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A future in Pre-Veterinary
By Amber Gragert
Quite often veterinarians are those people who never outgrew their childhood love and fondness for animals. If you have a heart of compassion for creatures of all types and a mind for the science and medical fields then this course of study will be well suited for you.
Pre-veterinary studies is, of course a necessary step if you are interested in applying for veterinary school, and it may come as a surprise to students that admission into veterinary school is even more competitive than medical school. That said, when preparing and planning your undergraduate course of study - keep that fact in mind. There are only around 30 veterinary schools in the United States - so get your game face on. Most schools do not offer a specific pre-veterinary major, but that does not mean you should give up on that dream. Instead, students in this situation should choose another major such as biology. This is a solid solution as veterinary schools will primarily look for the same courses. This will also go to show and prove that you are serious about your veterinary ambitions and willing to get creative to accomplish it. As long as you complete the necessary general core requirements of the pre-veterinary preparatory track, you will be set well for admission into veterinary school.
Of course if you desire to be even more creative in your endeavor you could even consider courses for business and make it fit within your needs for veterinary school. It is just a matter of understanding the veterinary world and the needs of an animal clinic or office. Think government regulations and small business management - veterinary skills are not limited to the saving of cats and dogs. The understanding of a veterinarian’s long-term career and business needs will make you stand out in the competition for veterinary school admission. Pair that with a diverse course of study, full educational experiences, attention to detail, strong work ethic, a firm understanding of the sciences, stellar communication skills, and an unrelenting commitment to animal health - and you will be impossible to ignore.
Each school will have their own core requirements but in general course work required will include: General biology or zoology with labs, organic chemistry with labs, English, statistics, college algebra, pre-calculus, genetics, and microbiology, even human anatomy and physiology would be helpful when gaining entrance into veterinary school.
Networking in any job market is one of the keys to success. Getting hands-on experience through internships is a great way to network and learn the ins and outs of what you can do in the future. Veterinary clinics, small farms, and zoos are just a few examples of places to pursue an invaluable internship, part-time, or summer job.
Your interest alone, in the care of animals and making sure they receive the medical attention all of them will at some point need is all too important in this line of work. Veterinarians research, diagnose, and treat animal conditions; administer vaccinations; and even sometimes perform surgeries. You will be dealing with patients like household pets and farm animals to wildlife to large animals in captivity - along with their human caretakers. So if you are prepared for some hard work and up close and personal encounters with all sorts creatures from the animal kingdom then you are in good company in pre-veterinary studies.