It is very possible to make the case that it is usually relatively easier to get accepted to a vet school in your state than a vet school out of your state.
For example, Ohio State’s incoming Class of 2022 consisted of 66 residents and 96 non-residents and the school had received 245 resident and 1144 non-resident applicants. The acceptance rate for residents is 27% compared to 8% for non-residents. The difference is significant! However, these stats are not based off of all the students that were offered admission, including ones that declined acceptances.
University of Florida offered admission to 102 residents out of a total of 433 resident applicants and offered admission to 95 non-residents out of a total of 809 non-resident applicants for the Class of 2023. This amounts to a 24% acceptance rate for residents, double that of the non-resident acceptance rate (12%).
As a final example, UCDavis offered admission to 128 residents out of a total of 510 resident applicants and offered admission to 6only 20 non-residents out of a total 502 non-residents applicants. This amounts to a 25% acceptance rate for residents and only a 4% acceptance rate for non-residents. Admitted residents also had much lower science GPAs on average (3.62) compared to non-residents (3.96).
Our final verdict is: where you live can definitely impact your chances of getting accepted into vet school. However, you can’t just pack your bags right before submitting your application and move to the state with your dream vet school. Applicants have to submit proof of residency for at least a certain amount of time (usually 1-2 years) in order to be considered residents.
There are still 22 states without vet schools. So the question that remains is: are those students at a disadvantage? While not entirely clear, some states without vet schools like New Jersey sign contracts with states that do have vet schools to reserve a set number of seats and discounted tuition rates for students. If you are located in one of the 22 states, research whether your state has similar to New Jersey’s policies as shown below:
The Veterinary Medical Education Act of 1971 provides for contractual agreements between the New Jersey Department of Higher Education and out-of-state schools of veterinary medicine for the acceptance of New Jersey residents who are and have been residents of the state of New Jersey for 12 consecutive months. Under the terms of the act, the schools receive a substantial subsidy toward educational costs in return for a number of guaranteed reserved seats, at in-state tuition and/or reduced fees, for New Jersey residents. At present, New Jersey has contractual agreements with the following schools: New York State College of Veterinary Medicine of Cornell University, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, Iowa State University, Kansas State University, Oklahoma State University, and Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine, all of which reserve seats for New Jersey residents. As of 2003, 24 spaces were available. Students are encouraged to apply to all of these institutions in order to increase their chances of acceptance. Most schools of veterinary medicine also admit a few out-of-state residents without specific contracts.