Are you a soon-to-be veterinary school graduate looking for advanced training through a veterinary internship or residency position? The 2022-2023 Veterinary Internship & Residency Matching Program (VIRMP) is for you.
Sponsored by the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians (AAVC), the VIRMP’s web-based system matches applicants with veterinary internship and residency programs across the United States.
The VIRMP application process can feel daunting, so we are sharing 6 tips to stay organized and stress-free, as you prepare to land your dream training program.
# 1: Review application deadlines and set reminders
2022 VRIMP Application Schedule
Schedule obtained from the VIRMP website.
There is no worse feeling than scrambling to meet a deadline that fell off your radar. Stay on top of important VIRMP application deadlines to avoid unnecessary stress, and increase your chances of matching with your top-ranked programs. You can find program information and deadlines on the official VIRMP website.
Create a calendar reminder for hard deadlines, and give yourself plenty of time to complete the necessary steps at each juncture of the application process.
Make a list of all the required documents you’ll need, and start gathering them long before submitting your application.
The following items are necessary for your VIRMP submission:
- Personal statement
- Three letters of recommendation
- Official transcripts
- Curriculum vitae
Do not wait until the last minute to secure strong letters of recommendation. Review the current internship and residency standardized letter of reference (SLOR) templates on the website.
According to the VIRMP website, “Applicants will input the name and email address of 3 or 4 persons who will complete a SLOR in support of their application. An email will automatically go to this person that includes the name of the applicant and a secure link through which the SLOR can be completed. Once submitted by the person serving as a reference, the SLOR will be directed electronically to the applicant’s application packet. Applicants will not have access to letters written in support of their application.”
# 2: Let your personality shine in your personal statement
Writing about yourself can feel uncomfortable, but do not procrastinate on this important component of your application. Instead, take a deep breath and create an outline. Remember, this is your opportunity to share your unique journey and your “why” for pursuing veterinary medicine. Consider the following questions as you prepare to write your personal statement:
- What experiences inspired your passion for veterinary medicine?
- What experiences stand out from veterinary school and previous training programs?
- What does a meaningful internship or residency program look like for you, and how will you apply the skills you gain in your future career?
- What are the biggest challenges you see facing the veterinary field today, and how do you plan to be part of the solution?
- What fuels your motivation to pursue a veterinary medicine career each day?
According to the VIRMP website,“Your personal statement should be one to two pages in length and discuss your expectations of an internship/residency program and your future professional goals. In addition, we encourage you to describe your anticipated contributions to your matched institution. These may include life experiences, background, past activities or unique personal characteristics that would contribute to the program in meaningful ways.”
# 3: Register and research programs extensively
Create an account and access a complete list of programs, available November 1, 2021. Take time to search for programs that interest you, and consider the following questions to determine potential fits:
- What type of internship or residency program are you looking for?
- What type of institution (e.g., teaching university, private practice, or specialty hospital) do you prefer?
- What compensation and cost of living are you comfortable with?
- Are you open to all geographic locations?
- What resources and patient load are you seeking?
These are some questions to get you started, but be open to scenarios that aren’t exactly what you had planned—you never know where an unexpected path can take you. You can apply to as many programs as you like, but only include programs from which you are willing to accept an offer. The application fee is based on the number of programs to which you apply:
- 10 programs or less: $90.00
- 11 to 20 programs: $250.00
- 21 or more programs: $350.00
# 4: Rank your top choices in order of preference
Once you are familiar with institutions that interest you, you will rank them in order of preference. You are not required to rank all the institutions you apply to. However, if you do rank a program, you are committing to attend that program if matched with them.
According to the VIRMP website, “When creating an account, the applicant will electronically sign an agreement to this effect. Failure to comply will result in sanctions including a ban from participation in the VIRMP for at least 3 years.”
# 5: Be open to all possibilities
Once you submit your rank order list, the VIRMP matching system considers your program preference order and compares that with the rank you receive from those institutions based on their evaluation of applicants.
According to the VIRMP website, “The selection process is completed by a software program that utilizes the rank order lists submitted by the applicants and the institutions/private practices.”
If you do not match with one of your ranked institutions, you can apply for available positions that were not on your originally ranked list. A list of open, unmatched positions will be posted on the VIRMP website. Again, be open to a change in plans, and embrace every opportunity for professional growth.
# 6: Get the most out of your experience
Wherever your training program takes you, make the most of this exciting experience. Actively participate in rounds and case studies, observe outpatient case management, share your thoughts, and ask questions. You have a lot to offer the veterinary profession, and can positively impact pets and their owners every day.