How to apply

Work experience

Relevant work experience is required for some courses. If you are planning to study Agriculture, Veterinary Nursing or Veterinary Physiotherapy you'll need some work experience under your belt.

If you don't have enough relevant work experience, the additonal amount required may be added as part of a conditional offer.

Work experience is essential to study:

Agriculture

To study Agriculture you will need at least ten weeks work experience on a commercial farm by 1 August in the year in which you apply. If you are stuggling to achieve this we can help. Our new Access to Agriculture route gives students from non-farming backgrounds the chance to build their experience during their first year of study.

Acceptable types of experience: The most appropriate experience is on a commercial farm, which can either be a family farm or one local to you. It is important to try to get as much variety of experience as possible, including working 'hands on' with different types of animals and crops. Work experience in ancillary industries such as agricultural trials, laboratory work, feed mills etc is useful and credit will be applied for this, but at least 60 per cent of the required work experience must be on a farm.

Further information: As agriculture is a vocational subject it is important to become familiar with the practical aspects of farming before starting the course and gaining practical experience will help with this as well as ensuring that you have a good feel for the industry you are planning to enter. Gaining a variety of experience is extremely useful and as much of this experience as possible should be hands-on. If is also important to gain experience away from a home farm as you will be required to produce an independent reference when applying for placement opportunities.

It is recognised that applicants from non-farm backgrounds and particularly those from non-rural backgrounds may find it challenging to obtain the necessary commercial farm experience. A good starting point would be to contact the local Young Farmers Club for advice on contacts in your area, approach the local NFU Office, place an advert in Farmers Weekly or other agricultural publications or online job boards, write prospective letters to farms in your area, or approach local agricultural colleges with a farm attached.

Veterinary Nursing

You will need a minimum of four weeks' relevant work experience.

What constitutes a 'week'? 35 hours (in a block or separate, however must cover different times of the day to experience different client types)

Acceptable types of experience: Experience must be within a veterinary practice and at least two weeks must be with small animals and no more than one week in an equine practice. The experience does not need to be in an RCVS approved training practice, although this would be beneficial. For offer making purposes, we will only consider work experience that has taken place in the period 2 years immediately before the course start date (so if you are applying for September 2017 entry, we will not consider experience gained before September 2015); this is to ensure that you have recent experience on the most up to date practices and procedures.

Further information: All applicants must have at least two weeks recent experience in a veterinary practice before they can be considered for interview. It is the responsibility of the student to provide the evidence of the experience when requested. This evidence must include a reference from each practice attended. A total of at least 4 weeks is required overall to meet the work experience element of the entry requirements.

The RCVS has a website facility called Find a Vet which can be used to find practices based on a postcode search. When contacting veterinary practices to enquire about a work experience place, it is important to stress that you are applying to study Veterinary Nursing at degree level at University and that it is an entry requirement for the course. This should give you priority over those wanting general work experience while at school. It is best to write or email in the first instance, then follow up with a phone call. It is important to show enthusiasm and be persistent, but without pestering!

Veterinary Physiotherapy

You will need a minimum of four weeks' relevant work experience.

What constitutes a 'week'? 5 days (in a block or separate days)

Acceptable types of experience: Hands-on experience with dogs and horses is preferred, including in a riding school, livery/competition/rehabilitation yard, commercial/hunt kennels, grooming parlours or a hydrotherapy centre. Time in the 'in-patient' area of a veterinary practice or with a veterinary physiotherapist/chiropractor/osteopath will also give a useful insight. Having sole responsibility for a horse can also count towards a proportion of the experience required. For offer making purposes, we will only consider work experience that has taken place in the period 2 years immediately before the course start date (so if you are applying for September 2017 entry, we will not consider experience gained before September 2015); this is to ensure that you have recent experience on the most up to date practices and procedures.

Further information: All applicants must have at least 2 weeks recent hands-on experience working with horses and dogs before they can be considered for interview. It is the responsibility of the student to provide the evidence of the experience when requested. This evidence must include a reference from each placement on letter headed paper.

While the area of veterinary physiotherapy is quite specialised, it may seem hard to find work experience, however, we accept a wide range of experience provided that it is hands-on with animals. NAVP has a list of members who may be able to help with some experience however, bear in mind that these are often small businesses and may not have the capacity to help, partly due to insurance restrictions. The yellow pages is a good place to also look for local animal based businesses. It is important to do some research when applying for experience and ensure you explain what your career aspirations are and to stress that it is part of a university course application. Due to the high numbers requiring experience it is important to stand out and make a good impression.

Work experience will be useful, but not compulsory, to study:

Animal sciences

Pre-entry work experience is desirable, but not essential. However, having more experience before you arrive will help you get involved in the on-campus animal management opportunities.

You are encouraged to gain experience working with a number of different animals in different settings. You should include details of this on your application. Experience of different animals will enable reflection and will help with many aspects as students progress through the course.

Acceptable types of experience: A variety of experience is preferred, including working with farm and companion animals, wildlife and exotic species. This can be done though farm work, at kennels, catteries, pet shops, stables, veterinary practices, wildlife centres, rescue centres and zoos to name a few. 'Credit' will also be given for looking after your own pet. You should feel confident handling and working with a variety of animals of different sizes.

Further information: It is important to gain a variety of experience for our Animals courses in a variety of settings. However you should also tailor your experience to the course that you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for BSc (Hons) Animal Science (which is a predominantly farm animal course) we would be happy with a variety of farm animal experience (e.g. two weeks dairy, two weeks sheep, two weeks pigs). For all other courses experience with a variety of species is required.

Gaining general experience with animals may be easier than you think, as it does not need to be with a large national company. Most animal organisations are always looking out for volunteers, especially those who work as charities. Don't be put off if at first you are turned down - some places are not used to free offers of help! A polite phone call or a visit to enquire often works well as many places have so many emails, yours may not stand out. Perseverance is the key to finding work experience!

Rural Estate, Property and Land Management

You are encouraged to gain a minimum of one week's work expeience before you begin your degree.

Acceptable types of experience: Experience within a rural chartered surveyors, or land agent is most preferable. Estate agents (residential/commercial) and forestry work experience are also acceptable, however only a maximum of two days will could towards the five required.

Further information: There are a lot of options for work experience for the REALM and Rural Property Management courses. Due to the variety or companies and work which is covered by these courses, it is important to get as much work experience as you can in a number of different areas.

When looking for work experience, there are a number of 'big names' who you could contact, including the National Trust, English Heritage and other large surveying companies such as Savills or Smiths Gore. The RICS website has a Find a Surveyor function which could help you to find a firm near you. When contacting agents/companies enquiring about work experience, it is important to highlight that it is for entry onto a degree course and what your career aspirations are; it is also worthwhile including a copy of the course outline in any correspondence so the company are aware of the type of experience that you require and importantly, whether they can provide it.

No other courses have compulsory work experience requirements, but bear in mind that work experience always gives you confidence and a competitive edge when academic requirements have already been met or exceeded.

We understand that securing suitable work experience may be a daunting prospect, especially if you do not have any contacts within your course area. We also understand that it may be difficult to get the variety of experience required. However, please note that we ensure that all applicants have the same levels of work experience in each course area, as experience has told us that students perform better on their course and during their placement year if they have practical experience which they can relate to and take examples from.

We recommend that you collate information and references in relation to your work experience and build up a portfolio to demonstrate what you have done. We would advise all applicants, where possible, to obtain references on letter headed paper at the point the experience is completed so you have a full record of the depth and breadth of experience obtained.

Contact us

Admissions
Faccenda (Student Centre)
+44 (0)1952 81 5000

admissions@harper-adams.ac.uk

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