As exam season comes to a close in the UK, many students will be using the summer break to research universities and think about their application for next year. If you’re one of them, here are five resources we recommend.
As your AS-level exams finally come to an end, your attention will probably turn from flash cards and late-night revision sessions to your next step: which higher education route to take.
UCAS have now opened applications for 2016 and new university league tables are published every day. But if you don’t know what you want to study or at which university, where do you even begin?
We’ve pulled together a few of the best resources around to help with your university application. From choosing the right course to what to ask at an Open Day, these five should have you covered:
1. The Student Room
The Student Room is committed to helping every student reach their potential in exams and higher education. With a forum full of students, both past and present, who are happy to answer your questions, it’s a great place to get some answers.
The site also has a personal statement builder, which guides you through the application process, helping you decide what to include and how to structure your statement. It also picks up common mistakes compared with UCAS best practice, so you can just focus on writing a great application.
2. Which? University
Which? University have been doing their research – they’ve gathered stats from The Guardian, The Times and endless student surveys, to help you understand the courses available and what careers they can lead to.
The course finder lets you filter by your preferred subject area and your predicted A-level grades to see what courses are available. Other filters include student satisfaction scores for each university and average graduate salary. Try it out and you might find something you never even knew existed. Robotics at King’s, anyone?
Once you’ve narrowed down your search, download the Open Day questions checklist for your chosen subject. It will help you make sure you’ve got everything covered before submitting your application.
UCAS don’t just sort out the application process: they also have a comprehensive video hub for people who want to know more about the university experience. Take a look at their videos on advice to prospective students and virtual campus tours, as well as course-specific videos from students themselves.
Push mainly offers Push Talks. These are held in schools, where great presenters deliver interactive, live talks to students to advise them on their higher education choices in an informal setting.
But on top of this, they have plenty of information on their blog to help with the application process. This includes preparing for interviews and full profiles on every university, including housing costs and student survey results.
5. FutureLearn Choices
Finally, we couldn’t end this post without mentioning our own range of free online courses to help you with your UCAS application – FutureLearn Choices.
The courses give you a taster of new subjects, such as computer science, forensics, medicine or dentistry, or help you develop skills for university learning, like critical thinking or research. The University of Sheffield even runs a couple of courses on the university application itself, such as How to Succeed at: Writing Applications and How to Succeed at: Interviews.
The short courses, which run between now and the end of July, and are designed to prepare you for those all-important decisions next term.
Do you have any recommendations for resources to help with university applications? Is there a site that you find particularly useful? Tell us in the comments below.
TSR Wiki > University > Choosing a Subject > University Courses > Veterinary Medicine
Welcome to the Veterinary Medicine Wiki!
With only eight universities in the UK offering this course (see below for names), and only an estimated 1000 places up for grabs each year, Veterinary Medicine is a highly competitive course.
Here is the information that could mean the difference between a rejection and a place!
Your Application for D100
Approximate No. of Places at Each Vet School (as of 2015):
- Cambridge - 70
- Bristol - 130
- Edinburgh - 115
- Glasgow - 120
- Liverpool - 160
- Nottingham - 130
- RVC - 250
- Surrey - 120
Academic requirements : For 2015 the A level grade requirements were AAA including at least Chemistry and Biology and preferably a third science or maths subject, plus at least 6 GCSE A grades, with Maths at A grade. Cambridge asks for A*AA and as from 2016 Glasgow will also be asking for A*AA.
Universities will make 'contextual offers', typically one grade lower in one subject only, to those who fulfil their 'widening participation' criteria. Each Uni will define this differently but it usually includes those from low performing schools, anyone in local authority care or who have attended specific summer schools/events at that Uni. See each course website for details for that University.
Your application will be 'scored' - firstly for exam grades and predictions. If you don't get through this stage, it doesn't matter how much work-experience you have done, your application will go straight on the No pile.
So, read the admissions requirements for each Uni carefully. If you do not have the grades or predictions they want, then don't apply. They can fill Vet courses 10 times over - they do not need to be kind to someone who doesn't have GCSE Maths.
If you have unusual qualifications or have issues like retakes etc, contact the uni before you apply so you do not waste a choice.
Foundation and Gateway courses
Many Vet schools have some sort of Foundation course or Gateway course for Veterinary Medicine.
- Foundation courses are usually designed for those without high enough grades and/or the 'wrong subjects' at A level or equivalent.
- Gateway courses are usually targeted 'widening participation' courses for those from low performing schools or specific local schools etc.
For both types of 'Year 0' courses, successful completion will allow you entry to the full 5 year degree. Check carefully to see what the entry criteria are for these courses as they will all be different. Numbers on these courses are normally very small - therefore the application process is often even more competitive than the full D100 courses.
Academic requirements for graduates : It is possible to apply for Vet Medicine if you already have an undergraduate degree. But, you need to be VERY aware that just because you have a First in Zoology doesn't mean you will make a better vet or the universities will think you are preferable to an 18 school leaver. In particular if your degree does not have enough Chemistry content and/or you do not have A level Chemistry with a sensible grade, or you do not have enough relevant work experience, you are just as likely to get a rejection as anyone else. The usual academic requirement for graduates is a 2.i or First (preferably in a science subject) AND 3 A levels including high grades in Chemistry, Biology, and good GCSE grades. So, having a degree does not make up for having poor school-leaver qualifications.
Funding a 2nd degree - English students : There is no automatic funding for Vet as a 2nd degree (see below). This means you could end having to fund or part-fund 5 years of study yourself. Many people borrow from friends, family, or savings. Sponsorship is one option but beware; it is extremely hard to come by and shouldn’t be relied upon as the main source of funding. Advice on funding from Uni of Bristol on Vet funding here : http://www.bristol.ac.uk/fees-funding/undergraduate/vet-funding/
Scottish & Welsh students : Scottish Vet students will have the whole of their course fees covered by the Scottish Government if they study at either Edinburgh or Glasgow, while Welsh Vet students will have to pay only up to £3,495 p.a. for their course - the Welsh Government will cover the rest, whichever vet school you choose to study at.
FOUR choices only
Remember, you are only allowed to make four of your five UCAS choices a Veterinary Science or Veterinary Medicine course. This includes both D100 (5 year degree) courses, graduate entry and any other 1 year Foundation or Gateway courses. You cannot 'get round' this - the UCAS system will simply not allow you to enter 5 Vet choices. You do not have to make a 5th non-Vet choice if you don't want to, but most people do. This means that if you get no Vet offers at all (not unusual) you will still have one other possible route to University. It also means that if you get only one Vet offer, you have an obvious Insurance.
Most people will choose Bioveterinary Science as their 5th choice, but others go for Biochemistry, Animal Conservation, Medical Science, Animal Behaviour, Veterinary Nursing or Zoology etc. Whatever you choose, think carefully about it. Remember this could be the only offer you get. Equally, if you don't actually want to do any other subject but Vet, then don't waste everyone's time applying for anything else. Remember, you can also apply initially for the 4 Vet choices and, if you need to, add another non-Vet choice later (ie. if you get no Vet offers and/or change your mind about Vet). Although your entire PS will be about Vet, don't panic. All Unis know that your 5th choice (like for Medics and Dentists) has to be for another subject. They are used to this and will not automatically reject you just because your statement is exclusively focussed on Vet.
A level grades
The standard offer is AAA at A level - for Cambridge it is A*A*A. Most Unis will accept a combination of 1 BTEC and 2 A levels but they will all want 2 'hard science' at A level, typically Chemistry and Biology.
All Universities will have 'widening participation' offers. These are lower grade requirements for those at low performing schools. Where you see a 'grade range' (ie. AAA/AAB) this usually what it means - that the lower grade set is reserved only for those applicants.
Most Unis leave the subject choice for the 3rd A level open. There are a few, though, that also demand Maths or Physics in addition to Chemistry and Biology. If the 3rd subject is not specified then there will be no advantage in taking Physics, Maths, Psychology or whatever - you wont get extra score for taking what you perceive as a useful or relevant subject. In fact you will be better taking a 3rd subject where you feel most confident of getting an A grade - it doesnt matter if its in Dance Studies or Art History.
It's important that you check what is required at GCSE not just A level. Many Unis will ask for Maths and English and/or sciences at A grade and may want anything up to 8 A grades. It won't matter how good you A level predictions are - if you are below the GCSE requirement your application will be rejected immediately. If your GCSEs are too low, remember you can retake a couple alongside A levels - talk to you school - and you should include both your old and your new predicted GCSEs grades on your application. With the new format GCSEs coming in for 2016/2017, Unis will want you to have taken the 'practical element' in sciences.
Taking a 4th A2
Taking a 4th A2 subject does not increase your chances of a successful application. While it might show academic ability it is important to remember that the universities only require three A Levels - and will only take 3 into account, the 4th one will just get ignored. Having a fourth A Level therefore will not be a deciding factor in any application. It is also worthwhile thinking about the effect the extra pressure would have on your other subjects. Why risk AABB when you could have got AAA?
Access to HE
Most Vet Schools will accept Access to HE from Mature Applicants (21+) but they will want you to be doing a course that has very high Chemistry and Biology content, and where the Maths content is equivalent to at least GCSE. Check with each Uni BEFORE you enrol on the Access course if they will accept what you are taking.
The only important academic extra required is the BMAT (Biomedical Admissions Test) . This is a short exam, comprised of a problem-solving section, a section testing your maths/science abilities, and an essay in which you examine one of three essay titles (all usually with a scientific/medical slant). The results of this exam are only used by the Royal Veterinary College and Cambridge, however, so unless you are applying to these institutions you do not need to sit it. See the link above, or the TSR BMAT Wiki for more information regarding the BMAT.
A level retakes
Some Vet Schools will not accept A levels taken outside a standard 2 year course. If you retake even 1 subject in an extra year, they will not look at your application. This is because Vet is a highly demanding academic course, and their reasoning is that if you need a 2nd run-up, you don't have the outstanding ability they require. Others Vet Schools will consider retakes but set strict conditions - ie. a 1 year retake if you are raising your results by 1 grade in 1 subject - ie. you must have already have achieved AAB. Others will be more lenient. If you are doing retakes, you must check carefully what, if any, retakes are acceptable - never just assume it'll be okay.
If you have serious extenuating circumstances (serious personal illness, family bereavement etc) that happened in your A2 year and messed up your performance, most Unis will consider this - check with each Uni before you apply what their process for notification of this is - its usually not enough to just include it in your reference.
Universities Offering Veterinary Medicine in the UK
Bristol Vet School: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/vetscience/
Cambridge Vet School: http://www.vet.cam.ac.uk/
Edinburgh Vet School: http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/vet/services
Glasgow Vet School: http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/vet/
Liverpool Vet School: http://www.liv.ac.uk/veterinary-science/
Nottingham Vet School: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/vet/index.aspx
Royal Veterinary College - London: http://www.rvc.ac.uk/
Surrey Vet School: http://www.surrey.ac.uk/vet/index.htm
[Dublin Vet School: http://www.ucd.ie/vetmed/]
Entrance Requirements 2016
For 2016 entry, the academic criteria for the Universities are as follows. For up to date information, and requirements for qualifications other than A Levels, always check the individual University websites carefully. If in any doubt about whether your qualifications are acceptable, always email the University and check before you apply.
Remember, where a grade range is given for a course (ie. AAA/AAB), the lower grade set only will be for 'contextual offers' to those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Never assume you will get the lower offer - the vast majority of applicants will get the higher 'standard offer'. IB qualifications are readily accepted and will be the equivalent to the A level grades.
BTEC Extended Diplomas are often accepted in combination with a high grade Chemistry A level, and Access to HE qualifications are widely accepted for mature applicants (over 21).
Bristol AAA in Biology, Chemistry and a third academic subject. At GCSE level, six A grades would normally be expected including Mathematics if Mathematics or Physics not offered at A or AS-level. Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma may be accepted alongside AA in A2 Biology and Chemistry. Bristol have changed their policy on resits this year - you can retake all three subjects as long as you do your A levels over a maximum of 3 years. Bristol doesn't ask for BMAT.
Cambridge A*A*A in two science or maths subjects, and a third at AS Level. Some colleges require three science subjects to A2 level. A or AS Level passes in three of Biology, Maths, Chemistry and Physics, with one required to be Chemistry. GCSE A/B/C in Double Science (or Biology and Physics) and Maths. Candidates are required to take the BMAT. Welsh Baccalaureate is recognised, but three A2 subjects are still required alongside this.
Edinburgh AAA in Chemistry, Biology and a third approved subject (see website for list of approved subjects). A "good pass" at GCSE Physics is required if not offered at A Level. Resitters and deferred entry not considered. Welsh Baccalaureate is not considered. Candidates are expected to complete a Work Experience Summary form.
Glasgow A*AA including Chemistry and Biology and a third subject which is preferably a science subject. Art, Drama, General Studies, Home Economics, Music or PE are not accepted as third subjects. English GCSE at Grade A or B is required. Welsh Baccalaureate is not considered.