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Thread: Becoming a veterinarian

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    Cavy Slave Guinepig's Avatar
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    Becoming a veterinarian

    I have decided that I want to be a veterinarian. I will be in 9th grade in a few months and have been thinking what I should do during high school to get ready for college. Anyone have any ideas about what classes I should take during high school to help get me ready for college? P.s. I read about how hard it is to get into veterinary school so I am coming up with a backup plan just in case.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Becoming a veterinarian

    Congrats!!! My best advice is talk to your guidance counselor about your classes. and being an honor student is very helpful in getting grants and scholarships when you graduate. my daughter is in her first year of college at Rutgers. but when she graduated high school she already had 27 college credits from classes she took in high school. as far as colleges in Philadelphia the university of Penn has a veterinary hospital. but your guidance counselor and also looking on the web for different degrees that colleges offer should help you gather information on what's out thier ....good luck

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    Cavy Slave Guinepig's Avatar
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    Re: Becoming a veterinarian

    I am homeschooled. So I don't have a guidance counselor. I am deciding whether or not I want to specialize in small pets like guinea pigs, rabbits, rats etc...

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    Cavy Slave 3littlepigz's Avatar
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    Re: Becoming a veterinarian

    May I suggest that you spend some time also talking with different vets? Ask them lots of questions. That will help you decide if you want to specialize. It'll be good to get opinions from more than one vet so you can get a better sense of what that career is like. Don't just go with what one vet tells you. My sister is a vet - has been for many, many years and is passionate about her work and her patients. She has worked as a vet in a couple of states. She has done both a day-to-day practice as well as emergency medicine and she would discourage anyone from becoming a vet - strongly discourage. I say this to just emphasize that you need to talk to more than one vet so that you can get a "well rounded" sense of what it is like. Then you can make the best decision for yourself.

    Also look into the possibility of getting a part-time job as a vet technician.

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    Cavy Slave sallyvh's Avatar
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    Re: Becoming a veterinarian

    I just finished my 3rd year of University and am also hoping to be a vet. Unfortunately I can't really comment on the process or exact classes to take because the American education system can be quite different from the Canadian one.

    In Ontario, grades 9 and 10 are pretty general but you want to take "academic" not "applied" science, math, english, ect. (The courses are probably called different things. Once in grade 11 and 12 you want to take university level courses and focus on functions, calculus, physics, biology and chemistry. You may not need all of that now though. When I applied to my University program (I go to the Univeristy of Guelph and am getting an Honours degree in Biological Science) I was required to have 2 grade 12 level sciences (I had bio and chem) and functions. I didn't need calculus or physics then.

    One thing to note is that veterinary college is universal for species. You don't choose whether to work with large animals, small aniamls or pocket pets. You have to work with them all. It's after you've completed vet school then you decide what field you want to go into. You will work predominantly with cats, dogs and lifestock and may have a few pocket pets thrown in. After vet school if you decide to specialize in a certain kind of animal or exotics or a certain organ system you then have to do different interships with experienced vets for 3 years before you are able to become certified (that is how it works in Canada, I imagine it is the same or similar in the US) I would not put any thought into what you want to specialize now, you have 12 years and a lot of growing up and changing to do, just focus on your studies.

    Once you're older you will want to volunteer at many different places and see if you can get a job as a veterinary assistant (won't be until you're at least 16 if not 18). One of the requirements is you need at least 200 hours of hands on volunteer experience working with or under vets. You also need reference letters from 2 different vets from 2 different practices. This is designed to give you an idea of what being a vet is really like and if it is right for you. Some people think they would enjoy it but after seeing what it's really like they realize it's not for them.

    If you have any other questions feel free to ask and I can answer to the best of my ability.

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    Cavy Slave Nikkipig's Avatar
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    Re: Becoming a veterinarian

    I'm also planning on becoming a veterinarian, and I'm at the end of my junior year (11th grade) of high school.
    Being a vet requires eight years of college, so it's definitely expensive and time consuming. While you're in high school, get good grades. If there was one thing I could go back and change regarding school, it's that I didn't take planning for the future seriously until recently. I've always gotten all As and Bs in the past, but honestly, for someone pursuing a vet career, that's nothing impressive. This school year, I buckled down, and the lowest grade I ever received on a report card was an A-. I plan to keep it that way next year. Your grades need to become your number one priority. Aim for as close to a 4.0 GPA as possible (you don't have to be perfect, just aim for it). I suffer from anxiety, but there's been a few times where I had to bite the bullet and email teachers to ask about raising my grades in order to keep an A in the class. There's also been a lot of times where I had to cancel or put off doing other activities in order to do school related things that I didn't want to do. You really need to study. This year, I've studied for every test I've had (and I have several tests a week), and it helped tremendously.

    As far as classes go, make sure that your schedule is well rounded with classes from every subject, however, once you get into your junior and senior year, take the most advanced science and math classes you can. Double up (take more than one science/math class at a time) if you can. Classes that vet schools are going to look for are mainly things like algebra, calculus, physics, chemistry, biology, anatomy, etc. If you can take classes in those subjects, do so. Since you're home schooled, I'm not sure what kind of classes you can take, but my (public) school offers college classes. I have (or will be taking) college classes in english, science, social studies, and foreign language. When I graduate, I will have 30 credit hours. That's half of an associate's degree. My college classes, although I still have to physically go to my high school, are done online through my laptop, taught by professors from the college I applied for. Perhaps you can ask any local community colleges if they will offer you any online classes. Mine are all completely free of charge, except for any lab fees, or if I was to fail a class.

    Just don't overload yourself. Don't think that you have to take every single science and math class in your freshman year and get a 100% on every test. There's been a couple of tests I've done bad on and still had an A in the class, and you have four years to take all of the classes you need. Try planning out what classes you'll take each year. I'll use myself and the science classes I've taken/will take as an example. In 9th grade, I took physical science. In 10th grade, biology. In 11th grade, chemistry. In 12th grade, college anatomy/physiology and college physics. Figure out what classes you can take every year now, rather than waiting until the end of each school year. Keep in mind that you don't need to take the hardest classes right away. Also, don't sign up for a certain class you truly know you will do poorly in. For instance, if math is your worst subject (like it is for me), focus more on excelling at science and having overall higher level classes than on taking a bunch of the most advanced math classes in high school that you know will be too much to handle at once. Do what you can, and definitely push yourself, but don't pile too much on your plate at once. Your mental health is really important. I hope this helps you.

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    Cavy Slave LifeAsItMayBe's Avatar
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    Re: Becoming a veterinarian

    I don't know how your particular version of homeschooling works but if you have different "classes" you can take, I would recommend as many science classes as you have available. Biology, chemistry, nutrition, anything like that. I imagine math would also be important, dealing with weights and dosages and whatnot as a vet.

    A good idea is to start looking at colleges now that you might want to attend when you're older. Then you can find out what their requirements are to get in, and what kind of classes they will offer.

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner RodentCuddles's Avatar
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    Re: Becoming a veterinarian

    Best of luck!!

    I'm not planning to become a vet, however one of my current classes is Nursing Maths (math aimed at nurses) so it would be a helpful one for you to take! (:

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    Cavy Slave Guinepig's Avatar
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    Re: Becoming a veterinarian

    I wish I was still in public school I was getting all A's. I do switched on schoolhouse (it is a computer curriculum. I hate doing all my work on the computer but, it is what my dad wants me to do...) There are a lot of subjects I can do in switched on schoolhouse. Biology, physics, Trigonometry ect....

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    Cavy Slave Guinepig's Avatar
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    Re: Becoming a veterinarian

    I have been looking at colleges like Ball state, Indiana state ect....

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner pinky's Avatar
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    Re: Becoming a veterinarian

    Probably a lot of math and science. Depending upon how your school is set up, you might be able to take accelerated courses that count towards college credit. Talk to your guidance counselor. He/she might be able to put you in touch with a college adviser who can give you a lot of good advice. My son knew what he wanted to major in at the college he wanted to go to so he went there while he was in high school. He opted to go to community college for two years and take all the gen ed classes he needed and transfer to the 4 year college. The 4 year college gave him a list of courses to take at the community college. He had good grades at the community college so he got an extra academic scholarship called a transfer scholarship to add to the one he got from the 4 year college. It really pays to talk to someone at the college to see what options you have and what kind of financial perks are available.

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    Cavy Slave CavieGuy's Avatar
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    Re: Becoming a veterinarian

    Quote Originally Posted by Guinepig View Post
    I have decided that I want to be a veterinarian. I will be in 9th grade in a few months and have been thinking what I should do during high school to get ready for college. Anyone have any ideas about what classes I should take during high school to help get me ready for college? P.s. I read about how hard it is to get into veterinary school so I am coming up with a backup plan just in case.
    Colleges look at a well rounded individual...grades, extracurricular activities (sports, clubs, volunteerism, etc....) Look at the following colleges and look at their basic general education requirements i.e. 2 or 3 years foreign language, 3 years of math in high school, etc...

    While in college is when you need to focus your academic course geared to getting accepted to veterinary school i.e. science courses (biology, chemistry, mathematics, labs, etc....)

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Becoming a veterinarian

    Indiana University is well known for their medical programs (optometry, dentistry, etc) so I assume they have a veterinary program as well. Depending on where in Indiana you live you could do all your prerequisites at one of the local branches before going to the big campus in Bloomington. I have been to both IU South Bend and IU Northwest and both have their good points. It is a lot more cost effective to do this. At one time I was going for optometry and it was recommended to me I get a B.S. in biology before applying to the optometry school. It is easier to get accepted having a full degree rather than just the bare minimum of prerequisites. If you choose to get a biology degree first you can complete the whole thing at one of the local branches

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Becoming a veterinarian

    I'm not sure if anyone has already said this (I just glanced through), but if you are within a decent driving distance to a vet med college you might consider contacting the graduate adviser of the program to ask if you could meet with some students. If you are not within a decent driving distance, you might be able to Skype or email students to ask them these questions. I'm a PhD student and I know several people in my program who have been contacted by high school students about a career in our discipline. Everyone is always really happy to share their experiences, and suggestions for how to prepare for a career.

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    Cavy Slave barbaramudge's Avatar
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    Re: Becoming a veterinarian

    Quote Originally Posted by ClemmyOddieIndy View Post
    I'm not sure if anyone has already said this (I just glanced through), but if you are within a decent driving distance to a vet med college you might consider contacting the graduate adviser of the program to ask if you could meet with some students. If you are not within a decent driving distance, you might be able to Skype or email students to ask them these questions. I'm a PhD student and I know several people in my program who have been contacted by high school students about a career in our discipline. Everyone is always really happy to share their experiences, and suggestions for how to prepare for a career.
    I second this idea and I'll add....you can talk to a counselor at the college for help in picking classes. I'm not sure how it works for homeschooling but I know dual enrollment is an option. That way you can get credits for high school and college at the same time. Good luck!
    Using Tapatalk

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    Cavy Slave Guinepig's Avatar
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    Re: Becoming a veterinarian

    As for a language as an elective.. Which do you think would be easier to learn? Spanish or French? I already know a few words in Spanish and I can count to twelve in Spanish.

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    Cavy Slave CavieGuy's Avatar
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    Re: Becoming a veterinarian

    Quote Originally Posted by Guinepig View Post
    As for a language as an elective.. Which do you think would be easier to learn? Spanish or French? I already know a few words in Spanish and I can count to twelve in Spanish.
    I'm fluent in French and conversational in Spanish.

    I think both are easy, once you know one latin base language learning another latin base language is a piece of cake. I think learning Spanish is more useful unless you decide to move to French speaking countries.

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    Moderator CavyMama's Avatar
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    Re: Becoming a veterinarian

    @GuineaPig - if you are only in 9th grade, you've got a lot of time before you start to worry about any of this. These are really questions to ask your guidance counselor. They would know for sure which classes to take. Asking online can get you a lot of information, not all of it accurate because different states and different colleges have different requirements.

    This thread is closed.

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