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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:11 am 
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What GCSEs? What Grades? What a levels? What work experience? What everything?

DD is doing very well in most academic subjects but is hating MFLs and is in second sets-can she get in to vet school if she gets a B in French GCSE for example, or should I start tutoring? She's capable of better work but typically blames the teachers plus clearly wants to stay in set with her BFF and avoid a bully who is in top set. Grrrr.

How important is it anyway from the point of view of vet school?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:19 am 
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All A and A*s in GCSE and A* at A level, it is the second most sought after subject at University so absolutely no B's. She needs to get into the top sets now and asked to be seated away from the bully. And yes work experience from Y9 and no soft subjects at GCSE or A level. DG


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:02 am 
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(DG posted while I was composing this - don't think it disagrees, I am naturally less direct!)

Am passing on info gained from friends rather than direct experience -
vet school seems to be more competitive than even medicine
I can't provide evidence that getting a B grade will exclude her from selection but I know of children with A* at GCSE and A/A* at A2 that took two attempts to get a place and several who only got one offer from all their applications (they also had masses of relevant work experience)

There must be a danger that faced with many really strong applications the admissions officers will be looking for ways to cull and it could get down to B grades at GCSE. I know that at 'our' highly selective GS the Oxbridge, Med/Vet applicants would not be expected to get B grades at GCSE.

I do know that for medicine there are Universities that reject those who don't have a certain number of A/A* grades so in that sense the B grades don't necessarily exclude but you need sufficient to compensate.


At the risk of causing offence my honest opinion is that it is a hard slog to get the grades and experience required for entry and your daughter will need to put in a lot of effort. Year 8 is still very young to take on the weight of this but it might be a good thing for her to realise that if she wants to get to vet school ( and indeed get through the training) that she will need to work really hard and probably have to overcome various difficulties.
Your comment that she could do better therefore seems perhaps to be the man issue.
Maybe a chat so that she starts to realise how much commitment is needed and sorting out the MFL that she has to take at GCSE could be a start?

Concern about moving to a class where she fears being bullied must be awful but if the child in question is allowed to bully others within lessons then contact with the school is certainly called for!

There is quite a lot of online material that you could encourage her to use over the summer. I haven't used my French since O level so didn't feel up to it myself but if you are reasonably competent then the standard isn't that high!

I have used a tutor for all my DCs, who although bright have struggled with MFL and had to work hard to avoid the B grade. The main element this provided was confidence and was well worth the investment not only for the exam result but in overcoming the belief that they 'couldn't do French'.


It depends on whether your DD is at a selective school but I can quote several children who have achieved A/A* grades from lower sets at 'our' GS so she might be able to achieve without moving sets?



There is plenty of info on the internet about vet school applications -

these might be a good start if you haven't already seen them -

https://www.rcvs.org.uk/education/i-want-to-be-a-vet/

http://www.rvc.ac.uk/Undergraduate/Index.cfm



you may already be aware but the course in the UK (unless I am out of date!) are only
Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Bristol, Cambridge, Nottingham and London.
so its relatively easy to check each web site for entry requirements (grades and experience).
Worth noting though that the 'minimum requirements' will be essential but probably not sufficient!

Last! thought - does the school have a 6th form 'vet society'? Maybe they could find a sixth former who has got an offer this year/is about to apply who would talk to your DD. Sometimes teenagers take more notice of each other (or maybe that's just mine :)


Its great that your DD already has a goal to work towards - mine were much older before they settled on anything (very last minute in one case and one still not sure!) Hope she gets on well.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:56 am 
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She is still very young to have decided on this path - many girls want to be vets at this age and as time goes by and results start coming in, she may change her mind. Or not, in which case she still has plenty of time to research the options and focus on her goals. When she's a bit older she will probably start looking at things like The Student Room, which will help her to decide if this is the path for her and what she needs to do to further her chances of being successful.

Meanwhile, I would try to separate the issue of bullying in the French top set from the veterinary ambitions. Bullying is serious and should always be assertively taken up with the school.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:09 pm 
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She will need to be very single minded to get a place at Vet school and letting bullies keep her out of the top set is not a good sign. I have taught my dd's to dob bullies in and they do. But if they did not then I would. The school needs to know about anything that is getting in the way of learning. At new parents evening we were asked to support the school and this is exactly the type of thing they need support in. If they don't know about it they should be told. DG


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:19 pm 
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Generally I would agree that its early days but I believe for Vet school they need a lot of relevant work experience and it can be difficult to get those opportunities and fit them around school work so in the course of the next year she probably should be looking at volunteering opportunities and in any case will need to think about GCSE options. Getting some experience can also add a touch or reality to the glamour of being a vet/working with animals :)

Absolutely agree that bullying should not be tolerated and if this is impacting DD in anyway it needs to be addressed quite apart from whether she needs to avoid a particular grade in any subject. My point about considering staying in the second set if it is a selective school (or a school where there is a depth of ability) was only that if DD lacks confidence in MFL then progressing at a slightly slower speed without 'show offs' in the class can result in better outcomes.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:55 pm 
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KB wrote:
Generally I would agree that its early days but I believe for Vet school they need a lot of relevant work experience and it can be difficult to get those opportunities and fit them around school work so in the course of the next year she probably should be looking at volunteering opportunities and in any case will need to think about GCSE options. Getting some experience can also add a touch or reality to the glamour of being a vet/working with animals :)


From experience I would agree with this 1000 per cent. Work experience is the one thing that is absolutely essential for vet schools. High academic achievement is of course necessary, but it's worth remembering that veterinary science is also a very practical course and even the most highly qualified academics can come unstuck if they don't have the right practical aptitude and experience, or the blend of empathy and detachment needed to make difficult decisions and work under trying circumstances. It really is important to know what you're letting yourself in for. Speaking personally, however, I do think that some vet schools require far more work experience than can reasonably be expected, in view of how difficult it can be for those without the right contacts to secure appropriate placements.

I wouldn't worry too much about the potential "B" - our DD managed to secure a place on the strength of 5xA*, 4xA and 2 of the dreaded Bs 8) (her choice of time-consuming, coursework-intensive options of Art and Textiles, whilst helping to develop much-needed fine motor skills, was probably not a smart move for someone who prefers the last-minute approach!). This was followed by 4xA at A-level in three sciences and Maths, though of course these results were not available when she made her first application and she was not even offered an interview first time around despite having top grades predicted. She was advised afterwards by one of the admissions officers that it was lack of work experience that moved her down the pile when it came to interviews, so how much the lack of a string of straight A-grades at GCSE played in this, we can't be sure. She had about 8-9 weeks on the first application, which sounds a lot but, compared to applicants whose choices included Liverpool, which states a minimum of 10 weeks in specific areas, it really wasn't enough. (DD didn't apply there but she was up against those who were also applying there and therefore had much more experience). DD ended up taking an enforced gap year, which she used to good effect by spending some time in penguin conservation in South Africa, filling in gaps in experience e.g. by taking some riding lessons, and securing a job locally which enabled her to save enough to afford some luxuries such as vet student conferences and food (!) in her first year.

Even applying with grades in hand, DD only secured one offer - but it turned out to be right for her and she has just passed her first year exams in Bristol. No chance to put her feet up, though - she's just started the first of several compulsory work placements to be completed over the summer...something your DD would do well to bear in mind. It's virtually impossible for vet students to hold down any kind of holiday job because there is a requirement to spend the equivalent of a further academic year on work placements during the vacations. It's a long old slog, and only for the truly dedicated.

A very good place to go for information, as someone else has mentioned, is The Student Room website. It helped us enormously. Just do a search for "veterinary" and the various threads and sections will come up. It's also worth mentioning that a new vet school is opening at the University of Surrey in a couple of years' time.

So - map - as many A/A* as possible at GCSE, virtually essential in sciences/maths, preferable in other subjects but the odd B shouldn't throw things. A levels in Bio/Chem plus one other, Maths extremely useful in first year but not essential, best to contact individual departments for advice on 3rd A-level. No advantage in a 4th A-level (so they say) and certainly not if it puts the other grades in jeopardy, but DD found it useful. And, most importantly of all, as much and as varied work experience as possible, starting now. And please get the school on-side to sort out that bully! :evil:

Best of luck! :)

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Marylou


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:07 pm 
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Wow what a great response thanks so much. I've already spoken to the school re bullying but I only just realised the nuances of why my competitive DD is content to be put in the lower set in this Subject. She had been dealing well with this problem otherwise, I think she was enjoying the breathing space of one class without the little darling.

I think vet science is a good goal for my DD because she is very able in the right subjects and a good people and animal person, very hard working, and very fit and good with her hands. She's been very pragmatic about exams, ok she is 12, but in for example music exams she has gone cooly through without any fear to do her best, and surprised everyone. Also DH and I are scientists, family engineers deans etc so we have her back if this doesn't work out! She has other possibilities but this seems like a good top goal. She understands it's a gamble.

Anyway this might be a carrot to get her to work more on a subject of little interest to her, that she has to do anyway. The school is not selective, I doubt it has produced any vets in the last couple of years. I think we parents will have to provide a lot of support. Do you think it's worth approaching the science dept? I'm already planning to ask them to enter science competitions next year for her year.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:43 pm 
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silverysea wrote:
The school is not selective, I doubt it has produced any vets in the last couple of years. I think we parents will have to provide a lot of support. Do you think it's worth approaching the science dept? I'm already planning to ask them to enter science competitions next year for her year.


Yes. And don't be fobbed off. Many schools don't really know much about the process for applying to vet school - all they know is that it's fiercely competitive, but can't offer any advice as to how to stay ahead of that competition. Even at our selective GS, DD's tutor advised her to have a "plan B" if she didn't get offered a place on a course - but in her case that wasn't taking a different course as he'd envisaged, but having a year out and trying again next year. Remember that a degree in bioveterinary sciences, zoology etc. that are often put down as the "fallback" course do not qualify you as a vet, and there is virtually no chance of transferring from these onto a veterinary science/medicine course, whatever you may hear. And don't even think about applying as a postgraduate unless you really have ££££££ to spare...with a couple of exceptions (RVC), postgraduate veterinary course fees are not capped in the way that first degree fees are, but charged at full whack - i.e. up to £26,000 (Edinburgh) per year, and - what's more - there is no funding in the form of loans. So on top of the outstanding loan for the "fallback" course, your DD would somehow have to fund her way through postgraduate vet studies. Much better to take a year out and try again next year, or the year after - some determined souls have even succeeded on a third attempt!

It's a hill to climb, and your support will be needed. Here are some good starting points for information on how to help your DD - get her to read them too! http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/wiki/Ve ... y_Medicine,
http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=441897, http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthr ... ?t=2317443 and http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/forumdisplay.php?f=196

It's also a good idea for your DD to keep up to date with developments in the world of veterinary medicine and related areas such as animal welfare and farming, for example from RCVS, RSPCA and DEFRA websites.

Edited to add...if your school has a work experience programme in year 10, a short time spent in a local vet surgery would provide a good insight and count towards the requirement needed for application. But you would need to arrange it about a year in advance, as places in vet surgeries fill up quickly in work exp. week.

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Marylou


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:27 pm 
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Although I agree with Amber that there are probably many people who want to be vets who change their mind when they see what else is out there, my Y8 has wanted to be a vet since age 3. I'm fairly confident that she won't change her mind as we gave her on a couple of zoo experience days as birthday presents, to test the water. The last one was a ranger day last month at Port Lympne zoo in Kent where she mucked out elephants, saw the vet centre, prepared food and fed the monkeys to mention a few. She came away with more determination to do this role so its certainly worth looking around and getting one or two things under her belt now to see if its really what she wants to do. Obviously some days are more expensive than others so shop around and look at any centres where they have animals as many have shorter durations.

This is even more important, as health and safety and child employment regulations (the latter also covers voluntary work), prevents many opportunities before 16. This we found for vet practices, and our local rescue centre now say age 18 for volunteering. This not only makes it very difficult for prospective students to get their much needed experience before applying but also it is leaving it very late to bottom out if they do actually want to do it.

Therefore, I would say, start putting the feelers out now for the experience opportunities and be inventive on where they can get some in hand.

To elaborate on a previous post, Liverpool ask for at least 4 weeks' experience in a vet practice (2 of which must be equine or farm vet) and at least 6 weeks' at other places like, zoos, stables, kennels, rescue centre, wildlife centres, catteries, etc. However, I reiterate that more is best.

UCAS 'vet science' search will tell you the 7 UK uni's and what their requirements are, including GCSE's.

Good luck, fellow potential vet student parent!!


Last edited by franticmum on Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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