The University of Melbourne Veterinary Science degree allows a graduate to register to practice as a veterinarian throughout Australia, New Zealand, North America and in the United Kingdom. They are on the list of accredited Veterinary Colleges.
Dr. Dawn, who graduated from the University of Melbourne says “It’s worth the climb. It’s going to be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, but it’s worth it. You are going to find yourself crying in the middle of the supermarket at some point but DON’T GIVE UP!”
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Check out this book: Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements (VMSAR) to help you navigate all of the requirements for each college.
Name, Veterinary School attended, and year that you started.
Dr. Dawn Chong; University of Melbourne; 2004
*All photos are from Dr. Dawn’s IG@dawnlikesmanatees, you can laugh along with all of Pazuzu and Sally’s antics.*
What was your major in undergrad?
Back in the day, Veterinary science was offered as a Bachelors degree in Australia.
How many schools/application cycles did you apply to before being accepted?
5 Schools, 1 application cycle.
How many schools invited you for an interview?
How many of those gave you an acceptance letter?
If you were accepted to more than one school, what were some reasons for your choice of school?
The choice of vet school came down to:
1) Location (since this was going to be a long course, I wanted to be somewhere I knew I’d enjoy exploring)
2) Cost! Tuition fees were expensive, and more so in some universities, so that was definitely a consideration.
What was your GPA (in undergraduate)?
I did the GCE A-Levels (British education system ) and acquired 3As and a B
Did you have exotic, large and small animal experience prior to applying to veterinary school?
I had no clinical experience prior to entering Vet school. My work experience was limited to volunteering at shelters, but I did not get a chance to work with the Vets there. Mainly walked the dogs, cleaned the animal holding areas etc.
What types of paying jobs did you have before going to veterinary school?
Just some small jobs spilling coffee at restaurants 🙂
Did you volunteer? If so, where?
Yes, at the local shelter (SPCA) in Singapore
How many people read your personal statement before submitting it?
When did you decide to become a vet?
When I was 15 and realized I’m a misanthrope and had given up on people. No, really. : )
Did you interview any vets before starting the application process? If so how did you approach them?
I didn’t have a proper sit-down with them, just spoke to them about their vocation when I happened to bring my pets for Vet checks.
Did you join student clubs/orgs while at The University of Melbourne? Were they helpful?
Just recreational ones like the horse-riding club, they helped in the sense that they preserved my sanity.
Who gave you your letters of recommendation? Did you know them well?
I got letters from my professors only. I didn’t get a chance to know them very well, but
they were always kindly.
Are you happy that you chose this career? What makes you most happy about this career choice?
Yes, the animals are a joy. The people, not always, but I have developed coping mechanisms
to not take things personally when people are rude.
Do you treat all animals?
I treat dogs, cats, birds, and pocket pets like rabbits and hamsters. I haven’t had a chance to work with reptiles, as it’s not legal in
Singapore to keep most reptiles. We also don’t have a lot of large animals (cattle, horses, etc) here.
Do you have any advice for students, once accepted?
Do work experience at your local Vet whenever you can! It helps with the transition from University to the workplace when the time comes.
Any study tips?
I’m going to give advice which helps but I failed to follow (and regretted): CONSISTENT REVISION.
What I mean by this is be consistent with revision. I tended towards only studying when I HAD TO (ie JUST BEFORE exams), but if you make it a point to revise and review what you’ve been taught regularly in small digestible portions, you’d save yourself a lot of stress! Also, the practical part of the course + work experience in clinics etc would make a lot more sense, when you’re up to scratch on the theory side of things! 🙂
Were there any classes, at The University of Melbourne College of Veterinary Science, that would be considered especially relatable to your current position?
While studying for my BVSc, at The University of Melbourne all the classes turned out helpful, even the ones which I thought
were a waste of petrol getting to when I had to make the drive to campus.
What was the most challenging class, in your DVM program?
Can I pick two? cardiology & ophthalmology.
Was there anything in particular about your BVSc program or the University of Melbourne that you liked?
As a Doctor, have there been any particular cases that were your favorite?
No clear favorites, but I love treating the lymphoma cases, as those are usually
rewarding and you tend to form strong bonds with the pet + families.
Do you have a specialty or are you working towards one?
No specialty yet. I am keen on soft tissue surgery and oncology.
What has been your most challenging case?
A dog that had what looked like a bee sting reaction, but the swollen muzzle turned out to be cancer with a secondary MRSA infection.
Do you frequently have to research cases, on off hours?
ALL THE TIME!
Tell us about the animals that you currently share your home with.
Tell us the story about how you found Pazu.
Pazu was found traipsing on the road one sunny afternoon by my friend Gin, who works with SPCA. He was brought into the shelter, and
after a week of nobody coming forward to claim him, they asked if I’d like to take care of him. And that’s how we came to be!
Do you bring Pazu or Sally to work with you?
Pazu and Sally have both been to work with me, but they prefer the comfort of home, so I only bring them to work occasionally!
Have you read or listened to anything worth sharing?
Check out Ted Morris – a veterinarian who also happens to perform standup comedy!
Do you have any last words of wisdom?
It’s worth the climb. It’s going to be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, but it’s worth it.
You are going to find yourself crying in the middle of the supermarket at some point but DON’T GIVE UP!
How can people find you? (Social media or email)