UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is known for asking ethical questions during the 25-minute interview with prospective students. These questions can vary depending on the field of vet med that the prospective student is hoping to pursue (and likely has experience in).
To be perfectly honest, I did not receive an ethical question during my interview. I was asked to recount my experience performing spays and neuters in Costa Rica and Nicaragua during my volunteer trip with VIDA (Volunteers for Intercultural and Definitive Adventures). After recounting my experience performing surgery on animals in a non-sterile environment, I was told by my interviewers, “Well we’ve been able to gauge your ethics and morals through your experience in Central America.” My immediate feeling was panic. I had no idea whether or not they understood how I felt about that experience or whether they thought that sterility was overrated. After my immediate panic subsided, I realized that they comprehended the situation and the circumstances and I shouldn’t have worried. That being said, I would have preferred to answer a direct question regarding ethical issues than have my ethics and morals judged without my awareness.
I’ve heard of questions that include Horse Slaughter, Convenience Euthanasia, and Clients Inability to Pay. These questions are not meant to judge you as a person. They are merely meant to give the interviewers an idea of your knowledge and experience in the field. These issues come up — a lot! Your interviewers want to see what your thought process would be, how you would go about resolving the issue. It’s really a problem solving issue.
Please don’t think for one second that you will be accepted (or rejected) based upon your ethical or moral views! I can tell you that there are many students in the Class of 2013 that have diametrically opposed viewpoints, but we’re all here. It can make for great conversation or debates in your Veterinary Ethics class!
If you’re asked about an issue that you have no knowledge or experience in, explain that, and perhaps ask your interviewers to explain the issue to you so that you can formulate a response. That shows that you’re interested in learning!
Just remember to be honest and open in expressing your thoughts regarding these ethical issues.