When I got an email inviting me to the RVC for an interview I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach! After the stress of submitting my application and making it through the numerous questionnaires, it truly never occurred to me that this day would come! And once the excitement died down, I realised that I really didn’t have the first clue how to prepare for my interview in 13 days time. After a year away from education I felt like all the veterinary knowledge I had been squished to the back of my brain.
Not knowing where to start, I googled ‘vet school interview questions’ and found the generic ‘what did you learn from your work experience’, ‘what is the role of a vet’ etc. I found myself totally stuck on the simplest of all – ‘why do you want to be a vet?’ I couldn’t believe after all the work I’d put in, my brain couldn’t come up with a good answer that was going to express just how badly I wanted this and combine all of the reasons why! I found it near impossible to write a convincing answer that didn’t resemble a cliche X-Factor sob story. (I eventually wrote and learned the perfect answer and didn’t get the chance to mention any of it!)
Next I started going through all my old notes – brushing up on core vaccinations, exotic diseases and parasite lifecycles. This was a pointless exercise as none of this came close to any conversation in my interview and trying to revise it all made me more stressed and freaked out that I didn’t know it all off by heart. I read all 169 pages of my dissertation; appendices included (another waste of time).
Another pointless task is doing the practice questions you find online that are cliche and out of date. Also, they are not going to waste time asking about any information that you’ve already given in your personal statement.
Tip number 1 – The interview is not a test of your knowledge. Your time would be much better spent practicing talking to people, enhancing your debating skills and reminding yourself of everything you saw on work experience placements.
At the end of the day they just want to get to know you and assess your personality – so chill out and don’t start revising random topics that are going to overwhelm you. I would advise anyone that time would be spent more effectively looking at ethical scenarios – there are not many veterinary examples online but similar examples for med student are easy to find.
Interview at RVC
My interview day at RVC was honestly a really lovely experience. Of course I had the normal nerves and stresses when arriving at the start of the day but the staff and students really do go out of their way to put you at ease. You are allocated 2 student ambassadors per group of 6 applicants which gives you so much opportunity to chat and ask questions (take advantage of this because the information you gain from the ambassadors is invaluable). We had a presentation and a detailed tour of the campus first, including accommodation blocks (every mature student shivering at the thought of living back in halls). I can’t say much about the interview process as it would be unfair on future applicants.
I feel I could have done a lot better but then very few people must come out thinking they’d smashed it and said everything they wanted to say. Over the course of the day the people in my group got more friendly and we shared stories of our first degrees etc. There weren’t any feelings of competitiveness which really surprised me. Before arriving, I was well aware I’d fall in love with the university and be desperate to get an offer but even I was surprised at just how welcoming and warm it was. To be offered a place here would be an absolute dream and one that would require even more penny saving. (help)
Photos of Camden and Hawkshead campuses