how to navigate the veterinary matching program

An insider's guide to the pursuit of veterinary advanced training

Are you considering an internship or residency?

Let me guess - you don't really know much about it and are looking to get more information.

That doesn't surprise me; other than the VIRMP website, information about the matching program and advanced training positions is scattered throughout the internet.

Also, the information you get in person is usually limited to your connections in vet school, which will vary from applicant to applicant. Some of you might not even have a mentor that you can reach out to with questions regarding internships and specialization!

If you're lucky, your school might have a lunch or evening lecture on the Match.

Obviously, the more you know about the whole process the better!

What if there was a resource to give you all the information you wanted? 

Wouldn't it be great if, after accessing said resource, you could attend the talks your school offers and meet with your mentors to actually ask insightful questions?

This is one of the main reasons why we decided to create this website and our eBook! Keep reading for more information and don't miss the many testimonials!

This is a very comprehensive, personally written guide that covers survival tips for situations from senior year in vet school all the way through a residency. It is written from a first-person ‘I walked in your shoes’ perspective that will be helpful to anyone grappling with decisions on what to do with their careers – or even what to do tomorrow!

Tamara Grubb DVM, PhD, DACVAA, Washington State University

I have been a veterinarian for the past 13 years and a veterinary neurologist for 8 years. During that time I have had the opportunity to work with many veterinary students in four different veterinary teaching hospitals; all of them (including me when I applied to the match) have the same questions about specialization. This book answers virtually all of those questions! It is a quick, easy and most importantly, helpful read! If you are even vaguely thinking about pursuing an internship and/or specializing in veterinary medicine – pick this book up! You will be glad you did.

Stephanie Thomovsky, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Neurology), CCRP - Purdue University


Contact us if you have multiple classmates interested and get a discount up to 50% - plus individual access to the Facebook group below!! 

How to Navigate the Veterinary Matching Program

Get FREE access to our exclusive Facebook group! We promote discussion about everything Match related and share ideas, advice and knowledge!

Still thinking "Why should I bother with this book?"

I probably would be too. Why should you trust anything we're saying?

Because of what both my wife and I went through to get where we are today.

Let's start with my path to board certification. First off, being a foreign educated veterinarian makes things much harder. This was compounded by graduating from a non-AVMA accredited school.

Pretty steep hike ahead. Did that stop me? Nope.

I ended up doing an unpaid rotating internship, and lo and behold, I didn't match for a residency when the time came.

Do you know what the Scramble is? I really didn't back then. I wish I knew how to prepare and what to do back then. You don't have to be in the same shoes as me! 

Not matching makes you feel absolutely unwanted and inadequate.

Knowing what I know now about the match, it really doesn't mean no one wanted you. People ranked you. But no matter what,  you're still left in the dark (pending the scramble) with no position while some of your classmates celebrate.

Worse, you go through the scramble and get seconds on a couple of open residency positions (like I did). Seconds means try again next year. And so I did. I matched the following year to a great program at Cornell, achieved board certification, and went on to be a faculty member at Michigan State University before moving on to private practice. As you can see, things can work out in the end!

During this journey, in addition to my own personal Match misadventures, I got to be part of two internship committees at different academic institutions and of an internal medicine residency committee. I've worked with many students over the years, answering questions about the Match and advanced training positions.

Remember when I said that you're somewhat limited to the people you know at your school?

On the other hand, my wife is an American-educated veterinarian. That didn't prevent the fact that she didn't outright match for an internship.

 Scramble, here we go again! Luckily we knew exactly what to do this time! Now she is an oncology resident. Not matching is not a death sentence to your quest of becoming a specialist, only a temporary setback that no one wants to deal with!

Between the both of us, we have plenty of personal experience regarding what you're about to go through and have advised many students and interns on their paths to board certification!

Applying to the Match in combination with the day-to-day stresses of clinical year and the impending NAVLE creates a perfect storm of anxiety for veterinary students during the fall of their 4th year. VSG's How to Navigate the Veterinary Matching Program was so helpful in guiding me through the overwhelming process of evaluating small animal rotating internship programs, putting together my application, and understanding how the Match works under the hood. Most importantly, it helped me better understand what I want out of a rotating internship. I only wish I'd had access to this book at the very start of my clinical year! I'm happy to say that I will begin my journey as a small animal rotating intern at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine this summer, and will likely be revisiting this e-book when it comes time to apply for residencies in the fall! 

Lauren Carvalho V'18, Tufts

After leaving academia, the number of students I talked to was obviously lower, but consider this:

Why would only a few selected "lucky" students/interns have the chance to learn more about our experiences and advice?

Why not create something that can benefit everyone, regardless of if they have access to us or someone else?

You and every single one of the students and interns we helped had the exact same questions!!

Why not help everyone out there and give them a solid foundation on what lies ahead?

What about those of you that are not in the US or looking into the VIRMP?

Although the book is more tailored towards the Match, the concepts we discuss are applicable to advanced training positions in Europe and elsewhere. You still need to put together an application, get letters of reference and in general know what to expect from such positions! You'll simply be applying directly to programs instead of going through the Match. 

So what's in the book?

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    Chapter 1 - Veterinary Internships and Residencies 
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    Chapter 2 - Rotating vs Specialty Internships 
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    Chapter 3 - Life as an Intern / Resident 
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    Chapter 4 - The Match Explained 
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    Chapter 5 - How to Evaluate VIRMP Programs 
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    Chapter 6 - Putting Your Application Together 
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    Chapter 7 - Application Essentials 
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    Chapter 8 - What About International Applicants? 
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    Chapter 9 - Match Day!

The How to Navigate the Veterinary Matching Program eBook is a valuable source of information for anyone interested in the Match. It is an easy-to-read guide that makes the daunting application process more approachable by providing advice from those who have gone through the process themselves. I will definitely be referencing this guide again as I begin to complete my Match application!

Hannah Clark, Michigan State University CVM 2019

As an applicant who decided to go for internships and residencies 3 years after graduation, I was very frustrated by the fact that I didn’t have any mentor to give me advice on the process. The information online was very limited and I have been out of school for so long! Well, I am so glad that I ran into the VetMed Survival Guide blog because it has so many helpful postings coming from Dr. Bento’s personal experience. I purchased this eBook and I’m very glad that I did, as it contains tons of valuable information such as every detail of the matching process, how to evaluate program, application essentials, strategies to get good recommendation letters.. and so much more! I strongly recommend the book to anyone who is considering the match because you won’t be able to find as helpful information anywhere else.

Clair Park DVM, CVA -  Cornell CVM 2016, current small animal intern at Virginia Tech


Contact us if you have multiple classmates interested and get a discount up to 50% - plus individual access to the exclusive Facebook group. 

I'm still on the fence. What can your book do for me?

These are some of the things you'll learn from reading our book:

What does it mean to be an intern or a resident? What does it entail?

How are you supposed to pick one program over the next on the VIRMP website? 

How do you rank programs? Yes, we all know you should rank them in order of preference. Pretty simple. But what can you do to make sure a specific program is a good fit? 

What if you don't match? Do you know what happens on Match day if that is the case? What is the scramble, how to prepare for it, and what to do if it happens to you?

What can you do in preparation for the Match weeks or even months before the program descriptions come out? 

You will also:

Have a much better understanding of the Match and consequently make better decisions.

Save time getting your application together and feel less stressed about it. 

Have more time to study for the NAVLE by getting your application in shape faster.

Ultimately, you can save money by applying to the right amount of programs since applying to 10 programs costs "only" $90.  On the other hand, applying to 11-20 programs is $250 and 21 or more costs $350!!

The VIRMP says: "Analysis of previous VIRMP results shows that ranking an excessive number of programs does not increase the likelihood of matching."

Learning how to evaluate those program descriptions will save you much more than this book costs!

And as bonus, get access to our exclusive Facebook group where we promote discussion about this in-depth guide, share ideas, advice and knowledge!

How to Navigate the Veterinary Matching Program

Don't forget to check our Matching Program blog posts and share this page with your friends and classmates!!