Writing a veterinary nursing personal statement is a key opportunity for you to demonstrate your enthusiasm and commitment to a course, and show the admissions team what value you can add to their institution.
If you’re applying for a high-demand course such as veterinary nursing, your personal statement could be the deciding factor on whether or not you get an interview. So, it’s important to make it compelling.
Here, we’re going through some practical advice and guidance about how to prepare your veterinary nursing personal statement. Let’s get started!
Structure your veterinary nursing personal statement in a clear format
You could be an excellent candidate for veterinary nurse training on paper, but if you showcase your skills and experiences in a poorly structured statement, then you lose your impact. So, it’s important to plan your statement well.
A well-written personal statement with a clear structure will make the information “pop”, and demonstrate you understand how to prepare an important academic document – a crucial skill needed for many college and university courses. There’s no “right” way to structure your veterinary nursing personal statement, however it’s a good idea to include:
- A clear introduction, explaining why you want to study the course and become a registered veterinary nurse
- A section focusing on your work experience and academic achievements, to show how you’re qualified to study veterinary nursing
- A section about any relevant hobbies, interests, extracurricular activities or personal achievements, to show what else makes you suitable to study veterinary nursing
- A clear conclusion that is memorable and unique to you
Writing a sparkling introduction and leave a lasting impression
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression that first impressions count. Your introduction is the first thing your reader will see, so you need your opening lines to grab attention and set yourself apart from the other applicants. Vague statements about loving science and animals don’t always make the cut. What qualities and personal experiences do you bring to the table which shaped your character and would make you an excellent veterinary nurse? What makes every applicant unique is that they will have a genuine reason for wanting to study something, so make sure they know what your reason is!
Talk about your experiences working in a veterinary setting
Your veterinary nursing personal statement is a key opportunity for you to communicate your work experience in further detail and explain how it has prepared you for the challenges and requirements you will face as a student veterinary nurse.
Firstly, you need to ensure you have achieved the minimum work-related requirements needed to apply for your chosen programme. Work experience is really important when applying for competitive veterinary nursing programmes, so any relevant animal and equine related work experience over and above the minimum requirements will be looked on favourably and will demonstrate that you understand the profession you will be joining. Think about what skills, knowledge and behaviours your work experience has taught you. More than this, explain how those skills will help you be a better student veterinary nurse. Use examples from your work experience to show what you learnt about the role of a veterinary nurse. For example, thinking about the reality of dealing with owners as well as the animals.
What kind of work experience should I have?
You need to refer to your individual course requirements to answer this questions. Usually you should have some work experience in a clinical setting, such as a small animal practice. Work experience in a veterinary hospital or referral organisation would also be advantageous. Any other ‘animal experience’ such as working in a stables, farm, kennels/cattery shows you aren’t afraid of hard work and you have a clear understanding of what working with animals is all about.
Explain why you want to be a veterinary nurse
Ensure that you explain why specifically you want to be a nurse – and make sure it’s personal. This may seem like obvious advice, however sometimes your intentions can get lost under vague statements about loving science and animals, which don’t always stand out in a pile of applications. You need to explain your motivations for wanting to become a veterinary nurse, and use the opportunity to show you really understand what the role is all about. There isn’t an easy answer to this question, or a ‘best way’ to do it. You just need to be honest and avoid clichés, gimmicks, exaggerations or waffling.
It’s not all about loving animals… think about other skills you will need as a veterinary nurse
Veterinary nurses use their technical knowledge and expertise to care for our pets with skill and empathy every single day. It goes without saying that working as a veterinary nurse is a great choice for those who are caring, giving and motivated to do the best for animals. However, it’s important not to lose sight of the fact there are also lots of other skills and qualities that can help someone succeed in the role, for example: interpersonal skills, good communication, team working, good customer service skills and so on. Everyone will talk about their love of animals in a veterinary nursing personal statement, and it’s important to showcase your love of them too – but think about how you can show you possess the other really important qualities and skills too.
Additional qualifications, hobbies and interests can help
You need to ensure you have achieved the minimum entry requirements needed to apply for your chosen programme.
In addition, relevant extracurricular activities, hobbies and interests can be used to showcase transferrable skills and knowledge that can help you study veterinary nursing. Hobbies that demonstrate leadership and responsibility are even better, and could be suitable for lots of different veterinary nursing programmes. Your extracurriculars should show how you manage your time and that you have a life outside of studying. Remember to always bring it back to relevant skills – for example teamwork, problem solving, leadership, dedication and so on.
Anything that shows you have the ability to face a challenge, or have a sense of community responsibility, will stand in good stead in a veterinary nursing personal statement. However, make sure you explain why certain hobbies and interests will help you in a career as a veterinary nurse – don’t just list hobbies with no comment.
Veterinary nursing personal statement writing includes spelling and grammar checking
A common piece of advice given to people who want to know how to write a good personal statement is: check your personal statement for grammar and spelling mistakes.
It may be repeated by admissions departments and careers advisors alike, but there’s a reason for this. For certain courses, you could be one of 100s of applicants. When faced with so much competition, you really need to go the extra mile to make sure your personal statement is free of silly mistakes. It makes all the difference. If you know that spelling and grammar is a personal weakness, use a grammar checker such as Grammarly to help you. If you want to brush up on your English skills, you could even undertake one of our Functional Skills English courses.
Avoid the predictable in your veterinary nursing personal statement and write like a human
Are you a hardworking, motivated individual that works well within a team? There are plenty of buzzwords that admissions departments will see over and over again. Anyone can write ‘enthusiastic’ or ‘organised’. However, it is better if the experiences, qualifications and achievements you write about in your personal statement make these attributes self-evident. Try to portray your personality and tell your individual story using your writing style – let them know who you are without repeating your basic application information. Find out the top 10 most over-used buzzwords on LinkedIn.
In addition, it’s important to demonstrate professionalism in your personal statement, and your language can go a long way towards achieving this. However, overusing long words and technical jargon can sometimes have the opposite effect. Avoid using lots of unnecessary words in your writing. Instead, take note of George Orwell’s six rules for clear and concise writing and impress admissions with your concise personal statement. You only have so many words. So, if a sentence is not adding to your essay and helping you prove your point, let it go.
Learn from others
When it comes to writing a good personal statement, take advantage of the people around you to gain feedback.
It may be worth speaking to a careers advisor, or contacting an admissions department to ask for tips and advice. Seeking constructive feedback from others is the quickest way to make improvements to your work.
If you’ve spent a lot of time working on the same piece of writing, it’s harder to recognise any silly mistakes you’ve made. This is where your family and friends come in. Give your personal statement to someone else to read, check for errors and provide feedback.
Remember you’re not the first person trying to write a great personal statement, and you certainly won’t be the last. There’s nothing wrong with taking a look at how other people have approached their statements. As long as you do not copy others’ work, reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of other statements can help you identify how to improve your own.
Don’t overthink your veterinary nursing personal statement
It isn’t easy staring at a blank page, so just write. It is much easier to work with a poor first draft, than it is no writing at all. In addition, please do not be put off from applying if, for example, you have not completed extra studies in animal care or do not have years of work experience. Good veterinary nurses come from all walks of life, with varying amounts of prior experience. Colleges and universities will welcome each application on its own merit.
You have lots to offer and the right veterinary nursing course is out there for you. Taking the time to develop your personal statement will help you find it.
Veterinary Nurse Training at The College of Animal Welfare
If you’re interested in training as a veterinary nurse, we offer a range of veterinary nurse qualifications. This includes Further Education (Level 3 Diploma) through to Higher Education (FdSc and BSc Honours) programmes. We are one of the largest veterinary nurse training providers in the UK. Find out more about our veterinary nursing programmes
- Interested in training as veterinary nurse? Find out more here
- Find out more about A Career as a Veterinary Nurse
- Download our Veterinary Nursing Career Guide
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