A Lengthy Interview with a University of Florida Veterinary Medical School Student!
The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is the only veterinary school in Florida. Allison had amazing letters of recommendation and over 2000 hours of experience, both of these together helped strengthen her application and gain her a spot in the 2019 starting class!
Name, veterinary school attended, and year that you started.
My name is Allison Hinchcliff. The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine and I will start in 2019!
Who are the animals that you currently share your life with?
I have 1 potcake dog (a mixed breed from the Bahamas) and 4 fancy rats!
Do you think there were any specific experiences or items on your application that helped to strengthen it for your acceptance to the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine?
I am the oldest of 7 children, my mother is deaf and single, I am a first-generation scholar, and I am from a very low socioeconomic background so I think those showed diversity in me! Three amazing letters of recommendation and over 2000 hours of experience when I applied, definitely helped!
Where did you attend undergrad and what was your major?
Florida State University and my major: Biological Sciences.
Did you apply for vet school after, or during your Bachelor’s education?
I applied afterward, I took a gap year to get more experience and letters of recommendation.
Did you attend grad school?
No, but I strongly considered it because of how much I love Biology.
At what age did you first apply to vet school?
How many schools/application cycles did you apply to before being accepted into the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine program?
Only 1, I got in on my first try!
Were you waitlisted at any schools?
Virginia-Maryland and Lincoln Memorial University both put me on a waitlist.
How many schools invited you for an interview?
How many of those gave you an acceptance letter?
For those in-state students wanting to attend the University of Florida Veterinary Medical School:
-The class of 2022 had 388 in-state applicants. Of those 388, 168 were offered interviews, and 91 accepted!
What were some reasons in your choice of attending UF as opposed to Midwestern?
Midwestern and UF both gave me an acceptance letter. I loved Midwestern, but I am from Florida and UF would be ½ the price and close to my family, so I jumped on the opportunity! Not to mention that having a DVM from UF carries a lot of weight when finding a job in Florida.
Do you remember any specifically challenging interview questions?
The interviewer said this one was off script, so I hadn’t heard it before, he said “What if an intern under your supervision critically injures an animal and the owner attempts to sue you for damages? Do you defend them or try to distance yourself?” I’m usually good at answering questions quickly but I had to sit and think a second about that one.
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What was your GPA (in undergraduate)?
What was your GRE score?
Verbal: 83%; Quantitative: 50%; Analytical Writing: 59%
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How many extracurricular activities did you list on your application?
I can’t remember, around 5, I think.
Veterinary and Animal Experience is Important!
Did you have exotic, large and small animal experience prior to applying to veterinary school?
1,850 hours small, 110 hours large and about 50 hours exotic.
What types of paying jobs did you have before getting into The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine?
I worked in a Biology lab at my local college while getting my AA, and I worked full time as a vet tech in a 5-vet hospital in my gap year.
Did you volunteer? If so, where?
Yes, A humane society before college and at a local equine vet to shadow her during my gap year.
How many people read your personal statement before submitting it?
Only me, writing is my strong suit. I don’t know anyone who could help me, but I did ask my vets about which themes I should avoid when beginning to write it.
When did you decide to become a vet?
When I was 6 years old I decided to become a vet after watching Animal Cops on TV. The episode exposed a huge dog fighting ring and when they brought the dogs to the vets and some of the dogs got better it made me want to be a vet too.
Did you interview any vets before starting the application process? If so, how did you approach them?
I don’t know if you would consider it an interview, but I asked the vets I worked and volunteered with a ton of questions. Then I waited until they were not crazy busy, in between cases, or sitting down and asked them 1 question at a time so I didn’t annoy them.
The overall GPA of the class of 2022 applicant pool at The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine: 3.4 GPA. The final accepted class had a 3.7 average undergraduate GPA.
Were you a member of any clubs at your undergraduate school? If so, which ones?
The pre-vet club at FSU, I strongly encourage any future or current applicants to join a pre-vet club! You learn a lot about getting into vet school there.
Letters of Recommendation!
Who gave you your letters of recommendation? Did you know them well?
I got a letter from a teaching assistant who was very enthusiastic about how much he loved me as a student. He was not a professor yet but about to get his PhD, which he now has. I don’t think it HAS to be from a PhD professor who is usually way too busy to even know you well.
Another letter was from a vet I worked with at my veterinary technician job. We are practically best buds. She really believes in me and is very thorough. This allowed her to write an amazing letter that the interviewers even mentioned during my interview!
I got my final letter from the large animal vet I shadowed. She was on the admissions board in prior years. This vet was a very critical person so I knew a letter from her would do wonders. I believe that since it came from her and she was from UF and on their board, they took it seriously.
Veterinary Medicine: A Great Career Choice!
Are you happy that you chose this career? What makes you most happy about this career choice?
Yes, I am very happy I chose this career, I love to help people and I especially love to help animals. I have an undying interest in learning about animals and I cannot think of one job that would make me happier in this world than being a vet. The DVM degree applies to so many different fields that if you need a change of pace you have a ton of options.
Do you have any advice for students, once accepted?
I know the excitement and nervousness of starting vet school is very distracting but try to enjoy the time leading up to school. I am going on a month-long road trip before I am far too busy for 4 years and paying loans off for another 10.
Any study tips?
I made practice tests that covered all of what I needed to know, they take a ton of time, but it forces recall so you can recall during the test and making the test also helps you review. Flashcards help but I feel nothing is as useful to me as the actual thing I am studying for (a test).
As a student, did you have to take out loans for your education? If so, are you concerned about the amount of debt you will have after graduation?
As my family is very poor, I will have to fund my education solely on loans and scholarships. Because of this, I am quite nervous about having to pay all the loans back. I have looked at how much it would cost if I had only loans and I would be paying a lot, but as a vet, I should make enough to pay it off in 10 years if I lived a frugal life (like I always have) and have a decent paying job. Try this website to help you figure out paying for vet school!
For out of state students interested in attending the UF vet school, check out the statistics below.
The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine class of 2022 had 886 Out of State Applicants. Out of those OOS, 146 had interview offers, and 25 accepted.
Do you have any advice for students thinking about attending your University?
Great grades are not all you need, and you CAN get in with a 3.5, but you need tons of hours, very good letters, a good story and to be confident in yourself! Don’t be afraid to tell them about things that make you different, they want unique people who will change their communities based on their experiences (I am a child of a deaf adult and want to help deaf people as a vet).
At this point do you think you will have a specialty?
I would like to be a reptile vet and a pocket pet vet on top of usual small animal practice. I know becoming a reptile vet is hard, but I’d love to!
Do you have any last words of wisdom?
As typical as it is to say this, BE YOURSELF! I know everyone says that but I’m pretty sure the reason for being waitlisted at LMU was because it was my first interview and I was trying to act like a perfect applicant. I got more comfortable in my final 2 and they both accepted me. My UF interview would have been a bust if I had not been comfortable and just said what immediately came to my mind as the best answer. In interviews when they ask if there is anything you want to mention, don’t be afraid to say, “I am a very ____ person and I think that is important in a veterinarian because ____.” Just make sure it’s honest because they can tell!
How can people find you?
My Facebook and Instagram are mostly private, but you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need advice! I love to help but once I start school (August 2019), I might not be super available so keep that in mind 😊
Read some interviews with other students who got into veterinary college on their first try below.
-Ben got into The Ohio State University on his first try.
-William works with wildlife and got accepted to Cornell veterinary college on his first try.
–Dr. Bobula got accepted to Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine on her first try.