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    I'm a Year 13 student in need of serious, fast advice in terms of applying for vet medicine without a Chemistry A-Level!
    When I started college I didn't have a clue what I wanted to do and so I chose AS Levels in English, Spanish, Biology and Psychology. 3 months in, I decided my true ambition was to become a vet, as I had toyed with the idea on and off since childhood.
    However, by this point my college told me it was too late to change my English AS (which I absolutely hated) to Chemistry so I had to start looking for alternatives.
    Luckily I found the Vet Medicine with a Preliminary Year course at Nottingham, which only requires Biology at A2, as it incorporates A-Level Chemistry into the first year of the uni course. This seemed perfect, and I started doing work experience immediately.
    Unfortunately, I have now found myself a month away from application with only the equivalent of 4 weeks of relevant work experience (I did some of it as the odd day over a course of a few months in order to manage my studies), and in need of 2 more weeks experience before I can apply, which may not be do-able in the time I have left.
    There are a various factors for me not gaining enough experience: 1) I chose my desired career path quite late on 2) There are very limited opportunities for animal work exp in my area and ability to travel is very limited 3) I was let down last minute by a few companies who offered me work experience.
    My question is, are these experience requirements absolutely set in stone, or may the uni be slightly lenient due to the circumstances? I am a fairly intelligent student and achieved 3 As and a B at AS, as well as 8 A's, 3 B's and an A* at GCSE. I also have a lot of other work experience, just not related to animals. After the application deadline I would also have masses of time to do lots more relevant work experience, so could any of that count for anything?
    If the requirements ARE set in stone, are there any other options that I have? I feel like my time is running out and I'm devastated that I might not be able to do what I truly want in life.
    Please help!
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    Hi there,

    Unfortunately it's less a case of the work experience requirements being set in stone, and more a case that so many people get above the requirements that they don't need to be. Vet schools get so many applicants, many of which will have way more than the minimum requirements (consider that a lot of vet applicants take gap years), so even people only just meeting the requirements would be in a bit of an iffy situation. Unfortunately I'd advise against applying with less than the minimum requirement. They often do accept planned work experience mentioned on your personal statement, however still ask that the minimum requirement is met before the application is sent.

    Your factors for not gaining enough experience, while unfortunate, aren't going to count as mitigating circumstances or anything like that. Sadly they're things that a lot of people struggle with. Additionally work experience unrelated to animals will not count.

    As for what options you have now; a gap year may be the way forward. That's by no means a bad thing, as I mentioned previously many, many vet applicants take them (planned or otherwise). They're a really good opportunity to get some more experience, perhaps get a job to help pay for uni, and even travel/relax after two years of A Levels . Also, and I'm not suggesting that you have to do this, but it might be possible to do AS and A2 chem in a year, which could mean that you could apply to more universities than Notts when you apply for 2017 entry (however this would result in you getting conditional offers rather than unconditional and may mean that you're no longer eligible for Nott's preliminary year, so weigh up your options carefully).

    Sorry that I couldn't give a more positive response, but I hope you can see that getting in for 2016 isn't the be-all and end-all of everything, a gap year is by no means the end of the world
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    Thank you for your response! I really appreciate it because I think my college are as clueless as I am and don't have much advice to give me.
    I didn't realise that I had the gap year option and I think for now that will probably be the best way of doing things. The only issue is I will have to apply without the support of my college, but I suppose I'll have to get used to doing things off my own back if I want to become a vet.
    About the doing AS and A2 in a year, how would I go about that? Would I have to do it through my college?
    Thanks again for the response, I feel a little more positive
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    No worries, I understand what colleges can be like, I've been there . It's a real shame that careers advisors etc aren't more equipped to advise vetty people, but that's where TSR steps up to take the slack

    I'm afraid that I don't have any experience with applying whilst out of college, so I'd take this with a pinch of salt before someone more experienced comes along:

    The only thing that will be tricky when applying out of college is getting hold of an academic reference. You'll probably find that a reference has already been written for you for this year, so your best bet is to pick a trustworthy teacher to edit it slightly next year (change everything to past tense etc, maybe add a bit about chemistry if you choose to do it) and agree to be your referee. If there are no teachers that you'd feel comfortable asking then you can ask someone else, but then they'd have to write it from scratch. UCAS's website includes information on who can and who can't be your referee.

    As for chemistry, if your college will let you do it through them then that's awesome, but most people end up having to do it privately (are there any tuition centres etc in your area that will allow you to sit the exams there?). That was just a suggestion, and I'd really advise contacting the admissions department for universities that you'd consider applying to to make sure that they'd definitely consider you. I only say that since you'd then be applying with a mix of 'old' and 'new' style A-Levels, and I don't know if that will make a difference. Also some universities are iffy about people not completing their A-Levels in two years, however I can't see that being a problem since you wouldn't be retaking anything.
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    I Most people have covered everything. I think a gap year is a great idea and taking chemistry in 2 years will keep your options open . I applied a year later due to illness (took me 3 years to do sixth form) and it was the best thing I'd ever done as I felt more ready to go to uni and had a chance to earn more money too before going. It's not the end of the world, a year extra in your life is a drop in the ocean if this is what you really want to do.

    I struggled with travel too as I could not drive and no one in my household could drive either so lifts with parents was out of the question. You are going to have to make sacrifices to get to placements, others do! For example I stayed with a family friend who dropped me off to the vets before work. However, this meant I got there at 6am but doors did not open til 9am. I would wait in the pouring winter rain every day for 3 hrs . Another option is to cycle. Or go camping/b and b/hostel. I've once stayed at a farm for free in return for labour - they picked me up from the local train station and dropped me off when I finished my placement. Use family/family connection if they live near a placement. There are LOTS of options. If finance is an issue, get a job (I had to).

    Edit : at my school you could go back to ask for help/reference even if you have left college. This might be possible for you also?

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    (Original post by SilverstarDJ)
    I Most people have covered everything. I think a gap year is a great idea and taking chemistry in 2 years will keep your options open . I applied a year later due to illness (took me 3 years to do sixth form) and it was the best thing I'd ever done as I felt more ready to go to uni and had a chance to earn more money too before going. It's not the end of the world, a year extra in your life is a drop in the ocean if this is what you really want to do.

    I struggled with travel too as I could not drive and no one in my household could drive either so lifts with parents was out of the question. You are going to have to make sacrifices to get to placements, others do! For example I stayed with a family friend who dropped me off to the vets before work. However, this meant I got there at 6am but doors did not open til 9am. I would wait in the pouring winter rain every day for 3 hrs . Another option is to cycle. Or go camping/b and b/hostel. I've once stayed at a farm for free in return for labour - they picked me up from the local train station and dropped me off when I finished my placement. Use family/family connection if they live near a placement. There are LOTS of options. If finance is an issue, get a job (I had to).

    Edit : at my school you could go back to ask for help/reference even if you have left college. This might be possible for you also?

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    If you don't mind me asking, which uni did you go to? I was under the impression I wouldn't get accepted anywhere if I spent a third year at college.
    Thanks for your help
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    (Original post by milliefran)
    If you don't mind me asking, which uni did you go to? I was under the impression I wouldn't get accepted anywhere if I spent a third year at college.
    Thanks for your help
    I am going into my final year at Liverpool. All the unis I applied to didn't mind that I spent an extra year at college (Cambridge, Notts, RVC, Liverpool) HOWEVER my circumstances were beyond my control as it was not my fault that I got ill during sixth form, so I had extenuating circumstances.

    Liverpool would, certainly in the past, not sure about now, accept people who resat a year/exams due to doing poorly in exams. Someone else I knew got into RVC after repeating a year of exams (her reasoning was that the school didn't teach well I believe but perhaps she had person issues I was not aware of). Times may have changed since I applied a while ago now.

    Whether they will accept you for deciding late on your career path is something you need to find out. It is at their discretion, each uni will be different. I suggest you email them and get their answer in writing. They will probably expect good grades from your current A levels.

    Good luck!
 
 
 
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