The Road To Vet School

Basically: I was a vet student at The Royal (Dick) Veterinary College in Edinburgh.

Like many people, my application wasn’t particularly straightforward. Although the majority of teachers at my school were supportive, a small, but vocal, number were incredibly negative. This, coupled with a careers advisor who was attentive but quite inexperienced when it came to veterinary medicine applications, made my application more difficult than it should have been. Having spoken to other students studying veterinary medicine, it seems this wasn’t an isolated event and a lot of people wanting to study to be vets meet a lot of negativity, most of it misplaced and all of it unnecessary.

All was going well, having had 4 interviews and secured 3 offers, until half way through my upper sixth when I developed an illness which, to this day, remains a mystery. This came at just the wrong time and has led to me having very little memory of the final months of my upper sixth. Somehow I managed to sit my exams and didn’t do too badly, achieving BBB, but missing out on my offer of AAB from Edinburgh. Thankfully I’d had blood tests etc. done so was able to prove that I’d been unwell, meaning that all of the universities I’d applied to first time around allowed me to apply again. They stated that because of the circumstances I would be treated as though it was my first application. My school then complicated things further by refusing to predict me the A’s I needed to even be considered for veterinary. At this point I appealed directly to the headmaster, who was relatively new to the school, and he was good enough to predict me the grades therefore giving me the opportunity to prove myself. During my second application I was again lucky enough to get 4 interviews and received 4 offers. I again accepted Edinburgh as my first choice and, having achieved the required grades, started there in September 2009.

I’m so grateful to be where I am today but have always found it sad that I consider myself to have made it onto the vet course despite my school rather than because of it. In fact, my family are the ones I thank the most. They were the ones that taxied me back and forth from work experience and who didn’t complain when I made the house smell like farm. (So if you’re reading this, thanks!)

Since getting into uni I have travelled around and done question and answer sessions with both teachers and pupils to correct some of the misconceptions surrounding vet applications and answer any questions about the course.

My aim is to try and prevent the negativity that I experienced and to give other pupils interested in veterinary medicine the best chance possible during their application. Having said this, I was very lucky with the other opportunities that my school provided me with and as a result of these I have been involved with the RAF cadets, I have represented my county at netball and I play three instruments. If I could offer just one piece of advice it would be to make the most of all the opportunities that you are presented with!

So that’s the important bit and the explanation of my motives.