What To Expect From Veterinary School Interviews | Top Universities

What To Expect From Veterinary School Interviews

By Chloe Lane

Updated August 26, 2021 Updated August 26, 2021

Applying to veterinary school? Find out how to ace your interview. 

If you’re considering veterinary school, there are three things you’ll need: a passion for animal welfare, a strong aptitude for scientific study and great communication skills. After all, you’ll be dealing with all kinds of animals – and their owners. 

Veterinary science degrees often consist of a mix of practical and theoretical teaching and cover many of the topics found on a medical degree.  

Due to the popularity of these courses, veterinary schools across the world usually have very strict application processes. Top grades are essential, and students will also be expected to have a lot of relevant work experience with a range of animals. 

The application process for veterinary schools varies across countries.  

In some cases, students will be asked to complete pre-entry tests, such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) in the US. Other courses will just expect excellent grades, letters of recommendation and a proven passion for animal wellbeing. Most veterinary schools will require applicants to interview.  

What do veterinary school interviews involve? 

interview

When you get to the interview stage of the application, veterinary schools already know that you are a good candidate and are seriously considering you. These interviews are to find out more about you: about your work experience, why you want to attend that school in particular and whether you’d be a good fit for the school.   

Interviews at veterinary schools will vary across countries and between schools. Some veterinary schools will interview students using the MMI (Multiple Mini-Interview) format, others will use a more traditional interview process. 

The MMI format consists of several different stations of short interviews and scenarios. MMI interviews usually last around 10 minutes each and are similar to the types of interviews experienced at medical schools, where you’ll be presented with a scenario and then asked questions about it.  

These types of interviews help interviewers assess many soft skills to get a more rounded picture of you as a candidate. They usually last around two hours in total.  

Alternatively, you may be given a traditional interview. These types of interviews are question-based, not task-based like MMI interviews. Traditional interviews are usually quicker than MMI interviews, lasting around 20 to 40 minutes in total.  

How can you prepare for your veterinary school interview? 

work experience

Preparing for your veterinary school interview is essential. You’ll need to show that you have a proven interest in veterinary science, that you’ve done your research and that you’re a good fit for the school.  

Here are several things you can do to prepare:  

Gain relevant work experience 

To show that you know what a career in veterinary science involves, many veterinary schools advise applicants to complete a variety of work experience placements. Some schools even include the need for recent, relevant experience in their application criteria.  

This work experience can either be clinical experience, such as shadowing a veterinary surgeon or nurse; or non-clinical experience, such as other experience working with animals in a non-veterinary setting.   

Non-clinical work experience may include working with farm workers; animal welfare officers; wildlife assistants or zookeepers. Be creative – as long as you’re working with animals, it will benefit your application.  

Take an active interest during this work experience. Ask questions, do your own research and pick up transferrable skills – such as communication and interpersonal skills. You never know how these experiences may help you in the interview. 

Gaining work experience has been made more difficult by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many in-person placements not going ahead. Veterinary schools are taking this into account, with many of them reviewing their requirements for work experience. Contact your veterinary school’s admissions office for more information. 

Prepare answers to interview questions 

Another way to prepare for the interview is to anticipate and prepare for common questions. 

Ensure that you use examples from your work experience placements in your answers, to show you can apply practical experiences to theoretical situations. This is particularly important in scenario cases where the interviewer is testing your practical knowledge. 

Here are some of the common questions you may be asked:  

  • Why do you want to work as a vet? 

  • What areas of veterinary science/medicine are you most interested in and why? 

  • What experience have you had of veterinary work? 

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses? How would those affect you as you practice veterinary medicine? 

  • What challenges do you think vets face? 

  • What would be your ideal job after graduation? 

  • How do you feel about free clinics? 

  • How do you feel about using animals for research and surgery teaching purposes? 

  • What would you do if a client repeatedly ignored your advice? 

  • Tell us about a teamwork experience you were involved in that you are proud of. What was your role?  

Although practising questions may make you feel better prepared for the interview, don’t try to memorise perfect answers. You want to avoid sounding too rehearsed. Instead, think about how you can apply your experiences to the question. This will make you sound a lot more genuine, and you’ll feel more confident. 

Read around the subject 

In the interview you may be asked your opinion on what’s going on in the veterinary and scientific community. Make sure you stay up to date by reading the news as well as books and articles related to the branch of veterinary science that interests you.  

This shows that you are interested and engaged in the field outside of formal education.  

Have you passed a veterinary school interview? Let us know your top tips by Tweeting us @TopUnis 

This article was originally published in August 2021 .

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Written by

As Content Editor for TopUniversities.com and TopMBA.com, Chloe creates and publishes a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. Chloe has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Reading and grew up in Leicestershire, UK. 

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