University of Tennessee CVM students

Next week, faculty at the College of Veterinary Medicine will be interviewing applicants for the Class of 2018. In the past, we conducted interviews during our spring break in March, making us one of the later programs to interview and offer admission invitations. Moving the timeframe to the first of the year allows us to provide a more holistic evaluation of the application packet and also enables us to remain competitive with top candidates who receive offers from multiple veterinary colleges. With the change, we can provide earlier direction to successful candidates who may need to complete final requirements prior to entry. Our leadership is also in a position to better plan the college’s budget based on the proportion of in-state and out-of-state candidates.
 
The college received 823 applications for 85 seats in the first year class. Of those, 354 were invited on-campus for interviews. The average grade point average of the applicant pool invited to interview was 3.63. On average, 60-65 students of our first year class are Tennesseans.
 
Moving forward, we are working to develop a more holistic approach to our admissions process which includes more emphasis on letters of recommendation, candidates’ personal statement, experience within the profession, leadership and community involvement and personal interview. 
 
While academic grades and Graduate Record Examination test scores are important to ensure successful progress through our rigorous program, we are also implementing the holistic review that denotes greater consideration on the quality of the individual and his or her capacity to be successful and enrich the profession.
 
After each applicant’s academic record is reviewed and a benchmark academic score is established, about half of the applicant pool progresses to the next step: packet review and interview process. 
 
A team of three faculty members reviews each application packet. The ranking of the review includes an assessment of academic credentials, veterinary and animal care experience, reference letters, personal statement, written communication skills, optional hardship statement, and personal qualities such as community service, leadership, work history, interest area and diversity.
 
Finally, teams of three individuals (which will include one or more faculty members, a private practitioner, and a fourth-year veterinary student as available) will conduct interviews with each applicant.
 
The interview process continues to focus on the candidate’s comprehension of the veterinary profession, communication skills, and other qualities deemed important in veterinary school and the profession beyond. Private veterinarians on the team bring the practice perspective with a view of what type of person they are looking for in practice and as an eventual peer. The addition of senior veterinary students this year allows them to share their perspective on what makes a successful veterinary student and a successful cohesive veterinary class. We know that students who have greater engagement within their class go on to be highly successful upon graduation. Each of the three areas of assessment — academic record, packet review and interview — count for a third of the total score.
 
Over the years we have found that the best students are the well rounded, academically talented individuals who are engaged in their communities. As we interview the Class of 2018, we welcome the opportunity to guide them through this leg of their journey to the veterinary profession. 

Claudia A. Kirk, DVM, PhD, DACVN, DACVIM
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs

###