The number of people applying to veterinary colleges has increased 19% year on year, and it could be a pandemic.
According to preliminary data from the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, a total of 10,273 people submitted applications for the 2020-21 veterinary college admissions cycle, compared with 8,645 the previous year.
In times of uncertainty, people go to school, said Lisa Greenhill, EdD, senior director for institutional research and diversity at AAVMC.
“Applications for veterinary school have increased in recent years, so at least a modest increase was expected,” she said. “It’s important to note that in times of economic downturn, applications for study and professional programs continue to increase as students who graduate from their programs often struggle to find employment.”
Forty-four of the AAVMC member colleges use the Veterinary Medical College application service to process applications. See the full list of AAVMC member institutions. Most US veterinary schools use the service.
The 19% increase is significant in that the number of applicants has increased in recent years, but the typical increase has been 6% to 7%.
The data also shows an increase in the submission rate, or the percentage of applicants who complete the application process using VMCAS after starting it. The rate was 79% in the 2020-21 cycle and previously averaged 72-73%.
The reason for the increase is unclear. However, the AAVMC opened the applicant window in January of this year, as opposed to the typical May timeframe, to give applicants more time to process their applications, according to a press release. The AAVMC’s admissions and recruiting office also ran more webinars and communicated more with applicants.
“Given the economic uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic for the coming year, more people decided to apply now,” said Dr. Greenhill. “Certainly there are other factors that drove the numbers so high. As usual, AAVMC will interview applicants and hopefully share more insights in 2021. “