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Veterinarian - one step at a time


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My child wishes to become a veterinarian.  Any one have kiddos who have gone this route?  Which colleges have they gone too?  I did suggest that maybe going vet tech first may help, this way she can have a job while going to college.  College ROTC and going Army is another route but not preferred.  The two colleges for Vet are both days drive from us so living at home isn't going to be an option.  Now knowing that we are going to be living in this area for the next decade, I can now seriously start looking at the local options and sharing with my child.  thanks in advance for any advice.  


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For high school you should emphasize a strong math and science foundation.


Most vet schools have the same general admission requirements as med schools. 1 year of calc, 2 years of chem, 1 year of physics, 2 years of bio, English composition, etc, but not specific majors. There are not that many vet schools. Some states do not have a vet school. Some states, like Maryland, support (in some way) a vet school in another state. Va Tech's vet school is the Virginia-Maryland Regional something. So, Maryland residents are considered in state. You might want to look up a couple vet schools your dd might target and look at their requirements carefully. Admission is highly competitive (more competitive than med school).


Many vet schools have a requirement to see some fieldwork, internships, volunteer experience as part of the application. They want to know that the student really wants to do this. It is a very expensive commitment. The people I know who have gone to vet school had extensive volunteer and internship experiences starting at young ages. Obviously, the work done by 10 year olds doesn't count on the application, but it's good experience young that gets a person in line for more and better experiences through high school and college.


I do not know anyone who went to vet school after completing a vet tech program. I think doing so could be very useful, but I do not know anyone who took this path. I do know more than a few people who went to vet school.


What is your dd's experience with animals? My dd was very focused on going to vet school until recently. She started pet sitting at 8. She got experience with dogs, cats, fish, pocket pets, and reptiles. She joined two 4 H clubs (large animal farm club based at a park--she learned to handle cows, goats and sheep without us owning them and a dog club). She volunteers with a guinea pig rescue and has extensive experience with guinea pig medical procedures and palliative care. She's also gotten to shadow vets through 4H. All this to learn, she loves animals. She has amazing sense with them. She really seems to get what they are thinking and has an intuitive sense of their needs. But in accumulating all this time with animals, she decided being a vet is not the direction she wants to go. I was surprised. I guess a little disappointed because she seems to have some talent in this area. But I'm also glad we put in the time for her to get all these experiences. It is much better to find out now (before college) that this may not be a career she wants to invest in. She will always have a pet. She still pet sits. She still helps the rescue. She enjoys these things as a hobby.


When dd was still interested, I suggested looking at the vet tech program in our high school district. It can be finished before high school graduation. But we never got that far to review it.


If you want to consider the vet tech route, you might ask at the training programs if any students have gone one to

1. finish undergrad

2. go to vet school


ETA: I would strongly advise against ROTC, if your dd is not interested in serving. The Army does have vets and it could be a good way to get through vet school. However, if you are going to take money through ROTC, you still need to be prepared to serve in whatever capacity the Army decides.

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You may want to check to see if your state has reciprocity with a neighboring state for any common pre-vet majors that your daughter might be interested in.  For example, Georgia has agreements with Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee so that Georgia residents can go to those states' public universities and pay in-state tuition for certain majors that are not available at Georgia colleges, and vice-versa.  A number of the majors would be common pre-vet majors such as equine science.  It might be a relatively cheap way to go to an out-of-state school if that is of any interest.


Also, keep in mind that as others have noted, you can major in anything to go to vet school, but some schools and colleges may have more scholarship money than others.  For instance, the school of agriculture at my college had tons of scholarship money at its disposal, while arts and sciences did not.  A zoology pre-vet major (arts and sciences) would not have gotten nearly as much scholarship money as a wildlife biology (school of agriculture) major even though their course loads would have had significant overlap.


If your daughter has any interest in being a large-animal vet, there is supposed to be a coming shortage of those, and she may be able to find financial incentives for future large-animal vets.


Finally, some universities with vet schools have three-year undergraduate pre-vet programs so that you can apply to enter vet school after your junior year.  You would receive your B.S. in your undergraduate major after your first year of vet school.  This cuts off a year of school but is only available to certain majors.  


Vet school admission at least used to be insanely competitive.  I always heard that it was more so than med school, but that may just have been lore among disgruntled vet school applicants, of which I knew plenty.  Then again, I also knew plenty of good-but-not-perfect students who got into vet school even with a couple of Bs floating around on their transcripts.

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