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Are you a Vet Student Thinking about Applying to an Internship?

Posted by Flavia Vaduva on September 16, 2019 at 8:13 PM
Flavia Vaduva
Flavia Vaduva is a general practice Veterinarian and product manager for VetPrep. She has a passion for veterinary medicine, education and business management. She really enjoys interacting with veterinary students and veterinary professionals. She spends her free time riding horses and traveling to explore new places!

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Are you a 4th year vet student thinking about applying to an internship? With so many options, how do you narrow down where to apply?

Start by taking these factors into account in your decision-making process!

The numbers count a lot!

For programs that are a part of the VIRMP (colloquially known as the “match”), on the individual summary pages on the website, you can see a lot of quantitative information that can factor into your decision-making. One number that is often honed in on is the placement into residency programs. Understandably, because of a lot of interns are interested in applying to residencies after, this number really matters! Others numbers to consider how many/the distribution of specialists are affiliated with the program, how many people have started and completed the program and number of support personnel. 

Don’t forget the logistics 

For a variety of reasons, the geographic location of the program matters.  While it can be helpful to remain as open-minded about the location as possible, if you do have geographic restrictions, make sure to identify those early on in the application process. Another important factor is pay. For example, while most internships salary are roughly around the same, there are a few that offer more. Depending on your personal budget and lifestyle, this difference may be a significant factor so make sure to look into that. 

Remember that sometimes, reputation matters!

20190814_VP social media-22Veterinary medicine is a small world. Chances are, if you’re looking to find out more about a program (especially a well-known one), you can probably get more information by asking around. Someone in your network will probably know someone who interned or externed there. While you shouldn’t rely on word-of-mouth alone to decide about whether or not to apply and rank a program, it can be helpful for a quick screening! 

Keep your long-term goals in mind 

20190814_VP social media-21If you’re applying to an internship, you probably have an idea about two things.

1) You probably know if you’re doing an internship because it is required to apply to a residency and or 2) if you just want more clinical experience.

If you’re in the first bucket and you know what your long-term goal, the first step is to look for programs that offer the specialty area you’re interested in.

The next step is to see how much elective time you will have to spend on that area of interest. For example, if you’re a veterinary student that wants to eventually do a residency in Cardiology, it is wise (though not at all required) to apply to programs that offer this speciality.

This can be beneficial for a number of reasons. You’ll get more exposure to cases and learn more about in your area of interest, you’ll hopefully get to build relationships with Cardiologists and you will solidify that it is absolutely what you want to pursue. 

…But define your short-term goals, too 

Do you want to spend a lot of time in the ER? Do you want to have a lot of primary case responsibility? Do you prefer to be supervised or unsupervised in an emergency? How high of a case load are you looking for? Are you looking for a good amount of didactic training?

On the program’s summary page, you can see details such as these that pertain to the structure of the program. These important details include case load, schedule, elective time and case responsibility.  Make sure your personal goals match the expectations of the program! 

While it’s important to take the aforementioned factors into consideration, it may also be wise to consider doing an externship or visiting the hospitals that you’re interested in. Want more information about applying to internships and residencies? Check out 7 Cardinal Rules Every Applicant Should Know about Applying to the VIRMP. 

Disclaimer: VetPrep is not affiliated with the VIRMP.  

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