Holistic Admissions

Vet student with cow

Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine is a global leader in education, research and outreach. Our innovative, case-based curriculum prepares leaders in the veterinary profession who make a difference in all facets of medicine, public health and biomedical research.

Every year our faculty have the distinct privilege of reviewing a strong pool of applicants who demonstrate great promise for a future in veterinary medicine. In addition to evidence of outstanding performance in past endeavors, we look for individuals with integrity and maturity who have concern for others, leadership potential, a dedication to service, and an aptitude for working with people. While closely agreeing on standards, the members of the Admissions Committee have diverse interests and views, and respect that many roles are possible in veterinary medicine. They attempt to achieve heterogeneity in each class through a holistic, need-blind review process. Holistic review takes into account factors such as a student’s strength of coursework, academic and extracurricular interests, unique talents, and background.  Although the typical applicant admitted to this school is approximately 23 years old, has an excellent academic record in scientific courses, and outstanding recommendations, some of those admitted do not conform to this profile. Because we avoid inflexible criteria whenever we can, we do not set "lower limits" of acceptability for grade point averages.

It is important for all admitted students to succeed academically, and the Admissions Committee considers the potential for each applicant to succeed in a rigorous academic program as an early step in the review process (50% GPA and 50% Prerequisite GPA) . When reviewing applications, the Admissions Committee uses the formula below:

  • 20% - Overall GPA
  • 25% - Prerequisite GPA
  • 10% - Quality of Academic Program
  • 20% - Animal/Veterinary/Biomedical Experience (a minimum of one letter from a veterinarian required)
  • 10% - Non-Cognitive Skills
  • 10% - All Other Achievements and Letters of Evaluation
  • 5% - Personal Statement


The formula is dedicated to making sure the applicant has the academic background to succeed in our curriculum. The subjective side of the formula tells us even more about our applicants’ accomplishments, their individuality, character, knowledge and experience within the veterinary profession and life experiences, to help us get to know applicants as people, not as numbers. We value diversity in all its forms. We look for applicants who demonstrate not just high academic achievement but also leadership qualities, a dedication to service, an ability to work collaboratively and a commitment to veterinary medicine. If this describes you, we encourage you to apply.