Variety of veterinary college candidates climbs 19% – Information

The jaws fell this month when the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges released data showing that 10,273 people applied for veterinary programs for the academic year starting in 2021, up 19% year over year .

Even the group that gathered the information was surprised. A summary oThe AAVMC website, which describes the annual growth rate as “amazing”, has a colorful graphic that says “Wow!”

An annual increase in the number of applicants for veterinary schools is nothing new, but it is usually in the 6% to 7% range. However, AAVMC’s top data analyst does not expect to maintain the latest rate due to a number of factors including COVID-19.

Lisa Greenhill, Senior Director, Institutional Research and Diversity at AAVMC, suggests the surge is an exaggerated representation of the volatility in higher education that usually accompanies economic downturns and, in this case, pandemic uncertainties: when life becomes doubtful, they tend People go to school for this

“I think a significant part of the surge is likely to be people who would have slipped into our pool over the next one to three use cycles – they would likely come anyway,” she said. “But again, the economy, coupled with pandemic-related changes, has created a situation where people say, ‘I might actually have a chance this year’ and ‘I need a plan because this pandemic doesn’t seem to be abating. “‘” “

Data in support of the application peak comes from the AAVMC Veterinary Medical Colleges Application Service, which acts as a clearinghouse for applications with 44 member institutions, most of which are based in North America. Every US veterinary school except Texas A&M and Texas Tech Universities and three Canadian programs participate in VMCAS.

The number of VMCAS applicants has risen steadily since 2015, when 6,600 prospective veterinarians applied to start school in autumn 2016. Last year VMCAS collected applications from 8,645 prospective veterinary students who wanted to enroll in the fall.

“This year, not only have more students considered applying to veterinary schools, they have been more inclined to get their way,” Greenhill said. Typically 72% or 73% of the people who start the VMCAS application process complete it. Most recently it was 79%.

“We are in uncharted territory,” said Greenhill.

Several internal factors could artificially inflate the numbers, Greenhill said. For example, AAVMC opened this year’s application cycle in January, four months earlier than in previous years, which gave applicants more time to prepare their applications. The AAVMC admissions and recruiting office provided more contact to assist applicants through the process.

“In addition, the pandemic ensured that everyone was and had at home [more time] To complete their applications, “said Greenhill.” Put this in the context of the fact that all study and career programs are growing dramatically amid economic uncertainty. “

Given the deteriorating economy, higher education experts expect the number of graduates and vocational schools to rise sharply, as in the past. However, a coronavirus-triggered recession holds the prospect of distance learning, which Greenhill said has boosted student enrollment.

“We really have to watch what happens at Undergrad,” she said. “Everyone’s hung over this big climb, but I consider it a cautious high.”

Lisa Greenhill

AAVMC photo

Lisa Greenhill, PhD in Education, leads the AAVMC’s research efforts, which include studies of national trends in veterinary school applicants.

Greenhill pondered the future of veterinary education and shared her point of view in response to questions from VIN news service.

Can you elaborate on why you think the Veterinary School may be losing popularity?

While this seems like the fiercest pool we’ve ever had, I don’t think it’s sustainable, especially when you look at the Undergrad which is a much smaller pool.

The number of students has decreased significantly across the board and we are seeing a specific decline in the underrepresented and marginalized population. And that means the Veterinary Academy may have smaller pools to draw from in the near future.

And this precedes a decline that has already been forecast. For example the [high school] Class of 2025 – Children Born During the Last Recession – They Will Start University. That’s a more diverse pool, but a much smaller population, as were the years that followed.

It is really unclear what the long-term impact this insane time caused by pandemics will be. we just don’t know. However, due to the size of the population, we know that there will generally be fewer students very soon.

Over the past decade, the US Veterinary Academy has grown rapidly. Are new programs like the ones that opened at the University of Arizona and Long Island University this year even responsible for the upward trend in applicants?

People think that applications skyrocket when there is a new school. You don’t. We could see an increase of 100 or 200 applicants at most. That’s a drop in the ocean.

Is someone saying that the increase in applicants means that more places are needed in veterinary schools?

I am sure some people will make the point. Applicants always make the argument that there are not enough seats. I am sure people will interpret it that way. But again, people who understand what is going on in higher grades in general know that an increase in this size should be viewed as an anomaly rather than a predictor of being gangbuster forever. The writing is on the wall about the population shifts that are popping up across the board. And the big unknown right now is how many application cycles before we see how the pandemic will play out [veterinary academia]?

How could an increase in applicants affect tuition fees? Will education costs rise in response to increasing demand?

I suspect college graduate tuition fees are affected in many different ways, and veterinary medicine is just an integral part of that. We are in a pandemic. General registration is not possible. Veterinary medicine … is not a moneymaker for universities, and in undergrad they make their money and [human] They make their living in the health sciences. I predict a lot of pressure around the class.

But here’s the thing: tuition fees never go down. It is not; It is a mistake. It could possibly be subsidized [via allocations from state legislatures], but … I live in a state [Virginia] where they don’t even have free tests for COVID. I don’t expect college graduates to get more money in the next fiscal year if I can’t go to the health department and take a COVID test.

Do more applicants influence the quality of the applicant pool? Are They All Qualified?

It is far too early to comment. we just don’t know. I can say that our long-term research into veterinary school applicants suggests that the pool has always been very, very deep and that there are many qualified students who are not joining. Our acceptance rate is a high 40%, almost 50% maybe, and there are many, many, many qualified applicants who are not admitted. It really depends on the individual institutions and what their individual pools look like.

VIN News Service Comments are opinion pieces that present insights, personal experiences, and / or perspectives on current issues from members of the veterinary community. To submit a review for review, email news@vin.com.