Name: Dave Charles
Vet School: Bristol
How did you get into vet school?
I always intended to apply to vet school so racked up 10+ weeks work experience in a number of areas, including small animal practice, dairy farm, wildlife rescue charities and 2 weeks working on a game reserve, pre A levels. However I wasn’t predicted high enough grades by my 6th form. As a result I studied Biological Sciences at University of Birmingham for a year, and decided it wasn’t what I wanted as I still wanted to study veterinary. Throughout my first year at Birmingham I undertook further work experience and in the October of my second year at Birmingham applied to Bristol, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Liverpool with my A-level grades of A* (Biology), A (English Lit), A (Chemistry) and B (Mathematics) at A2 level. I successfully had unconditional offers by December and withdrew from my degree, only to defer my vet school offer by a year to be a Vice President of the Student's Union in Birmingham for a sabbatical year before starting first year undergraduate Veterinary Science at Bristol. When I knew I was going to reapply to vet school, I contacted the (then 7) UK vet schools, and whilst 5 of the 7 were more than happy for me to apply whilst studying on another degree at a different university, Cambridge and RVC would have required me to have left my degree course at Birmingham or graduate before I applied to study veterinary there.
What was the most demanding aspect of the application process?
Getting enough work experience in before applying via UCAS! It’s definitely worth looking up well in advance how much different Vet Schools need so that you can plan it out and enjoy some time off in your holidays!
What do you feel most prepared you for vet school?
Talking to friends who were already at vet school gave me a good idea of what to expect course wise, and the fact I had been to university before meant that a lot of the stress and concerns of moving into a new university city and living in halls, having to manage my own work-life balance etc was something I’d experienced before and was very used to having to do. Also working part time in my first year meant I had a regular income and helped with budgeting, meaning I could really focus in on the work load of vet school, which was a step up from my last degree.
What advice would you give to applicants?
If you’ve got the drive and know you want to be a vet, then don’t let anything scare you away from doing so. Dropping out of one degree to apply for veterinary was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made so don’t be afraid to do what you really want to do!