Applying to be a Veterinary Surgeon from a Home Education background
Do you need perfect grades? Edit
For Veterinary science (aka Veterinary Medicine) I have often heard people say you need umpteen A*s at GCSE plus a standard 4 A*s at A-level to get in. It turns out this is wrong. There are student vets advising applicants on The Student Room, and often they list their grades and work experience that was put on their UCAS form. Many of them don't have "perfect" grades at all. In fact, there are quite a few Bs and Cs in there at GCSE, and even some Bs at AS and A-level. This is from people at "respectable" vet schools eg the Royal Veterinary College, and Liverpool. What they do all tend to have is lots of work experience in a variety of places eg one applicant might list a week spent at each of farms, animal rescues, stables etc.. Some veterinary schools place equal emphasis on work experience and academic results.
If you click on the person's profile, lots of them put the details of all their grades and work experience on there. I think this is worth musing on for anyone worried that a few dropped grades will rule things out for them . This is the forum for vet school applications : http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/forumdisplay.php?f=196
Here's an example of a thread where you can see that "perfect" grades weren't necessary :
Medicine is a similar story - yes, there are lots of people with umpteen A*s, but there are also many who have fewer than 10 GCSEs, less than perfect grades, etc.
The Student Room has similar forums for all subject areas, where current students advise prospective students on the applications process and talk about their own applications. It's a great resource for finding out what sort of applications have been successful recently.
Nottingham vet school publish very detailed information on their selection process, which is really enlightening. They state that taking a fourth A-level will *not* increase your chances. See http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/vet/prospectivestudents/undergraduate/admissions.aspx
Work Experience Edit
There is a huge thread on work experience, how to arrange it, what counts, and earlier in the year an enterprising farmer was on there recruiting helpers for lambing!
Advice from one parent:
While it is important to get work experience, the best thing to do is to first look at the entry requirements for each individual veterinary medicine programme. It can take quite a bit of time (and note taking) to keep track of the requirements of individual universities.
- Look at university websites and determine which places she might be interested in applying to. Some of them have high amounts of (varied) work experience hour requirements. Nottingham and Bristol have very demanding requirements.
- Some universities, such as the RVC, Edinburgh and Glasgow, state that 'valid' work experience is only considered within the 18 months before applications are made. This 'invalidated' 6 months of weekly volunteering that my daughter had done. This work experience was included in her application, but just didn't count towards the required amount.
- Go ahead and make work experience placement appointments that fit within that '18 months before application' range. We were completely taken aback that some of the large horse veterinarians (Newmarket) had 1 year waiting lists for students!
- Persevere! It can be difficult for teenagers to actually find work experience placements since there are issues with insuring under 16s. And then, once they do have the placements, sometimes they feel disheartened because they spend 7-10 full days only being allowed to observe.