Veterinary Personal Statement Extra-Curricular Activities

Veterinary Personal Statement Extra-Curricular Activities- Personal statement infographic

The concept of having a good work-life balance is becoming increasingly important as part of the Veterinary student selection process.  In your Veterinary Personal Statement, it is vital to reference your extra-curricular activities as these can help you to display that you have developed the skills and attributes needed by vets. Hobbies, show that you have a good work-life balance and that you would continue to have a life out of vet school so please don’t forget to include them as they are very important things that universities look for. 

Structuring your Veterinary Personal Statement

You might be wondering where it is best to write about extracurricular activities in your personal statement. Ultimately, the decision is up to you where you choose to include it. We recommend students use the following structure and therefore reference their extracurricular activities in the last few paragraphs:

  • An introduction explaining their motivations to study Veterinary medicine.
  • A middle paragraph explaining about work experience. 
  • A paragraph (or two) at the end where you talk about your personal achievements, hobbies, academic achievements etc.

How much of your Veterinary Personal Statement should be dedicated to your extracurricular activities?

Our top tip when writing about your extracurricular activities is to keep it brief. Your personal statement should be academically focused. Most of your characters should describe why you want to study veterinary and why the university should offer you a place at Veterinary school. Work experience and your knowledge and interest in the subject should contribute more to the content of your veterinary personal statement that your extracurriculars paragraph.

What to include in your paragraph about extracurricular activities?

Extra-curricula’s is quite an umbrella term which might have you wondering what you should include as part of this. Broadly speaking, extra-curricular activities include any part time jobs you may have/ volunteering that you do, any particular programmes that you may have participated in (eg PGL or NCS), and any hobbies that you may have. In a nutshell, this is everything that you do that is non-academic and not work experience that you feel has made an impact in making you a good candidate to apply to vet school.

If you have lots of hobbies and extra-curricular activities, then you may struggle to write about all of thee in your application. If this is the case, cherry-pick the most important ones to you or the ones that you can easily relate to making you more skilled to being a vet. 

Below is a comprehensive list of extra-curricular activities that you may want to include in your application:

Veterinary Personal Statement Extra-Curricular Activities- volunteering photograph
Veterinary Personal Statement Extra-Curricular Activities- Tourist photograph
  • Duke of Edinburgh award 
  • School clubs e.g., debating clubs/ societies.
  • Private tutoring 
  • Part time jobs e.g., paper rounds/ retail work/ hospitality etc 
  • Volunteering positions e.g., caring for the elderly or volunteering at an animal charity
  • PGL trips 
  • School prefect 
  • National Citizen Service (NCS) summer programmes 
  • Camp America etc 
  • School trips away e.g., to Kenya wildlife reserves
  • Charity events for animal foundations e.g., sponsored runs 
  • Hobbies 
  • Musical instruments and their grading
  • Sports 

How to write about your extracurricular activities in your Veterinary Personal Statement

When writing about your extracurricular activities, it is important not to just list them, but to always relate them back to how they will impact you as a vet/ vet student.

Think about what you have learnt from these activities, or how they have developed you as a person, whether this is through teamwork, improving communication skills, improving your ability to rationalise and prioritise decisions etc. All of these skills are so broad and can be developed from nearly all tasks if you think about it, so do try to say what you’ve learnt from each activity individually. However, in the part where you write about your hobbies, it’s okay if you do not relate these directly to veterinary, but instead you could mention that you have maintained a good work-life balance through doing these hobbies instead and are aware of how important this is to being a vet alongside clinical work. 

Check out the UCAS official guidance on writing about your hobbies in your Personal Statement

Good and Bad examples of extracurricular activity reflections  

Below are some examples of how you can talk about extra-curricular’s and what makes these good/ bad: 

In my free time I like to play netball which has improved my teamwork skills.’ 

Picking apart this sentence an admission tutor would certainly question the students phrasing. Within the first 15 characters the student has already raised alarm bells to the reader by describing how they have ‘free time.’ If possible, avoid this phrase! But why? Time is of the essence in vet school, and even as a student you’re busy a lot of the time. Vet school is difficult to get into and requires a lot of prep… meaning your time is valuable and not free by any means!

Think about how you would re-word this sentence. How about using phrases such as ‘In my spare time,’ or ‘in my downtime from my studies’ etc.

What else could this student do to improve? The student needs to add some meat to the bones of their answer to show enthusiasm and passion. This student has explained the hobby and how it has helped them develop a skill (improved teamwork skills), but they could have expanded on this. Consider why this hobby may potentially help our student when practising and studying veterinary.

‘In my downtime from my studies I play netball for my school team. This has helped me to improve my teamwork skills by enhancing my communication and ability to work well with different individuals, which I can draw many parallels to when working in a veterinary team with nurses and vets.’

We’re starting to see some improvement in this students work they’ve mentioned they still have a life outside of schoolwork, but they’re still not showing how their extracurricular activities have helped them develop attributes needed by those working in a veterinary environment. 

‘My participation in the National citizen service scheme has shown my determination by using my summer holidays to fully immerse myself into unknown challenges, and remain calm, which will benefit me as a vet student when it comes to dealing with cases where I am unsure of what is wrong with the animal.’

By draft three they have cracked it and produced a good paragraph. They’ve listed the extra-curricular, listed the skill they’ve improved and then shown how that can relate to veterinary.

So, what can we learn from our student? We want you to be using the formula used by the student in the third example. This is the kind of formula you should use when talking about all your extra curricula’s. It also leaves the door open for more questions on this at interview as you may be asked how in particular this experience helped you remain calm etc. 

Check out our other Veterinary Personal Statement Guides and feel free to leave any comments or questions below.

What extracurricular activities should I do for personal statement?

Broadly speaking, extra-curricular activities include any part time jobs you may have/ volunteering that you do, any particular programmes that you may have participated in (eg PGL or NCS), and any hobbies that you may have. In a nutshell, this is everything that you do that is non-academic and not work experience that you feel has made an impact in making you a good candidate to apply to vet school.

What should a vet personal statement include?

An introduction explaining their motivations to study Veterinary medicine.
A middle paragraph explaining about work experience.
A paragraph (or two) at the end where you talk about your personal achievements, hobbies, academic achievements etc.

What hobbies should I write in my personal statement?

If you have lots of hobbies and extra-curricular activities, then you may struggle to write about all of thee in your application. If this is the case, cherry-pick the most important ones to you or the ones that you can easily relate to making you more skilled to being a vet.
Below is a comprehensive list of extra-curricular activities that you may want to include in your application:
• Duke of Edinburgh award
• School clubs e.g., debating clubs/ societies.
• Private tutoring
• Part time jobs e.g., paper rounds/ retail work/ hospitality etc
• Volunteering positions e.g., caring for the elderly or volunteering at an animal charity
• PGL trips
• School prefect
• National Citizen Service (NCS) summer programmes
• Camp America etc
• School trips away e.g., to Kenya wildlife reserves
• Charity events for animal foundations e.g., sponsored runs
• Hobbies
• Musical instruments and their grading
• Sports

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