Tips Toward Planning and Paying For Your Vet Tech Education Part I

It is an old cliché, but it s true – No one ever plans to fail, they just fail to plan. It is important to start not only planning where to go to college but also how you intend to pay for your veterinary technician education long before the time arrives for you to study. Actually, you do not necessarily have to already chosen veterinary technology as your course of study in order to wisely start planning for your college education.

1. Make Great Use of Your High School Time
Although your high school years can present a great opportunity to have a good time, it is also important to use this time wisely to prepare for your life after high school. This should compel you to know what will be required for a college admission. This is important regardless if you have chosen a college course of study or not. Always take challenging courses that help you build the necessary skills you will need in areas that are verbal as well as mathematics and science. It is also important to participate in additional activities that will help you develop communication, team building and leadership skills with involvement in various sports, clubs, community groups, summer jobs, volunteer activities and others. Here are a couple of websites that will help you begin your college preparation process:

American Council on Education’s College Is Possible: Preparing for College
National Association for College Admission Counseling

2. Choose a School that Suits You
There are nearly 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States. Take advantage of whatever means you can through Internet use, guidebooks, college brochures, college fairs and possible campus visits to examine and explore different schools seeking to find the one that meets your academic and personal requirements. Once you get toward your junior year in high school, you should have a clear understanding if choosing veterinary technology as your selected course of study is what you really want to do. Therefore, you’ll need to choose a school that offers an accredited program leading to you becoming a successful veterinary technician. You’ll need to determine if you wish to pursue a two-year course leading to an associate’s degree or four-year course leading to a bachelor’s degree. Other considerations should be the location – does it have a physical environment in which you will be comfortable? Do you want to select a school close enough so you can live at home and cut down on expenses? Or would you like to make a bigger adventure in your education process by attending a school away from home? You may be pleasantly surprised to find that there are a number of schools that meet your personal requirements from which you will have to make a choice. As mentioned, the Internet is a great place to start your search and here are websites you can use:

The College Board: Find a College
Vet Tech Accredited Schools

3. Appropriate Testing is Necessary
There are two national tests usually required for any college admission which include the SAT and/or the ACT. However, requirements may vary from one college to another, so make sure you know which test you have to take. Make sure you plan to take either the SAT or an ACT during the spring semester of your junior year. This can act as a prep test and you can retake it again in your senior year. Check out the testing information available online for the SAT and for the ACT.

4. Know What the College Application Process Involves
Students as well as parents should understand the college application process early enough to apply in the fall semester of the senior year in high school. The preparation process includes knowing all deadlines and acquiring all the required recommendations, essays, transcripts, test scores and whatever else is necessary for the particular college that you are applying. Do not wait to the last moment to start your preparation or the process will appear overwhelming. It is highly recommended to involve your high school guidance counselor in the process who will be able to find out if you are eligible for fee waivers or possible scholarships and grants that will help fund your education. Keep in mind, if you have any experience working in a clinical setting with animals, ask that employer for a letter of recommendation. Additional planning information can be found at these following locations:

Mapping Your Future: Apply for Admission
The College Board: Apply to College

5. Explore All Scholarship Opportunities Early
One misconception a lot of people have is that a person needs to have a 4.0 average or be a star athlete in order to get free money to go to school. There is a variety of scholarships that are based on a number of different criteria that make many available to a wider population of students seeking to find financial assistance for college. Here again, use the Internet to find possible sources for scholarships. Here you will discover the requirements and deadlines are associated with applying for scholarships. If you do not have access to the Internet, consult with your high school guidance counselor for assistance. If you do have access, here are sites you can investigate:

The Sallie Mae Fund: Scholarship Searches
Latino College Dollars Scholarship Directory
Black College Dollars Scholarship Directory

Combine these tips with the ones in our next entry to gain a fundamental understanding how to successfully plan for a vet tech college education.