We have many motivated undergraduates in our lab. They often go on to do great things–but not always in ecology! In this post, Courtney Norjen provides advice for interviewing for Veterinary School. Good luck at OSU, Courtney!
The road to veterinary school is a long, challenging one that involves hundreds or even thousands of hours of veterinary, animal, and research experience, high academic achievement, and additional extracurricular and leadership activities. After years of preparation and spending hours completing the application, you have an interview! But how do make yourself stand out in your interview?
Interviews tend to be very nerve-racking, so to make it as comfortable as possible, it is important to prepare. The best thing you can do to prepare for your interview is to reread your entire application and your personal statement. Anything that you wrote in your application is fair game for an interview question, so be sure you can talk about everything in there. For example, I mentioned in my application that while working with a large animal veterinarian, I rode along to a swine farm that had a leptospirosis outbreak. In one of my interviews, I was asked what kind of disease leptospirosis is, what organ systems it affects, and why it is an important disease. They want to know that you really did what you listed on your application, that you learned from it, and that you are not going to try to make up an answer to a question you do not know. Another good way to prepare is to search for lists of veterinary school interview questions on-line. Be ready to answer the standard “tell me about yourself,” “why do you want to be a veterinarian,” and “how do you deal with stress” questions, because they are asked in just about every interview.
In addition to answering questions about your experiences, you will likely be asked some ethical or “situational” questions. A very common one is “what would you do if an owner brings you a perfectly healthy animal and wants you to euthanize it?” These questions tend to be the hardest for interviewees because they are no longer about you, and many people are afraid to give the wrong answer. The most important thing to remember about these questions is that there is no right or wrong answer. You just need to be able to support the answer you give (especially when the interviewers challenge your position, which they undoubtedly will). Some veterinary schools even use a Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) series where you will be asked nothing but these types of questions, so it is imperative that you are ready to answer them.
Lastly, the best advice I can give you is to be confident and be yourself! They are interviewing you because they want to get to know YOU. So before you walk in, take a deep breath, relax, and let your personality speak for itself!