Voluntary Work and Personal Qualities
This should include:
- roles/positions of responsibility at school/college/university
- any jobs/volunteer work
- anything that you donated time to
- the skills that you gained and how this is applicable to veterinary medicine
for example, leadership, organisational skills, commitment, teamwork, communication.
"Playing violin at Grade 8 standard shows my dexterity needed to be a veterinary surgeon. Concerts and performance exams both solo and in orchestras, have improved my confidence and have forced me to learn how to deal with pressure of responsibility." - Successful Applicant
"I also held the position of elected House Captain, a role that requires organisation and responsibility as I coordinate House events and competitions." - Successful Applicant
Why Do You Want To Study Veterinary Medicine?
This is a good starting point for your statement, and is also a question that gets frequently asked at interview. Be honest and try to make it grab the reader!
- what sparked your interest?
- did you have a personal experience or read something in a journal that made you research veterinary medicine?
- did you come across something during work experience that you felt you wanted to be part of in the future?
Essentially, a personal statement is a piece of literature that is designed to portray yourself as an ideal candidate for your chosen course. It gives you the perfect opportunity to show why YOU would be a good student, and what makes YOU stand out over other applicants. This is one of the first materials that any univeristy will see from you.
According to UCAS - “Course tutors read personal statements to compare different applicants – so this is where you should describe the ambitions, skills and experience that will make you suitable for the course.”
Transferable Skills and Extracurricular Activities
Top Tip: Remember, only one personal statement can be submitted per UCAS cycle. In other words, this personal statement for veterinary will be applicable to any insurance choices. However, although universities are not obliged to accept another personal statement for an insurance choice, it may still be worth asking.
Top Tip: So long as you have stuck to these criteria, don't be too concerned about the layout just yet. It is best to type your personal statement as a word document, and then copy & paste it into the personal statement box when you are ready to submit it. Sometimes the layout can slightly change when you do this, so be sure to double check before you submit!
Extra-curricular activities play a huge part in showing vet schools why you should get an interview – you need to be interesting! Vet schools want a well-rounded, down to earth person on their course and you need to show them that you have these qualities.
Think about how you would like your ideal vet to be; personable, friendly, empathetic, efficient, professional, hard-working, a team player, but also someone who can voice their opinion? The list goes on!
Now work out how these skills play a part in your everyday life and hobbies, including any jobs you have done or clubs that you are part of.
You can show that you are an empathetic candidate by talking about for example: your volunteering in an old people’s home, how you consoled an owner after losing their pet or how you talked to and understood a farmer about his farm as a business.
People skills are very important and these might be demonstrated via your job as a sales assistant, teaching music lessons or how you enjoyed getting to know and talk to clients on work experience etc.
You could show that you are a strong leader, a team player and can show commitment to something you are passionate about by talking about being part of or captain of a sports team.
Your involvement in a student council committee could show your effective communication skills in a meeting situation and also publicly speaking.
These are just a few examples but the possibilities are endless, and once you start dissecting out the qualities you have gained from doing extra-curricular activities, applying them to why you would make a really good vet is easy! You’ll have a great personal statement in no time!
Reflecting on Work Experience
Work experience forms a huge part of your application, and you should use it to make your personal statement stand out.
- don't waste characters writing the name of the place you gained experience at. For example, instead of writing "West Mooreland Small Animal Veterinary Hospital", write "a local veterinary hospital".
- if you organised your own placements mention so. This shows initiative, organisation and determination!
- Do not lie about work experience! You will be asked about it at interview.
- Do not list the clinical skills that you learnt, you are not expected to have done this before university, and you may get quizzed on it at interview.
- reflect on what you observed, such as how vets handled difficult situations.
"I especially benefitted from my visit to an abattoir where I learnt a great deal on anatomy and various diseases such as liver fluke, whilst also being able to see the other side of food production not seen when I was at my farming placements." - Successful Applicant
"My weekly attendance at the vets has also enabled me to follow on cases I have found particularly interesting and gave me an insight into the balance between ethics and science that a vet faces every day." - Successful Applicant
There are some important criterion to be aware of. As with most things in the application process, there are certain criteria that your personal statement needs to meet:
What To Include
The personal statement feels like the hardest part of the UCAS application for a lot of people, and understandably so! It is so unnatural to show yourself off so much but it is necessary to make yourself stand out. Your personal statement is a chance to show why you should be given a place to study veterinary medicine.
Things to write about:
1) Why you want to study veterinary medicine
2) Your work experience and what you learnt from it
3) Any voluntary work/jobs and what qualities these demonstrate
4) Extra curricular activities/positions of responsibility
Educating the Veterinary Students of Tomorrow