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Anyone's child gone to Vet School?

(15 Posts)
decena Tue 02-Jun-15 15:06:54

Hi, my daughter is hoping to do vet science at univ. She is a couple years away but she obviously needs to do the right exams etc.

Has anyone's child been through vet school, if so, how did they find it? It's a very long course, is there many that drop out? Any tips? How hard, academically is it as they obviously need very good grades to get in.

We are a farming and horsey family with umpteen small furry pets so she is well used to hard graft and isn't some starry eyed " I want to make the cute little puppy better" type child. She's been hands on (in!) lambing, mucking out horses, shows her rabbits and cavies etc and being a vet has only ever been her career choice. Our own vet will take her on at age 16 for work experience and the rest of her non academic cv shouldn't be a problem ie calving, abattoir, kennels etc.

Thanks in advance.

titchy Tue 02-Jun-15 22:12:56

It's long and hard! Try unistats for drop out rates. Student room is useful too.

ragged Wed 03-Jun-15 20:59:46

Said to be the hardest course to get onto.
Maybe best to encourage a Plan B.
She mustn't feel bad if she doesn't get accepted.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 05-Jun-15 15:15:30

I regularly mentor students applying to vet school and haven't recently had an applicant fail.
You need to be single minded, no plan B. If you don't succeed you will be the candidate other courses will be falling over to have.
Work experience, work experience, work experience. Grades and extended projects.
Extra-curricular activities that should good communication skills and ability to work in team.
Evidence of knowledge of current issues

Current real risk of rabies after case in France
Pet insurance companies trying to dictate how and when pets are treated.

Millymollymama Thu 11-Jun-15 22:12:26

Given that the vast majority (everyone?) doing Vet Science will have A/A* at A level, and some will have 4 A levels, I think the courses are academically hard! They are also demanding in terms of time and dedication. As so many do get rejected, thinking of what to do in a gap year and whether to apply all over again is a decision which might need to be faced, but definitely be single minded for the first attempt! As there are so few vet schools, competition is very stiff. However a farming/ horse background is a good start and definitely puts her above other candidates who have to seek out farms to work on as our neighbour's DD had to do.

I am not sure why you are worried about drop out rates. As there are so few courses, (6 I think) my guess is that drop out rates are low. If she is unsure about the length of course, Bristol do a Veterinary Nurse course and it is possible to transfer from that to the Vet Med course.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 12-Jun-15 12:52:11

I was researching for a careers presentation I will be giving and came across this article this article. Whilst it was written a year ago it is very accurate of what is going on in the industry. I made me think if my daughter said she wanted to be a vet what would I say, in truth I would encourage her to consider other careers.
I love my job, but it regularly saps everything from me.

sunbathe Fri 12-Jun-15 13:42:23

Work experience!

IIRC, Liverpool requires the most and RVC's has to be a certain amount within a certain time of applying for the course. Do check.

The Student Room vet threads are worth looking at, as a pp said.

SunshineAndShadows Fri 12-Jun-15 13:51:17

Vet here too. Agree with Lonecat it's not the career many students think it will be. Many of my classmates no longer work in practice, several have retrained as doctors or bankers (higher pay, better working hours)

Expect high stress, long hours and little support, plus poor job prospects.

noddingoff Sun 19-Jul-15 15:05:37

Dropout rates are low and if you're smart enough to get into vet college, you're smart enough to do vet college. That isn't the problem. Read the article lonecat linked to, and the comments underneath. I was lucky to graduate 12 years ago with student loan debts of only £7000. New graduate salaries now are about the same as they were then, as there are far far more new grads being churned out. All the existing vet colleges upped their intake, other unis started opening vet faculties, and Budapest and various other European universities started offering courses in English to take advantage of the fees these students were willing to pay. The RCVS has no power to cap the number of student places - universities are free to churn out as many vets as they want. A vet faculty is a great money spinner for a university. The trouble is, then you rely on supply and demand and this isn't going to work very well. Firstly, there's a lag phase of 7 years from now till your daughter graduates. She has to be able to predict what the market will do in that period (hint - lots more new grads chasing a fairly fixed number of jobs = unemployment or a shit salary). Also, like everyone else at the age of 17, I was starry eyed. Any 5 figure salary sounded like a fortune to me. I'd never had to pay a mortgage.
Like a lot of other jobs, the recession hit vet practice a bit as spending on pets relies on disposable income, and the margins in farming got even tighter. So when anyone leaves a practice, they are less likely to be replaced as salaries are the major cost for a vet practice. The remaining people just have to work faster and harder and longer for the same money. It's student season in vet practices now with students seeing practice (EMS) over the summer. I like teaching them but I don't have as much time as I'd like to do this. For example, I can do a bitch spay in less than a third of the time it takes for a student to do one with me supervising. I generally let them do a bit, then take over - I have to get the whole ops list done by the end of the day. I need to get some lunch too, as the students go home at 5pm and I keep working. Also, I haven't had a pay rise in years. A few years ago the bosses got us assistants together and explained that there was no money for pay rises, but that they could give us a small bonus each month based on our production. So any time spent teaching students is unproductive time for me and means that I take home less money. This matters to me as I have a mortgage to pay and I'm scared what's going to happen when interest rates rise. The universities do not pay us anything for teaching their students. They do, however, charge us handsomely for any postgraduate CPD they provide to us (It's a legal requirement for vets to do a certain numbers of hours CPD per year and a big CPD provision industry has sprung up around this).
Career progression is also going to run into difficulties I think. Traditionally, you worked and saved up to buy into a partnership, probably sometime in your 30s. Not many people can afford to do that now. So a lot of people- tired of the fairly flat salaries paid to assistants and wanting more control over their lives - start up their own little vet practice. So there are more around now, chasing the same number of clients. Which drives fees down. Which drives salaries down.
I'm in my late 30s now and better hurry up and have children if I want them. Legally your employer has to consider requests for flexible working hours. There is no law that says they have to give them to you though. So I suspect I'll probably have to suck it up, plonk the kids in childcare (We live quite far from mine and DH's parents) and continue working 40 hours/week because there are plenty of childless people who would grab my job with both hands if they could.
If I could turn back time, would I be a vet? Yes
But not if I was 17 now, in 2015. I'd probably do engineering.

noddingoff Sun 19-Jul-15 15:12:40

Wow, that turned into a massive whinge!! On a more constructive note - do encourage your daughter to build a strong relationship with your local practice. I spent too much time as a student bouncing around seeing practice in a lot of different places, which was interesting, but I never got to do much practical stuff. In hindsight, it was probably because it takes time for a student to learn how an individual practice works and be useful. I'd much rather have the same student for 2 or 3 weeks in the summer and again the next holidays than have a never ending procession of 1 weekers - while it's quite nice seeing their little faces when they successfully place their first IV line or do their first skin sutures, it takes bloody ages. I like having them long enough to see them build on it and get better and better. I really get a kick out of that.

noddingoff Sun 19-Jul-15 15:18:13

Also, get your daughter to talk to as many vets at various ages and stages as she can when they're out in the car going on calls or if they have a moment alone in a small animal practice. They are more likely to say what they really think about life when they're alone rather than with the bosses or support staff around. (This advice holds double when she graduates and is looking for a new job - get her to take her predecessor out for a drink and let them talk about the job).

BlossomTang Sun 19-Jul-15 16:20:57

I'm not a vet but Interested in the side discussion about the expansion of courses at universities as money spinners. I work in a profession which has also expanded considerably in the past 10 years as double the number of universities now offer the course. I frequently recruit and now have a mental pecking order of the graduates from 3 local universities as they are the ones who tend to apply for our posts.

UniA is within the top 10, Russell group, students can spell and have functioning grammar, punctuation and numerical skills at least AAB at A level and crucially the inform you if they are going to attend an interview or not.

UniB a former well regarded polytechnic 50% of students are like Uni A's the remaining 50% have poor literacy and numeracy skills, will not confirm an interview or even if they do they may not turn up.

Uni C -I think was a former further education college - the vast majority of students are not even at A level standard in terms of their knowledge and often don't confirm or turn up to interviews.

OP whatever your dd wants to do the choice of university I think is crucial. I would for traditional courses such as vet science opt for one which is well established and has a good record of graduate employability .

noddingoff Mon 20-Jul-15 12:37:24

Hmm I know where you're coming from BlossomTang but I'm not sure that's true for vet med. Even though the number of places has increased, there is still oversupply of people wanting in so you have to get very good grades- at least AAA. To be accredited by the RCVS, the course has to be good. There are no crap vet colleges in the UK. Nottingham is the first of the new schools and is turning out good graduates. If I was an employer looking for a new grad I wouldn't care whether they came from any of the UK or Australian/NZ schools and I would also consider a graduate from Budapest as their vet college is quite well established too and the course seems rigorous enough. Unfotunately it isn't really a case of opting of a university -one of them opts for you. If you're lucky.

DoesItReallyMatter Tue 21-Jul-15 22:41:14

What a fascinating and slightly depressing thread -
OP, would your DD consider medicine? I know medicine has its issues but it still has a lot going for it in some respects.

decena Wed 22-Jul-15 05:01:17

Thanks all. Nodding off, you must be in a very different area from me. I am in rural Scotland and local practices can't get dependable vets for love nor money as most want a 9-5 job doing cute furry pets and don't want to get up during the night to calve a cow! I've professional links with a number of practices and most struggle to keep vets long enough for them to be offered partnerships. Those that do, the partners are on 6 figure profit shares. There is also a thriving equine industry and horsey folk know no limits when treating their horses (although they make the worst ans lowest payers). My local practice recruited recently from aboard as no one was interested in coming to scotland.
Personally I think she'd be better off becoming an accountant or solicotor, but she can't imagine a life behind a desk in any context! I envisage her ending up studying the mating habits of turtles on some deserted island beach in years to come!

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