So, you’ve decided to go to University and better yet, you chose an animal science related degree! Now here’s the scenario, you’ve been called in for an interview at your dream university, you have the passion, drive and relative attributes. But wait, so do the other applicants. How are you going to stand out?
Not to worry, as there are multiple ways to do this. One of which is by demonstrating your unique passion and interest for your chosen subject. A great method for conveying this is by demonstrating comprehension, of the bigger picture of your degree, the focus of this post. What does your degree mean in the real world?
Remember, interview formats differ between universities and knowing extra facts only represent a section of your overall interview preparation. But whether interviews are in a Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) or panel style, being well-versed in current veterinary or scientific news topics are keys for proving your engagement and drive within your subject field.
Getting the knowledge is easy!
Two words: Extra. Reading.
In a nutshell, researching and memorising relevant information is the aim. Lecturers and experts on the interviewing panel want to discover what scientific topics interest you, whether it’s related to your work experience or from the classroom. I imagine part of your reasons for pursuing a vet or scientific subject was because of the information you were exposed to. Therefore, extra reading into those topics will relate enthusiasm and understanding of that subject.
First things first, where to look when trying to find information? This doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds. Finding the latest topics in veterinary and scientific news can be completed through various articles, news forums, scientific websites, research papers and videos. Take advantage of the internet! Scientific websites normally keep their pages up to date with new studies you can discover by a simple Google search. Start off by entering ‘current veterinary news’ into your search bar and watch the results flood in. A lot of options will present themselves but remember to keep topical to your field of study. You can rank important issues frequently discussed in your subject area and highlight anything interesting you’d like to research further. Make sure to learn a few facts as you go, making a note of what inspires you. Be sure that you keep up to date as the world is a dynamic place and by nature, scientists will keep on discovering, measuring and learning. So, to sum up, if someone were to ask you ‘what are the major topics being investigated in the veterinary/biological field?’, or ‘what interests you about the subject’, you will be more than prepared.
Showcasing your knowledge and passion uniquely.
It is imperative, that as a student, you know the format that your chosen university uses for interviewing candidates. For example, in veterinary medicine a panel or MMI format is very common among universities, whereas for a biological science interview a one-to-one or panel format is the standard. No matter what the format is, there will always be ample opportunity within an interview to showcase what you know. An obvious way is via answering questions. Your motivations to become a veterinarian or scientist are likely to be asked early on. This gives you a great opportunity to begin to display your interests and understanding of the subject, giving more reason to your passion. Remember, you don’t want to be a walking textbook as the interviewers want to see your affinity for the degree. Simply by integrating compelling research or studies behind your motivations are a good course of action.
Sometimes in interviews, candidates will also be asked about their work experience (this is without a doubt in veterinary medicine as it’s a prerequisite for entry. However, in scientific degrees this may be optional and therefore you can touch on it at a suitable time during the interview). Now here’s a great time to explain what you found personally thought-provoking, interesting and exciting etc. Ultimately, discussing what you learnt from it and how this has deepened your insight into the field. A real game changer is having well-versed knowledge of current news topics in your chosen subject area for these moments as you will be able to explain how your work experience relates, or for the assurance of your ability to answer any news specific follow up questions. Interviewers want to identify that you’ve thought about the bigger picture and are knowledgeable on topical issues encompassing the impact of your degree. It presents a depth of understanding which other applicants may not have, conveying your passions without you using the word. Remember, you may be interviewed by lecturers and experts within the field, not to scare you but to give you the opportunity to have real conversations and discuss your passions coherently with an understanding academic.
I know what you’re thinking, “goodness me, how am I meant to remember all of this?”, well…you’ve gotten this far haven’t you? But to decrease the burden, here a few simple points to remember:
Understand the main current issues within your subject field
Be sure to revise your work experience before the interview (even if it’s only touched on briefly)
Have some research armed and ready which interests you
Take a deep breath. Stay calm and enjoy the conversation.
Luckily for you I’ve made your job even easier. Here are some fantastic organisations which will keep you up to date with the latest in animal news, from a veterinary and biological science perspective:
A Veterinary Focus
Vet Times / British Veterinary Association
From veterinary business to clinical disease, these all-encompassing sources will keep you updated with relevant news content. (Two important topics today: domestic pet obesity and brachycephalic dogs)
Vet Times: https://www.vettimes.co.uk/
British Veterinary Association: https://www.bva.co.uk/news-and-blog/news/
Today’s Veterinary Practice
This journal from the NAVC (North American Veterinary Community) hosts resources, latest news columns and clinical information relating to all things veterinary medicine. More journals from the NAVC includes: ‘Today’s Veterinary Nurse’ and ‘Today’s Veterinary Business’.
Today’s Veterinary Practice: https://todaysveterinarypractice.com/
British Cattle Veterinary Association / Farmers Weekly / The Royal Association of British Diary Farmers (RABDF)
These websites focus on the wellbeing of cattle within the dairy and beef industry. This highlights the importance of vets and farmers within livestock stewardship. The RABDF also host frequent podcasts. (An important topic today: African swine fever)
British Cattle Veterinary Association: https://www.bcva.org.uk/
Farmers Weekly: https://www.fwi.co.uk/
The Royal Association of British Diary Farmers: https://www.rabdf.co.uk/
A BioScience Focus
Royal Society of Biology (RSB)
The RSB integrates environmental topics, species research, scientific opportunities and all things biological at your fingertips! (Two important topics today: Covid-19, cancer research)
Royal Society of Biology: https://www.rsb.org.uk/
BBC - Science
This source possesses tons of current articles by science editors, allowing you to receive news updates daily and online through their many social media handles.
Another American journal that contains research articles, papers and videos from across the globe. The website accentuates scientific discovery through their online publications.
Science AAAS: https://www.sciencemag.org/category/biology
From physics to the environment and technology to planetary health, the NewScientist presents the latest in news articles, data analysis and scientific discoveries on a broad range of topics.
These are just a few starting points to aid your research and spearhead your understanding of important veterinary/biological topics in the real world. Many sites allow you to sign up for news updates or memberships. Allowing you to get instant notifications without you having to lift a finger!
Think of this as the beginning of your careers, a beginning, to study what you want and add to the world around you.
Hope this helps & happy learning!
Oh…still there? Itching for some more knowledge, right? Here are a few extra science sites then, just for you!
National Geographic: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/
Science Daily: https://www.sciencedaily.com/
Written by: Tyler-Jay McIntosh
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