Turn on thread page Beta
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    I think this will be a very long post, and I apologise in advance.

    I'm soon to be 19, and working in a veterinary hospital as a nursing assistant, where I will attend college in January to gain my Level 2 Animal Nursing Assistant qualification. This will be my first actual qualification, as when I was younger I was very ill for a number of years, and was unable to attend secondary school for long enough to do my GCSEs, and to be quite frank, I wasn't pressured to, as it was assumed I wasn't going to live long enough for them to be of any use anyway.

    I've now made an almost full recovery, and I've started to feel overwhelmed and pressured by the fact that all my friends have now started university, and that I'm so shockingly far behind, as all I've ever wanted is to be a vet.

    I know I could go all the way back, and start studying for all my GCSEs and A levels, but this seems expensive, draining and incredibly long. By the time I have good enough credentials to apply for Uni, I think I'll be so far behind everyone else my age, and I'm already quite embarrassed by it. Is there any way I could get in to vet school in to the next year or two, regarding any quick routes? Also, are there many older students in Vetmed courses? As I assume I'll be at least early twenties by the time I can get in. Or, alternatively, should I be realistic and (without sounding melodramatic) give up?

    I honestly would appreciate all advice and opinions. Thank you
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Sickling)
    Is there any way I could get in to vet school in to the next year or two, regarding any quick routes?
    It is unlikely in all honesty.

    It is a very demanding course and the degree builds upon A-level content substantially (there is little or no "revision"), hence the high GCSE and A-level entry requirements. There are alternative qualifications and so forth but you're looking at a similar ability level and time scale as GCSEs and A-levels.

    There are "accelerated" one year A-level courses at some colleges but without solid GCSE passes behind you I suspect you would struggle. If you are going to look into this I would strongly recommend a tutor.

    You could look into "foundation" courses but there are specific selection criteria which you may or may not qualify for. They are incredibly competitive and you still need to get a decent pass at the end of the year to stand a chance of being accepted onto a vet course.

    Also, are there many older students in Vetmed courses?
    Sure, probably around 10-20% of my year were graduates or mature students.

    Or, alternatively, should I be realistic and (without sounding melodramatic) give up?
    If it is what you really want then go for it.

    You need to appreciate that vet school is incredibly competitive to get into in the first place, even with the right grades, subject combinations and experience. Trying to get in without the above is almost certainly going to make your job longer and harder.

    Just make sure you have realistic expectations of what being a vet is actually like. A lot of people like the idea of being a vet but very few can live with the realities (ie; 5+ years of full time study, long hours, job stress, high levels of student debt, not particularly well paid, high rates of mental illness, lack of progression, questionable job security in the future, etc).

    I had a client in the other day (early thirties) thinking about a change of career. She told me how she had always thought about being a vet. After 5 minutes explaining the realities of how demanding the course and the job is she changed her mind!

    Speak to as many vets as you can, young and old alike, to get a good idea of what it is really like.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    Abandon your veterinarian dreams and go into modelling just like David Gandy.
    • PS Reviewer
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    PS Reviewer
    First of all, you have a legitimate excuse for not being to get the GCSEs etc. so don't beat your self up about it.
    Age shouldn't put you off, nor the fact that all your friends are at uni. Certainly, many people end up going to uni later! At Liverpool, the oldest student we have currently is in his 50s. Of course that's unusual, but we have plenty of people starting vet school in their 20s (a lot who did a degree before hand or worked and then decided that, actually, they wanted to become a vet). You don't need to be embarrassed at all, even if you graduate in your 30s then you have 30-40+ years ahead of you to work as a vet. Being older might also be an advantage - clients will trust you more (they will asume experience if you look older) and you will probably have a more mature attitude to everything that a lot of 18 year olds lack. You will probably find that a lot of your friends won't end up using their degrees - for some it might be because they didn't really know what they wanted to do at 17/18. So it's probably better that you know what you want to do, then get a degree in a course that you lost interest in.

    I don't mean to pry but when you say you are almost fully recovered, you need to be aware that vet school is stressful and demanding mentally and somewhat physically to. Plenty of us cope with various medical/mental conditions but it's not be taken lightly before you apply.

    In your situation, I would email or call all the vet schools. Tell them you situation and with what qualifications you will need to be accepted under your circumstances so you know what you need and where you stand. Some have foundation courses (year zero) courses which you may be eligible for. Each vet school might give you a different response. There is no easy way in though - so you might end up having to do at least some of the qualifications that you missed out on. If you really want to be a vet, then the time and finciancial expense will be worth it. I've had friends who went back into education as adults (not just for vet school mind you) for either GCSEs/Alevels. You should be able to find evening classes or adult classes. As you have no GCSE qualifications - is there any government funding available for you perhaps??
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by ch0c0h01ic)
    It is unlikely in all honesty.

    It is a very demanding course and the degree builds upon A-level content substantially (there is little or no "revision";), hence the high GCSE and A-level entry requirements. There are alternative qualifications and so forth but you're looking at a similar ability level and time scale as GCSEs and A-levels.

    You could look into "foundation" courses but there are specific selection criteria which you may or may not qualify for. They are incredibly competitive and you still need to get a decent pass at the end of the year to stand a chance of being accepted onto a vet course.

    You need to appreciate that vet school is incredibly competitive to get into in the first place, even with the right grades, subject combinations and experience. Trying to get in without the above is almost certainly going to make your job longer and harder.

    I had a client in the other day (early thirties) thinking about a change of career. She told me how she had always thought about being a vet. After 5 minutes explaining the realities of how demanding the course and the job is she changed her mind!

    Speak to as many vets as you can, young and old alike, to get a good idea of what it is really like.
    Thank you ch0c0h01ic,

    I do appreciate your honesty. I know what it is like to be a vet, I already work in a hospital and I see how tired, drained and exhausted the vets are, standing up for 12 hours in one theatre with no break and no fresh air. I hope that's why when I ask most of them for advice, they're quite dismissive and rude, but I do appreciate not only how difficult the job is, but how difficult it is to get in their in the first place.

    Are there any universities you know of that are more flexible with student situations, rather than just sticking to the tried-and-tested high achievers?
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by SilverstarDJ)
    First of all, you have a legitimate excuse for not being to get the GCSEs etc. so don't beat your self up about it.
    Age shouldn't put you off, nor the fact that all your friends are at uni. Certainly, many people end up going to uni later! At Liverpool, the oldest student we have currently is in his 50s. Of course that's unusual, but we have plenty of people starting vet school in their 20s (a lot who did a degree before hand or worked and then decided that, actually, they wanted to become a vet).
    I don't mean to pry but when you say you are almost fully recovered, you need to be aware that vet school is stressful and demanding mentally and somewhat physically to. Plenty of us cope with various medical/mental conditions but it's not be taken lightly before you apply.

    In your situation, I would email or call all the vet schools. Tell them you situation and with what qualifications you will need to be accepted under your circumstances so you know what you need and where you stand. Some have foundation courses (year zero) courses which you may be eligible for. Each vet school might give you a different response. There is no easy way in though - so you might end up having to do at least some of the qualifications that you missed out on. If you really want to be a vet, then the time and finciancial expense will be worth it. I've had friends who went back into education as adults (not just for vet school mind you) for either GCSEs/Alevels. You should be able to find evening classes or adult classes. As you have no GCSE qualifications - is there any government funding available for you perhaps??
    I'm not too sure about government funding, but I seriously doubt it. When I was very sick they weren't funding for a tutor, so I have a funny feeling they'll give me a "you had your chance and missed it" kinda thing. I'm quite confident in my withstanding education, and I don't think it will take me too long to catch up, but the 2 or so years will bug me I think. But thank you very much, I will email round. Is their anything else I could do, work experience or voluntary wise that would give me a slight edge over not-so-perfect grades?
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Sickling)
    Thank you ch0c0h01ic,

    I do appreciate your honesty. I know what it is like to be a vet, I already work in a hospital and I see how tired, drained and exhausted the vets are, standing up for 12 hours in one theatre with no break and no fresh air. I hope that's why when I ask most of them for advice, they're quite dismissive and rude, but I do appreciate not only how difficult the job is, but how difficult it is to get in their in the first place.
    Be aware that working as an ACA or VCA will not necessarily give you the same veterinary specific work experience that shadowing a vet for 2-4 weeks will. I have some that I am very close to that genuinely understand the job pressures I am under, equally there are others that do not have the first clue.

    I operate 1-2 days a week on average, 10-15 ops a day, a 12 hour operating shift is not a big deal to me. Sure I may be tired at the end of it but it is not normally that stressful or emotionally draining.

    Imagine how it is to work your hardest to help a pet, on top of an already busy day, only for that pet to die (or maybe the pet is fine - sweet irony!) and then the client files a particularly nasty complaint. What about the client who threatens to beat you up because the skin condition you have been try to treat 2 weeks ago on a shoestring budget has not resolved? What about trying to save for your own home and retirement (and live!) while at the same time being on a fairly meagre salary and owing £40,000+ in student debt? What about going home after a long day only to study in the evening until midnight for a certificate to improve your future job security and income?...

    You may already be aware of all of this, fair play to you. However, we get a large amount of vet students who have a lot more experience and are a lot further along in their training that aren't.

    Are there any universities you know of that are more flexible with student situations, rather than just sticking to the tried-and-tested high achievers?
    All of the vet schools will take into account mitigating circumstances. However, you still need to be a strong candidate in general.

    With your illness they might make you a slightly lower offer (eg; AAB or maybe ABB as opposed to AAA or A*A*A*), but they would still expect 10+ weeks of varied work experience, extracurricular activities (eg; Gold D of E), a decent personal statement, good interview and/or BMAT performance, etc.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Sickling)
    I think this will be a very long post, and I apologise in advance.

    I'm soon to be 19, and working in a veterinary hospital as a nursing assistant, where I will attend college in January to gain my Level 2 Animal Nursing Assistant qualification. This will be my first actual qualification, as when I was younger I was very ill for a number of years, and was unable to attend secondary school for long enough to do my GCSEs, and to be quite frank, I wasn't pressured to, as it was assumed I wasn't going to live long enough for them to be of any use anyway.

    I've now made an almost full recovery, and I've started to feel overwhelmed and pressured by the fact that all my friends have now started university, and that I'm so shockingly far behind, as all I've ever wanted is to be a vet.

    I know I could go all the way back, and start studying for all my GCSEs and A levels, but this seems expensive, draining and incredibly long. By the time I have good enough credentials to apply for Uni, I think I'll be so far behind everyone else my age, and I'm already quite embarrassed by it. Is there any way I could get in to vet school in to the next year or two, regarding any quick routes? Also, are there many older students in Vetmed courses? As I assume I'll be at least early twenties by the time I can get in. Or, alternatively, should I be realistic and (without sounding melodramatic) give up?

    I honestly would appreciate all advice and opinions. Thank you
    There is no quick route into vet school unfortunately, it's a demanding course and it is stressful. Having a legitimate reason as to why you don't have the GCSEs wise, as others have said ring the vet schools up and have a talk to them about your situation. You do although need work experience for a majority of the vet schools which must be gained prior to application.

    With regards to age, don't let that put you off. I'm a second year vet student and I'm 25, and I'm not the oldest in my year either. A lot of students take gap years/do other degrees before getting into vet school so there are a variety of different ages.

    At the end of the day, vet school is draining and long, and you have to be willing to put the effort in when you get there, so bear this in mind. Yes it's draining and long and stressful but it's so worth it (even during exam time).

    I'm going to say that it's likely that the vet schools will require you to get some GCSEs and a levels before application, but obviously I can't answer that for sure because of your situation, but if it's really what you want to do, then however long it takes, it will be worth it in the end. I was really ill during my GCSEs and I did a degree and I'm now at vet school, so it's possible.


    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Sickling)
    I think this will be a very long post, and I apologise in advance.

    I'm soon to be 19, and working in a veterinary hospital as a nursing assistant, where I will attend college in January to gain my Level 2 Animal Nursing Assistant qualification. This will be my first actual qualification, as when I was younger I was very ill for a number of years, and was unable to attend secondary school for long enough to do my GCSEs, and to be quite frank, I wasn't pressured to, as it was assumed I wasn't going to live long enough for them to be of any use anyway.

    I've now made an almost full recovery, and I've started to feel overwhelmed and pressured by the fact that all my friends have now started university, and that I'm so shockingly far behind, as all I've ever wanted is to be a vet.

    I know I could go all the way back, and start studying for all my GCSEs and A levels, but this seems expensive, draining and incredibly long. By the time I have good enough credentials to apply for Uni, I think I'll be so far behind everyone else my age, and I'm already quite embarrassed by it. Is there any way I could get in to vet school in to the next year or two, regarding any quick routes? Also, are there many older students in Vetmed courses? As I assume I'll be at least early twenties by the time I can get in. Or, alternatively, should I be realistic and (without sounding melodramatic) give up?

    I honestly would appreciate all advice and opinions. Thank you
    Hello
    I wouldn't worry yourself too much as I am 19 too and have yet to do any A levels or start college due to illness and I also really want to be a vet I know how you feel everyone in my year is at uni now and I cant work, go to college and I am stuck at home doing nothing most days which is quite depressing
    Good Luck and Follow your dreams , never give up
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    You can get into some uni's, including RVC and Bristol, by completing a CertHE in Life Sciences at Birkbeck University (London) - you can do this over 1 or 2 years. You will probably need to complete GCSE's in English Maths and Science, some colleges offer these as evening courses, you may want to these first, then try and do the CertHE at Birkbeck - remember, you will need work experience as well (you cannot usually count paid employment), and you may need to sit the BMAT too.

    Good luck!
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Sickling)
    I think this will be a very long post, and I apologise in advance.

    I'm soon to be 19, and working in a veterinary hospital as a nursing assistant, where I will attend college in January to gain my Level 2 Animal Nursing Assistant qualification. This will be my first actual qualification, as when I was younger I was very ill for a number of years, and was unable to attend secondary school for long enough to do my GCSEs, and to be quite frank, I wasn't pressured to, as it was assumed I wasn't going to live long enough for them to be of any use anyway.

    I've now made an almost full recovery, and I've started to feel overwhelmed and pressured by the fact that all my friends have now started university, and that I'm so shockingly far behind, as all I've ever wanted is to be a vet.

    I know I could go all the way back, and start studying for all my GCSEs and A levels, but this seems expensive, draining and incredibly long. By the time I have good enough credentials to apply for Uni, I think I'll be so far behind everyone else my age, and I'm already quite embarrassed by it. Is there any way I could get in to vet school in to the next year or two, regarding any quick routes? Also, are there many older students in Vetmed courses? As I assume I'll be at least early twenties by the time I can get in. Or, alternatively, should I be realistic and (without sounding melodramatic) give up?

    I honestly would appreciate all advice and opinions. Thank you
    I think GCSEs are a minimum qualification. There are some foundation years for people who had studied the wrong subjects or are disadvantaged. This could apply to yourself and the university may say you need to meet some conditions. But I would ring up and enquire! It's better to ring the universities up themselves. I took a year our so I can slightly relate to how you feel about friends moving on which isn't a nice feeling but I'm glad to hear you've recovered! I know someone who became a vet at 40! What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly. Don't let anyone tell you what you can and can't do. Yes it may be a bit harder for yourself due to your circumstances but if you want it then go for it! You're working in a vets and you already have experience as a nurse, use this to your advantage and stand out!
    Hope it works out for you
 
 
 
Reply
Submit reply
Turn on thread page Beta
TSR Support Team

We have a brilliant team of more than 60 Support Team members looking after discussions on The Student Room, helping to make it a fun, safe and useful place to hang out.

Updated: December 7, 2015
Poll
“Yanny” or “Laurel”

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.