I don’t know about you, but like about one in five kids, there was a time when I dreamed of being a veterinarian. In fact, national surveys say it’s the No. 1 career choice of middle school students.
Kids who want to be veterinarians know they need to do a few things: Keep their grades up, especially in science and math; get experience with animals; and learn all they can about veterinary medicine. But there are a couple of things holding them back when it comes to getting animal and veterinary experience. The biggest of these barriers is that most shelters won’t let people under 18 volunteer there because of liability concerns, and most vet hospitals don’t let younger teens volunteer, either.
So, what are they supposed to do to get the experience they need?
First, they can visit visit Vet Set Go. This is the first and only web community designed for aspiring veterinarians. It provides all kinds of information about what vets do and what it takes to become a vet. Better yet, it helps them understand the concrete steps they can take to get ready to become a veterinarian.
I’ll tell you what: It has been a long time since I was in middle school, but I was fascinated by the site and found myself browsing it and watching videos for a good hour.
Second, youngsters can go to Junior Vet Camp. Every summer, Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama — home of one of the most prestigious vet schools in the U.S. — hosts this event. It’s just for students entering grades six through eight. Camp participants get to learn firsthand about veterinary medicine in classrooms, labs and outdoor facilities. Not only will they learn about animals, they’ll learn about public health, food animals, wildlife, anatomy, imaging and first aid.
Do you have or know a kid who would be interested in attending Junior Vet Camp? Regular applications for this year’s camp, held from July 9 through 14, are closed, but thanks to a partnership between Vet Set Go and Royal Canin, a scholarship contest is now open.
Three lucky future veterinarians who enter the contest will get to attend Junior Vet Camp for free. Ten runners-up will receive a free copy of Vet Set Go’s award-winning quick-start guide to becoming a veterinarian.
In order to apply, all an aspiring vet needs to do is work with their parent or guardian to share their story and a photo. The story, written by the child, needs to be 300 words or less and tell the sponsors about what the child has done to learn about or help animals, understand biology or animal behavior, or find out what it takes to become a vet. The entry needs to include a picture of the child helping animals.
To enter the scholarship contest, visit Vet Set Go and fill out the application form. Applications are open through May 4.