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C2003-21

Dear Christopher Cat

I’ll be starting 10th grade in the fall, and I’d like to become a veterinarian.  What should I do now to prepare?

Christopher Responds

You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree to get into vet school, which is an additional four years, so take some time to have fun this summer.

Get experience with a number of species so you’re as comfortable working with horses and cattle as you are with dogs and cats.

Do volunteer work for and with animals to demonstrate your commitment to them.

The U.S. has only 28 veterinary schools, so good grades -– especially in the sciences and math -– are important.  But it’s even more important to remember the science and math you learn, so you can build on your knowledge in the future.

Develop good human communication skills, because when decisions must be made, you’ll have to talk with the animal’s caregiver. Take a course in public speaking and participate in extra-curricular activities.

I’m a cat and not your mother, so I hope you’ll permit me to lecture you for a moment. Do not experiment with illegal drugs, abuse legal drugs or drink alcoholic beverages while you are underage. Veterinarians have access to medications, and anyone with a history of drug or alcohol abuse risks not being accepted into vet school.

Finally, check out these websites: www.avma.org/careforanimals/CFAsiteindex.asp  and  www.healthypet.com/Library/animal_bond-19.htm.

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