Admissions processes and entry requirements for UK veterinary


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Admissions processes and entry requirements for UK veterinary schools
For applications in 2020
Veterinary Schools Council

Contents
Welcome..............................................................2 Common policies...................................................4 Courses..............................................................10 University of Bristol.............................................11 University of Cambridge......................................14 University of Edinburgh.......................................17 University of Glasgow..........................................21 University of Liverpool.........................................24 Royal Veterinary College......................................27 University of Nottingham....................................31 University of Surrey.............................................35

Admissions processes and entry requirements for UK veterinary schools

www.vetschoolscouncil.ac.uk

1

Welcome!
Embarking on a veterinary course can seem a daunting prospect. Courses are long, and potential vets are often told how difficult it is to secure a place. However, although intensive, training to be a veterinary surgeon can be an immensely enjoyable and rewarding experience, and leads to a wide variety of challenging and fascinating careers. Also, your chances of gaining a place on a veterinary course may be better than you think. Each year, approximately 2400 people apply for 1200 places to study veterinary science so applicants have around a 50% chance of gaining a place.
Of course, all veterinary schools teach you the same core of information, understanding and skills required to become a vet, but their courses do differ in various ways. Although your main intention is simply to gain entry to a course and qualify as a vet, it is also important that you choose the right course for you. The aim of this guide is to provide you with the information you need to make that choice.
The Veterinary Schools Council represents vet schools in the UK, Ireland and Netherlands, and promotes discussion and cooperation between them. It believes that providing clear, balanced information, presented by each vet school on an equal footing, is the key to ensuring that as many students as possible find a place on the best course for them.
This document has been produced by the council’s Admissions Committee and is intended to fill in some gaps in the information available to you. You should, for example, be cautious about what you read on student chatrooms – these are often dominated by particular contributors, and the information provided can be inaccurate. Another factor to consider is that if you ask qualified vets for advice, they will each have experienced the course at just one vet school, and their knowledge of even that will necessarily be some years out of date. Also, entirely understandably, vets tend to promote the vet school where they trained as the best! As a result, it can be difficult for potential applicants to get a full, balanced idea

Admissions processes and entry requirements for UK veterinary schools

www.vetschoolscouncil.ac.uk

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of what the different vet schools offer.
We believe this document provides a degree of balance. It gives you technical information about the selection process at different vet schools, and allows them an equal chance to explain why they think their course may be the best for you, with each section written by that school’s head of admissions. Obviously, each will be trying to make their course sound better than the others, but this is no surprise: we are competing to attract applicants from a pool of excellent candidates. Also, all the UK veterinary schools are indeed very good!
Please note that while we have attempted to make this document as comprehensive as possible, you should always check the details of courses and admissions processes on individual veterinary schools’ websites. It is these which you should consider as being the definitive resource. Our intention is to update this document annually, and publish a new version every summer.
And a final word about perspective. Gaining a place on a UK veterinary course is competitive, but you should not assume this means you will be unsuccessful. You can apply to four vet schools, but remember that you only ‘need’ one offer. We worry that many good candidates do not apply because they overestimate the challenges involved or, more likely, underestimate their own abilities.
What we do know is that if you don’t apply, you will definitely not get a place. Be positive, read this document, peruse our websites, email us with queries, and then apply!

Admissions processes and entry requirements for UK veterinary schools

www.vetschoolscouncil.ac.uk

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Common policies agreed by
Veterinary Schools Council
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic
All UK veterinary schools are aware that the ongoing COVID outbreak will have affected most veterinary applicants’ schooling and exams, and that this disruption is likely to continue into the 2020/21 school year. In particular, we are aware that it may have worsened existing disparities in the educational support available to different candidates. Also, the outbreak has affected many applicants’ opportunities to gain work experience before they apply. Please be assured that we will take COVID-related disruption into account when considering applications for veterinary courses. Also, the UK vet schools have reviewed their requirements for work experience. As well as this guide, please see individual university websites for further details.
Disability
Many potential applicants worry that a disability will prevent them from entering a veterinary medicine course, or qualifying as a vet. Although disabled UK veterinary students are at present required to take all compulsory elements of their veterinary course (including practical work with all major domestic species), our experience is that it is often possible to make reasonable adjustments so that disabled students are able to participate in veterinary courses to completion. Because of this, if you are disabled and are considering a veterinary career, we advise you to contact the vet schools to which you are thinking of applying, to discuss your options further.

Contextual data
All UK veterinary schools take account of contextual data when making their admissions decisions. These data allow us to assess candidates’ applications in the light of the educational opportunities they have had. The vet schools achieve this by using nationally accepted databases of past school attainment, various measures of previous participation in higher education, and other metrics of prior educational opportunity. All vet schools are committed to widening access to veterinary education.
Personal statements
All applications to UK veterinary schools must be made via UCAS, and the UCAS application process includes writing a personal statement. However, the vet schools are aware that the amount and quality of advice, and assistance applicants receive when writing their personal statement, varies greatly – and that this could potentially advantage or disadvantage certain applicants. Because of this, no UK vet school assesses

Admissions processes and entry requirements for UK veterinary schools

www.vetschoolscouncil.ac.uk

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the quality of the personal statement during their selection processes. Vet schools may of course ask questions about elements of the personal statement during their selection processes. Also, some vet schools have partially or completely replaced the use of the personal statement by introducing their own applicant questionnaires.
School examination systems
In this guide, the UK veterinary schools have listed their requirements for the examination systems for which UK applicants most often study. However, all UK vet schools are experienced in considering a wide variety of public examination systems from around the world. If you are studying under one of these ‘non-UK’ systems, please see each veterinary school’s website for further details about entrance requirements.

Widening participation
Under-represented groups
The UK Veterinary Schools seek to increase the participation of under-represented groups in veterinary education and the veterinary profession – in particular, black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) candidates. These groups are under-represented in the profession probably because (1) BAME students are more likely to have experienced educational disadvantage – see below – or (2) are less likely to have considered, or been encouraged to consider, veterinary medicine as a career. VSC is keen for all potential applicants to consider a veterinary career, be that in practice or in the wide variety of scientific and administrative fields available to veterinary graduates. Applicants should also be aware that only a small number of students currently entering UK vet schools have what might be considered a ‘veterinary background’, such as a close family member who is a vet. Also, selection for our courses is in no way based on ‘who you know’.
Disadvantaged applicants
VSC is committed to promoting applications by candidates who have experienced educational or financial disadvantage. UK veterinary schools strongly encourage such students to apply and consider their personal situations during the selection process, supporting them once they are on their veterinary courses. In addition, each higher education institution in the UK has agreed with the Office for Students an ‘Access and Participation Plan’, which details how it promotes equality of opportunity – available at www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance.
How veterinary schools widen participation in their courses and the profession
It is important that access to veterinary training is available to as many people as possible, and the following table is a summary of how the UK veterinary schools promote admissions of applicants from disadvantaged and under-represented groups. Please be aware that this table is just a brief summary and more detail is available on individual veterinary school and university websites.

Admissions processes and entry requirements for UK veterinary schools

www.vetschoolscouncil.ac.uk

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The activities, funding and special arrangements listed on the next page are available to applicants and students whose circumstances indicate they are from a disadvantaged or under-represented group. This is determined according to a range of parameters, such as nationally-recognised postcode-based databases of educational disadvantage or low participation in higher education, eligibility for free schools meals, declared household income, or a history of having been in care.

Admissions processes and entry requirements for UK veterinary schools

www.vetschoolscouncil.ac.uk

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Recruitment
Dedicated recruitment and information events ''Ringfenced' places on other recruitment and information events Additional support - e.g. subject 'masterclasses'

●●●●●

●●

●●

●●●●



Funding for travel to events Bursaries to attend any events for which there is a fee
Admissions Process
Funding for travel to attend interviews Contextual information considered throughout the admissions process Reduced requirements for work experience

●●



2

●●

n/a

●3 ● ●●●●●●
n/a4 ● ●

Reduced conditional offer levels



●●●●

Once on the course

Foundation 'Gateway' course lasting a full university ● year

●●

Shorter 'booster' courses, e.g. a few weeks in the summer before starting the main course





Annual bursaries for students from low-income

●●●



households

One-off bursaries for students from low-income



households

●●

Student Voice panels

●●

Notes (see numbers in table) 1. Funds available to support attendance of Gateway students at offer holder days. 2. There are no events for which there is a fee. 3. Only applicants for the Gateway and Graduate programme are called to interview. 4. There are no minimum requirements for work experience. 5. No requirements for work experience for Gateway students. 6. Currently under discussion with relation to Covid-19 pandemic 7. If successful on the In2Surrey access scheme 8. Must also meet POLAR4 postcode criteria (rated 1, 2 or 3)

Admissions processes and entry requirements for UK veterinary schools www.vetschoolscouncil.ac.uk

Bristol Cambridge Edinburgh Glasgow Liverpool Nottingham Royal Veterinary College Surrey

●● ● ●1 ●
2
● n/a ●
●● ●5 ●6 ● ●7 ●
8
●● ●
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Work experience
An important note for 2021 applicants. All UK veterinary schools are aware that the ongoing COVID outbreak has affected many applicants’ opportunities to gain work experience before they apply. UK vet schools have reviewed their requirements for work experience. As well as this guide, please see individual university websites for further details.
All UK veterinary schools recommend or require that you obtain some veterinary work experience before you apply. We suggest that most of it should have been obtained fairly recently by the time you apply, and some schools have specific requirements in this regard.
Each veterinary school’s requirements are listed under their entry in this guide, including whether they ask for clinical experience shadowing vets and/or experience in a nonclinical animal husbandry setting. You should also take note of the amount of work experience beyond which further experience confers little advantage in their admissions processes.
The suggested quantity and types of work experience vary slightly between the veterinary schools, but we have agreed the following guidelines as to what you should seek to gain from your experience. You are welcome to show this list to your work experience providers if you wish.
• The most important function of work experience is for you to decide whether you would enjoy working as a member of the veterinary profession. Do you like the working environment? Do you think you would find the technical, practical, scientific, ethical, emotional and financial challenges of veterinary life rewarding and enjoyable?
• Second, work experience is also something you can discuss in the written elements of your application, and about which you may be asked at interview.
• Rather than being a passive observer, we encourage you to take an active interest in the husbandry practices/clinical cases you see and the management/scientific principles which underlie them. You should try to be observant and thoughtful about what you see, certainly ask questions, and possibly do a little extra reading or research once the working day is over.
• The nature of work experience means that very often you will not be able to follow interesting clinical cases all the way from first consultation to clinical resolution. We are fully aware of this, so you should not be deterred from mentioning such cases in your application or interview.
• Communication is one of the most important aspects of life as a veterinary professional, and you should use your work experience as an opportunity to talk to vets, nurses, receptionists, lab staff and others about their working life. There may also be situations in which you speak directly to clients, too, but you should of course restrict these conversations to tactful generalities, under the guidance of the staff with whom you are working.

Admissions processes and entry requirements for UK veterinary schools

www.vetschoolscouncil.ac.uk

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• Although you are still only thinking about applying to enter the veterinary profession, you should aim to present yourself in as professional a manner as possible. In clinical settings you should dress in a smart but practical way (perhaps ask for guidance in advance), be courteous and respectful to all around you, behave sensibly, and offer help when it seems appropriate to do so.
• Although we recommend animal husbandry settings and first-opinion practice as ideal places to gain work experience, throughout your work experience do bear in mind that many vets work in referral practice, the charitable sector, management, industry, government, and university teaching and research. You should consider how vets’ scientific, clinical and professional training might help them take those other career paths.
It is possible that you may find it difficult to obtain the work experience specified by the time you apply, either because local providers are unable to accommodate you, or because your decision to apply for Veterinary Medicine was made relatively late. If this is the case, we recommend that you contact the veterinary schools to which you are thinking of applying for advice.

Admissions processes and entry requirements for UK veterinary schools

www.vetschoolscouncil.ac.uk

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Admissions processes and entry requirements for UK veterinary