Veterinary medicine as a post graduate degreeWatch
First though, it is VERY difficult (aka practically impossible) to get much by way of funding for a second degree in the UK. So are you prepared to pay between 9 to 27+ thousand pounds (9,000-27,000+ GBP) in tuition over 4 years, plus costs of living, plus whatever isn't covered in your first degree?
I did vet as a postgraduate student as that is the "norm" in Canada, so I just did my degree then applied, and ended up going to the R(D)SVS in Edinburgh, Scotland. I REALLY enjoyed it and benefited a lot from it, including being a more mature student with the maturity and experience of a prior degree. However there is no way that would have been possible if family hadn't have been willing to loan me the money/help fund me. The degree is stressful enough without having to seriously worry about whether you have the funds for next year's tuition.
Any general biology, physiology etc. degree should give you a good grounding. It is at the school's discretion whether to accept you into a GEP program-there is no criteria. Having said that, I wouldn't think it could hurt to confirm a degree/ask admissions for their opinion of a degree BEFORE you start it. I found doing an animal biology degree first, with some background in some of the unique adaptations, helpful; not to mention having more exposure to the animal handling and farming side than I would have had otherwise.
What about repeating your biology A level through a gap year?
I did my undergrad degree at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. Did a master's there as well actually (in Canada, a MSc is distinct from a PhD and a degree in its own right, though often a step towards a PhD). I am Canadian by birth, lived in Canada up til moving to Edi for my degree, and have moved to a different part of Canada since graduation.
The UK nationals in my class had a great deal of trouble borrowing enough money via student loans/banks to cover their degree. Are you certain you can be approved for that much? I graduated in 2013 so my information could be out of date, so if you are certain/have that confirmed then great.
Now, with full fees I am over 80,000 GBP in debt from tuition alone, over 100,000GBP all told. It will probably take as long as a mortage would have (or longer) to pay off (except, as someone once said, I can't live in it. ). Average new graduate salary is ~23-26,000GBP per year give or take I believe. And fees have gone up substantially since I started (Edi was 20,900GBP when I started and is now 28,450 GBP). Vet is not a well-paying job, compared to other similar degrees eg human medicine, dentistry, lawyer, etc. The number of jobs vs. the number of vets is also approaching more of a saturation point each year (graduating more students, fewer vets retiring, etc). Technically it probably doesn't make the best fiscal sense for someone to take on that load of debt for the financial prospects of the profession...but then, when did anything in animal care make fiscal sense? Vet isn't really a career it is more of a vocation. I did it, have the debt (though as I said luckily to family, whom don't charge me interest), love my job, and can't imagine doing anything else. Just trying to be honest. Graduate entry is still quite competitive as well, I should mention.
If you are going to do a degree first, pick something you think you would enjoy, that will still give you the basic science knowledge (if possible), to give you the background if you were to apply for an accelerated degree. Something that could be a good 'plan B', should you change your mind or vet not work out for you, is a good idea as well. For that reason, unless you really love it etc., I would not recommend zoology. It is a very intense/difficult undergraduate course, and the job prospects are not great/plentiful. Animal science would give you a broader basis with some of the farming science as well, which I found useful for the vet course. A general biology degree, similar. Some people did biochemistry in my year, and there was one biophysicist. Really, it is up to you. Something you think you would enjoy and could do well in, because realistically these are the grades that (possibly in addition to your Highers, as sometimes unis still want to see those) you will be using for your vet app.
Work experience as discussed is still important. Have a look at the stickied threads at the top, and see what sort of work experience this year's graduate applicants had. The personal statement-including extracurriculars-is important too, so do get involved with student societies, charity work, and so on.
Not the most organized response, but hopefully that helps. Any further questions or if I didn't make something clear feel free to post.
thank you very much for replying and your help . I live in school and so would get my first degree "free" and for the veterinary medicine degree I would take out a student loan which can be paid back once I start earning over a certain amount of money. in scotland we sit advanced highers and you only get to sit the exam once they don't accept a resit in the subject. I have roughly 16 weeks work experince which is quite varied (farm work , 3 vets , abattoir , zoo , stables , lab ) can I ask what university did you do your animal biology degree ? and how many years was it ?