Applicants will be required to show an understanding of what a career in veterinary medicine involves. To assess this, many veterinary schools include work experience among their criteria for application. It is suggested that most of the work experience should have been obtained fairly recently to the time of application.
Veterinary schools explain their requirements for work experience in the admissions guide. This includes details on whether they ask for clinical experience shadowing vets and/or experience in a non-clinical 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.
Reflecting on work experience is an important element of the admissions process for veterinary medicine. Rather than being a passive observer, veterinary schools encourage applicants to take an active interest in the husbandry practice or clinical cases they see and the management or scientific principles which underlie them. You should try to be observant and thoughtful about what you see, 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 clinical cases all the way from first consultation to clinical resolution. Veterinary schools are fully aware of this, so applicants should not be deterred from mentioning such cases in their application or interview.
Work experience during the Covid-19 pandemic
Veterinary schools are aware that opportunities to gain work experience have been affected by the pandemic and will take this into account. Veterinary schools have reviewed their requirements for work experience in light of the pandemic, so applicants should ensure that they check the veterinary school’s website for information on work experience.
For those interested in exploring a future career as a vet, the University of Nottingham has created a free virtual work experience course. On this course you will learn about the structure of veterinary practice and the different governing bodies, as well as discover the day to day challenges a vet might face. You will also be able to explore the different roles available outside of general practice and find out the great opportunities such a degree can bring.