Applying to the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) Program at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) for the first time or looking for information on how to strengthen your application?  Review this list of frequently asked questions (FAQs). If you are unable to find the information that you need here or on the OVC website, you may email your question(s) to: 

Elizabeth Lowenger, MSc
Manager, Student Affairs


An information session that provides an overview of the admissions process for the DVM Program is held each fall (September). Check here for the date/time of the next session. 

IMPORTANT: Full details on the DVM Program admissions process and requirements can be found on the OVC website as well as in the University of Guelph undergraduate calendar.

How can I improve my interview performance?

The interview allows applicants to respond to interview questions and is an opportunity to showcase their non-academic attributes such as verbal communication skills and maturity level, as well as articulate why they want to be a veterinarian.  During the interview, applicants should be able to elaborate on the information provided in the background information form (BIF).  Reflecting on past experiences in advance of the interview enables applicants to speak freely about themselves and their experiences during the interview.  The development of interview skills also takes practice.  Consider investing time in taking a public speaking course i.e., Toastmasters, to practice verbal communication skills.  Additionally, many academic institutions offer workshops on verbal communication and interview strategies.  Workshops offered at the University of Guelph can be found at Co-operative Education & Career Services

Following the interview, the interview score is combined with the applicant's academic average and all applicants are re-ranked. Individual interview scores are not released, however general statistics are published on the OVC website at the end of each application cycle. 


How can I improve my experiences and Background Information Form (BIF)?

It is important to consider all aspects of the BIF including the reported veterinary and /animal experience, extracurricular activities and personal essay. 

The decision to apply to veterinary school should be an informed one and so it is important to explore the profession holistically.  Reflect upon your veterinary and animal experience and consider ways to improve upon your overall veterinary and animal experience in order to expand and refine your views and understanding of the profession.  Reflect upon how well you understand the profession as a whole and consider whether there are areas that you should explore that are beyond your current comfort zone.  

Pet ownership and brief introductions to certain veterinary sectors can certainly spark a passion to want to be a veterinarian.  However, the decision to apply and pursue a career in the profession should be informed by experiences beyond pet ownership and introductory experiences.  There is no minimum requirement of veterinary work/volunteer hours, but it is expected that applicants will be making an informed and mature decision to apply to veterinary school based on experiences and reflection.  

It is important to include quantitative information about your experiences such as the length of time you volunteered at a location, total number of hours, and with whom  you directly worked / volunteered with.  Include clearly defined and descriptive information, such as your role and responsibilities during the experience.  This information will also help you prepare for the interview and may be incorporated into the interview questions. 

Engagement in extracurricular activities demonstrates your ability to work as a team and to be a community-minded and engaged member of society. Veterinary medicine is just as much about working with your human colleagues as it is with animals. It will be difficult to succeed in the DVM program if you try to do it all on your own. Consider activities to develop leadership skills such as leadership role in a university club, student government, volunteer positions in your local community, intramural sports activities or attend a leadership workshop or conference, etc. 

Success in the DVM program as well as success as a future professional requires a balanced attitude. The DVM Admissions Committee appreciates the value of well-developed coping, time-management, and stress-management skills. Consider opportunities outside of animal and veterinary experiences to develop well-rounded life skills.  Examples include: volunteering for a non-animal charity; with a local school; at a long-term care facility; learning a new skill or developing a new hobby. It is important that student veterinarians have developed and evolved well-being strategies to prepare for the rigor of the veterinary curriculum.   

Lastly, the essay is personal and individualized marketing tool. The essay should document your understanding of the profession and how your experiences have prepared you for entering the profession. The essay should be individual and clearly express and demonstrate your personal motivation and interests. Grammar, spelling, and syntax are also very important in written communication pieces. There is a limited number of characters for the essay so being concise is important. 


How can I improve my referee assessments (references)?

It is important to obtain unbiased, professional references that do not have a conflict of interest. That means you may not use friends, close friends of the family, or family members as your references, even if they are veterinarians. It is important to have a conversation with your referee to ask if they feel they have known you long enough to provide a meaningful reference letter. Hence, in order to ensure supportive reference letters it's important to spend time building a professional relationship with both your veterinarian and non-veterinarian referees. It is impossible for a referee (veterinarian or non-veterinarian referee) to fill out all aspects of the referee assessment without having had ample time to get to know you and to be able to speak to your characteristics and suitability for the profession based on the time they spent with you.


Can I find out my interview score?

We do not release the scores. General admissions statistics will be included in the statistics posted for the cycle.


I heard that OVC will be requiring that applicants take the CASPer test, is this true? 

Yes, OVC will be implementing the CASPer test in upcoming cycles including the 2021-22 application cycle.  Please watch the OVC website for upcoming announcements regarding CASPer administered by Altus Assessments.  


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 many other veterinary schools that accept international (NOTE: OVC is the only Canadian veterinary school you can apply to 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.  It is the applicant's responsibility to verify each individual school's definition of 'residency'. 

The VMCAS (Veterinary Medical College Application Service) website contains a comprehensive list of veterinary schools outside of Canada. Refer to the VMCAS listing of schools for program information.


I'm having a hard time coping with the fact that I did not get into vet school. Who can I talk to?

We realize that it is very difficult to hear that you were not successful in your application to the DVM program at the OVC. Consider whether you would benefit from accessing support services to help you. University of Guelph students may access Counselling Services through Student Wellness, whereas students from other universities are encouraged to seek out available resources at their institution through consultation with their Program Counsellor or any faculty member.


What are some other career opportunities for working with animals?

There are a lot of other career possibilities that involve working with animals beyond veterinary medicine, examples include:   

Animal Behaviourist, Animal Nutritionist, Biologist, Farrier, Laboratory Technician, Researcher, Veterinary Technicians* 

*Veterinary Technician vs. Veterinarian: We receive many questions about the difference between veterinarians and veterinary technicians. Veterinarians are doctors with four years of veterinary medical school training who are medically and legally responsible for all animals and people working within their practice. Veterinary technicians play an important supportive role in veterinary medicine and can be considered similar to nurses in the human medical field. To learn more about becoming a registered veterinary technician please visit the Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians (OAVT) website. The University of Guelph's Ridgetown campus offers a diploma in veterinary technology

Every year the OVC accepts applicants who are veterinary technicians into the DVM program. Veterinary technician programs will provide you with valuable experience with animals in a clinical setting. However, all applicants are required to present the appropriate university-level academic requirements and prerequisites in order to apply to the DVM program.