32 Questions and Answers Written by Professional Interviewers
Question 1 of 32
At Auburn University we want students who have a true passion for veterinary medicine. What appeals to you most, about working in the field of veterinary sciences?
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The interviewers would like to understand what drives your pursuit of a career in the field of veterinary medicine. Your core passion is what will keep you going on the toughest of days at Auburn University. For the interviewers to understand how to motivate you, they need to know what fires you up!
It is okay to share a personal story when answering this question. Perhaps you can discuss what initiated your interested in attending veterinary school to begin with. Whatever drives you, make sure the interviewers can feel your passion!
"There are a number of factors that drive my passion for a career in veterinary medicine. If I had to pinpoint one main driver, I would say that saving the lives of precious animals, every day, is the most significant for me. Every animal deserves a happy, healthy life and I plan to live that mantra by being the best at what I do, and giving my all to my patients, every day."
It is important that Auburn University exercises great discernment when choosing applicants. What is your plan if you are not accepted into veterinary school this year?
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The interviewers want to know that you have thought out all options, and scenarios, in the event that you are not accepted to Auburn University.
The way that you answer this question will also show the interviewers that you have an interest in veterinary studies that goes deeper than your acceptance into their school.
If you are not accepted, show that you will then take a different path into Veterinary Pharmaceutical Sales, or Military Dog Care, for instance.
Or, you can let the interviewers know that one rejection won't stop you at all! Talk about your plan to reapply, if rejected.
Whatever the path you would choose, it's important you show the interviewers that you have confidence, and drive. It'll take more than one rejection to keep you down!
"Should I not be accepted into your school the first time, I plan to reapply the following year. I would take that year to upgrade any required courses and prepare an even stronger application. My life's goal is to become a veterinarian and I certainly won't take one rejection as a final answer."
In your opinion, what is the most concerning issue facing veterinarian sciences, today?
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Being an aspiring veterinarian means that you need to take a keen interest in current events by closely following the challenges this industry faces. The interviewers want to see that your interest is deep and that you spend time learning, and understanding, the challenges you will face in your future career as a veterinarian.
Discuss what you feel to be a primary concerning issue, and be sure to ask the interviewers what they personally see as the most concerning issue in the field today. This is an opportunity to start a very insightful conversation.
"I feel that the most concerning issue in the veterinary industry is the continual rise in the cost of emergency animal services. The best care should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial or social status. Sometimes emergency pricing is so high that people cannot save their beloved pets simply out of cost. What do you feel are the most concerning issues facing the medical industry today?"
Veterinary school is expensive. Have you made a solid financial plan for tuition costs at Auburn University, and beyond?
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The interviewers want to be assured that you will be able to afford the tuition associated with Auburn University. Veterinary school is an investment and you need to be sure that you can handle the financial requirements associated with your acceptance. Keep your answer brief, and to the point. Simply let the interviewers know that you have a solid financial plan for your medical schooling.
"I have been making arrangements for many years to afford attendance at Auburn University. My finances are in good order."
Tell us about your overall academic performance, so far. Where have you excelled, and where could you improve?
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The interviewers want to know how your undergraduate program has prepared you for attending veterinary school at Auburn University. Discuss what interested you the most, and where you had the biggest challenges. While attending undergraduate studies, you likely learned some core skills that would be transferable to your time at Auburn University.
Think about what you learned:
- Time Management
- Creative Thinking
- Proposal Writing
- Public Speaking
- Presentation Building
- Independent Learning
- Academic Research
"I am very proud of my achievements during my undergrad education. Those courses added so much value that I will bring to my graduate program. My best courses included X, Y, and Z. I feel that I excelled in these because they are related to the specialty I plan to end up in. As far as areas of improvement, I think that I can better myself in terms of time management. I overextended myself last semester with volunteer opportunities and my study time suffered slightly. Now that I have identified the reason behind my time management challenges, I will only see improvement, moving forward."
6. Why should we accept you over another veterinary student with the same qualifications? The interviewers are looking for unique qualities and statements that make you stand out from the other students wishing to attend Auburn University.
Put yourself in their position. You are looking at multiple talented candidates, all have stellar grades, all have drive, and all have potential to be renowned Auburn University alumni. What would be the primary reason to choose YOU over everyone else?
Some things that make you a stand out candidate:
- Recent volunteer work
- An existing connection to the faculty or facility
- A memorable and personal story of struggle and triumph
- An unusual skill such as speaking multiple languages, or knowing sign language
- An additional degree, diploma, or certification
- Proof that you continually focus on personal and professional development Here is an answer example: "I believe I am the strongest student for your veterinary program because I am incredibly dedicated to my professional and personal development. Since beginning my undergraduate program I have committed to taking a personal development workshop twice per year. The topics have included communication, person-ability, multi-tasking, organization, and even persuasive writing. I plan to take these skills and apply them to my graduate studies as well."7. What do you feel is the single most important quality a veterinarian should possess? The interviewers want to see that you have some insight into the desired qualities and characteristics of a veterinarian. This is an opportunity to give a unique answer so try to dig deeper than "good communication skills" or "strong attention to detail".
Some ideas for you:
- Unrelenting drive
- Desire for improvement
- Patience and Fortitude
- Self Confidence Here is an answer example: "good communication skills"8. At Auburn University we believe in the continual development of our students, both professionally and personally. What is your self-development plan? Having a self-development plan is incredibly important for anyone. The interviewers want to know what your plan is, and how attending Auburn University will be beneficial to that plan. If they are going to invest in you, they need to know that you have a plan in place for investing in yourself also.
Some ideas for self-development:
- Listening to an inspiring podcaster
- Attending personal development workshops
- Spending time volunteering in a capacity related to your career goals
- Utilizing a mentor
- Hiring a tutor
- Learning another language
- Reading books associated with success Here is an answer example: "I agree that self-development is crucial for continual growth and achievement. I am committed to investing in myself and some of the ways I do this is by attending personal development workshops, and meeting with my mentor once per month."9. Talk to us about your current GPA. Are you satisfied with your current GPA or would you change it if you could? Talk to the interviewers about your undergrad experience.
If you were satisfied with your GPA: "I graduated top of my class and am very proud of my accomplishments during my undergraduate studies. The experience taught me to study hard and set attainable goals for myself."
If you were not satisfied with your GPA: "I feel that my GPA could have been higher; however, I was working full time while attending classes. All in all, I did learn a lot about discipline and commitment." Here is an answer example: "I graduated top of my class and am very proud of my accomplishments during my undergraduate studies. The experience taught me to study hard and set attainable goals for myself."10. What is your favorite area of veterinary medicine so far? Which is your least favorite? Why? By understanding your strongest areas of interest, the interviewers are able to predict which of the courses you will enjoy most at Auburn University, and how you will fit into their student population and culture. Talk about where your strongest interests currently are, when it comes to the field of veterinary medicine. Here is an answer example: "At this point in my studies, I am most interested in Emergency and Critical Care as I have always enjoyed working at a very fast pace and perform best under pressure. Also, the majority of my volunteer experience has been around emergency animal issues. The area of veterinary medicine that I find to be my least favorite so far is Laboratory Animal Medicine. I have not excelled in the area of bio-science; however, I have hired a tutor to ensure my grades remain above average regardless of my natural interest."11. If you could meet anyone in the history of veterinary medicine, who would you choose and why? This is more of a personal interest question, and you really cannot give a wrong answer here. Think back to any of the' founding fathers' (and mothers!) of animal medicine. Who has a story that resonates with you the most? What did they overcome, and how can you relate? What did they discover / create / invent that you admire so much? It's also a great idea to think of the most burning question you would have for that individual. Be sure to add passion to your answer so that the interviewers can sense a true interest. Here is an answer example: "If I could meet anyone in the history of veterinary medicine, I would meet Dr. Sophia Yin. She was a trailblazer when it came to force-free, and positive reinforcement training for dogs. She developed so many admirable methods and training options for veterinarians and pet owners."12. What questions do you have for us about Auburn University? It is very important that you come to your interview prepared with questions for the interviewers at Auburn University. Having prepared questions shows the panel that you are keenly interested in what they do, specifically, at Auburn University.
Remember that people like to talk about what they know! By having insightful questions prepared, you are setting the stage for the interviewers to tell you many important and helpful details about their process, and their educational facility. Keep the majority of your question academically related. Asking too much about the culture, social life, and extra-curricular activities may cause you to appear unfocused.
Here are some ideas:
- If you could give me any piece of advice, what would that be?
- Is there anything in my application, or anything that I said in today's interview, that I can clarify for you?
- What is the most important thing I should know about my first week at Auburn University, should I be accepted?
- Can you tell me about some of the exciting opportunities I could take advantage of, should I attend Auburn University?
- What do you feel is the most unique offering at Auburn University, compared to others in the area? Here is an answer example: "I would love to learn more about this university, from your perspective. What is the biggest competitive edge Auburn University has over it's competitors?"13. What do you know about Auburn University? It's likely that the interviewers at Auburn University have seen hundreds of applicants, so a question like this is an opportunity for you to stand out. If you are lucky enough to land an interview, make some effort to conduct research on the school. You don't need to be an expert on their entire history, but you do need to be knowledgeable on their programs, culture, and recent accolades.
Start by searching their website and take special note of any recent news articles, events or contributions they have made to the community or student body. Identify their mission and values so that you can be clear on what they stand for. Here is an answer example: "The passion for community and elevated learning at Auburn University really jumps out to me. It is probably why you are the longest standing university in the entire state. I also love the effort that Auburn University puts in when it comes to residencies and placements for your veterinary school graduates. It is very obvious that your faculty goes beyond the general expectations of a university to ensure it's students' success."14. Tell us about an area of weakness that you would like to improve on while attending Auburn University. Pick a weakness that is not a core skill for your success as a student. You can be candid in your answer; recognizing that you aren't great at something and acknowledging your need to improve. Be sure to have an action plan in place for improving on this weakness.
Perhaps you are watching TED talks to gain skills in a particular area, reading the latest-and-greatest book on the subject, or maybe you are taking a seminar at a nearby community center. We are all human with our own weaknesses, so don't be afraid to share yours! Here is an answer example: "I believe I could improve on my written and verbal communication skills as I tend to be more blunt than I would like to be at times. I have enrolled myself in a week long workshop this summer with the goal of becoming a more eloquent communicator. I hope to gain skills in this workshop that I can continue to utilize during my university career."15. What research did you conduct before choosing to apply to Auburn University? The interviewers want to know which considerations you put in before sending your application to Auburn University. What they really do not want to hear is that you blindly sent out a million applications, hoping that something would stick. Share with the interviewers the consideration you put into your application.
Some methods of consideration could have been:
- Talking to / interviewing alumni of Auburn University.
- Attending an open house at Auburn University.
- Extensive online research.
- Researching who the most renowned graduates of Auburn University veterinary program are.
- Meeting with a career counselor and asking for recommendations.
- Speaking with a current student at Auburn University, specifically someone in the program you are interested in. Here is an answer example: "I was sure to conduct a great deal of research before applying to Auburn University. I started by interviewing some alumni that I know, and I also spoke with a couple of your current students who are in the medical program. Last year I attended the open house here as well. Your school left a very positive impression on me which is why I chose to apply here."16. Tell us something that we would not know about you from reading your CV. The interviewers would like to get to know you apart from what is written on your CV and school transcripts. You are certainly not obligated to discuss personal matters such as your relationship status, for instance. Stick with a couple of fun facts to show the interviewers at Auburn University that you are a real person, too.
Your answer should be unique so that you are a memorable candidate! For example, you might share that you enjoy beat-boxing or making origami swans. Be prepared for the interviewers to ask you to perform your skill on the spot when its possible! (This will make you unforgettable!) Here is an answer example: "I am an avid marathon runner and have traveled to 10 countries in the last 3 years to compete in a variety of races. I am a competitive individual and enjoy keeping fit."17. What achievement are you most proud of, so far, on your path to becoming a veterinarian? The interviewers would like to know what areas of achievement are most important to you. Perhaps you have maintained an exceptional GPA or maybe you excelled in school while also working a part time job. Maybe you finished top of your class and received a special award for your achievements. Think of any accolades that you may have received along the way. Here is an answer example: "The achievement that I am most proud of, so far, was completing my undergrad, top of my class. While maintaining very strong grades, I was also President of our school's Diversity Club, and I spent time volunteering at the local animal hospital."18. What are you reading right now? Do you feed your mind on a regular basis? What kind of literature do you prefer and why? Talk to the interviewers about a book that you are currently reading. If you are not currently reading a book - talk about one that has impacted you the most. Here is an answer example: "Currently I am reading 'Ego is the Enemy' by Ryan Holiday. It is a book about ambition, resilience and success. I feel that everyone should read it - it comes highly recommended."19. Talk to us about your experience and thoughts on handling blood and other fluids. You will be subject to difficult scenarios in your role as a veterinarian. How do you feel about this? The interviewers want to know that you will be able to handle the difficult sights and experiences that you will come across in your career as a veterinarian. You can keep your answer simple by discussing your ability to handle events involving blood, and other fluids. Here is an answer example: "I have never been a queasy individual and I fully understand the types of cases that I will see in my career as a veterinarian. Currently, I work part time at our local emergency animal shelter and have seen a wide range of situations involving blood, and such. I don't think about the gore, but more about the fact that it's a helpless animal who needs my help. I believe this mentality will get me through any gruesome or undesirable situation."20. What other schools have you applied to and where does Auburn University rank? The interviewers would like to understand the types of schools you are interested in. Knowing where you are applying will help them to better understand if Auburn University will be able to meet your specific needs and educational desires or goals. You should be transparent when answering this question but be sure to avoid saying anything offensive such as 'this school is my last choice'. Pick out the number one reason why you want to attend Auburn University and focus on that. Here is an answer example: "I have applied to four other schools. Those schools are A, B, C, and D. My interest in Auburn University is strong because you are highly regarded in the industry of veterinary medicine. The reputation of Auburn University is unmatched. I would be so proud to say that I graduated from this school."21. As a veterinarian, you will be faced with the death of people's beloved pets on a frequent basis. How will you professionally cope with this reality? The interviewers want to know that you understand that facing death and loss is a workplace reality for a veterinarian. Assure the interviewers that you are capable of handling this tough reality on a regular basis. Here is an answer example: "I recently read a paper by Dr. Lea Baider and Dr. Simon Wein on the realities of medical professionals facing death on a regular basis. The paper suggested that those who are successful in dealing with the fact of death at appropriate times do so by compartmentalizing the events of their day. The paper went on to say that if a doctor is to split the mechanics of the problem from the emotional side, they can continue to function without the emotions getting in the way. I think this is a very good recommendation but it is also important to choose an appropriate time to address those emotions. For me, this would perhaps mean having a mentor or even counselor whom I could visit regularly. Also, not internalizing a death or placing blame on myself for the loss."22. Which veterinary sciences newspapers, journals or publications do you read to stay in touch with new medical discoveries, and current events? The interviewers want to see that you have a keen interest in continually learning your craft. Veterinary medicine is ever changing! Talk about how you stay up to date on industry trends, new breakthroughs, social concerns, and more.
List a couple of veterinary related medical journals that you like to read and discuss how often you dive into news related to animal science. Perhaps you subscribe to a particular magazine, blog, or follow certain social media accounts.
It's also a great idea to ask the interviewers about their favorite ways to stay in touch on industry related current events. Asking this question in return can make for a great dialogue, and you never know what you will learn! Here is an answer example: "I am sure to read Vet Practice Magazine, and Science Daily, on a regular basis. In addition to these resources, I also subscribe to Today's Vet. It's important to diversify where your news comes from and I would love some fresh suggestions. What are your favorite places for news on current trends?"23. As a future veterinarian, how do you plan to use your role to benefit members of your community? Do you think volunteering is important? The interviewers want to know that you see the importance of community involvement. As a veterinarian, your knowledge and help, will be greatly needed and appreciated by your community. Show that you are willing to be generous with your time and knowledge.
Some ways that a veterinarian can benefit their community:
- Teach your community about animal rescue's and charities available to them
- Offer free or reduced fee services to low income families
- Hold free workshops on topics such as animal training or spaying/neutering
- Volunteer regularly and be an advocate for volunteering Here is an answer example: "Bettering my community is going to be a big part of what I do as a veterinarian. I already spend a great deal of my time volunteering at the emergency animal shelter and I plan to continue that work after graduating. One specific way that I plan to benefit the members of my community is by holding free animal vaccination drives to help low income families."24. How would you react if you discovered a classmate cheating? This honesty based question is meant to test your character and ability to deal with awkward or uncomfortable situations in a mature way.
If you have found yourself in a situation like this, you can certainly draw on that situation for your reply. Be careful not to name any names, or throw anyone under the bus as you can rarely recover from unsavory behavior like that in an interview. Here is an answer example: "In my opinion, an honorable person will do what is right even when nobody is looking. The veterinary industry deserves only honorable graduates and so, for that reason, I would tell a superior if I found a classmate to be cheating."25. How does your family feel about you attending veterinary school? Do you have a great deal of support? The interviewers want to know that if you were accepted into Auburn University that you would have the support required for your heavy and challenging work load.
Discuss a bit about your family such as anyone who lives near you or how your family expresses their excitement for your career. You can also mention anyone in your family who may have had a similar career path. Here is an answer example: "My family is incredibly proud of me for my interest in veterinary medicine. My father is especially keen as he also graduated from Auburn University. Both of my parents, as well as my older brother, live in the area so I will have a very strong and encouraging support system should I be accepted into Auburn University."26. What are your thoughts on animal research and animal testing in the field of pharmaceuticals? The interviewers would like to know your stance on this controversial subject. Animal testing and animal research is a very large part of the pharmaceutical industry. Breakthroughs and cures are found regularly, thanks to animal testing and research procedures.
If you are an animal advocate then you may want to plan an answer that will be honest and true to your beliefs while showing your understanding of the necessity of this practice in the pharmaceutical industry. Here is an answer example: "Although I am a supporter of animal rights, I do understand that animal testing and research is required for most pharmaceutical testing and many other research platforms. In the U.S. it is the law for a pharma company to test on animals before a drug is distributed. Will this change down the road? Perhaps. But for now - I do understand that it is a necessity."27. How do you respond to feedback and criticism? Describe a situation where your work was criticized. What was your immediate reaction to the situation? The interviewers want to see that you are confident and mature enough to accept feedback and criticism in a positive way, even when it is unsolicited.
Not all feedback will be delivered in a friendly, easy to absorb manner. Think to a time when you received feedback or criticism that was bit hurtful or surprising. Discuss how you reacted in a productive way.
It is important that you highlight for the interviewers that you were able to take the criticism and learn from it. Talk about how you successfully implemented change. Here is an answer example: "Last year I received a low grade on a chemistry project. When I approached my professor about the low grade, he said to me 'You can do better. I expected more from you'. I was taken aback at first but once I had time to absorb what was said, I realized that he expected more from me because he had high expectations of what I was capable of doing. It was a compliment, and a challenge, all rolled into one! I re-did the assignment with more gusto and passion the second time around. My grade improved significantly and I did thank that professor for holding me to a higher standard."28. Who in your life mentors, or inspires you? Your life's inspiration can come from a book, a mentor, your family, a celebrity, an author - literally anyone! Talk to the interviewers about who has inspired your life and why. Here is an answer example: "I find inspiration in a variety of people and things. I would have to say that the person who has most greatly inspired me has been my grandmother. She always had a smile on her face no matter how hard she worked and she loved everyone. She was well respected and always gave more than she received. I try to live like her as much as I can."29. How well do you think you have performed in this interview today? This question is a stress test! The interviewers simply want to know if you are happy with your performance in the interview. There is always room for improvement; however, you want to avoid picking your interview apart.
If you feel the interview went well: "I feel that I was well prepared for the questions that you asked me today and am happy with my performance in this interview. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. Can I ask if there is anything I can clarify for you, or elaborate on, from today's conversation?"
If you feel you could have performed better: "I feel that I was well prepared for the majority of the questions you have asked me today; however, I would like to clarify my answer on one particular point...." Then, return to the question you may have stumbled on and answer how you would have liked to the first time. Here is an answer example: "I feel that I was well prepared for the questions that you asked me today and am happy with my performance in this interview. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. Can I ask if there is anything I can clarify for you, or elaborate on, from today's conversation?"30. When you suffer a setback, how does that emotionally affect you and your work? Everyone handles the stress and disappointment of setbacks differently. When you work in the medical field, those setbacks can be amplified. While attending university, even more so because your grades can greatly determine the success of your future career. Discuss with the interviewers how you typically cope with setbacks. Here is an answer example: "Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be very disheartening, especially when involving a project that I have put a lot of time and effort into. I understand that setbacks happen often, and to everyone - despite their level of expertise or years of experience. If I experience a major setback I will take a few moments to internally debrief, get some fresh air if possible, or discuss what I could have done differently with a mentor. Then, I move on. Rather than dwell on my mistakes, I choose to learn from them."31. What are your thoughts on alternative medicine for animals? Which aspects do you agree and disagree with? Alternative medicine can be a controversial subject. Some love it, some hate it, and there are a few that are in-between.
Just like you would answer a sensitive question surrounding politics or religion, it's best to support both sides in one way or another. Interviews are not a good place to voice a highly one sided opinion. Here is an answer example: "Although I am a supporter of traditional medicine, I do understand that alternative therapy can offer great benefits for some animals. I agree that there is a science behind alternative medicine; however, I feel that alternative medicine should be more strictly regulated. People need to educate themselves better before jumping into 'all-natural' therapy for their pets. Prescribed tonics and herbs can be dangerous if taken in the wrong dosages. Even though it is natural, it doesn't mean that your pet will react favorably to it. Just like with all types of medicine and practices, research and education is very important."32. Are you interested in opening your own animal clinic one day? What are your business aspirations? The interviewers want to know about your future plans and if you have intentions of joining a existing practice, or starting your own. Be honest about your plans and desire for your career path. Here is an answer example: "My ultimate goal would be to open my own animal clinic one day, as I want to control the prices of my services and provide affordable veterinary services to my community. I do have an entrepreneurial spirit so I feel that opening my own practice would scratch that itch as well."
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