Be confident - this stems into believing in yourself, if you have put the work in you will get into veterinary school one way or another! You might be surprised by how many students got in through untraditional routes. Some people got an offer and the grades 1st time, others have been applying for years, others again will be coming back into education after decades of being in it last. It doesn’t matter how you get here, what matters is that you did. Don’t be ashamed that you didn’t get an offer first time, or you had to resit an exam - be proud that you made that application, that you got that interview, and that you earned your place!
Remember to be honest on personal statements - it’s more stressful to try and talk about things you’re not 100% on in an interview and it will be noticeable! So include things you really are interested in and passionate about, rather than something you’ve just put down to sound impressive!
Don’t say what you think they want you to say: be yourself. If they ask for your opinion on something in an ethical scenario, for example, be honest. It is a lot easier to defend your true opinion on something than one you don’t believe in, and they are interested more in how you answer the question, rather than what that actual answer is.
Never be afraid to say “I don’t know”; you’re not expected to know everything at interview. It’s not a test of knowledge, but rather a way to find out how you think. After saying "I don't know" state how you would find out the answer e.g. a textbook.
Know your personal statement inside out and practice mock interviews with whoever you can such as parents, teachers and if you can...vets! A bit of extra research on cases you have seen may be useful.
Try and pick key moments and cases from each of your work experience placement and try ask questions to deepen your understanding (which isn't always the easiest when its all so new) or do some research afterwards to give you topics for your personal statement and for talking about at interview. Take note of these in a notebook and use this to look back on when it comes to doing your application.
If you mess up one station on an MMI, forget about it and move on confidently. Only worth a small percentage, and chances are it went better than you thought anyway.
Always say something even if you’re stuck on a question. Showing some logical thinking is 100x better than “er, I don’t know”. And don’t be afraid of them, they want you to do well!
Expect the unexpected. Whilst it’s hugely important to be up to date on current veterinary affairs such as brachycephalic (short nosed) dog breeds, the impact of brexit, bovine TB etc (because you will be asked!!) - they aren’t the be-all-and-end-all. Interviewers want to know how you think as well as what you think.
For university life:
Use 1st year as your experiment year. Try new societies you wouldn’t normally think of joining, go along to socials when you can, and don’t be afraid of making mistakes both socially and academically. Find the right work-life balance for you, and get to know your cohort and your new home; now’s the time to experiment. And yes, you probably will join a bunch of societies you will not attend a single outing with. Sometimes the Freshers Fair freebies are just too tempting!
If you can’t go/don’t like drinking, that’s fine; there are plenty of other people at uni who are also in the same boat- Youwillnever be the odd one out.
Find the study/social balance, by joining a society, whether sports or other, to meet a wide variety of people and to take a break from all the studying! Plus, it gives you a nice break from studying and helps you to de-stress.
The workload feels immense to start off with! BUT you are not expected to know it all- that’s impossible! There is plenty of time for the fun stuff too.