Mar 2, 2016

Connect with veterinary programs at the 2016 AAVMC Medical Career Fair

Prospective veterinarians, including high school students or undergrads on a pre-professional veterinary track, should mark their calendars for the 2016Veterinary Medical Career Fair.  Sponsored by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), the fair is scheduled for Sunday, March 6, from 2:30 to 5 p.m., at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, located not far from the National Zoo!

This is a terrific opportunity to meet veterinary medical school admissions officials, get advice on veterinary school admissions, and learn about various veterinary medical career opportunities.  Note that it’s one of very few college fairs in the country totally targeted to students interested in pursuing careers in veterinary medicine.

Already gathered for an annual conference, representatives from national and international colleges of veterinary medicine will be on hand to walk students through the application process while explaining the kinds of credentials necessary to attend any of the
AAVMC member institutions.

You may be surprised to learn that some veterinary medical schools are very interested in time spent in animal care related activities as early as high school.  In fact, prospective vets are well advised to start keeping track of their volunteer hours in activities related to animals or animal care throughout all four years of high school.

And we’re not just talking about cats and dogs!

“This year’s event will feature two veterinarians in non-clinical practice areas,” explained Lisa Greenhill, AAVMC associate executive director for institutional research and diversity. “We really want students and their families to understand that there are a wide range of things to do in veterinary medicine.”

By the way, US News lists veterinary medicine among the 100 “best” jobs for 2016, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that veterinarians earned a median salary of $87,590 in 2014.  In addition, the healthy growth rate of veterinary jobs—nine percent between 2014 and 2014—reflects the fact that more Americans are getting pets and are willing to spend money for their health care.

To meet this need, some of the best-known veterinary programs in the country are expanding Cornell University launched a $22 million renovation project to upgrade and expand its College of Veterinary Medicine, which will enable the college to sustain its class size at 102 and “sets the stage for an additional increase that will stabilize Cornell’s pre-clinical class size at about 120 students per year.” 

And the Texas Tech University System has announced plans to develop a veterinary school and veterinary medicine doctoral program, citing student demand and industry needs. There are currently more than 150 students enrolled in pre-veterinary education at the College of Agriculture Sciences, but “the lack of veterinary schools prohibits many qualified students from becoming veterinarians,” university officials say.

And for high school students thinking ahead, the choice of undergraduate school could possibly fast track acceptance to veterinary medical colleges as opportunities exist for early admission to DVM programs by bypassing completion of the BS.  For students committed to the field, this could mean significant savings in terms of time and money!

This year’s AAVMC event will feature information sessions held in conjunction with the medical career fair, which will include veterinary school representatives from Auburn, Cornell, LSU, NC State, Ohio State, Purdue, Tufts, and the University of Florida—to name a few.

“Students visiting the fair should remember to ask about summer programs and how to get veterinary-related experience while still in high school,” suggested Dr. Greenhill. “Research programs are available with undergraduate ‘feeder’ opportunities at some vet schools.”

And there are prizes for inquiring students.

“We will continue featuring our special ‘I’m a Future Vet’ t-shirt—as a prize only—as well as some new giveaways,” added Dr. Greenhill.  

Although not required, students are asked to register in advance for the fair. Last year’s event was very well attended, and early registration helps conference organizers do a better job.  And note that while hourly parking is available at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, students and their families are strongly encouraged to take the Metro (Red Line exiting at the Woodley Park/Zoo Station).

But if you can't attend, take the time to check out the AAVMC website for information on
how to become a veterinarian, including links to a new set of webinars designed to introduce students to the veterinary application process.

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