The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) says the 7.5 percent increase in applications for admission to veterinary school this year was likely due to the addition of three colleges of veterinary medicine to the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS) system—a centralized application portal created by AAVMC in 1995 and utilized by most U.S. veterinary schools. Ross University in St. Kitts, Midwestern College of Veterinary Medicine in Glendale, Ariz., and Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine in Harrogate, Tenn., are all enrolling their inaugural classes. The AAVMC says that because Ross admits three classes per year, there was a net increase of five new programs participating in VMCAS.
“Given the size of the applicant pool, the new programs did not result in additional unique applicants, but spread the existing application pool slightly wider,” says Tony Wynne, AAVMC’s director of admissions and recruitment. Prospective students submit one application to VMCAS that can be forwarded to multiple schools for multiple applications. With a total of 29,805 applications received this cycle, each prospective student applied to an average of 4.4 institutions.
Yet while applications increase—they’re up 23 percent compared with the five-year average—the AAVMC says the number of unique applicants has plateaud. The 6,744 prospective veterinary students showed a slight decrease from the 6,766 unique applicants in 2013. The ratio of applicants to available first-year seats was 2.1—a minimal decrease from 2013’s ratio of 2.3.
A survey from veterinary colleges last year by dvm360 found that although class size increased just 1 percent from 2012 to 2013, the number of graduates is poised to jump 18 percent by 2017. Projections indicate that only six of the now 30 accredited U.S. veterinary colleges will have class sizes with fewer than 100 students.