Writing an Application Form

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Advice from Liz with regards to applying as a vet student at Bristol to Bristol’s intercalation programs, as well as applying for BSc Veterinary Conservation Medicine at Liverpool…

So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and apply for an intercalated degree! Exciting stuff! The aim of this page is to give you some advice based from my experience of applying to Bristol to intercalate, as well as applying to Conservation Medicine at Liverpool. Even if you’re not applying to any of these institutions, I hope you’ll be able to pick up some general pointers which may be useful!

1. Check the deadline!

Make sure you’re clear on the deadline! I know a few people who had unnecessary stress because of deadline confusion. This is especially true if you’re applying to more than one University, or even if your school/faculty has different deadlines (for example, Bristol Vet School had an earlier deadline than the Medical and Dental Schools).

2. Approach/email the programme director.

This is a great way to show your interest but also find out more about the course. It’s best to get your foot in the door especially in smaller courses. For example, the option for intercalation in BSc Zoology at Bristol they only reserve 3 or 4 places for intercalators (as you’re joining the final year of the undergraduate course in this case).

At Bristol, there are tailored events to find out more about the intercalated courses on offer but these events aren’t until nearer the deadline of the application process so there’s nothing wrong with enquiring earlier!

3. Find out what forms need completing!

Ensure you have all the application paperwork to hand. Ask the university staff dedicated to the intercalation process if you’re not sure you have everything.

Again, at Bristol (sorry!) we had a dedicated document to fill out (taken from Blackboard) but also had to fill out a Google form on the Faculty Intercalation page (which didn’t seem tailored to vet students but hey ho) to inform them of our intentions (I think this was more for the Medical students who were registering their interest on particular courses as there are many more of them that intercalate) but was still on the application to do list from the Vet School.

4. Decide who is going to write you references.

Again, this depends on what your university requires. This is usually one or two academic references (i.e. not one of your parents or a friend vouching for you) who know you well enough to comment on your motivations for intercalation, your academic performance and you as a lovely person of course! Another thing is that if you’re applying for a Master’s and already have a project in mind, this can be an extra talking point in the reference and course providers may wish to know this! The person writing you a reference could be a personal tutor at university, a lecturer that specialises in the subject you want to intercalate in (if possible) or perhaps an old school teacher if you’re struggling to decide. Make sure you ask in plenty of time, because all staff are busy and if it’s anything like mine was, my tutor was going away for some time right before the deadline so it was good that I got my foot in the door!

5. Exam transcripts

If you’re applying internally (i.e. to the University you’re already attending) to intercalate, this isn’t usually required as your results from previous years can automatically be pulled up. Having said this, always check!

For my application to Liverpool, they wanted to see an official document listing my exam results from my previous 2 years of the veterinary degree (again check what the university requires from you), so get in touch with your student administration office, they can usually get this back to you in a few days. Again, give them enough time!

6. The Application Itself

Normally this will be a personal statement- style answer to the general question ‘Why do you want to study X degree?’ so think back to when you wrote your personal statement for vet school (may be a while, I know!). It is strange having to talk about yourself so heavily but use it as an opportunity to sell yourself! It should still be as professional as possible, even if you know your course isn’t especially competitive or you know there will only be few applicants for example.

Take a look back at your personal statement (may be a bit cringe I know!) if you’re stuck, it may be good to look at the structure.

Give practical examples where possible, or interesting cases you’ve read about to demonstrate your interest and motivation in a particular subject, as well as any relevant EMS, coursework or wider reading you may have done.

If you can, having or planning to have experience in the scientific research field is a really good demonstration of your abilities and motivation, as most intercalated degrees will involve some sort of final independent research project. Thus, if you have taken part in a project at uni or done anything whilst at vet school, be sure to dedicate some of your application to this!

Some examples of things I wrote about in my application for the BSc Veterinary Conservation Medicine are about my interest in Conservation Medicine driving me to apply for the Veterinary degree in the first place (true!), relevant EMS I did in South Africa, viewpoints on an episode of Attenborough’s Dynasties and relevant details on an upcoming research project I have since now completed as part of EMS this summer.

7. Good luck!

I hope this post has given you an idea of the things to consider in your application for an intercalated degree; please feel free to comment any extra ideas below, or use the contact form on the home page (scroll to the bottom) if you’d like any help or advice on your application.

Good luck with all your future endeavours!

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