Admissions and Recruitment
June 2021
Recruiting New Generations of Veterinarians
Demand for admission to veterinary medical school remains at record highs. The 2021 VMCAS cycle experienced a whopping 19% increase in year-over-year application rates. Overall, 13,036 individuals began a VMCAS application last year - 10,273 of those were finalized and submitted. Already, more than 14,000 applications are in process for VMCAS 2022. Last year also saw the submit rate climb from about 73% to 79% - another substantial gain. That’s largely due to increased communication with applicants throughout the process. Progress was also made in the recruitment of underrepresented minorities. Year over year, the percentage of White applicants dropped from 71.5% to 69.1%, the number of Black applicants rose from 3.5% to 4.2%, the number of Hispanic applicants rose from 12.7% to 14.3%, and the number of Asian American applicants rose from 4.5% to 4.7%.
Admissions and Recruitment Committee Providing Steady Leadership
The Admissions and Recruitment Committee Leadership Group operates at the heart of what the AAVMC seeks to do: recruit and prepare diverse new generations of veterinarians. They are continuously researching evidence-based best-practices in admissions. Hot topics include looking at ways to reduce barriers for applicants in an effort to diversify the applicant pool and continuing to refine recommended holistic admissions practices. One working group will examine the role of applicant "experience-hour" requirements with an eye toward more competency-based considerations. Another is considering the value of recommendation letters and other assessment methods. The group is hosting admissions “hot topics” webinars and developing an “Advisor Toolkit” to standardize and improve applicant advising. They’re also creating a Speakers Bureau and building a bank of essay questions for colleges to use. Creating a “Best Practices in Recruiting” document is also on tap.
Promoting the Veterinary Medical Profession
The promotion of the veterinary profession is an integral component of the Office of Admissions & Recruitment Affairs' work. One way they do that is through speaking engagements and participation in key conferences. This year’s slate includes the American Pre-Veterinary Medical Association (APVMA), the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions, Health Professions Week, HOSA Future Health Professionals and Girl Scout MiniQuest and TechnoQuest.
Nudging Towards Diversity
Sarah Hammond, a student in the Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis program at North Carolina State University is exploring an intriguing approach toward increasing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in veterinary medicine as part of her PhD research. The AAVMC has long been focused on non-submits: those who begin applications but don’t complete them. As part of the experimental design, some students in the current application process are receiving text-based “nudges” to encourage completion. The work will explore the tactical approaches, benefits and outcomes. Data is expected to be available in 2022.
Accepted Students Wellbeing Course
AAVMC’s Offices of Admissions and Recruitment and Wellbeing are collaborating to offer accepted students an online wellbeing course to be completed pre-arrival to their respective veterinary college. The online course, set to be available by August 2021, would be available to all students who have been accepted to a veterinary program and would be housed on AAVMC’s website through our online learning system. The course will utilize experts in the field to teach universal wellbeing concepts specific to veterinary medical school preparation. The goal of this project would be to expand the current student knowledge of wellbeing, it’s connection to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and equip all matriculating veterinary students with the same language and understanding around wellbeing prior to arriving at their veterinary college. 
Diversity in the Academy and in the Profession
One of the biggest challenges facing the profession of veterinary medicine is a lack of diversity. Through AAVMC’s new National Youth Marketing Program, the Association is tackling this at the pipeline development level. Director for Admissions and Recruitment Ms. Diana Dabdub has established an advisory panel that includes colleagues from professional health education associations and societies, the AVMA and SAVMA to help guide campaign strategy. Work is currently focused on the development of messaging and building a sub-brand for prospects to identify with. The program will use strategic social media campaigns to connect with elementary, middle and high schoolers and build awareness and appreciation for careers in veterinary medicine. The program is fully integrated with the AAVMC’s other cross-functional DEI programs.
VMCAS Fee Assistance Program
Applying to multiple professional schools can be expensive. The AAVMC’s Fee Assistance Program helps defray some of the costs for qualified applicants. Applicants who meet financial need or service-based guidelines (McNair Scholar or military) can have their initial $220 application fee waived. Recently, protocols have been added that consider other documentation concerning proof of need. Funds are made available on a first-come, first-served basis, and this year the AAVMC has doubled program funding, increasing it from $50,000 to $100,000. The Admissions and Recruitment Office is working closely with member institution admissions offices to make applicants aware of the program. Last year, 28% of the applicant pool identified as financially disadvantaged and about 20% identified as underrepresented.
Building the Admissions and Recruitment Community
Sharing a steady stream of useful information is essential for keeping everyone on the same page, and that’s particularly important with admissions and recruitment. The Office of Admissions and Recruitment shares the latest information, best practices and operational news via a virtual community on AAVMC Connect. Webinars are also held periodically that focus on hot topics, emerging trends and new procedures. Communication with member institution admissions offices has been especially critical during disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Online VMSAR Proving Key Resource for Applicants
The web-based Veterinary Medical School Admissions Requirements (VMSAR) directory continues to serve as the essential guide to becoming a veterinarian. Packed with useful insights and information, VMSAR provides a comprehensive overview of the admission process for national and international veterinary schools that are AAVMC members. The site makes it easy for prospective students to filter schools by several criteria, including location, accreditation, and whether the school requires a GRE, interview or bachelor’s degree. It also includes links to useful resources like the AAVMC Cost Comparison Tool. Additionally, the directory includes rapid access to pandemic-impacted admissions policies. During the 60 day window between April 24-June 24, 7,241 users examined 39,166 pages through 11,993 sessions.
VMCAS 2022 Applicant Guide Published
A new VMCAS 2022 Applicant Guide for prospective veterinary medical students that contains the latest information on all they need to know about the application process has been published. The comprehensive, well-indexed 36-page field guide is packed with information that helps applicants best prepare their application and successfully navigate the process. Prospective students can find everything from tips on how to present preparatory coursework and important experiences to facts about the AAVMC’s VMCAS Fee Assistance Program and much more are all available in a consolidated publication.
Webinars Making the Right Connections
The Office of Admissions and Recruitment has increased the number of webinars they present for both advisors and prospective applicants during the past year. From January through May, for example, the office presented 10 different webinars that reached almost 2,000 potential students, pre-vet advisors and others. Some of those webinar topics included “Advising the Veterinary Student,” “The Road to Veterinary School,” “VMCAS 2022 Application Overview” and “VMCAS – Program Launch Updates.” 
AAVMC Newsletters

The AAVMC is working hard to create a culture of diversity and inclusion in every dimension of academic veterinary medicine. To foster this goal, the photographs and illustrations which are used in our communications programs are aspirational, and do not necessarily reflect the levels of diversity and inclusion that currently exist.

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