The “tell me about yourself” vet school interview question is inevitably going to come up. It might be a variant of the question, phrased slightly differently, but ultimately, this question will be presented to you by the . It is wise to give some thought to how you are going to answer beforehand because this is a question you can prepare for.
A great way to do this is to consider some examples, what makes them work so well, and how you can formulate a similar answer to your own question when the time comes. There’s a lot to keep in mind and a lot to practice. This article provides a comprehensive view of this essential question by considering its purpose and presenting some examples of answers, in addition to providing some general interview advice for veterinary school interviews.
Your answer to any should help the admissions committee see why you are the perfect candidate for their vet school. All questions come down to why they should choose you over another applicant. This means that you should seek opportunities to identify yourself with the job you hope to perform one day, but also ways that you connect with the particular educational institution that you are applying to.
Want to get an idea of how to answer the "Tell Me About Yourself" question? Watch this video:
Of course, “tell me about yourself” has its own peculiarities. This statement is a bit tricky because while it is trying to determine whether you are an ideal candidate, it does so from an oblique angle: you have to talk about yourself. Some of your answer can directly address your desire to be a veterinarian, but you shouldn’t spend the entire time just talking about why you want to be a vet. There is a whole other question that will be asked about that subject.
You also want to keep your answer to about two minutes, so you don’t want to ramble on and on; you need to stay focused.
Pick one or two things about yourself and run with those. Discussing hobbies or activities you enjoy is great because they will provide insight into who you are, and your passion and excitement will come across as you talk about them. The other primary criterion that you should use to determine what to talk about should be the relevance of your subject to veterinary sciences, becoming a veterinarian, and the institution or program you are applying to.
Let’s take a look at some examples of possible answers:
My father taught me to be an active person. He impressed on me how important it is to be invested in a wide range of pursuits while remaining focused on my priorities, such as my studies.
Like him, I run in all seasons and in all types of weather. I love to push myself and see how far and how fast I can go, and I’m not going to let rain, snow, or sleet stop me any more than I would the pounding heat of the hot sun. I just dress differently for each one.
I always take my dog, Champion, with me when I run. He needs the exercise as much as I do because without those runs, we’d be sitting around the apartment. Running helps me reset, so that I can deal with anything else I have to do that day, whether it is studying, cleaning my apartment, or organizing my week.
I also enjoy reading. I read for my studies, of course, but I’ll read anything I can get my hands on that is interesting and stimulating. I’m an avid reader of philosophy and poetry. I find that running helps for intellectual pursuits as well. It lets me think about what I’ve been reading and gives me time to form my own thoughts and opinions. So, for me, along with my studies, my most valued activities are my daily runs and my reading time.
It turns out that my father’s advice was pretty good, as this approach has helped me maintain a healthy work–life balance during some very busy periods.
What makes this a great answer?
This answer focuses on three aspects of the speaker’s personality – their running, their routine, and their reading – all activities an admissions committee might find appealing.
Very quickly, this response lets the listener know that the applicant is dedicated, focused on their priorities, and driven, while making time for a personal life that includes exercise and intellectual pursuits.
Furthermore, the speaker establishes that they value family – by citing their father’s advice – and animals – by talking about their companion, their dog Champion.
Because it highlights several admirable qualities and a direct connection to animals, this answer will impress a committee.
I am the sociable girl at the party who is just talking to everyone, finding out their stories and making friends. I am a proud extrovert, and for me, this has opened so many doors in my life.
One of the ways being an extrovert influenced me the most was that I decided to learn a second language as soon as I could. I can now speak three different languages – French, Spanish, and Portuguese – in addition to English, and this lets me talk to a lot more people and get to know them and hear from them on their own terms.
It’s one of the things I like most about animals – the ways they communicate, the complexity of some of those forms – like how crows and dolphins caw and click and carry information with such intelligence. There are other communication forms that, while being subtle or unreadable to humans, are direct, basic, and straightforward, because they need to be.
Extroversion has also brought me to dance clubs; I love to dance, but I also feel like this is just another way we communicate with each other. It resembles animal communication because it’s a more physical form of communication. I love to tune into that primal connection with people.
I think communication is very important, whether it’s physical, vocal, or online, and whether it’s between people or animals. It’s more important than ever in our world, too. But basically, I just love people, animals, and connection.
What makes this a great answer?
First, the sheer enthusiasm of this speaker comes through in the text and ignites it. You can feel her passion and energy, and that’s always fun. While you don’t want to be overbearing by any means, you absolutely should be excited and animated. This makes you more memorable and friendly – you definitely want to be both of those things.
This speaker also gives us a great, comprehensive overview of who she is and what she is like; while she seems fun and exciting, she lets us know that she isn’t just chatting with people, she is connecting. By focusing on communication – including animal communication to point to her motivation to become a veterinarian – she manages to keep the whole answer devoted to a thought-provoking examination of connection, a key quality for someone in this profession.
Wondering how to prepare for a college interview? Check out this infographic:
It was a long time coming, and it felt like it, but I achieved a personal goal last year when I got to play my clarinet for a theater full of people as part of a local fundraising event. I’m a very shy person, so this was a major step forward in overcoming a hurdle that had been holding me back from what I really want in life. I had long dreamed of being able to play my clarinet in this kind of capacity – in front of people and as part of a group – and I got to do both.
The pieces of music we played were also very challenging, so I had to push myself as a musician a lot further than I have previously gone. Playing with other people requires a great deal of focus and understanding, as well as teamwork and cooperation. It was also a very rewarding experience because the fundraiser was for the local SPCA – it represented the perfect vertex of my love for music and my love for animals.
Developing my musical skills has impacted most other areas of my life. I’ve been really enjoying my lab work in school and working as part of a team of students there has been a lot easier since I became involved in a small orchestra. In general, I have a better sense of our individual contributions and how they work together to produce an effect that could not be achieved alone.
As I move forward, I hope to apply these lessons of personal excellence and teamwork to my studies and the veterinary profession to push myself further and achieve my full potential. Even if I make mistakes along the way – which happens a lot in clarinet as well – I know I can press on and realize my best self.
What makes this a great answer?
This response starts out with the speaker talking about a goal they have just accomplished and that they have been looking forward to for a while. In a couple of sentences, they communicate passion, perseverance, and the desire to work through hardship.
The speaker also alludes to how their musical experiences relate to and inform their academic experiences, without dwelling on this aspect. Remember: you want to focus on who you are, not your studies or goals. If all you can do is talk about veterinary sciences, the admissions committee might think you don’t have a life outside of studies or a personality outside of your career goals. Again, while it is okay to touch on that kind of thing, a far better response focuses mainly on you and your personal interests.
While formulating your answer, you’ll want to focus on a clear structure. First, just like with an essay, you should start with something of a hook. This doesn’t have to be a specific sentence that you memorized but rather, an opening line or two that will pique the listener’s interest and make you a more interesting subject.
You should then transition smoothly into speaking on the one or two subjects that you have planned in advance by first developing them as bullet points on a series of index cards, for example. Devote a few sentences to each of these subjects.
Knowing how you will end and wrap it all up will keep you succinct in your delivery.
Tips for acing the "tell me about yourself" vet school interview question:
- Stay focused: you might be tempted to discuss something else or go off on a tangent, but at most you should allude to other subjects and keep on with your main idea. This will prevent you from rambling.
- Don’t memorize your answer: you want this to sound a little off-the-cuff, not robotic.
- Touch on your interest in the sciences, your love for animals, any animal-related experiences and skills you have, and any vet-specific examples or stories.
The best traits to highlight in your answer:
Using the expert advice and quality examples provided in this article, you should have no trouble formulating your own answers for “tell me about yourself” in your vet school interview.
Remember to plan what you’re going to say, practice, and hone your answer down to a couple of minutes. For extra help preparing for your interview, consider , which can be tailored to veterinary school applications to ensure you will perform optimally in your own interview.
1. Can I go over two minutes?
Yes, but three minutes is the max: you don’t want to go on too long or risk rambling. Restrict yourself to one or two concepts.
2. Do I have to mention animals?
No, not necessarily. You should just give a good sense of your qualities as a person and how they relate to your goal of becoming a veterinarian, even if you don’t mention animals explicitly in this answer.
3. Should I talk directly about the school or program that I am applying for?
No, this question is about you. “Why did you choose our school?” will give you a perfect time to address their institution directly.
4. What if I can’t pick two or three qualities to talk about?
Start with a list of qualities or aspects of yourself and narrow it down by circling those you are most passionate about. You can form an answer around just one idea, or pick a second.
5. What do I do if I freeze up on the day?
Mock interviews help with nerves, but you can also prevent this from happening by studying hard, planning your interview, and boosting your confidence.
If you do freeze on the day, focusing on your breathing, ask for a minute, and engage the strategies you prepared.
6. Are there wrong answers to this question? How honest can I be?
With only have a couple minutes to answer, you shouldn’t get into anything too “big.” Generally speaking, stick to positive subjects that are integral to who you are.
7. Is it okay if there’s overlap between this answer and other answers?
Yes. Just make sure that you focus on the direct question. If you wind up covering one area twice, that’s okay, as long as it’s pertinent to the direct question.
8. Is a vet school interview different from other types of admission interviews?
No, not really. Your specific answers will concern your interest in becoming a veterinarian, but the questions themselves will be a mix of standard questions that are asked as and vet-specific questions.