Getting into Veterinary College
There are only 8 universities that offer veterinary medicine. These are:
- Bristol (A*AA-AAA)
- Cambridge (A*AA)
- Dublin (AAB)
- Edinburgh (AAA)
- Glasgow (AAA)
- Liverpool (AAB)
- Nottingham (AAB)
- The Royal Veterinary College (AAA)
The course is 5 years in length, 6 years in Cambridge. A levels in Biology and Chemistry are essential. At both Cambridge and RVC, you will also be expected to sit the Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT), a supplementary science aptitude test which will examine not so much your knowledge but the way in which you approach problems and structure your thoughts. See above section on medicine for further details of this exam.
Work Experience is King
All the veterinary schools expect some pre-application work experience in a variety of fields - farms, stables, kennels or with vets. The RVC specifies that this must total at least four weeks, while Liverpool specifies a minimum of 10 weeks.
"Work Experience is essential in strengthening your application and you should
do everything you can to secure hands on animal work."
This could be in vets, pet shops, farms, kennels, zoos, rescue centres, catteries, stables, RSPCA, RSPB, PDSA and other animal charities and welfare organisations such as Blue Cross. The British Small Animal Veterinary Association (www.bsava.com) has many links to animal welfare sites. Particularly useful would be to help out on a farm during lambing. Take notes about some of the cases you see. Even try abattoirs, labs and racetracks. Unfortunately there is no easy way to secure these placements apart from locating them through the internet and yellow pages and then ringing them or visiting them. Ensure you obtain references from your placements.
In your summer holidays also check out overseas veterinary placements - for example WVS (Worldwide Veterinary service) offer a number.
There are about 60 zoos, and 100 wild animal collections in the UK. Go to the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums www.biaza.org.uk for a full list by area.