Texas Tech vet school invites first class of students

By Jennifer Whitlock

The Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine is yet another step closer to opening day after completing the interview process for the inaugural class of students.

The interview process was held virtually in February, and accepted students will begin classes this fall.

“We had 721 students begin the admissions process with us, and we reviewed those and then asked for secondary information from a number of those applicants,” Dr. Guy Loneragan, dean of the vet school, said. “Then, ultimately, we interviewed 233 students over a four-day period, and what we have to do now is select 60 students that align with our mission of serving rural and regional communities of Texas.”

Originally planned as an in-person interview session, Loneragan said ongoing coronavirus pandemic concerns forced the process into a virtual format.

In addition to an essay portion, each student was interviewed by two separate interview committees for a total of two interviews per applicant, or 466 interviews overall. The interview sessions were conducted by panels comprised of Texas Tech faculty, staff and 27 private veterinary medicine practitioners.

“We used a common virtual meeting app that I’m sure most people have used at some stage in the last year. The app has a lot of functionality that allowed us to have breakout rooms for the interviews, and it worked out really well. There were only a small number of students that we had to reschedule because of technical difficulties, but we could reschedule them within the same day,” he said. “That worked well for our private practitioners who participated and worked well for our team. From what we heard from the students, it worked very well for them, too. So, it was a good process, and it was an important process.”

The admissions committee has been meeting regularly to review all application materials as they continue to narrow down the applicants.

“We had a really good applicant pool that, honestly, exceeded our expectations. We have a lot of students who really do align well with our mission. We have students from a lot of schools, universities represented around Texas from Stephen F. Austin to Texas A&M to Angelo State to West Texas A&M to Texas Tech and beyond. So, we have a really good representation of students from all across Texas,” Loneragan said. “We have a good population of students from rural and regional communities, whether that’s the border communities in South Texas or West Texas, the Panhandle, East Texas, North Texas. Now we’re just in that hard discussion amongst the admissions committee of really debating who best aligns with that mission.”

Offer letters have been mailed. Students have until April 15 to make their final decision to commit to attending Texas Tech’s vet school in the fall.

When students arrive in August for orientation, they will be greeted by a full faculty body.

Hiring is ahead of schedule, and construction of facilities is proceeding as planned, according to Loneragan.

“We will begin moving in late spring. We may not be into all the facilities, but we will certainly be in the majority of our facilities this summer, so that we can be ready with all of our team to welcome the students in August,” he said. “Then, the last part of the facilities we’ll get into will be in October, more on the laboratory side. So, everything is moving along as planned. I would summarize that the whole process remains on track, on time, on budget.”

Texas Tech will begin the application process for the next incoming class of students in May.
“We’ve already moved from welcoming this first incoming class to thinking about that second incoming class,” he said. “That class will be slightly bigger. That will be 80 students, and then the third incoming class will be 100 students, which is our ultimate class size we hope to admit from there on each year.”

Texas Tech broke ground on the state’s second veterinary school in September 2019 after receiving $17.35 million from the Texas Legislature.

Donors and civic leaders pledged $90 million toward infrastructure and construction of the new veterinary school.

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