Apply smarter to veterinary school

Veterinary school is expensive. While getting in is the goal of applying, getting in, to any school, at all costs, can literally cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. To date, no data indicates your income as a veterinarian relates  to the school you attend.  What does that mean? Cost matters. Narrow your application field. Only apply to schools where you can attend at the lowest cost possible. Your future Dr. Smart-Applicant self will thank you!


As reported in the AAVMC 2016-17 Annual Report, the lowest cost first-year discounted tuition seat (state resident seat) is about $18,500. The maximum first-year non-discounted tuition is about $69,500. You can expect to receive a quality veterinary education at any of the veterinary schools represented by AAVMC. Don’t pay $50,000 per year more in tuition to receive the same education as your state resident colleague.

New veterinarians with less debt have a head start. A lighter loan burden means more financial flexibility, and increased possibilities. With less debt, you could pursue an internship or residency, or even take a new job in your dream location without worrying as much about meeting the minimum requirements to pay your loans. Yes, your vet school experience is important, but the rest-of-your-life experience is even more so!


Prioritize schools where you can apply for discounted tuition, such as the school(s) that have contracts for you to attend at the state resident rate. Numerically, your best chance of getting into a veterinary school is at your state of residence school.

Target schools where you can attend at the lowest cost possible. Your future Dr. Smart-Applicant self will thank you!

Some schools allow you to switch state residency status after your first year so you can obtain discounted tuition starting in year two of veterinary school. This can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition, livings expenses, and interest.


VIN Foundation | VetSchoolBound | Apply Smarter | getting into veterinary school | vet schoolAvoid schools where you would pay full non-discounted tuition, particularly if you are planning to pay for your veterinary education with student loans. The more you borrow, the more interest you will accrue during veterinary school, and the more you’ll end up paying back after veterinary school.


Do not overlook the possibility of moving to a state ahead of time to establish residency and apply for a discounted seat. Even if this prolongs your application by a year, the cost savings can be worth it.


Borrowing for veterinary school is different than borrowing for undergraduate education. Veterinary school is considered graduate/professional school. That means you’re allowed to borrow much more, but interest rates are much higher.   Interest alone can add $20,000 or more to your veterinary school costs. The less you borrow, the lower your interest.


Cost matters. Prioritize schools with the lowest total cost of attendance, make sure you’re borrowing as little as possible to cover your veterinary education, and focus on skills to help you increase your earning potential as a veterinarian.


Stay tuned for our upcoming sections:

  • How do I figure out MY vet school costs
  • Paying for your veterinary education
  • How much can I expect to earn as a veterinarian?
  • Loan repayment options and strategies for veterinarians.


Check out a blog post by Student Debt Expert Dr. Tony Bartels with more Apply Smarter suggestions.


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There are other things to consider when deciding if veterinary school is the right path for you: