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Figuring out college

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  • Figuring out college

    I am a 17 year old junior in high school and I am starting to freak out because I have no clue what I want to do. I know I still want to do horses after college but I am not sure if I should do any of the following:

    - Go on the Pre-Vet track and become a Equine Vet or a Equine Vet tech
    - Do a 2 year degree and get something like the natural horsemanship degree in Montana
    - Figure something else out and do horses as a hobby

    I have to go to college, there is no way around it and I need to work with horses. I want to become a horse trainer(doesn't everyone) or even go and work for a trainer. The problem with that is that I want to be able to afford having my own horses and I am not sure that I would be able to do that if I became a trainer or if I would become frustrated and not want to do horses. I am planning of doing a training internship the year after I graduate but I want to figure out what I want/need to do.

    Thank you for reading that mess. If you have any advice or anything, I would greatly appreciate it. TIA

  • #2
    If you don't know what you want to go to college for than just go to a community college and start on what you need for an associates degree until you do know what you want to do.

    Nothing worse than wasting money on college tuition that ends up in a nothing degree you can't use.

    Comment


    • #3
      Seriously, pursue a degree that will enable you to afford nice horses of your own. Engineering, medicine, law etc.

      Good luck

      Comment


      • #4
        There are sooo many people around here who do the 2 year natural horsemen ship stuff in Montana. The best ones are the ones who didn’t do equine degrees in college imo.


        It looks nice on paper but I find half of them who went to RMC or any of the colleges in Montana for horsemanship still struggle.

        I’d do community college and knock out all the required classes etc. I know people who’ve done all the fancy classes for vet techs and go on to make way more money professionally grooming vrs working for a vet. I’m not sure how much equine vets make now a days.

        My husband has a degree in farm and ranch management, has done the colt starting programs through the college etc. I made more than him with 0 degree and one year experience in caregiving. He has a college education and I do not.

        The farm/cattle background did help him get hired on for the mine and now he has a low 6 fig income (I still don’t have a nice horse, even with his income) if I wasn’t pregnant and if I could do math past a 5th grade level I would of gone to WY for their nursing programs.
        https://www.instagram.com/streamlinesporthorses/

        Comment


        • #5
          Spend the summer investigating careers.

          Spend some time pouring over the Occupational Outlook Handbook: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/. When I went back to grad school, I was interested in a couple of different programs. I looked each field up in the OOH and made my final decision based on the description and employment forecast in the handbook.

          There are lots of videos available on the internet that tell you about different careers. Just google something like "videos on different careers." This is the first one that popped up:

          https://www.careeronestop.org/Videos...er-videos.aspx

          You may find some area of interest that you don't even know exists. I know after I got my BS, I sometimes met people and said, "What? You do X? I didn't even know that was a job someone could have."

          You don't have to pick a specific career right away, but at least try to identify a general area of interest - Science? Business? Engineering? Medical? Education? Humanities?

          I think most people are much better off making a career outside of the horse world and doing horses as a hobby. You can still be involved with horses and riding in college - I was - but it doesn't have to be your major and future career goal.

          "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
          that's even remotely true."

          Homer Simpson

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by NoSuchPerson View Post
            Spend the summer investigating careers.

            Spend some time pouring over the Occupational Outlook Handbook: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/. When I went back to grad school, I was interested in a couple of different programs. I looked each field up in the OOH and made my final decision based on the description and employment forecast in the handbook.

            There are lots of videos available on the internet that tell you about different careers. Just google something like "videos on different careers." This is the first one that popped up:

            https://www.careeronestop.org/Videos...er-videos.aspx

            You may find some area of interest that you don't even know exists. I know after I got my BS, I sometimes met people and said, "What? You do X? I didn't even know that was a job someone could have."

            You don't have to pick a specific career right away, but at least try to identify a general area of interest - Science? Business? Engineering? Medical? Education? Humanities?

            I think most people are much better off making a career outside of the horse world and doing horses as a hobby. You can still be involved with horses and riding in college - I was - but it doesn't have to be your major and future career goal.
            OP read this every night

            Comment


            • #7
              It seems like it's time to pick a career and decide the rest of your life, but that's not how it is. You're 17 and you should be expanding your opportunities not limiting them. Read that again. You should be expanding your horizons and figuring out what else in life (other than horses) interests you.

              Go to college... somewhere you can live away from home for four years (if you can afford it) and offers a wide variety of majors. Get a degree that's interesting, doesn't have to do with horses, and gets you a job. Do it with minimal debt. Continue to ride in your spare time (you will have some, I promise) and network with the local horse community. Connections are your key to a happy life in horses. Connections are so much more important than an equine degree or even an extremely high paying job.

              Graduate with your degree (the one that leads to a job!) and try out a job in that field. A job is not permanent... if you hate it, move along to the next one! Keep riding (this is where those connections come in handy!) and keep networking.

              Now you're in your mid-late twenties (it's not that far away I promise) and you have a job, you have some money saved up, and you have horsey connections. Now the world is open to you. Now you can take that job as an assistant trainer and see if that's what you want in life... you have a savings account and a degree to fall back on if that doesn't work. Or maybe by that point you'll find that you like your career and want to continue enjoying horses as an amateur. Either way, you will have many options. Options that some of your friends, who have an equine degree but would love to try out another field, won't have.

              Comment


              • #8
                If you feel like you "have to go to school for something" I highly suggest a minimum of an associates in business management/administration. A bachelors degree would be better.

                At a MINIMUM you have to take a basic intro to business class and an accounting class. This will give you life skills to manage your own finances and understand how businesses tick (whether it be your own or someone you work for).

                The benefit to my bachelors in "business administration" was the mandatory classes such as finance, marketing, human resources, accounting, entrepreneurship, and supply chain. I already knew I wanted to do accounting but this gives you a sample of various specializations in the business world. All of which the likes of Ariat, Tailored Sportsman, Purina, Devoucoux Saddles, Circle Y saddles, State Line Tack, etc all need (I tried to hit a high note every discipline/market!). You may find something that you really like and can specialize in (and tailor to a horse industry).

                Comment


                • #9
                  I’m just finishing up my senior year so I have lots of college advice. As someone who is going to pursue veterinary medicine, do not do it just to be with horses. It’s minimum eight years of school, and its hard work. I’m doing it because I know it’s what I’m passionate about.

                  I have a lot more to say, feel free to DM me

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by atlatl View Post
                    Seriously, pursue a degree that will enable you to afford nice horses of your own. Engineering, medicine, law etc.

                    Good luck
                    Accounting ...
                    Rack on!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      There's a similar current thread about careers by Equestrianabby right now.

                      Maybe we need a sticky because I feel like we give the same advice to half a dozen high school seniors every year

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        A serious if not somewhat naive question for all my fellow "seasoned" posters here...

                        Why the push for everyone to go immediately from high school to a bachelors degree? Is it not socially acceptable for a kid to take a year off after high school, work and get some life experience, or even work for (gasp) a couple years before going on to school? Is it simply because the admissions process favors (or is easier for) recent high school grads, or that school is fresh in their minds? Or is the "bachelors is the new high school diploma" driving this and forcing kids to college immediately in order to give them a level playing field for entry level positions in most career fields?


                        I was that horse crazy kid and working student who went straight to a bachelors program after high school (equine business management...business management core degree with equine science classes tacked onto it like a minor) and into the horse industry afterward. I got burned out on horses, left the industry after a couple of years, and now have a very successful and somewhat comfortable career in the military that pays for my horse, a nice truck, and a few horse shows a year. I am asking because I see some of my enlisted troops doing anywhere from 4-6 years in the military, getting their bachelors either part time while they're on active duty, or going full time to school once they get out. They already have work and life experience, have been trained in a trade or field, and likely have a better grasp of what industry they're most interested in. I admit I am so jealous of what they bring to the table to a bachelors or masters program as an adult with some real life perspective.

                        This is NOT a plug for the military (I'm sure the other AD posters will back me up in saying it comes with its own really absurd headaches), but I will say I've seen several folks come in with no idea what they want to do and leave for the civilian world with a clearer path for the rest of their life.

                        I agree knocking out core classes at a community college is smart until one decides on what field/specialty to obtain a bachelors in.

                        I will also say that equine degrees are useless in the industry and not to waste your time/money. The only valuable part of mine was the business management core, that's what it says on my diploma, and that's what got me a commission in the Air Force and into Masters programs. Equine sciences are useless. Horsemen care more of what you know/can do and what reputable individuals you have worked with, not about a diploma. Not knowing anything about it, I would guess that 2-year Montana NH degree is also useless. You could probably be a working student or assistant for a respectable horseman and get paid to learn the same stuff.
                        War Horse Blog
                        Blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I think that the push to go to college comes from parents who are terrified kidlet will fall into limbo if not actively on the next step.

                          I agree, many folks benefit from a year or two gap before college.

                          The kids who really benefit from going straight to college are the ones with strong academic inclinations who find their passion and their people in a particular field.

                          Many other kids are better off waiting a few years until they really have career goals to motivate them.

                          The kid without strong intellectual interests and without as yet a strong focus on a career goal can often flounder and waste opportunity.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            As a community college instructor I see a fair number of students who are a few years older than a traditional student might be. Some never went to college. A few never finished high school. Some went to college and dropped out or were asked to leave. Others have a college degree and now want to go in a different direction. Some are just taking longer than typical to get through college for financial or family reasons.

                            These are typically some of my best students.
                            The Evil Chem Prof

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
                              I think that the push to go to college comes from parents who are terrified kidlet will fall into limbo if not actively on the next step.
                              And the high schools, whose "school report cards" report how many graduates are accepted, and then matriculate into college the year they graduate. (No one cares what happens to the after that - it's the college's statistics to worry about then.)

                              A veterinary degree is one of the most expensive, and highest debt ratio degrees you can possibly obtain. Many vets are paying off their student loans for their entire careers. If you don't want to be a vet (really badly) - this is not the right option.

                              I agree that a gap year would be a great way for more high school graduates to think about their future, rather than this insane push to shove them into a 4 year degree program. Once upon a time, it was relatively inexpensive - and so who really cared, right? Live away from home, make some friends, go to parties, get a degree. Who cares in what? It's an "experience."

                              Now this "experience" is crippling our young adults with debt they can't get out from under. And parents are taking out more loans than ever as well, because, kids have to go to college. It's insane.

                              OP I also agree that a 2 year degree isn't a bad idea and if you aren't sure where to look, consider business. It will at least impart some practical life skills while you sort through your choices.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Makes much more sense to take a year or two and figure out what you want to do, or don't want to do, for the rest of your life. And what will reasonably pay the bills. The market is oversaturated with DIY NH type trainers. They get a couple horses to train right off the bat, and then struggle because they don't have the resume to keep multiple horses in full time training. You can't swing a cat in my area without hitting a bunch of trainers, and although they are good horsemen, they will all struggle to make a good living only doing horses. Most have side gigs just trying to make ends meet, and the slightest financial hiccup will put them out of business.
                                "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  GoneAway I was one of those kids who should have had a gap year too.

                                  I suggest working and knocking out core classes part time at a community college if you are stuck on what it is you want to declare.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
                                    I think that the push to go to college comes from parents who are terrified kidlet will fall into limbo if not actively on the next step.

                                    .
                                    it is more like what S1969 posted.... the school system is graded by the percentage of its students who continue on into college.

                                    I suspect nearly everyone on this board one of the first items they review before looking into an area to move review the school district's rating

                                    Our district will even pay for the first year at the local community college for any graduate who has attended the district's high schools for their final two years.

                                    Result overwhelmed the CC, packed classes, increased a shortage of instructors and many of the KIDS just screwed up their transcripts ... many of these KIDS had nothing invested therefor just went along for the ride.... free

                                    As far as I am aware our public school district has not had any follow up study on if the free year of college has produced more positive results that outweigh the negative results

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I second a lot of what others have said here, and wanted to add a few additional thoughts as someone who was in the same boat (many) years ago.

                                      Regarding being a horse trainer, do you like riding the problem horses? The ones who try to buck you off? As a young trainer, those are often the types of horses you get. You also have to like humans because they are your true clients. Sometimes, dealing with the problem human is the hardest thing. Also, since you most likely will be your own boss, it's important to have the knowledge to run a business - profit-loss, taxes, bookkeeping, etc.

                                      Becoming an equine veterinarian or even vet tech takes A LOT of science. Do you like science? There's no getting around the science classes - chemistry (organic and nonorganic), biology, pathology, physics, statistics - not just Animal Science classes. Getting into vet school is hard even with a good GPA. It may be easier to get into vet tech school. A BS degree is never enough in either career.

                                      There's so many other careers that involve horses. Nutritionist, researcher (phD), marketing, art, even IT... Do some more research.

                                      I would investigate community college to get your prerequisite courses out of the way and give you some breathing room to figure out what you like to do. Horses can be fit in during school - working student, school equestrian team, etc. If you can't find a paying job, volunteer with someone who does the career you're thinking about, so you can see the day-in, day-out that's involved - can be eye opening. In this day and age, a 4-year degree is almost a necessity, so keep that in the back of your mind, but don't focus on it yet - wait until your second year of community college.

                                      You don't have to have it all figured out - ever. Even at 95 yo, you can change your mind.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Thank you all for the advice! I like the idea of accounting because I really like math and doing that sort of stuff so I will look more into that. xQHDQ Thank you for putting those jobs and their info like that. I really like the problem horses! I currently am riding a problem horse that was given to me and I am working with 3 other "problem" or "Green Beans" that are at my barn. I love them and they may not be the best for my body or sanity at times but I love them so much!

                                        Thank you all for the advice! I can't wait to read more!

                                        Comment

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