Accelerated graduate entry scheme offers another route to being a vet

Sinead Odle

I grew up in north London. I’ve wanted to be a vet for as long as I can remember! Growing up I’ve always had cats, other than that I didn’t have much experience with animals, but I really enjoyed visits to the vets and found it so fascinating that someone could know what was wrong with an animal that couldn’t talk.

As I went through school and college my focus was on achieving the grades to get into vet school, however I found college difficult for many different reasons. My teachers were not the most encouraging, and I felt I was often underestimated and held behind by them. For example, a teacher once told me I should apply for nursing instead of ‘vet med’ as I wouldn’t get in — this really stuck with me, and I doubted myself a lot during that time. I had a lot of support from my family, so I continued to work hard and applied anyway. Unfortunately, I didn’t achieve the grades needed to get into vet school, which was devastating!

So, I applied for bioveterinary sciences at the RVC through clearing. I really enjoyed my time at the RVC, and I discovered the different career paths possible within the veterinary profession. This also made me more determined to become a vet! In my final year I applied for the accelerated graduate entry programme course at the University of Bristol, which is specifically for graduates and is four years instead of the standard five-year course.

I am now three years in and will be starting my final year soon; I’m loving it and can’t wait to be a vet!

Advice for parents, teachers and careers advisers

The main thing I can say is, please never discourage students from trying to achieve their goals! Even if that means they need to work extremely hard to get there and it’s not the traditional route. I took to heart a lot of things my teachers said to me, and it added to my lack of confidence, which I am still trying to build to this day. I was so lucky and still am to have the most encouraging family and to have so much support in my personal life. Not all students have this at home, so I really feel it is important for teachers and career advisers to keep encouraging students and stop adding to the glass ceiling so many young people face!

Advice for students

Never give up and never let anyone else tell you what you can or can’t do! It is okay to take a longer route than your colleagues and to change your mind. I think there is a lot of pressure, especially when you’re going down the veterinary medicine route to constantly compare yourself to others and to perform perfectly all the time, which isn’t possible and that’s fine. Take your time, keep going for what you want, ask lots of questions and say yes to as many different opportunities as possible!

For more information on achieving the goal of vet school, and the various routes in to study veterinary medicine, read the BVA's guide to applying. It sets out the truths around the process and highlights the UK vet schools' desire to widen participation through increased accessibility onto degree courses.

Other testimonies from current students on how they made it to vet school are available in the 'I am at School' section. 

The University of Bristol's accelerated graduate entry programme can be found here

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