Have lots of questions? If you do, we have the answers. If you don't find what you need to know on our website, please get in touch with us directly via email or phone.
Elizabeth Lowenger, MSc
Manager, Student Affairs
Tel: 519.824.4120 ex 54430
Or watch the 2016 session for unsuccessful candidates explaining the selection process.
How can I improve my interview skills?
The lower you rank in the top 200 applicants (based on your academic average) the more important your interview will become. Following your interview, your interview score is combined with your academic average and all applicants are re-ranked. We do not release individual rankings, but each applicant will be notified of their interview score.
The interviews for undergraduate Canadian applicants to the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program follow the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) format. Graduate cohort applicants will be interviewed individually in the traditional format.
The MMI is modeled after the Objective Standardized Clinical Examination (OSCE) and was developed by the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University as the interview tool for admissions to their undergraduate MD program. The MMI consists of a series of short, timed, structured interview stations that draws multiple samples of a candidate's ability to think on their feet, communicate opinions and ideas, critically appraise information and demonstrate advanced thought/knowledge of the issues facing the profession. Each of the scenarios has been constructed to assess Ethical Behaviour, Empathy, Judgement, Critical and Creative Thinking, or Personal Management Skills. All stations will assess Communications skills.
The interview is your chance to show your confidence when speaking in front of others. Veterinarians speak with their clients all the time in appointments or over the phone, so confidence with your verbal communication skills is something you will need to develop.
Try taking a public speaking course if you need help in this area. You need to be able to get your nerves under control in order to market yourself to the best of your abilities during your interview. Toastmasters would be a good place to start or get in touch with Career Services at the University of Guelph as they offer workshops on interview skills. If you are not a student at the University of Guelph, check into what workshops your University offers.
How can I improve my Background Information Form (BIF)?
There are several areas you can work on:
During your interview, it is important to be able to elaborate on your veterinary/animal experience and explain what you learned from these experiences. Be honest and you shouldn't have a problem elaborating.
In order to improve your veterinary/animal experience try volunteering at another clinic or in a different department at OVC. Try volunteering on a horse farm as a groomer, sorting pigs at a grower-finisher barn, feeding and milking at a dairy barn, etc. Owning pets or riding horses are not the types of experience the DVM Admissions Committee is looking for.
Variety is key when it comes to experience because it shows you have taken the time to explore the profession. Also, be sure to include quantitative information such as the length of time you volunteered, total number of hours, etc. Also include descriptive information, such as the tasks your preformed. They will ask you about this information during your interview. For some possible volunteer opportunities visit our Volunteer Opportunities listing.
Your extracurricular activities demonstrate your ability to work as a team and when required take on a leadership role. Veterinary medicine is all about working with your colleagues. It will be difficult to succeed in the DVM program if you try to do it all on your own. Take on a new leadership role in a university club, join student government, volunteer in your local community, join an intramural sports team, attend leadership conferences, etc. The possibilities are endless!
The DVM Admissions Committee also wants to see that you are a balanced individual capable of dealing with the stress of four years of medical training. Try volunteering for a non-animal charity, with a local school, at a nursing home, etc. Try learning a new skill or developing a new hobby. It's important that you have outlets for stress relief if you are to be successful in the profession.
Lastly, your essay is your own personal marketing tool. The essay on "why you wish to be a veterinarian" shows your understanding of the profession and the skills you have developed in preparation for entering the profession. Try to express yourself clearly in your essays and demonstrate your motivation and interests. Grammar, spelling and syntax are also very important when trying to market yourself.
How can I improve my referee assessments (references)?
It is important to get unbiased, professional references. That means you should not use friends or family members as your references, even if they are veterinarians. You should also be sure to ask if your referee feels they can give you a good reference letter. In order to ensure positive reference letters it's important to spend time building a relationship with a veterinarian. It's impossible for a veterinarian to fill out all aspects of the referee assessment without ample time to get to know you and see your skills set.
Can I find out my interview score?
Yes, all interviewed candidates will be sent their interview score in June. This score is an average score across the 8 stations scored out of 100.
What can I do to improve my academic average so that I rank in the top 200 applicants?
In order to improve your chances of making it into the top 200 applicants, you need to improve your overall academic average. This means taking a close look at the 50:50 ratio and figuring out where you can improve:
50% is the average of the courses completed in your last two acceptable full-time semesters. You may need to go back for another full-time semester in order to increase your average. Keep in mind that it is expected that the level of an applicant's courses will correspond to the semester level (year) of his or her program.
50% is the average of your eight required prerequisite courses (taken during acceptable full-time semesters). Always choose your eight highest marks that meet the criteria for these prerequisites. For example, if you did better in your animal reproduction class than your animal physiology class, don't pick the animal physiology mark just because you think physiology is something the DVM Admissions Committee wants to see. Use the animal reproduction class mark. The Admissions Committee won't even see your application until you make it into the top 200, so work on getting the highest academic average possible.
If I didn't get an interview, can I find out where I ranked in the academic average standings?
No. We do not release individual rankings.
How many times can I apply?
In total, only four applications for admission to the DVM program will be considered from an individual. This includes applications in either the undergraduate cohort or the graduate cohort.
What other schools can I apply to?
There are a large number of other schools you can apply to as an international student (NOTE: OVC is the only veterinary school you can apply to in Canada as an Ontario resident.) If you are francophone and prepared to study the program in French you can apply to the program at the Université de Montréal. You may also establish residency in another province and apply to the school that services the province - but be sure to verify what the school defines as 'residency'.
The VMCAS (Veterinary Medical College Application Service) website would be a good place to start your search. Check out the VMCAS listing of schools you can apply to through their online application.
I'm having a hard time coping with the fact that I did not get into vet school. Who can I talk to?
If getting into veterinary medicine is something you have always aspired to do, it is understandable that you are upset after not being offered admission. However, if you find yourself becoming depressed or unable to move on, you may want to consider seeing a counsellor.
If you are a University of Guelph student, we encourage you to connect with Counselling Services at 519-824-4120 Ext. 53244 if you require personal assistance. Appointments are available at the Counselling Services office on the 3rd floor of the University Centre. There is no charge for the service for registered University of Guelph Students.
If you are attending another university, please connect with the counselling services division of your university.
What are some other career opportunities for working with animals?
There are a lot of other career possibilities that involve working with animals, examples include:
Animal Behaviourist, Animal Nutritionist, Biologist, Farrier, Laboratory Technician, Researcher, Veterinary Technicians*
*'Vet Tech' vs. Vet: We get a lot of questions about the difference between veterinarians and veterinary technicians. Veterinarians are doctors with four years of medical school training who are responsible and liable for all animals and people working in their practice. Veterinary technicians play a role similar to nurses and have college training in a veterinary technology program. To learn more about becoming a Registered Veterinary Technician please visit the OAVT (Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians) website. The University of Guelph's Ridgetown campus offers a diploma in veterinary technology.
Each year we accept applicants who are veterinary technologists into the program BUT since the veterinary technician program is at the college level, we still require a minimum of 2 years university education. The 'vet tech' program will provide you with lots of amazing experience with animals in a clinical setting. However you will still need to go to university and complete the two years and the eight prerequisite courses.