Gap Years/ Preparing to Reapply- Advice, Questions & Discussion here.

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Chaelif
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Since we're entering the period of rejections/ interviews/ offers, I thought it would be a good idea for people to share what they may have done if they're reapplicants and offer some advice for those who are considering taking a gap year/ feel like there's a good chance there'll need to reapply. So this is all what I have done, and my opinion, so hopefully we'll get some more people to take part. This is what I wish someone would have told me last year anyway.

Reapplying:

1. It's OK to feel upset (but not for ages)

The number of people who told me that "it's ok, you still have next year" is unbelievable and I didn't see it as that much comfort. You will know applying to veterinary is a long and arduous process and you may have wanted it for a long time, so it is gutting when you don't get in. It's perfectly fine to be mad/ sad and I believe, quite healthy. But then you have to move on and hopefully let it motivate you.

2. Work out where you went wrong

Some universities are very helpful in this. Bristol gave me feedback in April, which was hugely useful in improving my application. However, waiting till April, which is when the admissions process ends, is a long time. Normally, vet schools will reject you on one of the two main grounds: grades or work experience (though there are lots of other factors these are the main two). Take a critical eye, look at your application, and work out where it's gone wrong.

3. Get the grades

DO THIS. I cannot stress it enough how much work it is retaking once you've left school. I know this because one of my friends is completely resitting the year, and my other friend is retaking one subject. It is so much easier if you get the grades the first time, and unis have no reason to reject you on this basis. AAA is a must. Of course, if you're unfortunate enough to not make the grades and have to resit, look at each universities policy on resitting after the 2 year period.

4. Get the Work Experience

If you're looking at this, chances are you think you're going to need the gap year. START GETTING WEX NOW. I started applying for placements in January last year and got all my farm work for summer. If you've missed lambing season as they're fully booked, later in the year, book for next year, so you can tell the unis this.

5. Do your research

Certain universities stress certain parts of the application more than others. For example, Cambridge weighs academics highly, while Liverpool is more work experience orientated. If you have 3 A* at A Level and only 15 weeks of work experience, you may want to apply to Cambridge. Vice versa, if you have 50 weeks of work experience, go for Liverpool. If you have everything (which is the plan) you don't need to sweat about this too much.

6. Come up with a back up plan
For some people, that may be saying, I'll reapply for a third time, for some that means I'll go abroad. I think most people go for another uni course. Do your research and think about it carefully whatever plan you go for. Just make sure you know what you're doing if you don't get into veterinary for a second time.

Gap Years:

Gap years can be loads of fun with correct planning. I say planning, because otherwise you're going to be spending all your time doing nothing, which is not fun. Ideally you want to start planning straight after your exams, so when everyone goes to uni, you suddenly don't realise you're at home alone, and have something to do.

Have an animal related voluntary job or paid job
If you manage to get an animal related full time, fantastic! However, unis won't expect that, as it's quite difficult. However, volunteering once a week in a kennel/ RDA shows continuous commitment to veterinary during the gap year, and is doable. I volunteer in a RDA and work Sunday's in a vets.

OK The options:

1. The Job

Pretty self explanatory, full time job for a year (less than a year if you want to travel). You'll get paid and get some money for going to uni.

2. The Course

You don't need to get a job if you don't want to. Gap years are meant for you to take time for yourself in between school and uni. If there's something you've always want to learn, go for it. For example, I love art, didn't do it at A Level, now I'm doing a course in it for fun.

3. Travelling

A common Gap Year pursuit. The world is your oyster (within your budget)! Just make sure you do your research properly. I'll post up more about travel later.

So yeah, Gap Years are pretty cool. It's not the end of the world if you don't get into veterinary this year, you'll always have next year. A Gap Year will let you discover more about yourself, experience the "Real World" and you'll (hopefully) have tonnes of fun
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SilverstarDJ
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Firstly, this is a very informative post, which I am sure others will find useful.

I just wanted to add a few things

Where things can go wrong

(Original post by Chaelif)
Normally, vet schools will reject you on one of the two main grounds: grades or work experience (though there are lots of other factors these are the main two).
I know I got rejected from some of the unis I applied to purely on the grounds of my interview performance (and no wonder - I've never had a formal interview in my life nor any practise ones so I was in for a shock when it came to vet interview!)

I felt that doing public speaking and debating helped me to talk to strangers about a variety of topics.

But it is definitely worth asking for feedback from any rejections! Sadly some are less helpful than others.



There is always next year!
It is gutting not getting into you dream course BUT there are LOADS of benefits of taking a (forced) gap year, including: becoming more confident and growing as a person; being able to travel; spend more time doing something you enjoy at home; if you get the grades you have less stress and can concentrate on PS and interview performance without thinking about exams; being more prepared mentally for uni; being able to earn you own money and save it up for uni or spend it on things you couldn't afford before. Make the most of your gap year and turn it into something positive. A year out and a bit of effort WILL make you a better candidate the second time around

I was not a re applicant, but was forced to apply a year later due to ill health meaning I had to do one of my A2s in an extra year. I got a job (non animal related), saved up to run my car and get a year of NCB and enjoyed myself with friends who didn't go to uni, spent a lot more time doing hobbies before the hard work of uni, met my loving bf which I am with now and in retrospect I am glad I went to Uni a year later than my peers! I didn't do travelling as I never earned enough money to do this, but instead I saved up a bit for buying all the things I needed for Uni and had a bit of money to spend during the first term.


Taking another uni course and entering postgrad
DO NOT take up biovet/zoology/science or anything else if you are not interested in it and only going to uni because all your classmates are. You WILL be disappointed doing a course you do not enjoy and being around vet students might be difficult to if that uni has both vets and biovets. Take a gap year instead if your heart is set on vet med.

Also, post grad is seriously competitive and very, very expensive. Most will cost you £20k a year in tuition and your cannot get a tuition fee loan for a second degree (ie you need £80+ lying about in your (parents) bank account). Some offer lower fees, but these places are very limited. I've spoken to fast track students, and it is sooo stressful to do years 1 + 2 at the same time. Some students even go back to do A levels because they didn't get the grades!

Avoid entering to vet med as a post grad at all costs!


Hope this helps and good luck everyone with your plans
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Chaelif
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(Original post by SilverstarDJ)

Where things can go wrong

I know I got rejected from some of the unis I applied to purely on the grounds of my interview performance (and no wonder - I've never had a formal interview in my life nor any practise ones so I was in for a shock when it came to vet interview!)

I felt that doing public speaking and debating helped me to talk to strangers about a variety of topics.

But it is definitely worth asking for feedback from any rejections! Sadly some are less helpful than others.
Thanks for this, I completely forgot about those who get rejected on interview basis as I only had a Cambridge interview last year, and was rejected cos I couldn't answer their questions (I suspect).

I was on the debate team for 2 years, and honestly its so good for public speaking and I strongly recommend it. Its not to late to join as you're still at school, even if it's for a few months!
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ellehamilton
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I've had four rejections now so if I get the right grades this summer I'll be reapplying next year Out of interest what have other people done on their gap years? Thanks x


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skatealexia
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I think I will merge this with the thread above and make it a gap year discussion sort of thread
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Willisme1
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5. Do your research

Certain universities stress certain parts of the application more than others. For example, Cambridge weighs academics highly, while Liverpool is more work experience orientated. If you have 3 A* at A Level and only 15 weeks of work experience, you may want to apply to Cambridge. Vice versa, if you have 50 weeks of work experience, go for Liverpool. If you have everything (which is the plan) you don't need to sweat about this too much.
Wow. I thought that was a lot. Clearly, I am completely clueless and should give up now.

(I was hoping to have approx. 15 weeks this time round.)
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skatealexia
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(Original post by Willisme1)
Wow. I thought that was a lot. Clearly, I am completely clueless and should give up now.

(I was hoping to have approx. 15 weeks this time round.)
15 weeks isn't much for a gap year student as you've had an entire extra year to get work experience so it reflects in whats expected. I'd aim for 15 weeks with applying to liverpool first time around
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Willisme1
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Considering some circumstances, I would hardly expect 15 weeks first time round! I was lucky to get what I did!

And when you say entire year, application date is Oct 15th, and interview wouldn't run until the next year Oct, so you have half a year more realistically.
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SilverstarDJ
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(Original post by Willisme1)
Considering some circumstances, I would hardly expect 15 weeks first time round! I was lucky to get what I did!

And when you say entire year, application date is Oct 15th, and interview wouldn't run until the next year Oct, so you have half a year more realistically.
If you plan early (ie start getting work experience in the summer of year 11 and continue in year 12 and start of year 13), are organised and sacrifice all of your summer holidays and half terms then it is quite manageable to get ~20 weeks first time round. I did and know others who have done so too. Most successful applicants to Liv had 15+ weeks of varied work experience as a first time applicant, as skatealexia has said. Half a year is still approx 24 weeks as it is, and assuming you had 10-15 weeks the previous year your applied you could easily get 35-40 weeks before you apply again. They will expect you to have more than a successful applicant and have the highest of all the unis in terms of work exp. requirements.
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Willisme1
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The only problem with this discussion is that it is so specific to the situation. Had I not have given up my holidays if year 11 and 12, I wouldn't have had sufficient money to attend sixth form, since I had to buy all of my own clothes and stationary etc.

It also means that if you only truly decide to pursue veterinary in Year 12 then you have practically no hope of achieving your goal.

Finally, I spent a large amount of my half-terms working to achieve straight A*s rather than A's, does that mean it would have been wiser to aim for A*AA and more work experience than A*A*A*A*a?
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Chaelif
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(Original post by Willisme1)
The only problem with this discussion is that it is so specific to the situation. Had I not have given up my holidays if year 11 and 12, I wouldn't have had sufficient money to attend sixth form, since I had to buy all of my own clothes and stationary etc.

It also means that if you only truly decide to pursue veterinary in Year 12 then you have practically no hope of achieving your goal.

Finally, I spent a large amount of my half-terms working to achieve straight A*s rather than A's, does that mean it would have been wiser to aim for A*AA and more work experience than A*A*A*A*a?
If you have extenuating circumstances, universities will take that into account.

With regards to amount of work experience, I was exaggerating with 50 weeks, I think the most people will have 20ish and liverpool applicants will have more because that's how they rank people.
Also with work experience, the most important thing is variation, so if it isn't possible for you to spend ages in one place, try and get a good breath of wex.
I have 15 straight weeks ish, and on top of that 4 once a week placements i've had over the past 5 years (I've never done the liverpool questionnaire, so don't know my total). But I have a good variation, though I know it's not as much quantity wise as other people.

With A Levels, very few vet schools will place grades above wex, they really want to see both. I've read a few places even don't count the A* and will treat AAA and A*AA candidates the same, as the other qualities are just as important. Having said that, aim for the highest grades possible. I was aiming for A*A*A and came out with A*AA, as the final hurdle of A Levels is hard.
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skatealexia
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(Original post by Willisme1)
The only problem with this discussion is that it is so specific to the situation. Had I not have given up my holidays if year 11 and 12, I wouldn't have had sufficient money to attend sixth form, since I had to buy all of my own clothes and stationary etc.

It also means that if you only truly decide to pursue veterinary in Year 12 then you have practically no hope of achieving your goal.

Finally, I spent a large amount of my half-terms working to achieve straight A*s rather than A's, does that mean it would have been wiser to aim for A*AA and more work experience than A*A*A*A*a?
If there's anything vet school has taught me, good grades can only take you so far, and nothing is more valuable than hands on experience.
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skatealexia
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(Original post by Willisme1)
The only problem with this discussion is that it is so specific to the situation. Had I not have given up my holidays if year 11 and 12, I wouldn't have had sufficient money to attend sixth form, since I had to buy all of my own clothes and stationary etc.

It also means that if you only truly decide to pursue veterinary in Year 12 then you have practically no hope of achieving your goal.

Finally, I spent a large amount of my half-terms working to achieve straight A*s rather than A's, does that mean it would have been wiser to aim for A*AA and more work experience than A*A*A*A*a?
Different people have different situations, we can only give advice on how best to succeed. It's up to you to tailor it to your personal circumstances. No, in year 12 you'd be looking at a gap year really, most people do decide to do it way before college, although when I went into college I had 6 months voluntary work and 2 weeks, and thats it. I got it up to 13 weeks using my holidays, don't forget theres also weekends. On top of this I did dog training two days a week, and worked all weekend at my part time job I had over two years. Anything is possible really. My job funded my work experience travel costs.
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Willisme1
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I guess my problem is that I didn't know what I was getting into until the end of year 12. I had never really looked into how to do it, because I had always been under the impression that grades were the most important thing.

My school also INSISTED that 2-3 weeks work experience was enough, you don't understand how shocked I was when I read the Liverpool reqs.

Now that I've stopped being so annoying (sorry about that, not been in the best of moods lately), I don't suppose you guys could give me some advice? First here's my situation:

I'm working towards achieving those 4A*s, but they aren't really the problem. I currently have 2 weeks work exp at a mixed vet practice, a day at an abattoir and every Saturday at livery yard since Oct 6th.

I currently have 2 weeks mixed vet, 1 small animal vet and 1 week equine planned, and hopefully another day (or possibly week) at the abattoir. With the continuation of my work exp at the livery farm that makes quite a few weeks.

Now I'm not really sure where to go, the vets won't let me have anymore and I'm not sure it would even help. I've tried calling 3-4 farms but to no avail. I've also looked at the RSPCA voluntary work but the only work available is out of my travelling distance...

I am waiting on a dairy farmer to reply, but any suggestions as to what to do? Feel kinda stuck.

Any advice is appreciated, thanks, Will.
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skatealexia
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(Original post by Willisme1)
I guess my problem is that I didn't know what I was getting into until the end of year 12. I had never really looked into how to do it, because I had always been under the impression that grades were the most important thing.

Thats why you do your own research . You don't get anywhere unless you do it yourself.
My school also INSISTED that 2-3 weeks work experience was enough, you don't understand how shocked I was when I read the Liverpool reqs.
Lesson number 2: The school is generally always wrong when applying for vet med. Unless a rare school.
Now that I've stopped being so annoying (sorry about that, not been in the best of moods lately), I don't suppose you guys could give me some advice? First here's my situation:

I'm working towards achieving those 4A*s, but they aren't really the problem. I currently have 2 weeks work exp at a mixed vet practice, a day at an abattoir and every Saturday at livery yard since Oct 6th.

I currently have 2 weeks mixed vet, 1 small animal vet and 1 week equine planned, and hopefully another day (or possibly week) at the abattoir. With the continuation of my work exp at the livery farm that makes quite a few weeks.
You would have enough vet, and horses once you've done these weeks. You desperately need farm e.g. lambing, dairy, pig farm or even a chicken laying hen farm or open visit farm. You also need small animals e.g. kennels, catteries, rescue kennels, dog groomers etc.

Now I'm not really sure where to go, the vets won't let me have anymore and I'm not sure it would even helpYou have enough really.. I've tried calling 3-4 farms but to no availI called around 50 kennels when sorting out my pcems, keep ringing.. I've also looked at the RSPCA voluntary work but the only work available is out of my travelling distance...So stay in a B & B or with relatives. Theres not just the RSPCA, try a singular catteries, hedgehog rescue, anything to stand out. Even a dog groomers gives you some experience with dogs.

I am waiting on a dairy farmer to reply, but any suggestions as to what to do? Feel kinda stuck.



Any advice is appreciated, thanks, Will.
Gave my work experience suggestions above. Never stop trying,you'll get there eventually.
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Kittys
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If I've learnt anything from trying to gain work experience is if they don't respond or are taking their time then call them again, write to them again, bug them until they give you some time. I had one vet placement and the owner told me that he doesn't accept anyone until they have written at least twice and rang a couple of time too because then he gets the most determined students. This was a bit extreme, but really the more effort you make bugging them the more it shows how determined you are.


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DanielleCrow
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(Original post by Willisme1)
The only problem with this discussion is that it is so specific to the situation. Had I not have given up my holidays if year 11 and 12, I wouldn't have had sufficient money to attend sixth form, since I had to buy all of my own clothes and stationary etc.

It also means that if you only truly decide to pursue veterinary in Year 12 then you have practically no hope of achieving your goal.

Finally, I spent a large amount of my half-terms working to achieve straight A*s rather than A's, does that mean it would have been wiser to aim for A*AA and more work experience than A*A*A*A*a?
This is not true. I'm now holding an offer from Edinburgh with just over 11 weeks of work experience, because I only started my work experience at the start of year 12.

I can't say as to why I got an offer, I'm not sure. My only suggestion is that perhaps I got the sufficient variety of work experience, and in my personal statement I mentioned how I only started at the beginning of year 12 and why; they must have taken that into account. For me, looking back, doing the 11 weeks during year 12 and still getting my three A's at AS was a big feat and I'm honestly surprised and proud I managed it.

Then, to add my to confusion over my offer, I met someone who had applied with the same grades and over 30 weeks of work experience yet didn't even get interviewed.

I just wanted to put it out there that work experience may not always be the determining factor and there must be other deciding factors involved, therefore having small quantities of work experience doesn't mean it's an impossible feat. I really do believe it must be quality over quantity. As long as you are passionate and it shows, make a stunner of a personal statement and let your passion and personality shine if you're lucky enough to get an interview... then I suppose you can still have a good chance of getting in.
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hcp20
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It's interesting the weight people think is placed on number of weeks' work experience. Grades are almost irrelevant as generally if you aren't predicted to meet the minimum requirement, you just won't apply. Anything else will be filtered out before your application even reaches an admissions tutor. Similarly with work experience, as long as you can demonstrate that you've put a decent amount of effort in and have a realistic view of vetting as a career, the absolute number of hours/weeks/days/whatever doesn't matter, and is really not something to get hung up on.

The absolutely crucial thing is how you come across in your personal statement - I've seen so many of these where applicants either over-emphasize how academic they are and how much they love animals (with no consideration of the PEOPLE skills required to do the job); or talk exclusively about horses (specifically, their own, which is practically discounted in terms of work experience).
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3DDY
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(Original post by ellehamilton)
I've had four rejections now so if I get the right grades this summer I'll be reapplying next year Out of interest what have other people done on their gap years? Thanks x


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Dont forget about clearing via UCAS on results day, so if you do get good grades there may be a university you would like to go to with a place who can accept you with your grades, so dont give up just yet :yy:
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skatealexia
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(Original post by 3DDY)
Dont forget about clearing via UCAS on results day, so if you do get good grades there may be a university you would like to go to with a place who can accept you with your grades, so dont give up just yet :yy:
Vet courses don't go through clearing.
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