Today we are featuring an interview with Brittany Newtown. Like many current vet students, Brittany followed her childhood dream of becoming a vet and made it into Western University. Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine opened in 1998 as the first new College of Veterinary Medicine in the United States in over than twenty years. It has been accredited since 2010.
The curriculum is a problem-based curriculum, rather than lecture based.
The steps to becoming a vet and how to get into vet school can look a little bit different for everyone, we have a few other interviews with Western students below.
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If you are thinking about applying to one of the accredited veterinary schools, they all have different requirements. Some schools require organic chemistry lecture and lab. Other schools just lecture, and then some require organic chemistry lecture and lab for orgo 1 but just lecture for orgo 2. This book will lay it all out for you in a comprehensive guide. Check it out here: Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements (VMSAR)
Name, Veterinary School attended, and year that you started.
Brittany Newtown, Western University of Health Sciences, 2013
What was your major in undergraduate college?
At what age did you first apply to vet school?
How many schools did you apply to?
How many application cycles did you apply to, before being accepted?
How many schools invited you for an interview?
How many of those gave you an acceptance letter?
Do you remember any specifically challenging interview questions at Western University of Health Sciences or any of the other schools that you interviewed at?
One question was, “Tell me about a time that you failed and how you handled that?” I took this question literally and talked about a time I failed a course in my undergraduate. (I do not recommend that!!) However, my failing of this course was due to a couple deaths in the family so I discussed how I coped with the situation.
There were quite a few questions on how you work with others and deal with conflict in the workplace or at school.
I would recommend having a few situations in mind before your interview.
There were some questions about the ethics of certain procedures conducted throughout Vet school such as using animals for educational purposes in anatomy labs or for surgeries.
What types of paying jobs did you have before going to Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine?
Intern for Enforcement, Investigation, Analysis Officer for the United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety Inspection Service
How many people read your personal statement before submitting it?
About 2, my dad and a close friend of mine.
Did you work at a vet’s office?
Only during high school as a job shadowing opportunity.
Did you volunteer? If so, where?
Red Bucket Equine Rescue, same clinic that I job shadowed at
When did you decide to become a vet?
Oh goodness, I cannot remember. I remember that this was always my dream career even as a child.
Did you interview any vets before starting the application process?
No, I did not but thinking back on it that would have been a good idea.
Were you a member of the pre-vet club at your school?
Did you join student clubs in your DVM program at Western University of Health Sciences? If so, which ones?
Yes. I was the president of the Student Chapter of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists, treasurer of the parasitology club, I was also the student representative to the California Veterinary Medical Association.
Did you apply for vet school after, or during your Bachelor’s education?
Did you get your letters of recommendation from professors or veterinarians? Did you know them well?
I had letters from veterinarians, professors, as well as my supervisor from the USDA. My professor and supervisor, I knew pretty well, the veterinarian I did not. I think that it is best to choose someone who knows you well.
Are you happy that you chose this career?
Extremely, I could not imagine doing anything else
Do you have any advice for students, once accepted? Celebrate! I took a weeklong vacation and I am so glad I did, Vet school is very demanding so enjoy these last moments off.
For me, it was best to study in groups. Studying with others can help point things out that you don’t know and help solidify things that you do know plus it makes it much more manageable.
Take breaks! Don’t burn yourself out; Vet school is 4 long, difficult years.
Learn your study style and practice it. Whether it is visual or auditory just try to implement it as best you can.
Have there been any classes, within your DVM program that were especially relatable to your current position?
Clinical rotations are the best way I learn. I learn best through hands-on experience.
What was the most challenging class, in your DVM program at Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine?
Pharmacology, I found that I learned this better while rotating in clinics and actually using and choosing the drugs.
Do you have a specialty or are you working towards one?
No, just passing my boards!
What has been your most challenging case?
Still a student but I had a case assigned to me as a third year that was a sick puppy. I thought he had pneumonia but he would not improve despite my best efforts. After a few days, it was believed that he had distemper and the rescue organization that was in charge of him had decided to euthanize
Do you frequently have to research cases, on off hours?
Have you read or listened to anything worth sharing?
Vetprep helped a lot when studying for boards. I also recommend reading of listening to anything that can help you relax and wind down after studying, something to help keep your mental wellness intact.
Do you have any last words of wisdom?
As stressful and crazy as these 4 years can be, don’t forget to enjoy it. You may not feel like you’re learning anything but trust me, you are. One day you will look back on your first year and realize how far you have come.
Mental wellness and I can’t stress this enough. Vet school is hard and life doesn’t stop once you get accepted you will have to face some very stressful situations and family and friends might not understand that. If you ever start to feel down or depressed it is so important that you talk to someone! Please