The Student Room Group

What does a successful vet med applicant have?

Hi, I am currently doing my GCSE's and I hopefully would like to a vet when I am older. If its ok, I would like to know what results in gcse and a levels/ work experience that you did to get into vet school. This is just so I can have a idea of successful applicants qualities, as I know it is very much overscribed.
Thank you
Original post by Sansy786
Hi, I am currently doing my GCSE's and I hopefully would like to a vet when I am older. If its ok, I would like to know what results in gcse and a levels/ work experience that you did to get into vet school. This is just so I can have a idea of successful applicants qualities, as I know it is very much overscribed.
Thank you


Hey, so I have 3 offers and I got all offers from the places I got interviewed (Bristol doesn’t interview), and tbh my gcses weren’t all 9s, they were mostly 8s with a few 7s. GCSEs don’t matter too much, just as long as its above the entry requirement, its good. WEX (work experience) wise, I did over 250 hours, but its not necessary to do over the requirement, again as many people say, its quality over quantity. I met people at my interview who had 600 hours and they ended up getting rejected, so its not about how much you see, but what you learn and take away from what you saw. I didn’t have too much of a range of wex in hindsight, but what I found to be the most important wex was the clinical one, and what I saw in practice, e.g. the cases, the vet’s interaction with the client, and the skills required etc. Also, I know you may have heard that many people often have to reapply as they don’t get offers the first time round, I was very worried this would be me, but it is definitely possible to get offers the first time round, but if you don’t, remember everything happens for a reason and a gap year may be a blessing! More than gcses and wex, the key part of the process is the interview. I have many tips on that and so just pm me and I will be happy to help. 😊
So I was a reapplicant and got 2 offers first time round (only 2 I got interviews for) and all my offers this time (I withdrew from one but they did offer me an interview). I got 4 9s, 3 8s, 2 7s, 6, and 5 in my GCSEs. My a levels aren’t the best example because of my circumstances and I’ve had to take another route in as a result but work experience I didn’t have very much, I had 70hrs at a farm/riding school then 40hrs at a referral equine plus the MOOC (online WEX course created due to covid) and I did a research project in Mexico but that didn’t count in my hours although a good talking point.
It’s about what you learn from the experience rather than how much you do, I know people with straight A*s, hours of experience but haven’t got past interview or even to it because they obviously just don’t do very well in the forms/SJTs etc
Please message me if you have any specific questions I’ll be more than happy to help x
(edited 1 year ago)
Grades wise, all you need is to reach each unis individual minimum GCSE and A Levels. You don't get any extra points for having above that, someone getting all 9s and A*s won't get ranked any higher than someone getting the minimums. Each uni varies a lot in their requirements so making a spreadsheet with all their requirements would be good, there isn't that many so wouldn't take too long. Could also note their minimum work experience - this is just as important as grades and to be considered you have to meet this, however doing more is beneficial for many reasons. What I suggest is to try get a mix of farm (lambing or dairy would be amazing but anything you can), equine (any stables etc) and smallies (shelters, groomers, kennels/catteries etc) non-clinical and also at least 2 weeks of clinical. Large animal clinical is quite hard to find depending where you live so I wouldn't worry too much if you can't find any (but if you can, great!).

Lambing is probably the 'best' one to find as you can get really hands on and it really prepares you for the realities of vet med with long working hours, potentially not amazing conditions and all scenarios with fluids and possibly complications etc, and I think the unis like to see it too. Obviously it's a bit late for lambing this year as it is a spring thing but I'd try find some for your Feb half term/Easter holidays next year - the National Sheep Association website has a list come out around the end of the year with farmers asking for students, and a lot offer accommodation so you don't have to be nearby. And otherwise it is just finding what you can - remember that calling or going in person is always much more effective than emails that get easily lost, be prepared to travel a little, look up relevant Fb groups/forums, call on any contacts to see if they know anything etc. Doing a good variety and really paying attention to the way things are done and getting stuck in with asking questions and having a go is very helpful, I'd keep a diary with all the things you do and make sure to get references at the end. It is quality over quantity (but obviously doing more gives you more opportunities to talk about etc) and it isn't important that you learn how to do a surgery or what antibiotic is used when etc, what they want is you to learn about the career (e.g. farm vets it is much more about herd health than individual, vet med in general isn't just treating animals as you have to deal with their owners too, all the stressors within) and to develop/prove you have the right characteristics to be a vet student and later vet. When doing your diary think about that - did you have to use good communication skills? Team work? Show empathy? Determination? Did you cope under high pressure/within a difficult situation? That's what they want you to get out of it mostly.

Personally I got 998887766A*A at GCSE, with 9 in bio, 7 in chem, 6 in maths and physics - the specific 6s weren't enough for some unis so be careful, but there was others who accepted it. At A Level I got A*s in biology and psychology, A in chemistry although it was through covid so I didn't actually sit them aha. I can't remember exactly but I only had 4 weeks applying the first time, got no offers, took a gap year and reapplied with 12+ and now I'm a second year at Liverpool. I had mostly stables which I went to a few times a week through my gap year as it was covid so it was like the only thing I could get, a couple weeks at a dog groomers and smallies vets, an odd day with alpacas, odd day with sheep. But I did make sure to do lambing before I started vet school.
(edited 1 year ago)

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