Student Support

The transition to veterinary medicine can be challenging, but below are strategies that can support your academic success and overall well-being.

Manage Your Time

The ability to manage your time well is one of the most important skills for veterinary medicine students. While it might seem simple, good time management is essential for academic success and can also help decrease anxiety and stress. And since time management is a skill, you can get better at it through intention and practice. Below are some time management strategies that support student success:

·        Use a planner. A planner is an essential tool to manage your schedule and stay organized. Use your planner to plan lecture and lab times, as well as study time, social events, self-care, and other tasks. We recommend using a planner that shows the hours of each day. Fill in your schedule, and use the planner to help you stay on track and keep you accountable.

·        Plan time for self-care. Whether self-care is going to the gym, walking, yoga or getting coffee with friends, make sure you plan your time for self-care proactively.

·        Plan enough study time. We recommend planning for 3-4 hours of study every day. It doesn’t need to be all at one time, and you can take study breaks. If you have trouble focusing, try using Pomodoros (short, focused study sessions followed by 5-minute breaks).

·        Prioritize. There isn’t time for everything, so you need to prioritize activities, and be willing to say “no” to things that won’t help you reach your goals.

Want to learn more about effective time management?

Cornell University, “Managing Time”

University of Tennessee, “Time Management Matrix”

NIH, “The Pomodoro Technique: An Effective Time Management Tool”

Use Effective Learning Strategies

The learning strategies (or study skills) that are used in veterinary medicine may differ from what you have used before. Active learning strategies are strategies that require attention and engagement, whereas passive study strategies require very little effort and attention (for example, re-reading or re-studying).

When to Study:

·        Spaced Repetition.  Also known as distributed practice, spaced repetition means spreading studying out over multiple sessions. By studying topics over several study sessions, you will increase your ability to recall information.

·        Interleaved Practice. Interleaved practice, or interleaving, means studying multiple but related topics during a study session. Interleaving strengthens neural connections by connecting related topics.

How to Study:

·        Retrieval Practice/Practice Testing. Any time you recall information or test yourself, you are practicing retrieval practice. Retrieval practice can be accomplished in different ways, including the use of flashcards, free recall of information, writing down everything you know about a topic or concept, answering questions or teaching someone else. The more often you recall information freely (without prompts or cues), the more likely you are to remember it in the future.

·        Elaboration. Elaboration is an encoding strategy that expands knowledge by adding to existing information and making connections between existing knowledge and new information. This could be done by finding YouTube videos, case studies, or other thinking about how the information relates to what you already know or have learned.

·        Dual Coding. The more ways we can encode information, the better we are able to retrieve it later. Putting information into a concept map, table, chart, or other visuals are dual coding strategies.

Learn more about effective learning strategies here:

UC San Diego, "Effective Studying"

Scientific American, “What Works, What Doesn’t”

Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning

Use Your Resources

As a VMCVM student, you have access to a lot of resources- the key is to use them! Below are just a few resources to support your success, but take some time to review the Guide to Student Support and Services for a full list and description of student support resources.

·        Cook Counseling. Taking care of your mental health is more important than ever for DVM students. Cook Counseling offers counseling services at the College to provide easy access, but as a VMCVM student you also have access to Cook Counseling on the Virginia Tech campus.

·        Peer Mentor Program. During your first year as a DVM student, you will be invited to participate in the Peer Mentor Program. This program connects first-year students with third-year students in small groups to build community, provide support, and discuss strategies for holistic success while in the DVM program.

·        Student Success. The Director of Student Success is part of the Academic Affairs team, and provides one-one-one student support and coaching for learning support and help with connecting to resources on campus or in the community. Student Success workshops are also held throughout the semester on topics ranging from learning strategies to mental health and wellness to financial wellness.

Take Care of Yourself

It’s more important than ever to take care of your body and mind to support your academic success.

·        Eat well.  Fuel your body for long days by eating well. Good nutrition feeds both your body and your brain.

·        Get enough sleep. Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night, and plan your wakeup time for the same time each day (yes, even on weekends!). Getting enough sleep is critical for learning as it helps your brain consolidate and retain information learned.

·        Take care of your mental health. Plan time for self-care to help you manage your stress, and use the support resources available to you through VMCVM.

Learn more about holistic self-care here:

Best Foods for A Healthy Brain and Improved Memory

Mastering Sleep Hygiene: Your Path to Quality Sleep

31 Tips to Boost Your Mental Health

For questions or to learn more about setting yourself up for success, please contact Jessica Black, the Director of Student Success, at

We look forward to seeing you on campus in August!

Student Resources

Hokie Wellness strives to educate and empower every Hokie to take an active and engaging day-to-day approach to their wellness in order to enjoy a long, healthful, and purpose-filled life.

Rec Sports provides opportunities for student, faculty, and staff to engage in physical activities to create healthy lifestyle habits.

We encourage all Hokies to join the Hokie Movement and find a way to move that works for you!

Cook Counseling Center has expanded its services and options to allow for a flexible, multi-faceted approach to meet emerging and varying needs. Students can begin by scheduling a Cook Connect Session. At this 20-30 minute meeting, the clinician will review student concerns, discuss available resources, and collaboratively develop a plan that will provide the support they need. The clinician will also discuss how students can follow up if needed in the future.

The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine is committed to diversity and to fostering an inclusive environment to promote learning and growth for all members of our community.

Programs and initiatives

  • The VMCVM community is committed to practicing and upholding the Virginia Tech Principles of Community.
  • Services for Students with Disabilities assists students with disabilities and personal and environmental issues that may interfere with full access to academics and/or hinder academic performance.
  • Our chapter of Veterinary Students as One In Culture and Ethnicity (VOICE) is a student-run organization that promotes the sociocultural awareness of veterinary students on a local and national level through diversity-themed programs, events, and community outreach. Contact VOICE at, and follow VOICE on Instagram.
  • We create a more welcoming and inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ students by participating in the Virginia Tech Cultural and Community Centers' SafeZone program.
  • Through participation in the DiVersity Matters initiative of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, we passionately engage in the recruitment, enrollment, matriculation, and development of a diverse student body.
  • To learn more about Virginia Tech's university-wide diversity programs and resources, visit InclusiveVT.

Community and Diversity Committee

Members of the Community and Diversity Committee are appointed by the dean to two-year terms, and members elect a chair who serves a two-year term. The committee's charge is as follows:

  • Periodically assess the climate of the college and make recommendations to the Executive Board to promote recruitment and retention of students, staff, and faculty from underrepresented populations.
  • Conduct an annual review of the College Diversity Plan and submit a report to the Executive Board detailing outcomes and recommending revisions to the plan