Increasing Your Chances of Vet School Acceptance

January 26, 2024 - Many a ranch kid has had the aspiration of one day being a veterinarian. Competition to get in, a high cost of education, and often long treks to veterinary colleges add up quickly in dissuading even the most hopeful. However, a recent announcement from Rocky Vista University of the addition of a college of veterinary science in Billings, Montana could help ease some reluctance for students in the region. 

According to a press release from Rocky Vista University (RVU), plans have now been announced for the development of Rocky Vista University College of Veterinary Medicine. The College will offer a comprehensive Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program to train future veterinarians. There is currently no other veterinary school within 400 miles of Billings, Montana’s largest city

In talking with Western Ag Network, founding Dean of Rocky Vista University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Robert Murtaugh, discussed the contrast of applying for veterinary school as compared to medical school. 

“It’s actually probably more difficult these days to get into veterinary school than it is to get into medical school,” said Dr. Murtaugh. “There’s roughly 35 vet schools in the U.S. and close to 300 medical schools. The number of qualified applicants for veterinary school every year is around 12,000 – 13,000 applicants and currently only 3,800 of those get admitted.”

According to Dr. Murtaugh, you’re looking at a roughly 30% chance of getting admitted in any one year. When prompted as to how to stack one application over the next knowing that all these students are likely quite qualified, he had a few tips for aspiring veterinarians:

  • Get experience working in the profession, be it for veterinarians, industry, or in a lab.
  • Keep a keen focus on grades.
  • Work on communications skills and emotional intelligence.
  • Get a publication or make presentations during your undergrad.
  • Show evidence of pursuing new knowledge.
  • Foster relationships that will turn into good references.

Rocky Vista University College of Veterinary Medicine plans construction on the west end of Billings. A fast-track college, students will attend classes through the summer, graduating from vet school in a matter of three years. According to Dr. Murtaugh, their intent is to have students enrolled by mid-2026 with graduating veterinarians by 2029.