So, you’ve received a Vet School interview

You’ve spent all summer on various farms, kennels and in vet practices, you’ve edited and edited your personal statement, narrowed down your 4 Vet schools and you’ve just received the email you’ve been waiting for…You’re through to an interview! Firstly, congratulations! You’ve worked so hard in your application up to this point and getting through to the interview is a massive achievement. Secondly, try not to stress (easier said than done, I know!) most students find the interviews to be a lot more fun than expected and remember, it is about you seeing if the school is a good fit for you as well. With this in mind, I’ll be taking you through three of my top tips for succeeding in vet school interviews!

1. Reflect, reflect, reflect 

No one is expecting you to come to vet school as a vet already! You won’t be expected to know all of the knowledge yet and I remember wasting hours trying to memorise facts before my interview. Instead, reflect on the knowledge and skills that you do have. There is so much more to being a vet than just medical knowledge, soft skills are essential. Through extra-curricular sports you may have had a chance to develop teamwork or time-management skills through a part-time job, for example.  Reflect and evaluate on your strengths so far and how you can transfer them into the role of a vet. 

Sunset of vet school main building on Manor Park
The beautiful vet school where you will practice all of these skills

A good way to get started with this is observing when on work experience. Make a note of what soft skills the vet uses and why this transferable skill set is important. Think of the key attributes that are essential to the role of the vet and think of examples of when you have seen them used and how you have used them yourself. Communication, adaptability and professionalism are a  few qualities to get you started with. Reflective practice is at the heart of what we do as vet students, and as vets so it is a very good habit to start early and will definitely be beneficial when it comes to answering interview questions. Clinical cases are interesting and engaging to watch but won’t ever be managed with just knowledge alone!

2. Don’t be scared to have an opinion

Whilst vets must see both sides of arguments, ultimately, there is a lot of decision making that goes on! Being able to make decisions and defend them whilst seeing all points of view is a skill that you can start practicing now. Take a look at some different ethical dilemmas and have a go at working through them. Remember to think about the legal and ethical frameworks you will have to abide by as a vet as well as what your own personal opinion is.

Having an up-to-date idea of what is going on in the industry is also key to a successful interview and there are always lots of interesting ethical questions being raised. Good places to look for more information include the BVA and AVS.

Screenshot of BVA current campaigns including against ear cropping and welfare at slaughter
A selection of some of the current BVA campagins

Ultimately, there is very rarely one true correct answer so be brave when making your decision and be prepared to back it up. The interviewers want to know more about you as a person and how your thought processes work so give them as much insight as possible. 

3. Find your passion 

Following along the advice line of not being scared to have an opinion, having a passion will really make your application stand out and help the interviewers see you as an individual. This could be anything and doesn’t have to be veterinary specific. For me, I met a Pitbull while volunteering at a local rescue centre and, after researching more, now have a very strong opinion on Breed Specific Legislation. I spoke about this in my interviews and online questionnaires and now raise money for a Pitbull legal defence team. 

Think about things that you saw on work experience, did anything really excite or interest you? If so, research more into this topic and explore that curiosity. This will help you understand the industry better, the role of the vet better and who knows, it could even lead you down the start of your future career path! 

Surreystudent cuddles her dogs at home
Work experience gave me so many valuable skills and also set me down the path of becoming a shelter vet!

Hopefully, these tips have given you some food for thought and, hopefully, a helpful step in the right direction for preparing for your vet school interview. If you want to know more about studying Veterinary Medicine at Surrey click here and if you want to see what our current students get up to in their daily life be sure you follow our Student Instagram. I have also written lots more blogs about Surrey and Veterinary Medicine, so be sure to check them out!

Congratulations once again for getting this far and I wish you the very best of luck!