Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Vet Advice

Recently in my "comments" section a high school student, who hopes to be a vet someday, asked me what advice I would give her. Here is what I told her:

Being a vet is a great job. I tracked "mixed" in vet school, intending to practice both large and small animal practice. However, I found very few practices did both well, and I have worked in small animal practice exclusively since graduation. I do miss the horses and cows, but I am very happy with my current career. There currently is a shortage of large animal vets, especially in rural mid-America, so many vet organizations are trying to recruit people who want to work in this field.

The best advice I could give a high school student entering college, hoping to go to vet school, is MAKE GOOD GRADES. Take lots of hours (like 14-16 per semester) and work as hard as you can to make as many A's as possible, and almost no C's (the rest B's). There are so many applicants to vet school (more than to medical school) that grades become a very important part of the competition. The admission committee also wants to see you take a lot of hours to prove you could handle the vet school course load, which is like 20 hours/semester.

I knew lots of people who started with me as a freshman who wanted to go to vet school, but had lots of "fun" the first few years, then took fewer hours to bring their grades up, then took a part-time job and didn't study as hard... none of them got even close to getting into vet school.

I also know people who are smart enough to be excellent vets, are very motivated now in their late 20s, but in their early 20s in college didn't apply themselves, had a few bad semesters.... after applying 4 or 5 times, they STILL can't get accepted.

Other advice: contact a veterinarian who is in the type of practice you think you'd like to be in someday, and ask if you can observe them and volunteer. Then, ask them lots of questions: what's a good day like for them? What's a bad day like? Would they choose this career path again? Why or why not? What do they wish they'd known in college that they know now?

Its a great profession, and well respected. Its a long journey to graduation, and the learning never stops. Congratulations on your aspirations, and best of luck to you.


Jess said...

I love your blog. My blog was made really just for my mom, family and friends to read about what I am going to be doing next year at UT. I told my mom about your blog and she thought I should make one so she can keep track of what's going on. I really like your blog and use it as a model for my own. I hope you don't mind. I think it would be great if you put a link on your blog to my blog! As you can see I talk about your children a lot in my blog. I hope you don't mind. They are just a big part of my life! Thanks for inspiring me!

No_Newz said...

Great advice! I found you over at Susie Sunshine's place. I'm not a vet but play one at home. I can't tell you how many half dead animals my children have brought home for Mommy to "fix". If I said it bothered me, I'd be lying. :)
Lois Lane

Crazy Little Monkey said...

Hey, I just randomly found your blog. It's inspiring. I'm a pre-vet college student who also wants to have a family someday :). I've got a ways to go, but so far so good. Thanks for the advice.

NekoVet said...

As a current vet student loitering on the web rather then writing my dreaded parasitology paper, I have to say that the grade hype is far from the best part of trying to get into vet school. And to add to your suggestions, most memorably I had a pre-vet advisor tell me to get A's through college, just to make my life easier with the whole application process. Of course, this was easier said then done, but it surely makes life a bit less stressful when there is so much chance in the whole process.

*sigh* never want to do it again. :P

and btw 'hi'. :D

Marc said...

Hi. I'm 35-years-old with a bachelors in communications and a masters in health communications. I originally went to college as pre-vet but gave up after 2 years. That's my biggest regret in life. Now, I'm actually contemplating going back to do it. What do you think? How much school would it take for me to have a strong application and strive for acceptance?

get2eric said...

Marc, actually a lot of my classmates entered vet school as a second career - similar to you, they wanted to go to vet school but for whatever reason decided they couldn't do it. Of course it's never too late! Take the pre-reqs you need, make excellent grades, and parlay your real-life experience to your benefit - you'll have so much more maturity and gravitas than all the 19-yr-old applicants.

Also, when you finally get out, everyone will assume you're a well-experienced vet, not a young newbie. I don't know how long it would take you, but take as many hours as possible at a time, make excellent grades, work for a vet on weekends or an emergency clinic at nights, get some good references, and you can totally do it.

Jennifer said...

Marc, the above comment is by the author of this blog. My dad used my computer before me, and I didn't realize he was still logged on.

Marc said...

Thanks so much for your words of encouragement. It's a huge decision that I seem to so easily find an excuse out of. I'm not sure if my pre-reqs from college in the early 90s would still count? Seems like I'd have a lot of prep work to do. I can only imagine the accomplishment I'd feel at the end though. Wish me luck!