Getting into Vet school...
Veterinary students are a pretty unique type of student. The veterinary course is a demanding one academically, physically and emotionally, but there are some great rewards that come along with this! Once you enter veterinary school you are stepping into a wonderful profession filled with opportunities you never knew existed. You will be surrounded by the friendliest community of crazily passionate people that will help you through your time at vet school and long into your professional career.
In this section of our website we have gathered together some useful resources for any budding veterinary students and have tried to provide a student perspective on the process of admissions and life at vet school.
There is vast amounts of information out there on ‘how to get into vet school’, but it is vital remember that there is no perfect formula or one type of candidate that the admissions boards are looking for. Vet students are a diverse bunch of people from all over the place, each with their own story as to why and how they ended up studying at veterinary school.
The 2 main components that everyone’s applications will include are:
- A good academic record
- Academic requirements change regularly so make sure you check the university websites for their own academic entry requirements. Links to each of the individual school websites can be found on our committee page.
- Work experience
- It is important to have a good variety of work experience in order to show your dedication and enthusiasm for the career. Try seeing practice at your local veterinary surgery or working at stables, farms, kennels/catteries, zoos or abattoirs.
- Not only does work experience look impressive on you application, it will stand you in good stead for the practical components of the course.
- REMEMBER! It’s not always about the volume! What you learnt from a placement is far more important than how much you did. There is no point in spending 4 weeks at a vet surgery if you didn't gain anything from the experience.
- For more information on how to find placements and how to get the most out of them, have a peek at the following site.
There is no one way to get into vet school. We know that everyone says this so to truly demonstrate this we have produced a selection of different routes that current students have taken to get into vet schools! From deferred entry to completing a preliminary year before entering the Vet Med course there are many different ways to get onto the Vet course, so have a look below and see the different options available!
So What do the Universities want?
Each University looks for different things in its students. So what is it they want? Thousands of weeks of work experience? All A*s in supersonic, galactic Physics? Thankfully not! We've compiled a list of the top five myths and busted them!
Getting an offer...
There are currently 8 veterinary schools in the UK, along with UCD vet school in Ireland. Choosing which ones to put down on your application can be tricky. Every vet student will always tell you that their vet school is the best, so we reckon that they’re all pretty good! At the end of the day whichever vet school you go to you will have a great time and will graduate with a well-respected degree that allows you to become a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).* It is rare for a candidate to receive more than one or two conditional offers from different vet schools, and looking back as clinical students it seems that each vet school tries to pick the students that will fit its course the best; something that as applicants we couldn’t predict.
*The University of Surrey vet school will not be RCVS accredited until it produces its first cohort of graduates in 2019, given that it passes inspection by the RCVS.
Don’t forget that all the veterinary schools are built upon a foundation of scientific and clinical research. Research is an integral part the veterinary degrees at all of the veterinary schools as this is how veterinary medicine progresses and advances into the future. Veterinary schools recognise that most applicants will want to pursue a career in clinical practice, but it is worth keeping an open mind about where you career may take you. Exposure to research and new ideas on the veterinary course may well alter your career expectations! Post-graduation your veterinary degree and professional experience is a ticket that can take you all over the place doing a huge variety of different things.
Other sources of good quality advice:
Interviews & Personal Statements
Interviews are your chance to demonstrate just how passionate you are about studying veterinary medicine at university. Make sure you read your personal statement back to front before your interview. Some universities will use the content of your personal statement as a guide to what questions they ask, so be ready to explain further anything you have written about. Always be honest -if you don’t know the answer to a question it’s OK to say so and is better than making something up. Verbalise your thoughts out loud and try to work the problem out.
By no means a complete list, these are just some commonly asked questions and themes to have a think about…
- Why do you want to be a vet/ study veterinary medicine?
- Ethical questions. E.g. Animal testing, pedigree dog breeding, horse racing, prosthetic limbs in pets, how far is too far?
- Current affairs. E.g. Bovine TB and badger culling, antimicrobial resistance, Pet Travel scheme, increasing veterinary student numbers, dangerous dogs act - Check out our blogs page to see what vets are talking about today.
- A professional scenario – could be anything from mistakes being made during surgery to staff members posting inappropriate comments on facebook. What should you do as a professional?
- What qualities do you think are important to a vet?
- How do you cope with stress? Vets have the highest suicide rate of all the professions and being a vet student is hard work. It’s important you can cope - whether your outlet is playing a musical instrument, painting a picture, going for a run.
- What is your favourite subject at school?
- What are your weaknesses? Try to give a ‘strong’ weakness, e.g. “I’m a perfectionist so often work too hard to ensure a job is done correctly”.
- What is animal welfare?
- What is a zoonotic disease? Try and give an example.
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years time? – Try to be aspirational and open minded.
- “Do you have any questions?” Will almost definitely come at the end of the interview. Although it may be good to have a question prepared, make sure you cannot find the answer either through their website or prospectus. If it can be easily found, asking it will do much more harm than good.