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Veterinary School Interview Tips

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You have selected a career with excellent job prospects for the future. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of veterinarians will increase by 33 percent during the decade ending in 2018. However, admission to veterinary schools is competitive. In 2007, only one in three applicants was accepted to a veterinary program. If you have an interview with a veterinary school, you have passed the first screening test.

Do Your Homework

Read about the school and the surrounding community. Be prepared to tell the interviewers why you are interested in their veterinary program, school and community. If you live in another state or part of the country, think about your reasons for relocating. Do not simply state: "I will go wherever they take me." Reread your personal statement and application before the interview. Create accomplishment stories that clearly demonstrate a connection between the field of veterinary medicine and your education and previous work experience. Describe any leadership roles in volunteer and community activities, especially those that deal with animals. Write out these stories and practice delivering them in a mock interview with a friend or mentor.

Prepare Questions and Answers

Prepare and practice responses to typical interview questions. Why do you want to be a veterinarian? Why did you choose veterinary medicine over human medicine? What makes you a good candidate for our program? What will you do if you are not accepted to a veterinary program? Throughout the interview, the interview panel will also pose a number of hypothetical questions. The interviewers are watching and judging your reactions to sensitive issues within the field of veterinary medicine. Examples include the following: How do you feel about working on live animals that will not be saved after the surgery? What will you do if one of your clients--a prominent member of the community--brings in a dog that has been abused? Will you continue to treat an animal if his owner has not paid his previous bills?

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Watch Your Manners

Arrive early and take a few minutes to compose yourself before the interview. Be polite and pleasant to all staff you encounter prior, during and after the interview. Inside the interview room, monitor your facial gestures and other mannerisms. Give each interviewer a firm, dry handshake and make eye contact. Listen attentively and pause briefly before answering each question. If a question is difficult or vague, ask for clarification. Do not be afraid to say, "I don't know," if you are unsure of the answer. Be aware of your facial expressions, posture and gestures at all times. Control any nervous mannerisms such as foot shaking and hair stroking. Prepare one or two intelligent questions to ask about the veterinary program or the school. Do not ask about the the admission process. At the end of the interview, shake hands with all the interviewers and thank them for their time.

Dress Appropriately

Find out if the school has a mandatory dress code for their students. If you are uncertain, dress professionally. In the future, you may dress casually and wear a lab coat, but do not under-dress for the interview. Wear a dark-colored suit -- black, brown or blue -- with a tailored white shirt or blouse. Avoid cologne or perfume, flashy ties and accessories, and uncomfortable shoes.

Plan Ahead

Most veterinary school interviews take place during February and March. Inform your professors, employer and family members that your usual schedule will be disrupted during those months. Obtain recent maps of each community and check out reasonably priced hotels or motels near the schools. If finances permit, rent a car and arrive at least one day before the interview. Use the time to relax and familiarize yourself with the community.

About the Author

In 2008, Joanne Guidoccio opened a wordsmith business. She has been published in the "Guelph Daily Mercury," "Waterloo Record" and "Winnipeg Free Press". A retired school teacher, Guidoccio has a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and psychology from Laurentian University, a Bachelor of education from the University of Western Ontario and a Career Development Practitioner Diploma from Conestoga College.

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