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What are things you can do to help become a veterinarian in the future even if you are still very young.

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Mary Jane’s Answer

The two biggest things you can do are 1) establish a strong academic foundation and 2) gain experience working with a variety of animal species.

In terms of #1, you want to challenge yourself by taking rigorous math and science classes throughout junior and senior high. Always go beyond the minimum and work to get yourself into a position to take college-prep or AP/IB science courses in high school--be sure to mention your career goals to your counselor when you are selecting courses for the next school year. This will give you a sense of the workload and study skills needed to excel in college-level STEM courses required to apply to vet school. Your goal should be to master the material, not just learn it well enough to get a passing grade. All the biology and chemistry you learn now will make the advanced biochemistry and physiology that you need to know that much easier to learn when you are a vet student.

In terms of #2, students who have the most robust animal experiences tend to be more competitive for vet school admission. This means ideally, you will spend some time observing or handling large farm animals, exotics, and wildlife in addition to small household pets like cats and dogs. Volunteer at a shelter to feed and exercise cats and dogs. Join 4H and learn about raising rabbits or chickens. Volunteer for an organization that does work with therapy horses so you get comfortable around horses. See if there is a vet in your area that works with farm animals like goats, cows, sheep, etc. that would hire you to work as an assistant so you can ask about shadowing them when they treat farm animals. Look for a wildlife rehab in your area that works with wounded raptors or contact your local zoo to see if they have any summer internship programs that would allow you to learn how to care for and handle more exotic animals. The more you can think out of the box in high school, the more opportunities you'll have in college for competitive summer internships caring for or doing research with a variety of animals. Ulitmately, those experiences will either confirm that vet med is right for you or move you in another direction. If you decide to proceed with vet school, having robust animal experiences in a variety of settings with a variety of species will make you stand out in the application pool.

Good luck!

Mary Jane recommends the following next steps:

Check out the AAVMC's resources on becoming a vet here: https://www.aavmc.org/becoming-a-veterinarian
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Charles’s Answer

Planning for your future is the best way to reach your goals. Being very young when you make your plan gives you a head start. Good job on getting started early!

Caring for animals is a great cause. Veterinarians all over America come together in a community called National Veterinary Associates. To help you learn more about the profession, go online and explore their web page. There's a lot of info out there, have fun!

Charles recommends the following next steps:

Visit https://www.nva.com/ and click on the "about us" link at the top of the page to learn more about National Veterinary Associates (NVA)
Check out the YouTube channel to watch videos about NVA here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYGwYEEIsSW0_vX9Hc5IjWQ
Consider calling NVA to ask if you can speak with someone about your interest in becoming a veterinarian at this number 888.767.7755
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