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Vet Med Application ... Advice appreciated!

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Interview Discussion 30-01-2014
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    I am (hopefully) applying to study vet med at uni and the entrance year will be september 2015. I have been looking at unis, and particularly interested in Bristol and Liverpool (any top tips for applying to these two?) . Currently studying biology, chemistry, maths and history for AS and next year will be dropping history and taking further maths at AS.

    I have done some work experience; 2 weeks rescue centre, 1 week joint kennel + cattery, 1 week stable, 2 weeks total at 2 different small animal vets (1 week at each) and recently 3 weekends lambing (which is the best thing ever!). i have arranged 2 weeks at a mixed practice for the summer. Also one week at a equine vets and more lambing next year but these will take place after any interviews etc. Also, there is a possibility of zoo experience however again this will be after UCAS!
    Am trying to find another mixed practice, exotics centre but am really struggling with a general livestock farm with pigs, poultry, cows etc. Any tips on finding these farms; cannot find numbers anywhere and those i find dont have work experience :-( and most dont have websites, unsurprisingly!
    However, I am really struggling to find any dairy farms near me, would unis mind if i cant get this work experience?? currently trying to get goat dairy experience, would this counterbalance the fact that i'll have no dairy (cows)?
    Also, cannot visit abattoirs in my area because of previous 'inappropiate footage' :-(
    Is there any work experience i am missing? would make my applicaton stand out?
    Also, ideas for EPQs would be greatly apprreciated; considering about dog owner responsibility and also selective breeding such as in dogs (going in to crufts!) and also livestock however i think the latter would be very common! Any other ideas? ... related of course ... Also very interested in animal psychology!

    Can anyone think of anything im really missing or could do to help application as its soooo competitve!
    -> currently a prefect and receptionist and play loads of tennis, karate and piano. Also teach karate to both kids and adults as am black belt!

    Any top tips and ideas would be greatly appreciated!
    If anyones had interviews out there, a vague idea of the type of questions asked would also be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks! :-D
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    Your application sounds good so far the only thing with applying to Liverpool is that they really focus on work experience and ideally want 15-20 weeks, and people will go in with much more than that, when you apply they send you a questionnaire which counts up all your weeks and this is then ranked against other applicants. I applied this year with only 13 weeks and didn't get an interview, so if you wanted to apply there I would probably try and cram in some more weeks!

    Bristol focus on your personal statement, so they give you a score based on 70% personal statement, 15% GCSE grades and 15% A level results - but your personal statement still needs to reflect lots of work experience. Unfortunately I got rejected from here as well before interview so I don't know much about it! But I do have an offer from Nottingham, and I had a similar amount of work experience to you so don't worry about getting endless weeks of work experience, you already have a really great variety!

    The only advice I can offer is try and play to your strengths when choosing which places to apply, as certain vet schools focus on different things in terms of getting an interview Good luck!
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    (Original post by abiturner53)
    Your application sounds good so far the only thing with applying to Liverpool is that they really focus on work experience and ideally want 15-20 weeks, and people will go in with much more than that, when you apply they send you a questionnaire which counts up all your weeks and this is then ranked against other applicants. I applied this year with only 13 weeks and didn't get an interview, so if you wanted to apply there I would probably try and cram in some more weeks!

    Bristol focus on your personal statement, so they give you a score based on 70% personal statement, 15% GCSE grades and 15% A level results - but your personal statement still needs to reflect lots of work experience. Unfortunately I got rejected from here as well before interview so I don't know much about it! But I do have an offer from Nottingham, and I had a similar amount of work experience to you so don't worry about getting endless weeks of work experience, you already have a really great variety!

    The only advice I can offer is try and play to your strengths when choosing which places to apply, as certain vet schools focus on different things in terms of getting an interview Good luck!
    Thank you! and congrats on getting an offer from nottingham! would you say then I would need to do more animal husbandry or vets? I think i have done around 7 weeks so far and have organised 3 more. Would they count work experience that would be completed after any applying? I think Liverpool have asked for 10 weeks min; 4 vets and 6 husbandry? though most do more so its so difficult to judge! Thanks :-D
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    Going for the minimum in life, particulary in veterinary, is never (well never say never-RARELY) a good idea, IMO. The thing with work experience I find is that it is an "easy" way for some people to make their application stand out more. If you simply can't get A* grades, but have great time management skills and access to lots of work experience placements, you can use that to boost your application. If you do have great grades but want to stand out even more, and again have access to placements and are good at planning and time management, you can increase your work experience. Veterinary medicine is a very competitive program, with the result that in my personal opinion published minimums are not the best guide. That doesn't mean I "wouldn't even bother" if all you could get was 10 weeks, but just do so understanding you WILL be less competitive. if you know NOW you will likely need more, try and plan ahead. You can check the work experience +/- personal statement +/- applications thread to see how you compare to others applying. The uni may set the CUTOFF at 10 weeks and "not even look" at any apps below that, but if you have 100 places open, hypothetically all 100 had 15-20+ weeks of work experience and decent grades and good interviews, would you consider the 101st that had 10 weeks experience? Now having said that you have really good variety so that might help.

    Farmer's weekly can be a good place to look for EMS placements/local farms. Especially in the season leading up to lambing, for lambing placements. I've used Yelp a few times too. Or this was a pretty good database, though more for vet students already accepted it could still give you a list of local clinics: http://www.vetems.co.uk/. Just don't rely on the calendar to mean there really are openings at a given clinic-I often found that to be false.

    I am by no means an admittance expert, but yes I would be concerned about not getting any dairy cattle, given how big an industry it is in the UK. I don't know if dairy goats would counterbalance, as it does not have the same scale and doesn't work quite the same way I believe. It would still be good to have, don't get me wrong. In a perfect world you could document that you tried and they would take into consideration your location and reasonable access (I think they may take into account location, at least city vs rural/growing up on a farm), but I am not sure this is a perfect world. See what others on here say though. Is looking less local and maybe arranging for accommodation an option? I was lucky and when I did EMS experience in my first year of vet school I found a dairy placement that offered accommodation.

    I agree what you have combined with what you have planned so far is a great start. I would recommend getting at least a full week of lambing, not just the weekends but you already have that set up.

    Good luck!
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    (Original post by Percival Weasley)
    Thank you! and congrats on getting an offer from nottingham! would you say then I would need to do more animal husbandry or vets? I think i have done around 7 weeks so far and have organised 3 more. Would they count work experience that would be completed after any applying? I think Liverpool have asked for 10 weeks min; 4 vets and 6 husbandry? though most do more so its so difficult to judge! Thanks :-D
    Thanks just got to get the grades now by the time you come to apply you'll have

    Veterinary
    1 week SA
    1 week SA
    2 weeks mixed
    1 week equine
    =5 weeks

    Husbandry
    2 weeks rescue centre
    1 week kennels
    1 week lambing (do the weekends add up to 5 days?)
    1 week stables
    = 5 weeks

    Your veterinary stuff looks really good, as you have really varied experience, not that many people will have both mixed and equine - I only had small animal practice across 2 practices which totalled to 6 weeks so I think you have plenty there. The main one you are lacking in is dairy, you could try posting on other threads, e.g 2014 vet med hopefuls to see if there is anyone in your area who has found somewhere?

    For Liverpool, I would really recommend to only apply if you have around 14/15 weeks minimum otherwise you are wasting one of your choices (but that's just my opinion!) as you probably have a better chance at other places like RVC, Surrey and Notts who are not as focused on number of weeks but the quality and what you learnt.

    I think most of the uni's count work experience up to December time - but I'm not 100% sure of that - you could try looking at their website or email/ring up to ask them
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    (Original post by abiturner53)
    For Liverpool, I would really recommend to only apply if you have around 14/15 weeks minimum otherwise you are wasting one of your choices (but that's just my opinion!) as you probably have a better chance at other places like RVC, Surrey and Notts who are not as focused on number of weeks but the quality and what you learnt.

    I think most of the uni's count work experience up to December time - but I'm not 100% sure of that - you could try looking at their website or email/ring up to ask them
    Thanks! i have literally filled up all my holidays (apart from easter) since i turned 16 with work experience so i cannot see how others get above 20. nowhere was happy to have me when i wasnt 16 and considering my birthday was in late august, it cut quite a bit of time.
    If everything goes to plan (some still to be organised), then i will have:
    2013: 1w kennel+cattery, 1w stables, 2w rescue centre, 2x1w SA practice
    2014: 1w lambing (3 weekends-6 days), 2w mixed practice, 1w different mixed practice, 1w general farm, 1w goat dairy and after exams, will be volunteering in an exotic centre at weekends!
    2015: 1w lambing (the 3 weekends again), 1w different lambing farm, 2w zoo

    and i shall try to find a dairy farm with accomdation for 2014 however i will be applying 2014 so 2015 experience wont matter as much
    Would you recommend applying to Liverpool or not, i wont try if its not enough!
    Thanks so much both of you! its really helping! So apart from grades and work experience, there is no other aspect really to focus on for applying?
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    (Original post by Tarnia)
    Farmer's weekly can be a good place to look for EMS placements/local farms. Especially in the season leading up to lambing, for lambing placements. I've used Yelp a few times too. Or this was a pretty good database, though more for vet students already accepted it could still give you a list of local clinics: http://www.vetems.co.uk/. Just don't rely on the calendar to mean there really are openings at a given clinic-I often found that to be false.

    I am by no means an admittance expert, but yes I would be concerned about not getting any dairy cattle, given how big an industry it is in the UK. I don't know if dairy goats would counterbalance, as it does not have the same scale and doesn't work quite the same way I believe. It would still be good to have, don't get me wrong. In a perfect world you could document that you tried and they would take into consideration your location and reasonable access (I think they may take into account location, at least city vs rural/growing up on a farm), but I am not sure this is a perfect world. See what others on here say though. Is looking less local and maybe arranging for accommodation an option? I was lucky and when I did EMS experience in my first year of vet school I found a dairy placement that offered accommodation.

    I agree what you have combined with what you have planned so far is a great start. I would recommend getting at least a full week of lambing, not just the weekends but you already have that set up.

    Good luck!
    Thanks! the website you linked on looks really good and will definitely come in handy! Lambing next year, i am going to another farm during february holiday and again back to previous farm to do the 3 weekends! Which university are you at?
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    (Original post by Percival Weasley)
    Thanks! i have literally filled up all my holidays (apart from easter) since i turned 16 with work experience so i cannot see how others get above 20. nowhere was happy to have me when i wasnt 16 and considering my birthday was in late august, it cut quite a bit of time.
    If everything goes to plan (some still to be organised), then i will have:
    2013: 1w kennel+cattery, 1w stables, 2w rescue centre, 2x1w SA practice
    2014: 1w lambing (3 weekends-6 days), 2w mixed practice, 1w different mixed practice, 1w general farm, 1w goat dairy and after exams, will be volunteering in an exotic centre at weekends!
    2015: 1w lambing (the 3 weekends again), 1w different lambing farm, 2w zoo

    and i shall try to find a dairy farm with accomdation for 2014 however i will be applying 2014 so 2015 experience wont matter as much
    Would you recommend applying to Liverpool or not, i wont try if its not enough!
    Thanks so much both of you! its really helping! So apart from grades and work experience, there is no other aspect really to focus on for applying?

    I know I don't know how people do it! So including your work experience after your application you could be looking at around 15 weeks. If you really like the uni, I would go for it as that seems like a good amount and you have a really good mix of places. I would double check with them, what date they consider future work experience up to, just to check

    Your welcome do you do any extra curriculars in or outside of school? As well as grades and work experience its important to show you have a life outside of school and work experience. Also helps you to show different skills e.g. responsibility, team work and people skills etc which comes in useful for your personal statement!
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    (Original post by abiturner53)
    I know I don't know how people do it! So including your work experience after your application you could be looking at around 15 weeks. If you really like the uni, I would go for it as that seems like a good amount and you have a really good mix of places. I would double check with them, what date they consider future work experience up to, just to check

    Your welcome do you do any extra curriculars in or outside of school? As well as grades and work experience its important to show you have a life outside of school and work experience. Also helps you to show different skills e.g. responsibility, team work and people skills etc which comes in useful for your personal statement!
    Thanks! i do tennis, karate, gym and piano out of school and teach karate, used to teach tennis and volunteered in charity shop for over year. inschool, im a prefect, receptionist and possibly maybe head of house ... so i think im okay in that front!? if i can find another free week somewhere, apart from stuff already mentioned, is there anywhere im missing out? Thanks
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    I am a graduate of the R(D)SVS in Edinburgh.

    As to anything you are missing-your revised schedule doesn't mention dairy CATTLE, specifically. So if you can get an extra week, I'd try for that. Again, if you email admissions and they say "Oh yes, we'll accept goats instead" then that is a different story. I would potentially even prioritise it over "non-core" placements like the zoo (assuming you find a place).

    Work experience, grades, and personal statement are the base of a vet application I'd say (in no particular order). When it comes time, I recommend the personal statement review service on here (well, I haven't used it but heard good things. Or any personal statement review service for vet applicants, if there are others).

    Good luck!
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    (Original post by Tarnia)
    I am a graduate of the R(D)SVS in Edinburgh.

    As to anything you are missing-your revised schedule doesn't mention dairy CATTLE, specifically. So if you can get an extra week, I'd try for that. Again, if you email admissions and they say "Oh yes, we'll accept goats instead" then that is a different story. I would potentially even prioritise it over "non-core" placements like the zoo (assuming you find a place).

    Work experience, grades, and personal statement are the base of a vet application I'd say (in no particular order). When it comes time, I recommend the personal statement review service on here (well, I haven't used it but heard good things. Or any personal statement review service for vet applicants, if there are others).
    Good luck!
    Hiya, so work experience, grades, personal statement! ... not asking for much of they! Wow, a graduate from Edinburgh! If you mind me asking, what is the uni there like? And what kind of questions did they ask you at interviews? Thanks
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    (Original post by Percival Weasley)
    If everything goes to plan (some still to be organised), then i will have:
    2013: 1w kennel+cattery, 1w stables, 2w rescue centre, 2x1w SA practice
    2014: 1w lambing (3 weekends-6 days), 2w mixed practice, 1w different mixed practice, 1w general farm, 1w goat dairy and after exams, will be volunteering in an exotic centre at weekends!
    2015: 1w lambing (the 3 weekends again), 1w different lambing farm, 2w zoo
    Hey

    You will defo need dairy cows! Even if you cant book it untill just after the UCAS deadline, as Liv dont send out the work exp forms untill Nov - so realistically you have untill then to get it done and just mention that its booked in a small paragraph in your PS.
    Vets-wise it seems good, I couldnt see it on the list but was one of those an equine vets? There isnt a soley farm vets by you somewhere just to have everything - not as important as the dairy at this stage as you have the mixed, but would look nice to round it all off.
    Have a look on the Liv and Ed websites, as they have good sections on work exp and will have lists of what you need (Ed is just a drop down bar on the wex that you can see if youve covered most of them, unless its changed).
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    (Original post by emmah629)
    Hey

    You will defo need dairy cows! Even if you cant book it untill just after the UCAS deadline, as Liv dont send out the work exp forms untill Nov - so realistically you have untill then to get it done and just mention that its booked in a small paragraph in your PS.
    Vets-wise it seems good, I couldnt see it on the list but was one of those an equine vets? There isnt a soley farm vets by you somewhere just to have everything - not as important as the dairy at this stage as you have the mixed, but would look nice to round it all off.
    Have a look on the Liv and Ed websites, as they have good sections on work exp and will have lists of what you need (Ed is just a drop down bar on the wex that you can see if youve covered most of them, unless its changed).
    Thanks yeah, ive got equine vets (just horses) for 2015 (so after uni applications) and they are huge and really busy so thats good! no just farm vets near me though the 2 mixed vets said i can focus more on farm (one is equine as well so will do that as well obviously!) Thanks ... going on them websites now!
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    [QUOTE=Percival Weasley;47048633]Thanks! i do tennis, karate, gym and piano out of school and teach karate, used to teach tennis and volunteered in charity shop for over year. inschool, im a prefect, receptionist and possibly maybe head of house ... so i think im okay in that front!? if i can find another free week somewhere, apart from stuff already mentioned, is there anywhere im missing out? Thanks [/QUOTE

    They all sound great - they will make your application much more well rounded and show that you are actually a person with a life! As everyone else has said if you can squeeze in dairy that is the only thing you are lacking in. I know a dairy farm in Surrey if that's anywhere near you. If not it may be worth asking around
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    The best approach to getting more farming is basically looking for them. There are websites such as helpx which are looking for students to help on farms, or even, if you see a farm, don't be afraid to go up and knock on the door, I totally understand as I have little to no work experience in farming as I've been told, many times, "Sorry, we have nothing for you to do".
    Thankfully, my granda knows people, and helped me get lambing (not much, but, it's still better than none!) and I got a week evening milking from just going up and asking the farmer. You could also ask your vet if ye know anyone who takes people on for work experience, or who would like an extra hand, ask your friends, family if they know anyone who owns a farm.
    If you have your core experience will little additions sprinkled on top such as laboratory, you should be fine, but as said above, you'd be safer going over the minimum requirements for wex.
    Everything else sounds grand
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    (Original post by Percival Weasley)
    Hiya, so work experience, grades, personal statement! ... not asking for much of they! Wow, a graduate from Edinburgh! If you mind me asking, what is the uni there like? And what kind of questions did they ask you at interviews? Thanks
    I was an international student, so I didn't go through the whole interview process.

    Well as long as 'top notch' students (like yourself ) keep applying I suppose the unis can afford to be demanding! It is a competitive program to get into, to some degree a competitive profession, and one with very high standards (you are dealing with lives after all).

    I really enjoyed my time there. I am not really familiar with other UK universities, so it is hard to do a comparison. They recently built a new teaching facility, for years 1-4 (final year you don't have lectures you're on rotations in the hospital). It is very nice, but they only built two main lecture halls, with a smaller seminar-type room that the GEPs tend to use (seats about 70-80 I believe, possibly more). This means lecture halls tend to be shared between years eg years 1 and 2 in lecture hall 1 and years 3 and 4 in lecture hall 2. Sometimes this means gaps of 1-2 hours in the schedule, which can be minorly annoying since the school is out in the middle of no where, and buses run about 1x/hour. Other than the cafeteria no shops on campus or within easy walking distance. There is a "quiet" study area, the library, and a group/non-quiet study area, plus empty classrooms and such. There is a classroom full of computers, but if it is booked for a class then there is limited 'public' computer use (I had my own laptop so this didn't really bother me).

    The teaching style is largely systems based, which I liked. Well once you get into clinical years I suppose it is species-based (cat and dog in 2nd semester 3rd year, farm animal first semester 4th year, equine and exotics 2nd semester 4th year) THEN systems based within that. That style generally made sense to me, and allowed for drawing comparisons between species, at least to some degree. Staff GENERALLY are pretty friendly and approachable/want to help. There is a student counseling service on site as well as student support staff and 'peer helper' students. I generally found everyone quite friendly, and there are lots of clubs, teams, social stuff to get involved with.

    I'm actually not sure what to say about it and I don't want to take over your thread, so perhaps I should just stop and say look at the 'applying to Edinburgh/Edi uni questions' thread (don't remember the exact title) as most stuff is probably covered in there.
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    (Original post by emmah629)
    Hey

    You will defo need dairy cows! Even if you cant book it untill just after the UCAS deadline, as Liv dont send out the work exp forms untill Nov - so realistically you have untill then to get it done and just mention that its booked in a small paragraph in your PS.
    Vets-wise it seems good, I couldnt see it on the list but was one of those an equine vets? There isnt a soley farm vets by you somewhere just to have everything - not as important as the dairy at this stage as you have the mixed, but would look nice to round it all off.
    Have a look on the Liv and Ed websites, as they have good sections on work exp and will have lists of what you need (Ed is just a drop down bar on the wex that you can see if youve covered most of them, unless its changed).
    Yep, dairy farm to top of this the list to find and am considering travelling as there are none (that have the insurance) to do it! Thanks - Ed website was really useful! unfortunately there are not any just-farm vets but hoping to focus on that side of things when there also, possibility of a exotics vets!!!
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    (Original post by LadyEcliptic)
    The best approach to getting more farming is basically looking for them. There are websites such as helpx which are looking for students to help on farms, or even, if you see a farm, don't be afraid to go up and knock on the door, I totally understand as I have little to no work experience in farming as I've been told, many times, "Sorry, we have nothing for you to do".
    Thankfully, my granda knows people, and helped me get lambing (not much, but, it's still better than none!) and I got a week evening milking from just going up and asking the farmer. You could also ask your vet if ye know anyone who takes people on for work experience, or who would like an extra hand, ask your friends, family if they know anyone who owns a farm.
    If you have your core experience will little additions sprinkled on top such as laboratory, you should be fine, but as said above, you'd be safer going over the minimum requirements for wex.
    Everything else sounds grand
    Yeah, i found knocking on the door really useful ... thats how i got my lambing though the dairy farmers are all really nice but just dont have the insurance because its too expensive and time-consuming i also know one dairy farming family very well as i crashed my bike in front of their farm with my younger sister around 7/8 years back and i'm pretty sure they would have me if they had the insurance and they also dont know anyone local who has the insurance (im kent based )

    i think i will probs have to travel
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    (Original post by Tarnia)
    I was an international student, so I didn't go through the whole interview process.

    Well as long as 'top notch' students (like yourself ) keep applying I suppose the unis can afford to be demanding! It is a competitive program to get into, to some degree a competitive profession, and one with very high standards (you are dealing with lives after all).

    I really enjoyed my time there. I am not really familiar with other UK universities, so it is hard to do a comparison. They recently built a new teaching facility, for years 1-4 (final year you don't have lectures you're on rotations in the hospital). It is very nice, but they only built two main lecture halls, with a smaller seminar-type room that the GEPs tend to use (seats about 70-80 I believe, possibly more). This means lecture halls tend to be shared between years eg years 1 and 2 in lecture hall 1 and years 3 and 4 in lecture hall 2. Sometimes this means gaps of 1-2 hours in the schedule, which can be minorly annoying since the school is out in the middle of no where, and buses run about 1x/hour. Other than the cafeteria no shops on campus or within easy walking distance. There is a "quiet" study area, the library, and a group/non-quiet study area, plus empty classrooms and such. There is a classroom full of computers, but if it is booked for a class then there is limited 'public' computer use (I had my own laptop so this didn't really bother me).

    The teaching style is largely systems based, which I liked. Well once you get into clinical years I suppose it is species-based (cat and dog in 2nd semester 3rd year, farm animal first semester 4th year, equine and exotics 2nd semester 4th year) THEN systems based within that. That style generally made sense to me, and allowed for drawing comparisons between species, at least to some degree. Staff GENERALLY are pretty friendly and approachable/want to help. There is a student counseling service on site as well as student support staff and 'peer helper' students. I generally found everyone quite friendly, and there are lots of clubs, teams, social stuff to get involved with.

    I'm actually not sure what to say about it and I don't want to take over your thread, so perhaps I should just stop and say look at the 'applying to Edinburgh/Edi uni questions' thread (don't remember the exact title) as most stuff is probably covered in there.
    Thanks for all the detail it sounds amazing and yes, the teaching does make alot of sense!
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    Just realised that only have 3 weeks left to organise work experience. Considering i have done 2x1w small vet practice, 1w kennel+cattery, 2w rescue centre, 1w lambing and 1w stables and already have 2w in mixed practice, after exams going to volunteer in exotic shop weekly (!) and after applications will be doing 1w horse vets, 2x1w lambing and 2w zoo, what placements do you think i should priotise?!?

    - another mixed practice (including farm, but not equine)
    - exotics practice
    - beef farm
    - wildlife park (though do i have to be 18 ... which would rule it out)
    - goat dairy
    - cow dairy (this is already my priority)
    - general farm (poultry, cows, pigs, sheep, alpacas etc. etc.)

    I'm thinking general farm and goat dairy (with cow dairy already priortised) ... what do you think?

    I also have a week after exams where i have 3 days off school (meant to be for EPQ) so do you think i should use this for work experience and/or bunk (with teacher's permission) the other two days to fit in another weeks work experience?!

    also considering travelling to an abattoir for 1/2 days when i break up for summer as break up on wed/thurs so would have a few free days spare ...

    random fact: buying a leopard gecko next week :-D ... really excited!

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