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Veterinary medicine

Hi. Does anyone know of any work experience to complete for the vet med course to help application stand out?
You could look at more niche things like bird of prey centres, wildlife rescues, alpaca farms etc, but realistically the unis would prefer you to get a variety of work experience from the 3 core species groups (smalls, equine, farm) because that is what you'll be primarily learning about on the course so prefer you to have a knowledge on those species - and since everyone has to complete work experience to apply it is a bit hard to find placements which truly make you 'stand out'. Lambing is great as it allows you to get hands on and get different perspectives on vet-related things if you aren't farm-y, and also since it is hard work and not always the most pleasant it can differentiate good vet students to those who have false ideas about the job - though obviously now it is a little late for lambing placements. Dairy would also probably be a good one, or perhaps beef cattle particularly during calving - a lot do it through summer/autumn and may offer accommodation so there's still time for that before the next application round. If you can find pigs (I'm doing some at a sanctuary for my EMS placement this year as a lot of pig units have very high biosecurity so don't take students) or poultry then that would be good too and most applicants probably don't get that but they are still the core farm species, so would be good to make you stand out. Having some equine is good too (riding schools generally have pretty placid horses and they love extra helping hands) as they are very different to both smalls and farm and so gaining some insight into how to handle and care for them and also into the community of keeping large animals as pets (and how that differs from smalls and farm) would be good. For smallies I did dog grooming which I thought was quite good as you have to handle the animals very closely the entire time so can learn different restraints etc, but I wouldn't say that it is a 'standing out' placement - I'd still include a smallies non-clinical placement if you can though, whether that be grooming, kennels, catteries, shelters etc. You could also look at something like police/guide/service dogs, I'm not sure whether those would readily take students but it might be worth a look as more niche.

As long as you meet the requirements, what makes you stand out is what you get out of the placements you did do - they don't care if you saw loads of rare diseases or did loads of injections - they will be teaching you all those things and it isn't really telling them anything about how you'd be as a student. You should be able to learn/show 'good vet student' skills at your work experience and be able to speak about that in your personal statement, forms and interviews to be a solid candidate - e.g. empathy, organisation, communication, eye for detail, resilience, adaptibility are all good skills they want and if you plan your work experience diary in the format of 'skill -> this event at work experience -> this makes me a good vet student because' then you'll be able to form good discussions and answer quite a lot of questions they may ask. Quality over quantity (as long as you are over the minimum).
Original post by RambleAmple
You could look at more niche things like bird of prey centres, wildlife rescues, alpaca farms etc, but realistically the unis would prefer you to get a variety of work experience from the 3 core species groups (smalls, equine, farm) because that is what you'll be primarily learning about on the course so prefer you to have a knowledge on those species - and since everyone has to complete work experience to apply it is a bit hard to find placements which truly make you 'stand out'. Lambing is great as it allows you to get hands on and get different perspectives on vet-related things if you aren't farm-y, and also since it is hard work and not always the most pleasant it can differentiate good vet students to those who have false ideas about the job - though obviously now it is a little late for lambing placements. Dairy would also probably be a good one, or perhaps beef cattle particularly during calving - a lot do it through summer/autumn and may offer accommodation so there's still time for that before the next application round. If you can find pigs (I'm doing some at a sanctuary for my EMS placement this year as a lot of pig units have very high biosecurity so don't take students) or poultry then that would be good too and most applicants probably don't get that but they are still the core farm species, so would be good to make you stand out. Having some equine is good too (riding schools generally have pretty placid horses and they love extra helping hands) as they are very different to both smalls and farm and so gaining some insight into how to handle and care for them and also into the community of keeping large animals as pets (and how that differs from smalls and farm) would be good. For smallies I did dog grooming which I thought was quite good as you have to handle the animals very closely the entire time so can learn different restraints etc, but I wouldn't say that it is a 'standing out' placement - I'd still include a smallies non-clinical placement if you can though, whether that be grooming, kennels, catteries, shelters etc. You could also look at something like police/guide/service dogs, I'm not sure whether those would readily take students but it might be worth a look as more niche.

As long as you meet the requirements, what makes you stand out is what you get out of the placements you did do - they don't care if you saw loads of rare diseases or did loads of injections - they will be teaching you all those things and it isn't really telling them anything about how you'd be as a student. You should be able to learn/show 'good vet student' skills at your work experience and be able to speak about that in your personal statement, forms and interviews to be a solid candidate - e.g. empathy, organisation, communication, eye for detail, resilience, adaptibility are all good skills they want and if you plan your work experience diary in the format of 'skill -> this event at work experience -> this makes me a good vet student because' then you'll be able to form good discussions and answer quite a lot of questions they may ask. Quality over quantity (as long as you are over the minimum).

You seem very knowleadgable on the subject, so I was wondering if you could help me too. I live abroad and cannot find regular farm placements... I have found a water buffalo farm though so I was wondering if it's worth it or not... As it isn't really the right bovid species!
Original post by denizinthedepths
You seem very knowleadgable on the subject, so I was wondering if you could help me too. I live abroad and cannot find regular farm placements... I have found a water buffalo farm though so I was wondering if it's worth it or not... As it isn't really the right bovid species!


I am sure it would help - if you can handle a water buffalo then that should translate to dealing with cows or maybe horses, certainly 'large animals'.
Original post by ReadingMum
I am sure it would help - if you can handle a water buffalo then that should translate to dealing with cows or maybe horses, certainly 'large animals'.

perfect. I have found horse wex but the lack of cows was worrying me. thank you so much!
Original post by denizinthedepths
You seem very knowleadgable on the subject, so I was wondering if you could help me too. I live abroad and cannot find regular farm placements... I have found a water buffalo farm though so I was wondering if it's worth it or not... As it isn't really the right bovid species!


Hi, honestly I have no clue whether it would count in terms of farm or exotics placement, I reckon if you are asked to divide your placement in terms of smalls, equine, farm, exotics etc (which some unis ask for in their work experience forms) it would probably go under exotics purely because in the UK you'd only see water buffalos in a zoo likely, however I would email unis to check as they may say otherwise - I'd say it'll be pretty similar principles to farming our normal species and as said above gets you experience with handling large animals which is ultimately one of the reasons they like you to have farm/equine work experience. I would still go for it - it is a unique placement you can talk about and still gets your hours up. Honestly there are very few circumstances I'd recommend against doing a placement, the more you do the better (though it is quality over quantity, but if you can do more, why not, always more to talk about and learn from).

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