Making the most of preparatory year before BVetMed

Growing up in Tottenham, north London, the opportunities to interact from a young age with animals were limited. Despite this, as the cliché goes, I have always had a love and passion for animals from a very tender age. As I grew older, my aspiration to work with animals became synonymous with the desire to educate owners on how best to look after and care for their companion. To this end, I strive to specialise in clinical animal behaviour because to provide insight and advice to owners, an animal’s behaviour first needs to be understood and comprehended.

'Applying for the RVC Veterinary Gateway programme was a very smooth process'

Studying on the RVC Veterinary Gateway programme was a choice I made to further my professional and educational development. Using this preparatory year to focus on developing my analytical, problem solving and practical skills enabled me to enter the first year of the veterinary medicine degree with confidence and knowledge.

Applying for the RVC Veterinary Gateway programme was a very smooth process, particularly because I gained an understanding of what was required at the Sutton Trust summer school. This, alongside the clear information found on the RVC website, enabled me to be thorough and maximise the quality of my application.

The RVC Veterinary Gateway programme is designed to widen participation by encouraging prospective students from disadvantaged backgrounds to apply for veterinary medicine. The programme integrates an additional preparatory year designed to enhance the knowledge and skills required to study veterinary medicine. Upon successful completion of the gateway programme, students automatically progress onto the Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine programme.

Advice for parents, teachers and careers advisers

Supporting students throughout the process is key — especially when they’re looking for work experience placements, which young people can find daunting. Remember that if students are struggling to get work experience some vet schools accept virtual work experience for part of their requirements and you can contact schools’ admissions departments directly for further advice. Encouraging students to do their research into the admissions process is also paramount so they know exactly what’s required of them at each stage.

Advice for students

Developing and maintaining a professional network is something unique to an individual and its true value is often overlooked. I strongly advise any prospective students to be proactive when forming these networks and relationships as this greatly contributed to my successful application for the RVC Veterinary Gateway, and the success I have achieved throughout my life.

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. 

Another perspective on gaining a place at vet school through the RVC Gateway programme can be read about here. Other testimonies from current students on how they made it to vet school are available in the 'I am at School' section. 

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