Applying for Veterinary Science? Please check out "The TSR VetMed Application Guide" Watch

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emilyyy
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“The TSR Veterinary Medicine Application Guide”


Pretty much an FAQ for all those first-time posters that are planning to clog up the board with questions we’re fed up of answering!

If you could have a quick skim through this (and try out the search bar) before making any rash posts we’d really appreciate it.


First and foremost, welcome to the first and most important stop of the TSR Veterinary Science Sub-Forum!

With only seven universities in the UK offering D100 (the UCAS code for Veterinary Science), and only an estimated 850 places up for grabs it’s a competitive course, and we all need all the help we can get!

These are literally the bare-bones, hard facts about the application process for veterinary medicine. If you want more detailed information on any of the topics below, of if you can’t find the answer to your question in here, please check out the TSR Veterinary Medicine Wiki.

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emilyyy
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Preparing your application

> A-Level wise AAB is what you want to be achieving (and predicted) to be considered for interview. AAA will put you in the strongest position. Biology and Chemistry are, generally, essential. The third subject (and fourth AS subject) can be any subject of academic value – though check your chosen universities to make sure they don’t demand physics/maths. While taking four subjects to A2 demonstrates academic merit the universities only recommend doing this if you are sure it will not have an effect on your performance in your other subjects: AAA looks far better than AABB in the universities’ minds – especially as they often state that a fourth subject will not be considered when it comes to making an offer.

> As far as Highers are concerned you should be looking for AAABB/AAAAB usually in Chemistry, Biology, either Maths or Physics and two other subjects. At Advanced Higher level BB/AAB is generally the minimum requirement, usually in Chemistry, Biology and either Maths or Physics. All Highers should be passed in one sitting.

> If you are applying to Cambridge or the RVC you will need to sit the Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT). No-one is really sure exactly how the two universities make use of this (whether you need a minimum score before you are interviewed, or whether it’s simply used as another method of comparing candidates) but obviously aim to perform the best you can. There are three elements (problem-solving, a maths/biology/chemistry/physics test and an essay question) to the test. Specimen papers can be found on the BMAT website – other than looking over/practising these, there is very little revision you can do!

> Work experience is crucial. Ten weeks (Liverpool’s requirement) is the minimum we recommend you undertake – though many candidates will have much more than this. Divide this minimum up into four weeks’ veterinary experience (small and large animal) and six weeks’ animal husbandry experience. Make sure you spend time on the vital placements (e.g. dairy farms, kennels, stables) before you go searching for extras like zoos or abattoirs. While these make your application shine that little more they are by no means essential. Remember the universities like the dedication shown by long-term placements, but like to see variety too. The most important thing to remember, however, is that it’s not enough to just attend your placements. The aim is to learn from them, and be able to talk in depth about what you’ve seen, what you’ve learnt, and how it stands you in good stead towards becoming a vet.
Try and obtain references from all of your placements, with your referee writing a little about your good qualities, and the responsibilities you undertook whilst there; some universities require references from the off, others demand them when you come for interview – and it’s easiest to get hold of them immediately after completing your placement, rather than months down the line when the farmer doesn’t even remember you!

> Extra-curricular activities are important to show you are well-rounded and that you have some of the qualities that are desired in a vet. Aim for a mix between team and independent hobbies.

> Extra courses like VetSim, VetCam, VetMedlink etc will not better your application. They will simply enlighten you a little further to the career/the university in question/the application process or enable you to make contacts etc.


For more info check out the TSR Veterinary Medicine Wiki
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emilyyy
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Making your Application

> All applications are made online, via UCAS
.

> As vets we have five UCAS spaces to fill, but can only apply to D100 four times. It will not be detrimental to your application if you choose another course to fill your fifth space. It’s at your own discretion. The universities don’t see the other choices you have made.

> Make your Personal Statement count. Include the basics such as why vet med, what you’ve learnt from work exp (very important!), a bit about you and your extra-curriculars – but make sure it’ll make the admissions tutors sit up and notice your application. Ensure your grammar etc is at its best. This is the universities’ first impression of you!
If you need any help writing your Personal Statement you can take a look at a few examples for ideas here. Bear in mind that UCAS makes regular plagiarism checks, though, so before you’re tempted to “borrow” anything from them, it’s an idea to remember that copy-cats risk disqualification from the application process. Ouch.
If you’re still struggling to write the PS you can also check out the Personal Statement Helper Forum. Here you post your PS draft, and people who are already in university will offer you constructive criticism and advice. Make sure you read the rules before posting though!

> While most courses have a UCAS closing deadline sometime in the middle of January, the typical UCAS deadline for Veterinary Medicine is typically October 15th. This is the date by which you – and your teacher/referee – must have completed all the UCAS sections, made payment, and submitted the form. Universities appear not to begin sorting the applications until after this date, and as far as we’ve seen there is no real advantage to submitting your application weeks early – though it is best to submit at least a few days before deadline, just to be on the safe side!


For more info check out the TSR Veterinary Medicine Wiki
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emilyyy
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Interviews

> These can be held anywhere from November to March. It varies from university to university and from year to year.

> Make sure you feel comfortable in whatever you choose to wear. While some interviews are less formal than others a good bet is always a pair of black trousers/smart top for girls and a suit (with/without jacket/tie, according to the mood when you get there) for guys.

> Preparation is key. Make sure you’ve thought about the common questions so you have some idea of how you’d respond. Keep up together on current veterinary issues. Know your work experience and basic vaccinations/conditions inside out. Do some thinking about ethical dilemmas vets might find themselves in. Don’t forget that you scientific knowledge/aptitude may well be tested at some point too. The more prepared you are the more confident you will be, and the better you will come across.


For more info check out the TSR Veterinary Medicine Wiki
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emilyyy
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Offers

> These can be given out any time from December to March. Deadline day for the universities is March 31st. You should have received all offers/rejections by this day unless made aware of special circumstances by the universities.

> Offers/rejections are made using all mediums by all universities. The most common is over UCAS Track, but universities also hand out offers/rejections over the phone and in letters. There’s no hard-set rule. All offers received over track/phone will be followed by a letter.

> You do not need to make any choices regarding firms/insurances until you have received decisions from all universities.

> Offers will always be conditional unless you already have your grades in hand at the time of application. Typical offers are AAA/AAB, though in rare instances in the universities have been known to hand out lower offers to really exceptional candidates.

> If you miss your grades come results day and don’t meet both your firm and insurance offer do not just collapse into a heap and cry. Ring both universities, explain the situation calmly and ask if there’s any chance they’ll still consider you with your grades. Many people have still been accepted by their universities despite missing their offer.


For more info check out the TSR Veterinary Medicine Wiki
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emilyyy
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What to do when you’re Unsuccessful

> No matter what stage you were rejected at, ask for feedback. Write to/email the universities and ask them what aspect of your application needs to be improved/how you could have improved your interview.

> Make a plan of action – there are several routes available to you:

-Take a gap year. This is the general recommendation made by universities. Improve your grades, you work experience, your hobbies, whatever. Strengthen your application to its utmost.
-Enter another degree and apply to veterinary medicine following its completion. Depending on how relevant your first degree is, you may be able to apply to an accelerated D100 course. Not recommended as post-grad entry is hugely competitive and most fees are astronomical.
-Apply to study abroad. More affordable than the post-grad route, and it still leads to the qualification we’re all after.

> Don’t give up. Keep your chin up and keep persevering. Many people have made it to vet school following an unsuccessful initial application.

For more info check out the TSR Veterinary Medicine Wiki
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emilyyy
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Post-Grad Entry

> You will need a minimum of a 2:1 in your first degree in order to stand any consideration. Some universities also demand good passes in science subjects at A-Level (sometimes even AAA/AAB).

> Fees are sky-high. There is very little government help available so you will have to think carefully about how you would fund the five years. Only Nottingham and the RVC offer subsidised fees.

> Some universities offer an accelerated post-graduate course. If your first degree was relevant enough to veterinary medicine you may be eligible to undertake the veterinary course in four years instead of five, though this is at the discretion of the university in question.


For more info check out the TSR Veterinary Medicine Wiki
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emilyyy
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Gateway Courses

> If you are from an under-privileged background, or do not have the academic grounding for regular entry to veterinary medicine (i.e. you do not meet the AAB minimum or you did not take science subjects) you may be eligible for a “gateway” course. These courses are specifically designed to prepare you for later entry to the D100 course. Entry requirements vary from university to university so check websites for more details. Remember, these courses are highly competitive and should not be seen as an easy way into veterinary medicine!

> In order to show true dedication to the veterinary career it is best to carry out some work experience prior to applying to these courses. See individual university websites for more details.





For more detailed info on anything above or information on a subject we haven’t covered here please check out the TSR Veterinary Medicine Wiki.
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