when:

  • All official transcripts are posted on your application and are visible on the Check Status tab along with the date they were received.
  • At least three of your recommendations have been requested and are listed under Recommendations.
  • If you used the Professional Transcript Entry (PTE) service, you have approved the work completed.
  • Your application fee payment has been submitted and marked as received on the Check Status tab.
  • You have submitted your application and received a confirmation email confirming its successful submission.
  • Your application Program Status is listed as "Complete."

It's important to keep in mind that different programs may have specific requirements for completion, such as supplemental applications, official transcripts, document uploads, etc. 

To ensure you meet all requirements, we recommend contacting your selected programs directly. Failing to submit all required materials may jeopardize your eligibility for admission consideration. Be sure to review each program's homepage to ensure compliance with their specific requirements.

Verifications of applications are conducted in chronological order and may take up to 10 business days to complete. Once your application is verified, you will receive a notification, and your application status will change to "Verified."

VMCAS Application Fees

You should also be mindful of the VMCAS application fees to ensure you create the most comprehensive vet school budget!

VMCAS charges $227 for the first program you apply to and $124 for each additional program. If you choose to use PTE, the cost will depend on how many transcripts you’re reporting:

  • One to three transcripts: $77
  • Four to six transcripts: $105
  • Seven or more transcripts: $150

VMCAS offers limited fee assistance programs for those who require it. Students can qualify for a financial-based, service-based, or international-based waiver. 

Find Your Perfect Vet School Match

Not sure which veterinary school to choose for your dream career as a veterinarian? Our Vet School Selection Quiz is here to help! 

Just answer a few questions about your preferences – like where you want to study, class size, your veterinary experience, GPA, Science GPA, and GRE plans – and we'll provide you with a list of vet schools that match your needs. 

Male vet examining Pomeranian

Finding the perfect fit for your budget, location, and academic profile has never been easier. Let's get started on your path to becoming a vet!


Below, you’ll find the answers to frequently asked questions about the VMCAS application.

1. When Should I Submit My VMCAS Application?

The earlier you’re able to submit your VMCAS application, the better! In case there are any issues with your application materials, you will have the chance to fix any errors and submit your application on time. The final date to submit your application is September 18th.

2. How Do I Download My Vet School Application?

Once you have submitted your application, you can download it through your VMCAS account. Select the “Check Status” tab from the application dashboard and click the download button. Or, you can go to the “Submit Application” tab and click the download button.

3. What Should I Include In My VMCAS Application?

You’re required to submit the following as part of your VMCAS application:

  • Confirmation of your program choices
  • Accurate personal information 
  • Your academic history, including your official transcripts, reports of your college courses, and any standardized test scores
  • A one-page statement of purpose
  • Three to six requests for recommendations
  • Your relevant professional experiences
  • Your relevant achievements

These vet school requirements are important. So, ensure you go over your application a few times before submission!

4. How Long Does the Application Process Take?

Verification processes are conducted one after the other and can take up to 10 business days to finish. Once all the required application materials are received, the application's status will change to "Complete," and it will be placed in line for verification.

5. Is It Recommended to Submit My Vet School Application While Awaiting Transcripts, Recommendations, Test Scores, etc.?

No, it's not recommended. Submitting an incomplete application can impact your chances of getting into vet school and may lead to delays in the admission process. It's wise to wait until you have all the necessary documents and information before hitting that submit button.

6. When You Should Contact a Vet School Directly?

If you have questions or concerns not covered in their official materials, consider reaching out. It's a good idea for unique situations or when you need more details about the program. Be polite and professional when contacting them.

Final Thoughts

The VMCAS application is an important tool for all aspiring veterinarians! It streamlines the application process, allows you to apply to multiple programs at once, and lets you share all of the experiences and accomplishments you worked so hard on!

Getting into vet school is no walk in the park. So, follow the tips and steps in this guide to ensure smooth sailing during this critical part of your veterinary journey!

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