Interviews- the Good, the Bad, and (hopefully not!) the Ugly

It was around this time 3 years ago when I first started interviewing for vet schools. No matter what your interest is, interviews are a part of applying to schools and jobs. So it is better to be prepared for them, so you do the best you can.

I was lucky enough to get 4 interviews from the Royal Veterinary College (London), UC Davis (California), Washington State University (Washington), and Atlantic Veterinary College (PEI, Canada).

Interviews are tough, but very manageable. Let’s just say that I learned a few tips along the way:

1) Wear a suit! (although not vital- I got in without one!)

2) Know everything on your cover letter, resume/CV, and within your application form (they quiz you on everything!!!)

3) Look up current affairs!! (esp those relevant to that area/country)

4) Know one of your flaws and how you have learned to deal with it

5) Have questions to ask about the institution/job (this shows your interest and that you know about the institute)

6) It is better to say ‘I don’t know’ then to lie (honesty is key!!)

7) Eye contact and a positive attitude get you a long way!!

8) Be yourself!!!! (this is a key website for medical/vet school applicants!)

My first interview was with the RVC, and although I was dressed smart, I wasn’t in a suit, and everyone else WAS!!!! I felt like an amateur! Needless to say I zipped off the the mall after that interview. This interview was with two professors (who I had looked up before to see their specialties) who asked me to go through my experiences. I got asked in the middle to break down adipose tissue to it’s cellular components, all the way down to the inner membrane of a mitochondria!! Thank goodness I did some basic science review before!!! It was only a 30 min interview so we finished my experience and went on to what I wanted from the degree, did I know the effort needed to become an exotic vet, I snuck in what I had found out about the badger cull!! hoping to impress, and then I could ask them questions. PREPARE QUESTIONS!!!! it looks bad if you have none, and uninterested as well. It is all bout the impression you make in the time you have.

My second interview was in Washington with a similar process of 2 interviewers and question format. My third was at PEI, where it was so cold and icy that I forgot to switch my UGGs for my heels! Luckily my suit trousers covered them, so no one knew. Here three people asked questions, and the ones I remember most are how I overcame an obstacle, and how I ensure that I keep my promises.  Examples are key!!! They want to know if you are dependable and if you can work through difficult situations.

Davis was my last and hardest interview. There were three interviewers, and there was definitely a good cop bad cop set up going on. One asked how I felt my GRE scores reflected me, if I thought they were good or not. Another was to explain something I had said in my cover letter, about the adaptations in marine mammals, (“tell me about some”). Another spoke of how glowing my recommendation letters were only to ask what my faults are!! One thing I did learn from this interview was to know any and everything in your application!! With high adrenaline levels due to nerves your brain doesn’t always work as smoothly as normal. So if you practice and know what you want to say, it comes out a lot easier. I also learned it is okay to say “I don’t know”. They much prefer the truth than for you to make something up. This will happen in the vet world (you can’t know everything!) and it is better to admit you don’t know and then go learn, then to believe you know and put an animal’s life in danger because of it.

Of these interviews I got into 2 schools and weight-listed to the other 2. Not a bad show if I can say so myself!!

Through all of the interviews I have ever been through I would say the most important thing is to be yourself! Smile, be positive! Show them that you are someone they want on your team! And in the end believe in yourself!

I chose to come to London, away from friends and family, and I don’t regret it! I have had an amazing adventure and a top notch education so far.

If veterinary isn’t you thing but you are interested in studying in London, there is an amazing company (that I am an ambassador for!) that has 16 different universities in their partnership! London University International Partners. Everything you need to know is right there!!

Till next time…


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