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Becoming a Veterinarian

Q. Hello, I am 13 years old, but I am positive I want to be a vet.

Animals are my passion, and I'd do anything to make a difference...so what exactly can I do to make sure I get into a great college that'll prepare me to become a vet?

What kinds of community service can I do? What does my GPA have to be? And what are some of the best colleges for studying to be a vet? What courses are best? Thank you

A. The first thing anyone who is considering a career in veterinary medicine should do is research in the field and the necessary education so the sooner you start the better.

First of all find out what college of veterinary medicine your state of residency supports. In Ohio for example most of the seats in the Ohio State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, are reserved for Ohio residents.

If your home state has no veterinary college then find out what schools have contracted seats at other state schools. Your state Board of Veterinary Medicine or State University Association would have that information.

Also the American Veterinary Medical Association has career information including average debt and salaries.

Once you learn your options for veterinary college, contact the college to find out the prerequisite requirements and procedures. Very often the colleges have career day tours of their facilities.

Next you need to look at the financial requirements and options. This can be very important in your choice of an undergraduate college prior to vet school. How in debt can you afford to be at that point?

In the mean time take as much advanced classwork as possible in high school. Obviously you need to get good grades but higher level courses put you much further ahead in college.

It is also very important to maintain other interests like art and music to keep a balance in your life. Look for extracurricular activities that demonstrate leadership.

Building character for the future will benefit your life no matter what you choose to do.

Also check with your veterinarian and area animal shelters to see if any volunteer programs are available. GOOD LUCK!

Answered by the expert vets at Animal Hospital Inc. in Willoughby.

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