My top 5 tips for applying for graduate entry to veterinary medicine

Posted by Gemma Ludgate on 24 July 2014

Here at RVC I help our Bioveterinary Science BSc students through their applications for graduate entry to veterinary medicine courses at RVC, at other UK vet schools and increasingly in Europe.

Having seen a number of students succeed (and some unfortunately fail) here are my top 5 tips for success:

1. Research your options

Within the UK, these are your current options (July 2014):

• BMAT required
• 5 year course
• 2i /1st required – relevant science degrees preferred
• plus A’levels BBB grades including Biology and Chemistry
• £9K fees

• BMAT required
• 5 year course
• You are advised to contact the individual colleges that take graduate veterinary students (Wolston, Lucy cavensish and St Edmunds)

• Offer 4 and 5 year courses
• 4 year course will depend on your transcripts for the content of your undergraduate degree
• No specific A ‘level / Highers requirement
• Fees 2014 – £28,450 per year ( fixed for duration of course)

• 5 year course
• 2I/1st required in a related degree
• A ‘Level Biology and Chemistry – A grade or Advanced Highers B
• Fees £25k per year

• 5 year course ( please note Liverpool no longer offers the 4 year course)
• 2i/ 1st related subject
• A ‘level Chemistry – B Biology – B
• Fees £9k

• BMAT required
• 4 or 5 year course
• 4 years requires a degree in 2i / 1st Bio-sciences / Zoology / will consider Animal behaviour
• Will look at transcripts of degree course to review chemistry content
• 3 A’levels including Chemistry / Biology - B – C grade
• £9k

• 5 years
• Graduate 2i / 1st related science subject
• A ‘levels Biology b Chemistry B
• Fees £9k

• 5 years
• 2i / 1st related bio-science subject ( not zoology)
• Will look at transcripts for chemistry content
• GCSE Single or double science grade A
• Fees £9k
• May consider offering a 4 year course in the future
The requirements listed above obviously are subject to change so check with the institution you are interested in.

2. Get work experience

All of the courses listed above require work experience varying from 4 weeks to a minimum of 14 weeks in specific areas at Liverpool. Within this each university will have specific guidelines, e.g. at RVC you need at least 2 weeks in a vet practice and 2 weeks in any other animal environment. The experience at an ‘other animal environment’ can literally be anywhere, as long as you are coming into contact or handling animals on a daily basis. This experience should be within the last 2 or 3 years. You need to check these specific guidelines for each university you are applying for.

3. Understand what the selectors are looking for

Beyond the academic requirements you will be assessed on entry criteria and these vary from year to year and from institution to institution but to give you a flavour, here are some that have been used in the past at Liverpool:
• awareness of animal welfare issues;
• interpersonal skills;
• motivation;
• scientific and research ability;
• ethical issues;
• knowledge of the profession;
• reflection on work experience.
It is worth trying to research the specific criteria your institution is using and then think about what questions or behaviours they might then use to assess those criteria. Thinking about potential questions will then help you focus your research …

4. Research the veterinary sector

Thinking about the criteria listed above, the logic next step would be to research the latest animal welfare issues that have been in the media (straight forward right?) and the ‘profession’… The profession is a little harder to define but essentially they want to see that you have a realistic and broad idea of the realities (it’s not all James Heriot stomping around a field) of modern life as a Vet. So, from the research you’ve done check that you could answer these types of questions:
• What challenges do Vets today face?
• What career areas do Vets work in?
• What attributes / skills do you think successful Vets have and why are these skills necessary?
• What ethical issues do Vets face?
If you are struggling with these questions get researching! Don’t forget that research such as reading articles online and speaking to people across the veterinary sector are both great ways of getting the most realistic impression that you can.

5. And finally … Reflect!

It’s not just about your grades and a dispassionate description of how many bitch speys you saw on your work experience, they want to get to know what makes you tick. For example, instead of just asking you to describe what you saw on your work experience, they will ask questions like…
• What negatives to work in Veterinary practice did you see?
• How did your work experience make you realise that you want to be a Vet?
• Describe an interesting case you observed and why did you find it interesting
• How has what you observed on your work experience shaped your future career goals?

Good luck!

Topics: CVs and applications, Veterinary Science

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