Admissions Criteria

Admissions Criteria

Academic Criteria

In evaluating an applicant for admission, the USU/WSU Admissions Committee considers both academic and non-academic qualities. In assessing an applicant's academic qualities, the committee members ask themselves, How likely is it that this applicant will be able to successfully complete our rigorous, science based veterinary curriculum? Answering this question begins by considering the applicant's academic indices, i.e., cumulative GPA, science GPA, last 45-semester hour GPA, prerequisite GPA, grades in upper division science courses, course load per semester, and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, as well as his/her record of academic honors, scholarships, etc.

As completed applications are received by the WSU-CVM Office of Admissions, they are immediately placed into one of three categories, or tiers, based upon the following criteria:

  Overall GPA*   Science GPA**   GRE%***
Tier I >3.5 or >3.7 or >75
Tier II 3.2-3.5 or 3.5-3.7 or 60-74
Tier III <3.2 and <3.5 and <59

* Overall undergraduate GPA. Initial evaluation of GPA will not include fall term grades. Fall term grades should be submitted as soon as grades are posted and will be used in the final evaluation.

** Science GPA will include all physical sciences, mathematics, and biological sciences courses (see Prerequisites).

*** GRE percentile is calculated by averaging the percentile rank from the three sections of the general test (composite score). If an application contains more than one set of GRE scores, the committee will consider the highest section score. Only GRE scores received by the admissions office at the time of initial academic evaluation will contribute to Tier assignment.

  • Tier I applicants have excellent academic records based upon their GPA and/or GRE criteria. At the beginning of the process, we make the basic assumption that, generally speaking, a student with a previous record of academic excellence is more likely to be able to successfully complete our program than one with a less excellent record. Therefore, many Tier I applicants tend to be invited to participate in a personal interview.
  • Tier II applicants have good academic records based upon their academic indices. In deciding whether a given Tier II application warrants further review, the academic record is thoroughly evaluated to determine if factors, such as academic rigor, work responsibilities, and family commitments, might have contributed to a more modest performance. Fewer Tier II applicants are invited for an interview.
  • Tier III applications are those in which the GPA and GRE score do not support a presumption of academic success. While these records are very closely scrutinized for evidence to support an argument for extenuating circumstances, only a few Tier III applicants tend to be invited for an interview.

Prerequisites for Admission

Pre-professional coursework in the physical and biological sciences, outlined as prerequisites, and the GRE pertains to all students. Ensuring that all prerequisites have been completed by no later than the spring semester of the application year is solely the responsibility of the applicant. A list of USU prerequisite courses, equivalencies of which may be met at other institutions, can be found here.

Advanced Placement/Running Start Credits

While Advanced Placement (AP) or Running Start credits might be acceptable for some prerequisites, applicants are encouraged to view such credits as an opportunity to qualify for and enroll in upper division physical and biological science courses, rather than simply as a means for "testing out" of prerequisites. The goal of the applicant should be to prepare him/herself as best they can for our rigorous, science based, veterinary curriculum. Upper division science courses are deemed to be highly preparatory for the DVM program.


Students spending more than two years in pre-professional programs have time to take a number of elective courses. Highly recommended, but not required, electives include mammalian anatomy, physiology, embryology, microbiology, immunology, reproductive biology, computer science, physics II, and animal science courses, including nutrition.


The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test is a computer based comprehensive knowledge exam. The Educational Testing Service (GRE), Box 6000, Princeton, New Jersey 08541-6000 administers the GRE. For convenient scheduling of the test, call 1-800-GRE-CALL. Results of the examination will be reported to the WSU-CVM if the school code 4984 and department code 0617 are properly entered on the test form. GRE scores must be received by October 2 of the year of application. Please note: test scores that are more than five years old on or after October 2 of the year of application will not be accepted by the Admissions Committee. Only the general GRE exam is required. Subject tests are not needed or considered.


Non-Academic Criteria

The fundamental question the Admissions Committee poses to evaluate an applicant's non-academic qualities is, Does the applicant possess the qualities of a good veterinarian? In order to answer this question, the committee considers various non-academic criteria, such as his/her work ethic, knowledge of the profession, motivation, compassion, integrity, leadership and communication skills, and desire to contribute to society. In addition, the committee will assess an applicant's resiliency, willingness to accept responsibility, maturity, and breadth of experience. The following paragraphs describe components of the application that are used by the committee to evaluate these criteria.

1. The Veterinary Experience and Animal Experience 

Veterinary experience provides a basic knowledge of the veterinary profession through closely observing the role of the various members of the health care team in a traditional practice setting. Participating in biomedical research, public health, academic medicine, regulatory medicine, or industry can enhance an applicant's appreciation for the breadth of the veterinary profession. The committee also takes involvement in seminars, practica, and other veterinary professional activities into account.

Veterinary medicine is an animal health and production oriented profession. The Admissions Committee considers animal experience to be an important preparation for the curriculum. Animal experience includes such things as breeding, rearing, feeding, and showing various species of companion animals, livestock, laboratory animals, zoo animals, or wildlife.

2. Employment Experience

This information helps the committee better understand time commitments an applicant has beyond the classroom, as well as gives some insight into the applicant's work ethic. Both full-time and part-time work experience should be included in this section of the application as it helps the Admissions Committee with a composite evaluation of an applicant.

3. Honors & Awards and Community Activity

Achievements, leadership ability, and participation in academic and other activities will be evaluated carefully. This includes extracurricular activities such as collegiate clubs, service organizations, sports or other interest-based activities.

Community service activities are viewed as an indication of an applicant's desire to contribute to society. These activities need not be directly affiliated with veterinary medicine. The applicant should clearly and succinctly describe their level of participation in these activities.

4. Letters of Recommendation

Each applicant should obtain three evaluations to aid the admissions committee in assessing their personal traits. The best individuals for these evaluations are those who know the applicant well enough to provide meaningful comments. At least one evaluation must be from a veterinarian with whom the applicant has interacted fairly extensively. Another should come from a person in academia who could speak to the student's academic ability. Other evaluations should come from individuals who can evaluate the oral and written communication skills as well as the scientific background of the applicant. The USU/WSU Admissions Committee reserves the right to check references for verification and accuracy.

5. Research Experience

The USU/WSU Admissions Committee does value knowing about an applicant's experience in the broad field of research. Since there is not a defined location for this information on the VMCAS application, the WSU supplemental application does provide a section for applicants to capture research experience. This experience does not have to be directly affiliated with veterinary medicine, and research experience is NOT required for admission to the DVM program.

6. Diversity/Adversity

 Each year, the USU/WSU Admissions Committee is given the enormous task of selecting top candidates from among a vast array of highly qualified applicants. The committee seeks applicants who will increase the geographic, cultural, and economic diversity of the student body and the profession. Extenuating circumstances such as extensive extracurricular work commitments or family responsibilities are taken into consideration as well. If you feel that you qualify in this category, please provide information in the "Explanation" portion of the application. Applicants may also have issues about which they are reluctant to write in their veterinary school application. If so, these candidates should feel free to contact the Director of Admissions to discuss the matter.

7. Personal Statement

The personal statement portion of the application is a candidate's opportunity to make a case as to why you are the best possible candidate for the USU/WSU DVM program. It is a chance to set yourself apart from other candidates, give the Admissions Committee background information that might not otherwise be included in the application, explain special situations or circumstances that have influenced you as a person, and where you see yourself in the future.

8. The Personal Interview

Non-academic evaluation of the top qualified applicants in the Utah, Washington, Idaho, and out-of-area pools may include a personal interview. WICHE-supported applicants are not formally interviewed, but they are encouraged to visit the USU and/or WSU campus at any time. The interview consists of a 30 minute personal interview with two to three members of the Admissions Committee and a representative from the respective state veterinary medical association (the Utah, Idaho or Washington State Veterinary Medical Association). Between two and three members of the Admissions Committee will comprise the interview team for out-of-area applicants.

The personal interview will be used to clarify any issues arising from the academic and non-academic evaluation and to assess the applicant's maturity, motivation, communication skills, knowledge of the profession, and desire to contribute to society through veterinary medicine.

Anti-Discrimination Policy

Utah State University and Washington State University prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, age, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, physical, mental, or sensory disability, marital status, sexual orientation, and status as a Vietnam-era or disabled veteran in the recruitment and admission of students, the recruitment, employment, and retention of faculty and staff, and the operation of all university programs, activities, and services.

Final Evaluation

After all information has been accumulated on qualified applicants, the Admissions Committee will meet to decide which applicants are best suited to enter the veterinary curriculum. Both academic and non-academic factors will be used to reach a final decision. For Utah, Washington, Idaho, and out-of-area applicants, this process will generate a group of admitted students and a list of alternates who may receive offers of admission at a later date. In the case of WICHE applicants, the process will yield a ranked list of all applicants from each sending state. Ranking of applicants from each WICHE state by the three regional colleges of veterinary medicine (Washington State University, Oregon State University, and Colorado State University) helps determine which applicants are funded each year and who are then made offers of admission.

Notification Procedures

At the time of notification of interview, all unsuccessful candidates are also notified of their status. All Utah, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and out-of-area applicants to USU/WSU DVM program who are to be interviewed are notified of their status on or before March 30. A number of interviewed applicants who are not initially made offers of admission are given alternate status, and may be offered admission at a later date. Barring delays in the ranking process, WICHE applicants should be notified by February. Some WICHE applicants are also given alternate status.

Applicants who are admitted to the USU/WSU DVM Program will be required to complete a WSU uniform undergraduate application. Complete and final academic transcripts for accepted applicants must be submitted to WSU-CVM Admissions Office before July 1.

Unsuccessful applicants who wish to be considered the following year must submit new application materials. Evaluation of an unsuccessful application can be requested. Please contact USU or WSU-CVM Student Services before May 15 of the current cycle period to request this feedback.

The Admissions Committee assumes the applicant, if offered admission, is fully prepared to enter the veterinary program starting the next fall semester. Deferral of admission is considered by the Director of Admissions on a case-by-case basis and granted only under special circumstances.

Please do not request information by phone or email regarding offers of admission prior to notification dates. This information is confidential and provided only in official letters. Applicants are encouraged to have all components of the admission application submitted well in advance of these deadlines.

AAVMC acceptance policy

The following resolutions was adopted at the July 21, 1997 business meeting in Reno, NV: "The AAVMC requests that all U.S. Schools and Colleges of Veterinary Medicine honor and enforce and acceptance date of April 15 for all offers of admissions."

This statement was expanded by the Board of Directors to include acceptance of all offers of scholarship and financial aid in the April 15th deadline.

Approved by the AAVMC Assembly:  July 21, 1997
Amended by the AAVMC Board of Directors:  April 29, 2008