How do future veterinary students orient themselves of the study veterinary medicine?
MetadataShow full item record
Utrecht University's Faculty of Veterinary Medicine is the only veterinary college in the Netherlands. Veterinarians are trained here by means of a three-year bachelor and a three-year master with three different specializations.Veterinary medicine is a numerus clausus-study: only a limited amount of 225 students are admitted each year to start with this bachelor. In addition the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine can select till 75 students per academic year for the specialization farm animals/veterinary public health (in Dutch: Landbouwhuisdieren/Veterinaire Volksgezondheid, LH/VV). The past ten years the number of student applicants for this decentralized selection procedure decreased. Based on independent research the faculty has been advised to train more veterinarians with the specialization LH/VV to meet the need for them in the field. So from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine the question arose how to increase, both qualitatively and quantitatively, the number of student applicants for the selection procedure of the specialization LH/VV. To reach this goal providing good study information to future students is necessary. Therefore it is essential to know how students orient themselves and which sources of information they use when they choice a study. Within the faculty little is known about this. So the research question is: ‘How do future veterinary students orient and inform themselves of the study veterinary medicine at Utrecht University?’ Based on the results recommendations are formulated to optimize current study information of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine with particular attention for the decentralized selection LH/VV. In November 2012 a survey has been held under participants of the undergraduate education veterinary medicine which addresses: • when the choice of study is made • how certain students are about their choice of study • the role of advisors • use of information activities and media sources • missed information Results were compared with national research in the field of study orientation and information. As many as 86.1% of the undergraduate participants were female. The largest percentage of males (32%) was found within the group of potential students LH/VV. Most of the possible future students of veterinary medicine know before they attend secondary education that they want to be a veterinarian. There is a presumption that future veterinary students start earlier with the orientation to the study veterinary medicine and that they also make their final choice of study earlier in comparison with other students. Nearly 50% of all respondents are sure or very sure of their choice to study veterinary medicine, yet there is still a large number of alternative studies considered. Parents are the most consulted advisors. Half of the respondents indicate that they consulted active veterinarians during the process of choosing a study. Those active veterinarians also have the greatest influence on the choice of study. Of all information activities internships and/or shadowing have the most influence on the possible choice to study veterinary medicine. It is unknown if active veterinarians are aware of the important role they have. Also the use of media sources shows that the image of the future professional is very important for students when deciding which study to choice. New media are very limited used to support the orientation to the study veterinary medicine. More intensive information by the faculty is missed by 60% of the respondents. The following five recommendations have emerged from this study: 1. Improving the impact of the faculty website to the choice of future students to study veterinary medicine. 2. Generate awareness among and educate the Dutch veterinarians concerning their role during the process of choosing a study by possible future students of veterinary medicine. Furthermore communicate to them the profile of the ‘new veterinarian’. 3. The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine should organize activities like: ‘become a student for one day’ (in Dutch: proefstuderen), shadowing first year students and guided tours around the faculty. For example in the context of the future matching operations. 4. Greater involvement of first year students at information activities. 5. Together with veterinary practices create internship opportunities for students interested in LH/VV.