College of Veterinary Medicine removes GRE requirement for more comprehensive application process

Then-fresmen, Austin Hobbs, Shade Hirrons and Trevor Mullen study for a test. The College of Veterinary Medicine is discontinuing the GRE requirements for applicants (Archive photo by Rowan Jones | Collegian Media Group)

After several years of requiring the completion of the Graduate Record Examination for prospective graduate students, the Kansas State College of Veterinary Medicine will be eliminating the exam from the application process effective in the 2020-2021 application cycle. The college wants to focus on a more comprehensive application process focusing on academics.

The GRE is used at several other universities. However, according to Callie Rost, assistant dean for admissions in the College of Veterinary Medicine, many of these institutions are disaffiliating the GRE with their application process as well.

“I serve on the AAVMC (Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges) Admissions and Recruitment Committee, and several of the representatives from other vet schools on that committee have dropped the GRE,” Rost said. “It’s been a conversation that I’ve been involved in for two years.”

The GRE consists of 3 sections: verbal, quantitative and analytical writing. According to Rost, the exam is able to indicate a good overview of the applicants in those areas, but did not necessarily demonstrate the applicants’ understanding of science.

“Our program is science-based and really that exam does not tell us anything about the science background knowledge that applicants have,” Rost said. “There really isn’t an exam specifically written for veterinary admissions like there is for medical schools like the MCAT or the LSAT for law school. We don’t have anything like that for veterinary medicine, so we’ve used the GRE in place of a specific exam for veterinary programs.”

Despite the removal of the GRE, Rost said this does not suggest the application process is any easier.

“We are really wanting to look more towards a holistic type of admissions where academics will still be a really big part of it,” Rost said.

Among other qualities, Rost said the Admissions and Recruitment Committee will look at the applicant’s experiences during their undergraduate and during high school years, past veterinary experience, community involvement, leadership, rigor, research experience and employment as well as many other criteria.

“We want to look at the entire applicant,” Rost said.

According to David Hoffman, recruitment coordinator for the College of Veterinary Medicine, the decision to remove the GRE was discussed in depth and not taken lightly.

“It was a combination of efforts of wanting to fully examine the admissions process,” Hoffman said. “It was wanting to remove what we saw as a significant barrier to applicants applying and possibly being admitted to the program as well as understanding what the data had told us in that the GRE was not necessarily predictive of academic adjustment in the first year and success on the national board examinations.”

Although the GRE was required in past years, there was a time in which the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine did not require the GRE for acceptance into the program.

Rost said this is an indication that the exam did not necessarily guarantee success in the graduate program.

“We have K-State students in our program who have graduated, who are very successful veterinarians, who never took the GRE,” Rost said. “At those other schools, they really have not noticed any students who have needed any extra help or a higher number of students who have not been successful once they dropped the GRE. It really did not effect their success.”

Hoffman said communication and collaboration, among many other factors, are the qualities they look for from an admissions standpoint.

“People are the most important part of veterinary medicine,” Hoffman said.