How to write a vet school personal statement
Getting into a great veterinary school can be tough. Vet course admissions are very competitive, so you need to do everything you can to prove that you are an exceptional candidate. This includes writing a great veterinary personal statement. We look at how to write a personal statement for vet school, key items to include, and why nailing your personal statement is important.
Why we have to write personal statements
Your personal statement is an important part of your application process, as veterinary school is highly competitive. This is the chance to add a personal touch to your application and make you stand out from the crowd. While your resume will list all of your accomplishments, educational background, and experience, your personal statement allows you to tie all of this together and let your passion, personality, and enthusiasm for veterinary medicine shine through. Your personal statement is also where you can mention anything that doesn't fit into the other sections of your application, and it's an ideal place to reinforce how you meet the admission requirements.
Here, you’ll introduce yourself and explain why you'll be a great fit for the program, touch on what has inspired you to further your studies, and why you think you are good candidate to become a veterinarian. You might also want to include what you like about this particular program and how you think it will enrich your knowledge and understanding of veterinary medicine.
This means that when you get an interview for admission, the admissions officer should already know a bit about you and allows you to jump straight into answering their questions.
Demonstrate your passion for animals
. Since you only have limited space on your personal statement, it's important to use this space to convince the admissions team that your passion for animals would make you an excellent veterinarian.
In order to uniquely demonstrate your passion for animals, try to think outside of the box. Don't just talk about family pets. Mention times you've been proactive, hands-on, and gained experience with animals. This might include helping with the birthing season on a local farm, volunteering in kennels, or helping strays find foster homes in animal shelters.
It's also important to specify what type of animals you have interacted with. Did you grow up riding horses and love tending to large mammals? Or did your family raise small animals? Whatever your particular interest in the veterinary world, be sure to add it. Schools like to see students who have a plan of where to specialize and continue their education.
Of course, don't forget that most vets have to work with people too, so it's a good idea to include something that shows you can work as part of a team or with clients.
Highlight all relevant experience
Whatever you've done for animals outside your normal household, include it, especially if it's something related to wellbeing and health. Even better, if you can remember a particular interaction that made you want to be a veterinarian, be sure to include it.
Your resume will list your experience and qualifications, but your vet school application personal statement is where you can say why your experience is relevant to the program. When you're planning your statement, you can make notes of what experience you have, and what transferable skills you have gained. Then you can find ways to tie this into veterinary medicine. For example, if you're an empathetic person who has worked in customer service, you can relate this to dealing with clients at a standard vet practice. If you have experience running a social group, this ties into leadership skills and motivation to go above and beyond for something you're interested in.
Remember, you'll have gained invaluable experience from almost everything you do, whether that's education, work, voluntary roles, or hobbies. You just need to think about how it is relevant to what you want to do next.
Set yourself apart from the crowd
First, you should try to think about what makes you unique. Try to think about the things you've done that other people haven't, or experiences you've had. Remember that you'll be competing for a seat against people all over the country and potentially all over the world, so even the most basic things might be unusual compared to other applicants.
Just like in the previous section, think about how your background gives you a different perspective or relevant skills. Try to tie it into the topics you'll be learning in vet school, and the challenges you would face in your daily life as a veterinarian.
While you might want a large portion of your statement to be positive, you can also bring up any difficulties you've had and how you’ve used problem-solving skills and resourcefulness to overcome them. It shows that you're willing to do a lot to reach your dream, which suggests you'll be a focused and dedicated student.
You should also be sure to be personable in your personal statement. Vet school committees will expect you to remain professional and precise in what you say with word limitations in mind. However, you should aim for a conversational, friendly tone. Your personal statement is about you, so it should give the admissions committee an insight into your personality. Try to find a happy medium where you don't sound too stiff and formal, but also don't use slang too much.
Preparation is key
There are a lot of different things you will want to cover in your personal statement for vet school, and it's more than simply a 'why I want to be a veterinarian' essay. That's why it's vital to prepare and plan your statement before you write it.
Just like any other assignment, you should break the statement down into sections. Make sure you highlight the goal of each section - one section might be talking about your background, and one might be about your experience. Then plan out each section with some key points to include, such as the skills your experience has provided. Then you can write the actual contents without wavering too much - and you definitely don't want to waste words.
Afterward, be sure to proofread it thoroughly. If you can, you should ask someone else to read it too. Ask them if it makes sense, as well as get them to note any errors they find.
If you're ready to take the next step and start studying at a leading vet school, contact us to speak to one of our expert advisors. St. Matthew’s University School of Veterinary Medicine provides graduates with new knowledge, skills, and methods necessary to become caring, competent veterinarians.
Check out webinar events at St. Matthew's School of Veterinary Medicine for more information about the application process, including your personal statement.