VMCAS essay examples are a great place to start when you're preparing to apply to veterinary school. After researching vet school rankings and looking into the best vet schools in your chosen area, you’ve finally decided on the schools you would like to apply to. One of the items you’ll need to include in your VMCAS application is a personal essay. We’re here to show you how to highlight your personal story and provide you with some VMCAS essay examples to make the process easier.
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VMCAS Essay Examples
Personal Essay Example 1
I grew up in a family with no pets. An experimental goldfish or two, but there is no family dog I can look back on fondly. My parents were both immigrants who left their homes young and understandably focused on providing for their kids and ensuring we did well in school.
But like a lot of young kids, I developed a love and fascination for horses. My parents thought it was a phase, but when my requests for horseback riding lessons continued year after year, they finally relented and took me to a local farm for lessons. I remember my first connection with the pony. I felt like it could understand, hear, and accept me, without being able to say a word. That’s when I started to understand the relationship that people have with the animals in their lives, and I wanted nothing more than to experience it again.
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Several years later, I jumped at the opportunity to help out at the riding camp during the summer break. I didn’t realize until then how different it is to participate in the care of the animals, instead of just passively riding them. Every chore was to make sure the horses were comfortable, healthy, and happy. I felt like they relied on me, and they, in turn, provided peace and enjoyment to the people around them.
Since then, I’ve volunteered at the Second Chances Animal Sanctuary for several years, developing and applying the knowledge I’ve gained from my biology and zoology classes. My proudest moments were when we were able to help a family’s beloved pony walk again after a leg fracture that might have otherwise resulted in euthanasia. Being able to give the family hope when they thought there was nothing we could do was amazing, and giving the animal a chance at a full life was incredibly fulfilling.
I developed a special interest in animal orthopedics while completing an internship at the Main Street Animal Hospital. What I want more than anything is to be a vet who works within the field of orthopedics for large animals, developing therapies and treatment programs to help regain mobility. These animals are often essential to rural businesses or farms and should get the care a partner deserves. The sense of responsibility I feel toward them and their quality of life continues to drive me to pursue the skills and knowledge I need to care for them as a practitioner of veterinary medicine.
Personal Essay Example 2
My parents didn’t believe in going to conventional places when it came to vacations. They wanted to see places that were unusual and immerse themselves in everything the locals did while they were there.
This meant that my brother and I were regularly exposed to places that were very culturally different from ours, but also climates that were totally new to us. As I got older, what struck me wasn’t always the exotic animals and plants, but the relationship a lot of people had with wildlife, and how it was different from what I experienced at home. At home in the urban setting where I lived, “wildlife” was what got into your garbage if you didn’t secure the lid properly. It was what dug through your flower pots at night. But in a lot of countries I visited, wildlife was an inseparable part of everyday life, and vital to the local economies. The animals there were valued as pollinators, decomposers, and yes, food. It made me curious about how people could value and experience wildlife back in the city where I lived.
At the beginning of high school, a friend and I decided to volunteer at the city’s wildlife center. As untrained volunteers we would mostly be cleaning cages and measuring feed for the animals, but I had never been so excited. The vets and vet technicians were so dedicated and resourceful. They relied on local donations, and the center survived on a shoestring budget, but they made it work. To them, even the common sparrows deserved kindness and care. Witnessing that level of empathy from vets and vet techs is humbling and inspiring.
Since that experience, I’ve taken as many opportunities as possible to work with wildlife organizations as possible. I volunteered at a summer program that was specifically created to help and preserve local turtle species, treating and tracking injured animals to ensure their survival. I’ve also participated in local songbird data collection, aiding in gathering information about migration patterns and population decline.
What I want is to be one of those veterinarians who cares for animals that don’t have anyone to care for them, or are treated like nuisances. Dogs and cats are loved and cared for, but so many city-dwelling animals are displaced or trapped or impacted negatively by humans. Working at a wildlife organization has taught me to be creative and resourceful, making the most out of the materials and equipment we had. I want to show people that even the plainest city wildlife deserves respect and help when they need it.
What Is the VMCAS Essay?
The VMCAS essay is one of the application components required by the Veterinary Medical College Application Service when you use their process to apply to vet schools. This essay is intended to provide admissions committees with “a clear picture of who you are and, most importantly, why you want to pursue a career in veterinary medicine.” While they may have your credentials on paper through your vet school resume, they might not have a good idea of what your personality is like, or what your goals are. Even your veterinary school letters of recommendation only represent who you are through someone else’s eyes, not your own.
Different from your vet school letter of intent, which must make a clear connection between your background, training, areas of interest, and the objectives and mission of your chosen veterinary school program, the VMCAS essay is more personal. It’s your chance to show the admissions committee why you love veterinary medicine and why you think you will make a good veterinarian.
The VMCAS essay or vet school personal statement can be a maximum of 3,000 characters (including spaces). This comes out to about one page of writing. It’s important to make sure your essay falls within the character count and contains all the listed requirements.
Note that the application site doesn’t have spell-check, and you can’t edit your work once you’ve submitted it. Making sure your punctuation and spelling is correct is the most basic way to show you’ve paid attention to the details in your essay. If you aren’t sure about a word or grammar choice, look it up so you know you’ve used it properly.
For help writing your essay, you could consider medical school personal statement editing services, which can easily be modified by an advisor to suit veterinary school requirements. Engaging an expert, such as those at BeMo Academic Consulting, is well worth it to improve your application documents and stand out from the crowd.
Is the VMCAS Essay Important?
The personal essay might not seem as formal or intensive as other parts of your application, but it’s still very important and can help or hurt your chances of being accepted into a program. A great essay showcases your personality traits, your sense of responsibility, as well as your motivations for going into veterinary medicine. A middling essay may be acceptable but fail to separate you from the pack, while a poor essay can show a want of attention to detail. One of the easiest ways to figure out what should be in yours is to look up VMCAS essay examples and see what you should aim for.
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What Should I Include in My Essay?
You may immediately think of a hundred things you want to tell the admissions committee, from your first pet hamster to your experience as an intern at the city zoo. However, keep in mind that you only have about 500 words, and you need to make them count. Here are some ideas of what you’ll want to include in your VMCAS essay.
- Career goals. Where do you ultimately want to be, and what is your dream job? Don’t just list a title – explain what appeals to you about it, or why you want this specific position over any others.
- What you want to contribute. You don’t need to make up a grand, world-altering contribution here, unless that is what you sincerely want to do. Your goal can be to simply bring joy and comfort to families by taking care of their pets. It can also be to make significant advancements to the field of veterinary science. Make sure you’re authentic.
- Characteristics that make you a good vet. Yes, you need good marks to get into vet school, but the admissions committee also wants to know that you have the right personality traits. For example, you may be a very motivated self-learner. This is a great attribute to have, but you need to highlight how being an excellent self-learner would help you in vet school and ultimately, as a vet.
- Always give examples. Remember that the committee doesn’t know you, so they will be wary of applicants who make claims without backing them up. It’s important to give examples so that the committee can see how you’ve used your skills and individual attributes in real-life situations: “show, don’t tell.” If you write that you’re an empathetic and caring person, write about a time when you demonstrated that empathy. This shows that you aren’t just listing what you think they want to hear.
- Set yourself apart. Any special experiences, personal revelations, or big life events that affected your desire to be in veterinary medicine are worth noting. You have a limited amount of space, so stick to the most important ones. These unique experiences are what will help the admissions committee remember you and set you apart from the crowd.
What Should I Avoid in My Essay?
With only 500 or so words to make your case, what you don’t include can be just as vital as what you do include. The admissions committee likely doesn’t want an entire essay on your childhood pet, so be careful about getting stuck on one aspect. In fact, the VMCAS guide explains that while many applicants “have had meaningful experiences with animals or veterinarians as children … these should only be mentioned briefly.”
Here are some other things you’ll want to make sure you avoid when writing your VMCAS essay.
- Information they already have. At this point, the admissions committee already knows about your academic achievements. They may be familiar with the jobs you’ve had, based on your letter of intent or high school resume. They may have a list of any vet school extracurriculars in which you participated. In your essay, don’t repeat what they already know. Instead, tell them something they don’t have on paper, expand on one or two of those experiences, or explain how an event impacted your motivation to go into veterinary medicine.
- Vague, generalized information. Telling them that “you’ve always liked animals” is nice, but vague, and likely a trait that many applicants share. Make it more specific: What is it that draws you to animals? When, exactly, did you start taking a special interest in animals?
- Jargon, unless it’s necessary. The admissions committee is unfortunately not going to be impressed if you throw terms around or use 5-syllable words in every sentence. You aren’t a vet yet, and one of the more embarrassing things you can do is attempt to use a term and use it wrong. Stick with language that is used in everyday conversation.
- Make unnecessary explanations. The members of the admissions committee don’t need you to explain the process of getting into vet school or how medical procedures work. Explain something if it is very specific to you, like the type of club you were in at school, or an event that occurred in your year of study. Giving an example is a better way of showing the committee what you mean, instead of getting bogged down in explanations.
- Irrelevant things. If the event isn’t relevant to why you want to be a vet or what you are looking for in a school/program, you probably don’t need to write it here. Take note of the various parts of the application process that would allow you to go into more detail. For example, should you be invited to answer vet school interview questions, you will have such an opportunity. The “tell me about yourself” vet school interview question would be the perfect moment to discuss your personal background further. It’s a good idea to go back and examine each piece of information you’ve provided in your essay and make sure it ties into the main topic: why you want to have a career in veterinary medicine.
Language and Tone
Ideally, the tone in which you write your VMCAS essay is similar to the way you would talk with someone in person. Keep your word choice conversational. Writing in a way that is overly formal doesn’t give the admissions committee members a clear sense of your own voice, and doesn’t humanize you. You’re writing your story, so it helps to read the essay aloud and see if it sounds like an accurate representation of yourself. Having a friend or family member read it can also be beneficial.
Admission to vet school is challenging, as shown by veterinary school acceptance rates; some schools are more difficult to get into than others. Applying is a long process with a lot of pieces to consider. Your VMCAS essay is perhaps one of the least restrictive parts, where you’re given the freedom to tell the admissions committee why you’re there and what you want to do. Being authentic and specific is your best approach to being accepted into the school of your choice.
1. How important is the VMCAS essay in being accepted to vet school?
It won’t make as much of an impact as your grades or your resume, but it can make you more memorable and more likeable to the committee members. An average essay likely won’t hurt you too much, but a bad one can.
2. Where can I find out about the entire process of applying to veterinary school?
The American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges is a good place to start. There you’ll find all the pieces you’ll need to submit for the application as well as contacts if you need more help. You can also have a look at our list of the best vet schools, along with tips for getting in.
3. How is the VMCAS essay different from the letter of intent?
A letter of intent shows how serious you are about your application and emphasizes what sort of experience and education you have related to veterinary medicine. The personal essay is more about your personality, motivation, and goals.
4. What sort of experiences should I include in my VMCAS essay?
You don’t need to list everything you’ve ever done that is related to the field. That is already outlined in other parts of the application. Highlight the personal impact certain experiences have had on you – be specific about how they made you feel, how they changed your perspective, and how they moved you in the direction of veterinary studies.
5. Do I have to be an amazing writer to write a good personal essay?
Admissions committee members aren’t expecting fine literature when you submit your personal essay. They know that not all candidates are natural writers. What they’re interested in is your ability to express yourself in a short piece of writing. Don’t worry about using fancy terms – write in a way that sounds natural and authentic to you.
6. Does the committee want to know about all my experiences with animals?
The committee will want to know about your experiences if they’re specific to you and have impacted you in a tangible way. You don’t have to tell them about every interaction you’ve had with animals, just the ones that were special to you.
7. Do they expect a formal essay for VMCAS?
Use the language you would use in a normal conversation in your essay. Very few people speak in a formal tone, and it can end up sounding stilted and unnatural. Be expressive but stick to the requirements.
8. Once I submit my essay, can I edit it?
There is no editing once your VMCAS essay has been submitted. However, if there is a serious mistake in the essay, you can contact the admissions committee and forward them a corrected copy as soon as possible.
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