I'm sure you are well aware that veterinary school is going to be expensive, but you may not have realized that the costs actually start with the applications. Application cost may be constraining when trying to select how many, and which, schools to apply to. Though I only applied to four schools (UC Davis, Colorado State, Washington State, and Oregon State), I spent over $1,000 towards applying to vet school alone. The cost of applications will be slightly different for each applicant, so this post can help guide you as you budget and plan your application strategy. Click "Read More" to see the article!
VMCAS general application: $495.00
Sending transcripts: $10.00
GRE prep: $13.00
GRE exam: $195.00
Sending GRE scores: $27.00
Supplemental applications: $250.00
PPI evaluations: $0.00
After offers come in, the final pennies start adding up. Excluding interview costs, my total cost of applications came to $990. Recall I only applied to four schools- these are the results:
I interviewed and was accepted to UC Davis SVM; accepted (without an interview) to Oregon State University CVM; offered but declined my interview at Washington State University WIMU Veterinary Program; and was denied by Colorado State University CVMBS.
Luckily, I already lived in Davis (I was an undergraduate there) so it did not cost me anything to attend my UCD interview.
Oregon State does not interview its non-residents, which means I was admitted without interview. I feel incredibly fortunate and thankful to have been accepted there-- OSU has the smallest class size (~55) and only ~16 seats are open to non-residents. And since there is not an interview, OSU spared me the related expenses. Be aware of schools that have interview policies like this- it may help you decide which schools to apply to if money is a major concern for you. Also, be aware that some schools will do Skype or telephone interviews to help their applicants avoid the time and financial costs of travel. Also, be aware that schools that do NOT interview applicants may consequently place higher weights on your personal statement and letters of recommendation.
I ended up hearing the good news from UC Davis about 2 weeks before my Washington interview, so I decided to decline my interview offer to WSU. If I had pursued that interview, it would have cost me over $300, plus 2 days of missed classes and 1 missed workday. Luckily, I was almost fully refunded from my AirBnB hosts ($115 for 2 nights) all but for an $11 service fee. Unfortunately, Alaska Airlines did not refund me, so I lost $150.00 to them for that plane ticket. Also to consider is the money that I would have spent in Washington for food and ground transportation.
Take note that you may not hear back from some schools before you hear back from UC Davis; several of my friends attended their interviews at Kansas, Michigan, Ohio before hearing back from Davis, so they had to shoulder these costs.
AirBnB may be an affordable way to find lodging for your interview travels. It was very easy for me to find a student budget-friendly room close to the WSU campus-- in fact, the people offering this particular room were a couple of WSU graduate students! Which would have been awesome because I would have been able to learn so much more about the WSU lifestyle than if I had lodged somewhere else. Learning about the community you may live in for 4 years may be an important factor for choosing which school you end up attending.
All in all, I would say I saved much more money than my peers who applied to many more schools, and schools all over the country. My applications to 4 veterinary schools cost me about $1,140 altogether, and I got in to my dream school: UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
Some other things to note: OSU requires a monetary deposit after you accept your offer to hold your place. I think they do this to deter people from accepting OSU's offer only to withdraw it later after hearing back from a different school. Non-residents, take note that Colorado State doesn't let you establish in-state residency during veterinary school, meaning you will pay out-of-state tuition all four years (yikes! as a result I was not terribly sad that I didn't receive an admission offer from them). These are all things you should research in-depth before choosing which veterinary schools to apply to.
Thanks for reading, and if you have any more tips, please leave me a comment below.