So what do you want to be when you grow up? I was asked this question every year when I started school and every year I had the same answer; except maybe when I was 8 I thought about saving the Manatees, but that was still an animal, right? A veterinarian was my calling. Every part of me knew this was what I was born to do.
What does it take? I was fortunate to grow up around different species of animals where I developed a strong interest in the health and welfare of animals and people. Job shadowing at veterinary clinics, shelters, sale barns and ranches are all excellent opportunities. It is also very important to have an interest in science and math. Taking extra classes in high school will help when starting the pre-professional program. Written and oral communications are also vital to a successful career.
Several undergraduate programs are available to help reach the prerequisites required for veterinary school. Most programs are four years to earn a Bachelor’s degree. However, some veterinary schools do not require an undergraduate degree for admission. Some examples of my undergraduate classes included organic chemistry, microbiology, genetics and public speaking. Leadership opportunities along with working as a kennel assistant at a local veterinary clinic helped me gain experience and grow my resume.
The professional program of veterinary medicine is usually four years of study. I believe the hardest part of veterinary school was gaining admission. For example, Kansas State University had 1194 applications for the Class of 2017. Of those students, 434 were invited for an interview and only 112 candidates accepted a position.
In summary – Study hard, be involved and have confidence! Veterinary medicine is a challenging and rewarding adventure, and I am very fortunate to have my dream come true. If you would like more information, visit www.vet.ksu.edu for complete details on the profession.