As someone who has just come out of A Levels and into University level, I thought I would offer some advice to those in the same position- especially those considering a career with animals.
When I was a child, I always wanted to be a vet. However, when my GCSE results rolled around, as a straight ‘B’ student it was clear I wasn’t cut out for the competitive nature of the veterinary world. I was told I should be getting A’s and A*’s in order to be considered by reputable universities. True, there were alternative routes such as college but at the time I wasn’t open to taking these lengthy measures. I would consider myself a more practical person- I’m better at doing rather than remembering and recalling information. I also used to get really nervous in exams which definitely affected my performance. Now I’m settled in a degree I love and I hope this post helps even one person that’s in the same position as I was.
Firstly, look for alternative options. After feeling quite lost as to what I wanted to do, I decided to get myself in gear and see what other options were out there. This is when I stumbled across the growing profession of veterinary physiotherapy. Veterinary physiotherapy has limited research, most of which comes from the human field and so there are endless opportunities within the profession. The musculoskeletal health of animals is equally as important as it is for humans. Additionally, the course I am currently studying combines a business component as many vet physios start their own business and build their own clientele. I’ve always been a chatty person and I enjoy meeting new people so this course seemed suited to my personality!
Veterinary physiotherapy is not the only option. Look into becoming a veterinary nurse if your grades are slightly off the mark, many of my friends are studying to become vet nurses which combines lectures and placement at university level, its a challenge but they tell me its so rewarding. Furthermore, there is opportunity to continue to study to become a veterinary surgeon through veterinary nursing. Alternatively look into animal behaviour courses, perhaps you might be interested in training animals or the psychology behind training. Animal care courses are available at college level which may help you to decide your future career through studying a range of animals.
Lastly, look to gain work experience. You must be over sixteen to gain work experience at a veterinary practise, but even a week of volunteering and spectating surgeries can make your CV stand out from the rest. Veterinary practises would not function without the help of multiple professions such as animal care assistants, veterinary nurses, receptionists and physiotherapists. I stood out in my UCAS application because of my animal handling experience on my family farm.
Overall, don’t feel disheartened by not meeting the grades you expected. Its not the end of the road and there are always alternative routes or alternative professions. After all I was more suited to the profession I am currently studying to be in. If you want any more information on veterinary physiotherapy, feel free to comment below and I will try to answer your queries! I was thinking of dedicating an entire post to becoming a veterinary physiotherapist as there’s not a great deal of information online. Thanks so much for reading and I hope this post helps.