Effect of different methods of selection on the background, attitudes and career plans of first year veterinary students

Trevor J Heath, Jennifer Hyams, John Baguley, Kym Abbott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Further studies over the longer term will be necessary to assess the extent to which these plans are realized.Objectives To compare the family, educational and animal-related backgrounds and career aspirations of students who were selected on the basis of academic criteria with those selected using additional criteria. Methods Questionnaires were completed during class time in the first few weeks of enrolment by incoming veterinary students at the University of Sydney, who had been selected on the basis of academic background, and at Charles Sturt University, selected using more broadly-based criteria. The data were transferred to an Excel spreadsheet, and frequency distributions and '2 statistics estimated using the SAS System for Windows 8. Results Students selected principally on academic criteria alone had higher average UAI scores, were more likely to have completed high school in a capital city, and to have parents with higher education levels than those selected using additional criteria. Both groups indicated that their choice of veterinary science was based largely on their affinity for animals and keenness to work in a veterinary practice. However, those at CSU placed much greater importance than those at Sydney on a desire to live and work in a rural area, and a desire to help farmers. The broad-based selection methods were the main reasons for students applying to CSU whereas the reputation of the university was the main attraction for Sydney students. Two-thirds of CSU students, but one-third of Sydney students, planned to enter rural mixed practice when they graduated, and most planned to stay for at least 10 years. Conversely, no CSU students, but 42% of those at Sydney, planned to enter small animal practice initially. The percentage planning to work full-time in the first, fifth and tenth year after graduation was not significantly different between the two groups. Conclusions Criteria which included actual experience with farm animals have resulted in the selection of more students who plan to enter and remain in rural mixed practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-222
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Veterinary Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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