If you are interested in becoming a veterinarian here are some helpful tips from Dr. Katie Graves to help you along the way.
Volunteering: I know life is busy; however, volunteering at veterinary clinics is a great way to get a good look at our profession and see if it suits you. I suggest volunteering at small and large animal clinics so you can get a full range of the practicing side of our profession. I would also suggest volunteering and/or working in an animal shelter and on farms (or anything animal related). This makes you a more rounded applicant and can assist you in deciding your career path.
Schooling: starting in high school, take all of your science classes- biology, chemistry and physics, as well as your highest level of English and Math. Even though you may not need all of these to get into veterinary school, career paths can change, so why not keep your doors open? I did not take physics in high school and then had to take in it college- not a happy camper- it took up my time and was much more expensive! Once you are in college or university check with your career counsellor they will have the class requirements for the selected Veterinary University you would like to attend. Most pre-requisite courses can be completed in two years of study and you need all of the pre-requisites to apply at a veterinary school. I suggest having a backup plan- pick the second line of study that interests you that you can continue if you do not get in after your first attempt. This way you are still working towards something that will make you happy. Each province has certain veterinary schools that the residents can apply to. For example, Alberta residents can only apply to the University of Calgary Veterinary Medicine Program. Thus, if you have your heart set on going to a specific veterinary school, check and see what the requirements are- because they are not just class pre-requisites!
Interview: Half the battle is acquiring the pre-requisite classes and having high enough grades, the other half of the battle is the interview. When I interviewed at the University of Calgary, there were 8 mini interview’s that lasted 8 minutes. Multiple different types of questions were asked, as well, there was a written essay. I suggest practicing interview type questions with professors, family and friends- this way you can become more comfortable answering the questions and still let your personality shine through. I believe they also offer courses on this as well. My biggest advice would be to answer the questions honestly and with your own personal flair.
I hope you have found this helpful – good luck with your future endeavours.
Written by: Dr. Katie Graves, Veterinarian