Are you an aspiring vet and want to maximize your chances of getting into your dream vet school? Keep reading for helpful tips on how to answer vet school interview questions.
Sweaty palms. Shaking hands. A stern panel staring you down. For many prospective veterinarians, the admissions interview invokes intense feelings of scrutinizing interrogation. However, with the right preparation, you can ace this critical step to achieving your goals.
Once you've narrowed down your top picks for college, it’s time to move on to the admissions interview process. This article provides an inside look at common questions asked and expert tips to help you put your best foot forward. By familiarizing yourself with what to expect, you can head into your vet school interview with confidence, personality, and a winning smile.
The questions asked during a vet school interview are designed to make the applicant think critically about the process of becoming a veterinarian.
Preparing for a vet school interview can be nerve-wracking when you don't know what to expect. However, several common questions tend to come up frequently. By familiarizing yourself with these common vet school interview questions ahead of time, you can walk into your interview feeling confident and ready to shine.
While answering this question, remember to be honest. You may talk about your passion for animal welfare or your interest in medicine and surgery.
Don’t oversell yourself here; admissions committees want to see genuine people. With that being said, be confident in your responses and your abilities.
“While many people have a single defining moment that led them to the path of veterinary medicine, the truth is, it's been an accumulation of moments, both big and small, that have shaped my passion for veterinary medicine.
Growing up, I was surrounded by animals. My family home always had at least a dozen pets at a time, from dogs and cats to rabbits and chickens. I learned the joy of caring for them and developed a deep appreciation for the bond between humans and animals.
In high school, I began volunteering at local animal shelters. It was there that I witnessed the vulnerability of animals in need and the incredible impact that veterinary care could have on their lives. These experiences solidified my desire to pursue a career in veterinary medicine.
One of the most transformative experiences came during my time volunteering on medical brigades across the globe. I saw firsthand the disparities in access to veterinary care and the challenges faced by animals and communities in underserved areas.
This experience ignited my passion for making veterinary medicine more accessible and equitable on a global scale. However, it was a recent personal loss that acted as the last bit of reinforcement to become a veterinarian. I had a beloved pet succumb to a currently incurable disease, Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease.
The feeling of helplessness in the face of a disease with no cure was heartbreaking. It made me realize that I want to be part of the efforts to advance veterinary research and contribute to finding cures for such devastating diseases.
So, when I'm asked why I want to be a veterinarian, it's not just one moment or one reason. It's a lifelong journey filled with countless moments of compassion, learning and a deep-seated belief that I can make a difference in the lives of animals and their human companions through the practice of veterinary medicine.”
Highlight your academic, professional, and personal skills as you answer this question. It is essential to demonstrate to the interviewers that you are both professionally component for the field and passionate about the work.
Vet school isn’t easy, and the admissions committee will want to know that you are dedicated to your education and career.
“I believe I would make a good veterinarian because I've dedicated the past few years to truly understanding what it means to excel in this profession. My journey towards becoming a veterinarian has been marked by a commitment to learning, empathy, and a passion for animals.
Throughout high school, I immersed myself in the world of animal care by volunteering at animal shelters. This experience allowed me to not only provide hands-on care to animals in need but also engage with visiting veterinarians.
I seized every opportunity to ask them questions about their principles and practices. I was eager to understand the diverse approaches and philosophies that inform their work. Additionally, I invested countless hours shadowing veterinarians, both within and outside the country.
These experiences were eye-opening and reinforced the idea that there is no one-size-fits-all blueprint for being a great vet. Each veterinarian I encountered had a unique approach shaped by their experiences and goals.
I learned that being a veterinarian encompasses more than just the role of a healer; it extends to being an advocate, a teacher, a companion, a shoulder to cry on, and a sounding board.
Passion for animal care is only the foundation of what makes a great veterinarian. In addition to my passion, I possess several traits that are essential in this field, some of which I adopted through other vets’ practices, others I deemed necessary to be the best vet I can be.
These include exceptional empathy, strong communication skills, adaptability, attention to detail, a dedication to lifelong learning, and an eagerness to always improve.
I understand the importance of collaboration within a veterinary team and am ready to embrace the multifaceted role of a veterinarian, where every day brings new challenges and opportunities to make a positive impact on the lives of both animals and their human companions.”
This is one of the standard vet school interview questions and many students find this the most difficult to answer as there is no definitively correct response.
When asked this question, talk about your hobbies, volunteer work and activities, and fun facts about yourself. Many colleges look for students who are active members of their communities.
Even if your summer activities were not directly related to veterinary care, you should still share them with the interviewers! However, keep your response tailored to your academic and professional goals, and don’t ramble.
Another important tip to keep in mind while answering this question is to stay positive! Talk about yourself with confidence. This may be one of the first questions you are asked during your interview and can set the tone for the rest of the interview.
“My passion for this field was ignited during my sophomore year of high school when I worked at a local pet store. It was a pivotal moment when I witnessed the common misconceptions among pet owners and the unfortunate treatment of animals in pet stores.
This experience motivated me to bridge the gap between pet owners and proper pet care. To pursue my passion, I chose to major in animal science at X University. Throughout my academic journey, I proactively sought opportunities to deepen my understanding of veterinary medicine.
I had the privilege of shadowing several accomplished veterinarians, including one who specialized in exotic animals. It was through this experience that I actually adopted my first pet rabbit, joining my three other pets.
In addition to my clinical exposure, I embarked on an equine research internship, which significantly expanded my skills and knowledge. This research experience not only broadened my horizons but also instilled in me a commitment to contribute to the veterinary community through research.
Beyond my academic and clinical pursuits, I have a passion for painting. This hobby has taught me valuable lessons in patience, creativity, and the importance of constant improvement.
I believe these qualities translate well into my future veterinary career. Just as I strive to refine my artistic skills with each painting, I am committed to continually enhancing my abilities as a veterinarian.
Now, as I near the completion of my undergraduate degree, I eagerly anticipate the next chapter in my journey. I'm excited about the prospect of attending veterinary school and look forward to furthering my education and practical skills in veterinary medicine.
My ultimate goal is to make substantial contributions to both the practice and research aspects of this field, with a steadfast dedication to the well-being of animals and the education of pet owners.”
Discuss any experience working with animals, including professional experience, internships, volunteering, and even pet sitting.
Try to keep your answer focused on professional work if possible, but don’t fret if you don’t have any. You can convince your interviewer that all your experience has given you skills and abilities to serve you well in the field.
“I've been fortunate to accumulate a diverse range of experiences working with animals, which I believe have shaped my passion and prepared me for a career in veterinary medicine.
One significant aspect of my journey was completing a pre-veterinary program that provided me with hands-on exposure to various species. This program allowed me to work closely with equine, exotic animals, cats, dogs, and even some marine life.
These experiences not only deepened my understanding of animal behavior and healthcare but also solidified my commitment to pursuing a career as a veterinarian.
Recognizing the importance of further honing my skills, I took a gap year dedicated to immersive learning in the field of veterinary medicine. During this year, I eagerly volunteered at a veterinary clinic where I had the privilege of working alongside four seasoned professionals.
It was a transformative experience that exposed me to the daily challenges and responsibilities of a veterinarian. Through these experiences, I witnessed the complexities of animal care, from routine check-ups to critical surgeries.
I've also gained insights into the vital role of communication in explaining diagnoses to pet owners and providing them with guidance and support.”
Being a veterinarian can be emotionally draining work. The interviewers will want to know that you are aware of the potential difficulties in this field of work and that you are capable of addressing these challenges.
Consider any previous experience you have with overcoming challenges and share this with the interviewers. You can use nonprofessional examples if necessary.
“Throughout my life, I've encountered obstacles that have taught me the importance of resilience and determination. One significant challenge I faced was dealing with a debilitating illness that persisted throughout high school and extended into some of my college years.
This experience taught me the value of pushing through pain and discomfort to achieve my goals. In the veterinary field, I anticipate facing various obstacles, just as veterinarians often encounter complex cases and situations that demand their unwavering commitment.
I recognize that some of these challenges may involve the physical and emotional toll of working with animals in distress. For instance, I understand that veterinarians may have to perform surgeries or procedures that require immense focus and composure, even when faced with difficult circumstances.
I know this profession also comes with emotional challenges, like dealing with sick and dying pets and scared owners. Drawing from my personal experience of persevering through adversity, I am prepared to tackle these obstacles in the veterinary field with the same determination.
I've learned the importance of seeking support when needed, whether it's collaborating with colleagues, seeking guidance from mentors, or utilizing available resources to provide the best care for animals.
Moreover, I understand that effective communication is crucial in navigating challenges, both with pet owners and within the veterinary team. I'm committed to maintaining open and empathetic communication, ensuring that the well-being of animals remains the top priority.
In summary, my approach to overcoming potential issues and obstacles in the veterinary field is rooted in resilience, adaptability, and a commitment to continuous growth.
I believe that my ability to push through personal challenges and remain steadfast in the face of adversity will serve me well as I embark on a career dedicated to the health and welfare of animals.”
As a vet, you will be responsible for making decisions that impact the health and well-being of animals. Admissions committees will want to know that you have a clearly defined idea of your ethics and integrity that you can apply to your work.
“I would describe my ethics and integrity as foundational aspects of my character that guide every decision and action I take, especially in the context of veterinary medicine. Integrity, to me, means adhering to a strong moral and ethical code, even when faced with challenging situations or temptations to compromise those principles.
In the field of veterinary medicine, where trust and compassion are paramount, ethics and integrity are non-negotiable. I firmly believe in the ethical treatment of animals, maintaining transparency with pet owners, and upholding the highest standards of professional conduct. This includes honesty, accountability, and a commitment to always act in the best interests of the animals under my care.
I am a firm believer in lifelong learning and continuous self-improvement, and I understand that ethical dilemmas can arise in any career. In preparation for my future as a veterinarian, I am committed to staying informed about current ethical guidelines and engaging in ongoing ethical discussions and reflections to ensure that my actions align with my values.
I am dedicated to upholding the highest ethical standards in veterinary medicine and serving as a trustworthy advocate for the welfare of animals and the trust of pet owners.”
Getting into vet school work is hard work, but the profession is even harder. Sometimes emotions run high. You will likely deal with a difficult client more than once throughout your career.
The admissions committee will want to know that you can remain calm and collected in stressful situations and that you can problem-solve under challenging circumstances.
Use specific examples to answer this question, and avoid being vague or indirect.
“One particular experience that tested my ability to handle a difficult situation occurred during my time as a volunteer at a small animal shelter. This shelter had a rigorous screening process to ensure the well-being of the animals placed in adoptive homes.
On this occasion, a young couple approached the shelter with the hope of adopting a Husky. As someone who has a deep understanding of dog breeds and their specific needs, I recognized that Huskies are known for their unique challenges. They are inherently difficult to train, have strong prey drives, and often struggle to coexist with cats and children due to their natural instincts.
This couple had an infant at home and they owned two cats in a small apartment. Accordingly, I had reservations about their suitability as first-time dog owners of this particular breed.
After a thorough conversation with the couple to assess their readiness and commitment, I ultimately deemed them unqualified candidates to adopt the two-year-old Husky. I explained my concerns about the dog's compatibility with their family, given the presence of an infant and two cats.
Naturally, they were not pleased with this decision and expressed their disagreement. They were adamant about adopting the Husky and even attempted to submit their application multiple times.
To address this situation, I approached the couple with empathy and a commitment to their education. I took the time to explain the breed's unique characteristics, the challenges they might face, and the potential risks to their existing pets and child. I also provided alternative options for adopting a more suitable dog for their family.
Ultimately, the couple decided to reconsider their choice of a Husky and appreciated the guidance and information I provided. They left the shelter with a better understanding of the responsibilities and considerations involved in pet adoption.
This experience taught me the importance of balancing compassion with professionalism when dealing with difficult situations or clients. It reinforced my commitment to the welfare of animals and the responsibility of ensuring they are placed in loving and suitable homes.”
The ethics that go into animal care are not black and white, and as a vet, you will need to make difficult calls with the animal’s best interests at the forefront.
Before the interview, have a good understanding of the difference between animal rights and animal welfare, especially in the context of providing veterinary care.
You can have your own opinion on these definitions. You shouldn’t just recite the definitions but also explain what both terms mean to you and how you differentiate between the two.
“I believe animal welfare primarily concerns itself with the ethical treatment and well-being of animals. It centers on the moral responsibility of humans to provide animals with appropriate care, safe living conditions, and freedom from undue suffering.
In contrast, animal rights represent a broader and more philosophical viewpoint that attributes intrinsic rights to animals, akin to those accorded to humans. It suggests animals should not be regarded as commodities or possessions but rather as individual beings with their own entitlements to life, freedom, and protection from harm.
This is where the rules governing animal protection come into play. Animal rights are more controversial, as they are considered in relation to human benefit.
For instance, animal testing is still allowed in research simply because of its potential benefits to humans, although these animals are treated inhumanely and subject to painful procedures that they cannot consent to.
To summarize, the fundamental difference between animal rights and animal welfare resides in their underlying philosophies and approaches. Animal welfare is the goal, whereas animal rights are the vehicles of motion to achieve the goal.
While both movements share the overarching goal of enhancing the lives of animals, they diverge in their scope and fundamental principles.”
Vet school isn’t cheap, so asking this common vet school interview question helps the admissions team find a plan for students when it comes to their education.
There are many funding opportunities available to college students. Admission committees will also be impressed to know if you have been awarded merit-based scholarships, as this demonstrates your academic achievements.
We also have tips on how to ace your scholarship interview here.
“I've diligently worked towards being eligible for various scholarships, grants, and financial aid opportunities by maintaining my grades, pursuing various valuable extracurriculars, and scoring high on the GRE.
Additionally, I've been proactive in building up savings throughout my high school and college years. I've worked consistently to set aside a portion of my earnings, creating a financial cushion that can be used to cover living expenses and any unforeseen costs associated with my education.
Furthermore, I understand the importance of financial planning, and I am fully prepared to utilize additional financial aid resources if required. I've conducted thorough research to ensure that I am well-informed about the various financial aid programs available to veterinary students and the application processes involved.”
Interviewers will often ask this question for two reasons. Firstly, to give you an opportunity to ask any questions you may have, and secondly, to see if you are engaged and genuinely interested in attending the school and program.
Do some preliminary research on the school you are interviewing with so you can ask relevant questions.
Questions that are good to ask include, but are not limited to:
Be prepared to ask at least one question in response to this question to demonstrate that you are interested in the school. You only need to ask one or two questions here; be concise and don’t ramble on with too many questions.
To ensure you’re as prepared as possible for your interview, here are some more vet school questions you could be asked:
1. How have you prepared academically for veterinary school?
2. What qualities do you possess that will make you a successful veterinarian?
3. What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the veterinary profession today?
4. How do you handle stress and high-pressure situations?
5. Tell us about a time when you faced an ethical dilemma and how you resolved it.
6. Do you understand the demands of the veterinarian profession? How do you plan on handling them?
7. Are you a vegetarian/vegan? Why or why not?
8. How do you keep motivated?
9. If you couldn’t become a vet, what other profession would you choose?
10. Explain your thoughts on the human-animal bond and its significance in veterinary practice.
11. Explain your views on the ethical treatment of animals used in research.
12. Can you provide an example of a time when you demonstrated leadership skills?
13. Describe your understanding of the role of veterinarians.
14. Can you provide an example of a time when you had to advocate for an animal's welfare?
15. Discuss your experiences working with exotic or non-traditional pets.
16. Discuss your experiences with end-of-life care and euthanasia in veterinary practice. If you have none, how would you approach this challenging task?
17. How do you handle situations where you must deliver difficult news to a pet owner about their animal's health?
18. Describe your most meaningful volunteer or work experience related to veterinary medicine.
19. What experiences have you had working in a team, and how did you contribute to the team's success?
20. Discuss your understanding of the veterinary oath and its significance.
21. Describe your familiarity with the economic challenges facing both pet owners and veterinary practices.
22. How do you plan to balance the demands of coursework, clinical rotations, extracurricular activities, and your other commitments in veterinary school?
23. Can you provide an example of a time when you had to adapt your communication style to effectively convey information to a diverse audience?
24. Can you discuss a current issue or trend in veterinary medicine that interests you?
25. How do you plan to contribute to ongoing efforts in veterinary research and innovation?
If you’re still unsure of how to prep for your interview or if your answers will impress the admissions committee, our vet school advisors have got you covered! They can provide you with the best veterinary school interview questions and answers to ease your nerves and ensure you stand out in your interview!
The best way to be ready for a vet school interview is to familiarize yourself with vet school interview questions. Having a good idea of what to expect will do wonders in calming your pre-interview nerves.
While it is okay to take your time and think about your answers during the interview, you also don’t want to come across as unprepared and stumbling. Being prepared for possible questions and having an idea of how you might answer them will show off your professionalism, commitment, and communication skills.
Continue reading as we answer some of your frequently asked questions about vet school interviews.
Each interview will be slightly different, and questions may also be worded differently. However, there are a few questions that you can expect:
These questions, or some variation of them, will most definitely be asked during your interview.
You don’t really pass or fail a vet school interview, but you can maximize your chances of impressing the admissions committee and getting an offer from your dream school.
Be prepared and dress appropriately. How you present yourself is key!
It all depends on how many questions you are asked and how long you take to answer them. On average, interviews will probably take about an hour or so.
You want to make a positive impression on your interviewers, so it’s best to dress in professional attire. But, make sure you’re comfortable so there are no distractions during your interview!
After you’ve completed your interview, pat yourself on the back! You’ve completed one of the most nerve-wracking parts of the application process. Then, just sit back and respect the committee’s waiting times. They will get back to you as soon as they can, so just keep an eye out for any emails!
The best way to prepare for vet school interviews is to practice! Do several mock interview runs, practice with diverse questions, and know your major talking points: why you chose this field, what you’ve done to prepare for it, and how you plan on contributing to it.
Some things you should consider bringing to your interview are your ID and a portfolio, if you wish to share particular achievements that aren’t already on your application.
It depends on the program. Most schools have MMI or panel interviews, so you can expect to speak to several people!
Getting into the college of your dreams is a great start to a successful career and a key step in this process is nailing your interview.
Remember, be prepared and think about how you can answer commonly asked questions ahead of time, be yourself, be honest and genuine, and show off why you would make an excellent vet.