More than 200 applicants visited campus this week for the final step in the school’s selection process.
Brimming with excitement, and a healthy dose of nervousness, more than 200 potential students have walked the halls of the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine this week as they interview for their chance to join the Class of 2027 this fall.
This is a week Jason Fritzler, associate professor of microbiology, looks forward to as a member of the School of Veterinary Medicine's admissions committee.
“In our admissions process, we're reading a bunch of words and essay questions, and we form this image in our minds of who this person is, what they look like, and where they're coming from,” Fritzler said. “I like finally getting to put a face to a name.”
A total of 939 potential students submitted their first applications last fall. This is the largest number of applications the School of Veterinary Medicine has received through the Texas Medical & Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS).
From those applicants, all of whom must be Texas or New Mexico residents, 215 were contacted for the opportunity to interview for one of 100 available class seats. They were selected by the admissions committee through a holistic process: a balanced review of applicants' academic metrics, attributes and life experiences relative to the goal of graduating students who will serve rural and regional communities of Texas.
“We wouldn't have brought you in for an interview if we haven't like what we've seen so far,” Fritzler said. “The big part of it is convincing us that you fit in, you meet our mission, and that you want to come to school here.”
The interview process began Tuesday, Jan. 3, and will continue until Friday, Jan. 6. The interview days begin with a 45-minute orientation and faculty introductions. Applicants then take part in a relaxed format of two semi-structure interviews, an essay station, a student panel, and tours.
“You're going to go into a room with a faculty member, a practice partner and a current student, and discover we're all real people,” Fritzler said. “We don't bite. We aren't here to try and confuse you. We're here to try and learn about you and how your experiences have shaped the person you are.”
After the interviews are completed, the admissions committee recommends students for admission to the Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs. Once the final determination of students for admission offers is made, applicants will be notified of their acceptance by mid-Feb.
“We are grateful that these applicants chose to apply to our program,” said Sarah Innis, director of admissions and student services. “I hope they had one of the best weeks being here. I know it is a big decision for them, and if they left here feeling important, it's because they are. We were excited to get to meet them.”
A Process That Works
Guiding hundreds of potential students through the Mariposa Station facility is Makala Fussell, a first-year student with the School of Veterinary Medicine.
“I've talked with a lot of them and helped answer their questions,” Fussell said. “I just try to help calm nerves, more than anything.”
Fussell knows exactly how they feel, because she just went through the interview process last January.
“I can see their face, and I'm like, ‘I made that face,'” she said. “I know how I was feeling when I made that face.”
Fussell had seven years of college experience when she began the first application for the School of Veterinary Medicine. She found the entire process “easy and self-explanatory.”
“It flowed and it made sense,” Fussell said. “It was an exciting process, too.”
She still remembers the “cry fest” with her family when she received the highly anticipated interview request email.
“It was an emotional moment because I had finally made it to that point,” Fussell said. “It's a big step and a blessing just to get an interview out of all the applicants that applied.”
When Fussell visited the campus for her interview in Jan. 2022, she felt like she was in a dream.
“It was so welcoming and inviting,” Fussell said. “As soon as I walked in these doors for my interview, even though I wasn't a student and hadn't been accepted yet, they already made me feel like a part of this community.”
While Fussell made sure to use all the resources available to prepare for her interviews, she mainly focused on being herself.
“I tried not to sound like a robot and give the basic, generic answers that they probably wanted to hear,” Fussell said. “I tried to give them the answer that I thought was the best answer for me and my values.”
By the end of her interview day, Fussell went from feeling nervous to reassured.
“They give you great feedback that makes you feel comfortable leaving,” she said, “and not like you just put your foot in your mouth the whole time.”
Fussell received her acceptance call one memorable evening a few weeks later.
“I don't think ecstatic or overjoyed even brushes the surface of how I felt,” she said.
Fussell has become an avid fan of the School of Veterinary Medicine during her first year on campus. But she does not have to do much convincing as she leads potential student tours.
“I think the facility alone speaks for itself on what it has to offer students,” Fussell said. “They say, ‘That is so cool. I've never seen that kind of model, or I've never seen a school that has this at their disposal for students.' So you can see they're extremely excited.”
While the application process to the School of Veterinary Medicine may seem daunting, Fussell assures anyone interested that it is well worth the effort.
“This school has been everything I thought it would be,” she said. “It has so much to offer and has taught me more than I even thought it could: whether it be learnings or clinical skills, or how to be a better person and love your community. I think they do a great job helping us build our core values.”