Veterinary school letter of recommendation examples can help students plan, request, and curate their own letters as a highlight of their application. Most veterinary schools require letters of recommendation to attest to the candidate’s credibility, among other things. While all components of the application play a significant role, letters of recommendation are of utmost importance, as they are often the only way for admissions committees to hear from someone other than yourself about your qualifications. Impressive letters of recommendation help you stand out from the crowd when applying to veterinary school. Moreover, if you know how to write your own letter of recommendation, you won’t be caught out if one of your referees requests that option.
This article provides some tips on what a great veterinary school letter of recommendation looks like as well as examples.
>>Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here.<<
Listen to the blog!
What Is a Veterinary School Letter of Recommendation?
A letter of recommendation, simply defined, is a letter written by a mentor/superior that gives credibility to a candidate’s profile or resume. It is written by someone who can vouch for you and your past experiences. In some cases, you may be asked to write a letter of recommendation for yourself. This is different from writing a compelling vet school letter of intent, as you will still need to have a professional sign the former.
There are specific questions that must be answered in a letter of recommendation, such as:
Therefore, while the content and format are important, so is your choice of who to ask for a letter.
Veterinary schools may ask for two or three letters of recommendation or make the request optional. For example, the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri and NC State University ask for three letters or recommendation. On the other hand, Texas A&M University has no requirement for a letter of recommendation for its Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program. In case your veterinary school gives you the option to skip the letter of recommendation, we still recommend you provide at least two: any opportunity to make your application stand out should be taken.
How Important Is a Veterinary School Letter of Recommendation?
A veterinary school letter of recommendation is very important! It carries a lot of weight in terms of the impact of your application on the admissions committee. In addition to humanizing your application, it lets the admission committee know that a professional has worked with the candidate before and stands by them. Veterinary school acceptance rates are notoriously low compared to medical school acceptance rates, due to the limited number of veterinary schools and high competition. In the US, acceptance rates at the best vet schools vary from around 10 to 15%, which is quite low.
It is important to show that you are passionate about veterinary medicine, and the admissions committee will be more likely to believe that if someone in the field supports you. Reading about a candidate’s achievements and abilities during their vet school extracurriculars from someone else’s perspective, be they directly or indirectly related to veterinary medicine, conveys your potential to the admissions committee. Your resume lists your achievements, while the letter of recommendation attests to the credibility of those achievements.
What to Consider When Asking for a Letter of Recommendation
There are a few aspects to consider when asking for a veterinary school letter of recommendation. Not everyone can write you this letter, so the decision of who to ask needs to be taken wisely. This will be the time to think about your experiences in academic and professional settings and try to identify two to three mentors or supervisors you had positive experiences with. Now, think about how well they know you and whether they can speak to your abilities related to veterinary school. Make sure they are not your family or friend, as you need to provide an unbiased, objective review of your work.
Once you have shortlisted your recommenders, think about your experience with them and how much time you spent together. Think about the feedback they had for you when you worked with them. If it was in an unrelated field, consider the skills you learned or abilities you already possessed that were valuable while working with the mentor and could help you at veterinary school.
Once you have decided which two or three mentors to approach, be sure to ask politely for a letter and share the necessary information with them. You may wish to share your resume, a list of academic achievements, awards, and vet school personal statement, for example, to remind them of the role you played in their school or organization.
Format for the Veterinary School Letter of Recommendation
In case the veterinary school you are applying to has specific guidelines for a letter of recommendation, make sure to follow them to the T. Nearly all veterinary schools in the US and major veterinary Canadian universities use a centralized application service: the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS). The service allows students to submit all their required materials for an application in one place, which are then verified and forwarded to a veterinary school of the student’s choice. This service requires the letters of recommendation to be submitted electronically (eLOR).
If you are applying to a school that follows the VMCAS process, as part of the application process, you will be asked to provide the name and email address of the recommender. The centralized system requires the letter of recommendation to be submitted directly by the recommender. The recommender will then be contacted through the VMCAS Recommender Portal, after which they can start filling out the online form. Within the form, there will be a text box where recommenders can add their letters.
Here are some vet schools in the US and Canada that follow the VMCAS centralized process:
Auburn University (USA): Auburn University requires a minimum of three letters of recommendation submitted electronically through the VMCAS process. One of the letters should be from a veterinarian.
Colorado State University (USA): the university requires a minimum of three letters of recommendation. One of them needs to be from a veterinarian, one can be from an academic source, and another can be from an employment/personal source.
University of Guelph (Canada): Two of the three letters must be from veterinarians who have supervised you. The third must be from someone who has mentored, supervised, or coached you in a professional setting.
Iowa State University (USA): A minimum of three letters are required but having one from a veterinarian is not mandatory; however, it is strongly recommended.
Kansas State University (USA): This university requires a minimum of three letters, one of which should be from a veterinarian. The rest can be from an academic or pre-professional advisor, a professor or other professional, or a personal letter from someone who is not related to you.
Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island (Canada): This university follows the VMCAS process but does not require any letter of recommendation as part of its application process.
North Carolina State University (USA): NC State University asks for three letters of recommendation and no more. It also recommends that two of them are submitted by veterinarians or PhD scientists that you have worked with in a research or veterinary setting. The third letter can be submitted by an employment supervisor, academic advisor, or an evaluator of your choosing.
There are also schools that do not follow the VMCAS process but may still require letters of recommendation:
Texas A&M University (USA): while Texas A&M University does not follow the VMCAS process, it requires three letters to be submitted electronically by the recommender. However, the letters are not required to be received at the time of application. You can use the EngCAS portal to track the progress of your requests.
University of Saskatchewan Western College of Veterinary Medicine (Canada): while this university does not follow the VMCAS process, a minimum of two letters are required, of which one should be from a veterinarian. The other recommender should be agricultural or animal related.
University of Montreal (Canada): some of the veterinary programs at the University of Montreal require letters of recommendation. These need to be sent directly to the university by the recommender who will be contacted via the email address provided by the candidate in the Student Center.
Texas Tech University (USA): this university does not follow the VMCAS process but requires three evaluation forms. At least one evaluation needs to be completed by a veterinarian. Evaluators will need to use the Veterinary Medicine Applicant Evaluation Form on the Texas Medical & Dental Schools Application Services (TMDSAS) portal to fill in their information.
University of Calgary (Canada): this university does not follow the VMCAS process and does not require any letter of recommendation as part of its application process.
Now that you have an idea of the application process, you will also have to make sure that the people you ask to write your letter of recommendation are aware of these guidelines.
Typically, a one-page letter of recommendation is considered ideal unless otherwise requested by the school you are applying to. Note that the admissions committee has many letters to go through and only a limited amount of time to spend on each one. Therefore, your letter should contain the most significant information about you within one page.
You will not have many options for formatting if you use the AMCAS or TMDSAS forms, but if you do not have specific instructions, keep to a standard letter-writing format. Use a traditional font between 10 to 12 pts with left alignment and single-spaced paragraphs. A veterinary school letter of recommendation should start with a salutation like “Dear members of the admissions committee” and end with a closing statement about reaching out in case there are any further questions. Of course, name (preferably with designation) should follow.
Content of the Veterinary School Letter of Recommendation
The letter of recommendation should focus on the abilities you possess pertaining to a career as a veterinarian. It should provide information on how and in what context the recommender knows the candidate. Specific examples of when your skills proved useful or when you were able to navigate a difficult situation will have the most impact on the reader. Descriptions of your performance, coming straight from an industry professional, will be appreciated by the admissions committee.
The letter should also speak about your passion for the field. Your mentor could mention a time at work, outside work, or at school when you expressed interest in becoming a veterinarian or cared for an animal, showed an ability that impressed them, or helped a pet owner, among other things.
Veterinary School Letter of Recommendation Examples
The following veterinary school letter of recommendation examples will give you a good idea of what to include and highlight in your own letter. Your letter may not include all the information given in these examples and will need to be tailored to your case and to fulfill the requirements of the school to which you are applying.
To whom it may concern,
I am writing to highly recommend Mr. Mathew Stamford for admission to your veterinary school program.
Along with my team, I run the local animal shelter in our hometown of Milton, and three years ago, I was introduced to Mr. Stamford through a colleague as one of the many volunteers who arrives at the shelter. I immediately gave him a task, as there is always work to be done! He was one of three volunteers who came back to me when they had finished their task and asked what else they could do. Since then, Mr. Stamford has continued to show the same enthusiasm and willingness to work.
It is a pleasure to work with Mr. Stamford. I have been consistently impressed by his dedication to animal care, his strong work ethic, and his eagerness to learn. I remember during his first year at the shelter, he expressed to me during one of our breaks how his family has always taken care of animals. He believed this is what instilled the same nurturing trait in him. We often spoke about the state of veterinary medicine in the country and our ideas for solutions to bring more attention to the field. Although brief and sometimes inconclusive, given that they occurred while caring for the animals and were often interrupted, our discussions convinced me that Mr. Stamford believed in what he was saying.
Mr. Stamford has consistently demonstrated his commitment to the well-being of animals. He has shown a natural aptitude for treating animals and often takes the initiative at the shelter to ensure that all animals are given the best possible care. He is a keen observer of animal behavior and has been among the first to observe injury or illness on several occasions. His passion for the field of veterinary medicine is evident in his constant desire to do more. He is a team player and does not shy away from difficult situations and I have no doubt that he would thrive in a veterinary school setting.
I wholeheartedly recommend Mr. Stamford for admission to your veterinary school program. I have no doubt that he will excel in his studies and make a positive impact in the field.
Please feel free to reach out if you have any additional questions.
Dr. John Doe, PhD Veterinary Medicine
To whom it may concern,
It is my pleasure to write this letter of recommendation for Ms. Celina Johnson for admission to your veterinary school program. I have had the pleasure of teaching and observing Ms. Johnson as her professor for the past three years and have been consistently impressed by her dedication and passion for animal care.
In my classes, Ms. Johnson excelled and was always eager to learn more. She demonstrated a clear understanding of the material and frequently asked thought-provoking questions that contributed to class discussions. In addition to her academic aptitude, Ms. Johnson also expressed a strong desire to work with animals and a genuine concern for their health.
During one of our discussions, she told me that they had lost their family dog a few years earlier due to illness. Her family went through a tough time caring for the dog, rushing around to different vets, all of whom gave them different diagnoses and recommendations. Ms. Johnson was heartbroken, as one would be. It was a few years later when she realized what she truly wanted to do.
Outside the classroom, Ms. Johnson has also actively pursued hands-on experience in the field. She has volunteered at local animal shelters and participated in several internships at veterinary clinics. I believe these experiences have allowed her to develop a wide range of skills, including handling and caring for animals, performing routine procedures, and working with clients.
In short, Ms. Johnson is an exceptional candidate for your veterinary school program. She has a strong foundation in the necessary academic skills and has demonstrated a true passion for animal care. I have no doubt that she will excel in your program and make a valuable contribution to the field of veterinary medicine.
Please feel free to contact me in case you have any follow-up questions or need any clarifications.
Dr. Henry Gould, DVM
To whom it may concern,
I am writing to recommend Mr. Josh Harding for admission to your veterinary school program. As Mr. Harding’s professor and academic advisor for the past three years at [Name of University], I have had the pleasure of watching him excel academically and demonstrate a strong passion for the field of veterinary medicine. Therefore, I am happy to write this letter of recommendation for him.
Mr. Harding has consistently demonstrated a strong aptitude for the scientific principles and concepts essential to veterinary medicine. In his coursework, he produces high-quality results and has shown an ability to think critically as well as apply what he has learned to real-world scenarios. In addition, he has shown a willingness to go above and beyond in his coursework, regularly seeking out additional resources and supplementary learning opportunities. Due to these qualities, I employed Mr. Harding as my teaching assistant for two years, and he made my life a lot easier by taking on several of my responsibilities.
Mr. Harding has also demonstrated a strong commitment to the field of veterinary medicine through his involvement in extracurricular activities. He has volunteered at Parkways Pet Clinic in Surrey for the past two years, gaining valuable hands-on experience working with a variety of animals. He has also participated in research projects at school related to veterinary medicine that I believe have helped him develop as a professional.
Furthermore, Mr. Harding is a team player and good at communicating his point of view. He is able to effectively connect with both colleagues and clients in group projects and clinical settings. He is persuasive and even once tried to convince me to partner with him in opening an animal adoption center, which was a great idea but not for the time.
In summary, I have no doubt that Mr. Harding has the skills, passion, and dedication necessary to excel in your veterinary school program and become a valuable member of the veterinary community. I wholeheartedly recommend him for admission.
Please feel free to reach out with any additional questions. I would be happy to answer them.
Prof. Matt LeDuc
Like most medical schools, veterinary schools also require letters of recommendation from candidates. While the task can seem daunting, there are certain aspects you can focus on to help you with the process. Once you have decided who you want to ask for the letter of recommendation – based on the points mentioned in this article – make sure to share the relevant information with them., especially any instructions or guidelines given by the school, and any special points you would like them to highlight.
1. How many letters of recommendation do I need for veterinary school?
The number of letters of recommendation depends on the veterinary school. Typically, two to three letters are required as part of the application. There is also the possibility of the letters being optional, but we recommend that you take any opportunity to make your application stand out.
2. Can family members in the medical profession write letters of recommendation?
No, it is not recommended to ask a relative to write your letter of recommendation. The letter could be biased or interpreted as such. It is best to ask someone who is not related to you and who has evaluated your work over a long period of time.
3. How long should a letter of recommendation be?
A one-page letter of recommendation is considered ideal. If the school asks for something different, the letter can exceed one page.
4. Can the admissions committee ask me about my recommender during my interview?
Typically, interviewers do not specifically ask about your recommender but would be interested in knowing about your past experiences. You can look at some popular vet school interview questions and expert responses to prepare for your interview.
5. How important is a veterinary school letter of recommendation?
A letter of recommendation is very important for veterinary school. It tells the admissions committee what other professionals think of you, how you conduct yourself, and how professional you can be. Knowing that other professionals will vouch for you as a candidate will greatly affect your application.
6. Can my friend who is a vet write my letter of recommendation?
Just like letters written by family members, it is not recommended to ask a friend. While it may not be possible for the committee to know the referee is your friend, it is advisable to ask someone who can be unbiased and objectively evaluate your professional abilities.
7. Along with my letters of recommendation, what else should I focus on for my application?
If you are satisfied with your veterinary school letters of recommendation, other aspects that you can focus on are your letter of intent and personal statement.
8. What if my veterinary school has not made the letter of recommendation mandatory?
In case the school you are applying to has given the option to skip the letter of recommendation, we still recommend that you provide at least two to strengthen your application.
Like our blog? Write for us! >>
Have a question? Ask our admissions experts below and we'll answer your questions!