Do you know, out of the 37,398 students enrolled in UC Davis in Fall 2016, 11.73% are international students? (As sciency as I am, I did the math – this is 4387 students!) College is… More
The school year is finally winding down and summer is fast-approaching! For many students, summer is the perfect time to relax, to soak up some sun, and to catch up on your favorite Netflix shows. However for pre-health students, summer can also be the perfect time to gain worthwhile experiences to boost your application.
What is the best way to spend my summer?
The truth is that the possibilities are endless. The best way to spend your summer really depends on what you want to accomplish. Is there a specific part of your application that is lacking? Do you need more volunteer hours? Do you need more clinical experiences or research? Do you need to boost your GPA? Or perhaps you have questions that you still need the answers to?
Before you start searching for experiences, I suggest that you sit down and take some time to ask yourself the questions above. What story are you trying to tell the admissions committee? Are you an individual who is passionate about working with underserved communities? Or are your passions driven by research? Or perhaps mentoring and advising? Once you start identifying who you are and what you are passionate about, then it will become much easier to navigate the internet for potential experiences. You will be able to narrow down your search and to eliminate opportunities that you don’t find interesting.
What is my story?
For me, I didn’t sit down and ask myself these questions until the end of my freshman year. Before spring quarter, I was really eager to dive into internships and to get involved, but I was overwhelmed by all the opportunities available. I didn’t know how to navigate campus resources and how to be selective about my experiences. I simply said “YES!” to the first internship that showed interest in me. This was a HUGE mistake because I was miserable in some of my first internships. I was so determined to find any internship that I forgot to stay honest with myself. So at the end spring quarter, I began to ask myself: Who are you really? What do you enjoy doing? Where do you want to be in the next few years? I realized that my passions were working with undeserved communities, children, and students. I wanted to pursue advising/tutoring and to gain clinical experience. With these desires in mind, I went to the Internship and Career Center and the Undergraduate Research Center to get help! They were able to help me narrow down my search to find experiences that accurately portrayed who I was as a person.
What types of experiences can I do?
There are countless opportunities that you can pursue, including:
Summer is the perfect time to do research. During the school year, it can be difficult and exhausting to juggle a full course load with 10-15 hours of research each week. But in the summer, you have much more time and energy to dedicate towards your lab work.
A common misconception is that laboratory research is the only kind that pre-health schools like. However, ALL research on the UC Davis campus is valuable. In addition to lab research, you can try clinical research and social science research. The most important thing is to find a project that truly interests you!
I recommend going to the Undergraduate Research Center as the first step. The URC advisors can help you to connect with professors that are doing research in a subject of your interest. They can also help you to draft a strong cover letter and resume.
Another thing you can do over the summer is internships. There are countless internship opportunities on the internet, but here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Health Related Internships (HRI)
The HRI are unique to UC Davis. HRI are a wonderful first step to gaining clinical experience within a hospital setting. And the best part is that there is NO application or interview necessary! Simply sign up for a pass time and choose the position and time that works best for you. HRI span across many health-related fields including medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, nutrition, public health, and physical, occupational, and speech therapies. These internships can be a great way to learn more about what specialty you hope to pursue in the future.
- Medical Missions
MEDLife and the Global Medical Brigades are two popular programs on campus that will allow you to travel while gaining hands-on clinical experience.
- Health-Related Internships through the Washington Program
- Volunteer at a Student Run Clinic
UC Davis’ student-run clinics serve various underserved populations in the Sacramento community. Volunteering at a clinic will not only provide you with valuable clinical experience, it can also pave the way for future leadership opportunities!
Explore Your Hobbies and PassionsLastly, but most importantly, spend your summer doing something that you are passionate about. Admissions committees want to learn about who you are as an individual outside of school. Pursue your hobbies! Hang out with friends or even your dog! Read a book, go hiking, or maybe try something completely brand new. Whatever you choose to do, remember to stay true to you!
I hope you found this blog useful! Good luck with the rest of your quarter and have an amazing summer!
4th year Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior
Class of 2017
BASC Peer Advisor
If UC Davis was a category in the game Taboo, one of the tabooed words would be “animal.” UC Davis is internationally acclaimed for our animal facilities. There are so many resources available to expand your knowledge, which may be particularly appealing for Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity or Marine and Coastal Science majors, or just if you love animals. Take advantage of all the unique opportunities our campus has to offer-whether it is simply to learn more, or to get involved!
One of the most notable animal facilities on campus is our iconic dairy cow barn near the Tercero Residence Halls. However, there are many more located all throughout campus. Most of them are open to students interested in learning more. If the gate is open, you are welcome to walk in and talk to a staff member. The facilities generally have open hours for the public. Here are just a few examples:
California Raptor Center
The Raptor Center is open for free, self-guided tours during their open hours Monday-Friday from 9am-4pm and Saturday from 9am-12pm. You can learn about the rehabilitation of all kinds of raptors like red-tailed hawks, golden eagles, or barn owls.
There are three Avian facilities on campus: Hopkins Avian Facility, Meyer Hall Hatchery, and Meyer Hall Avian Facility. The Hopkins Avian Facility is located across from the University Airport and houses species including chickens, parrots, kestrels, and finches. Meyer Hall Hatchery supplies chicks and eggs to other Avian facilities and departments on campus. The Meyer Hall Avian Facility is an intensive research facility with controlled environments and chambers.
The Center for Aquatic Biology and Aquaculture (CABA) Aquatic Center located on campus by the University Airport is the largest freshwater fish research facility of all the University of California campuses. Besides acting as a research space, some Aquatic Center animals are released to natural reserves at Putah Creek and Jamison Pond. It is open for tours by appointment during its open hours Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm.
The Horse Barn is mostly run by students and houses several stallions available to the public, with proceeds going back towards the equine education program. Tours are available by appointment during open hours: Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm. Fun fact: the one-and-only Gunrock was housed at the House Barn in the 1920s.
The Cole facility is a research facility with many studies involving cattle, goats, sheep, and pigs. It also encompasses the Meat Lab and the Small Animal Laboratory, which houses rabbits, hamsters, rats and mice. The Meat Lab is located in Cole C Facility and is open for meat sales on Thursday and Friday from 1pm-5:30pm.
Learn more about each Animal Facility here:
Get details about the Meat Lab here:
Barn Residency Program
Can’t get enough of these precious animals? UC Davis offers a Barn Residency Program, which is an opportunity to live-in at one of the nine animal facilities on campus. In exchange for housing, students work in the facility for approximately 10 hours per week. The facilities include: Dairy Barn, Swine Barn, Horse Barn, Sheep Barn, Beef Barn, Feedlot, Feed mill, Hopkins Avian Facility, and Goat Barn. Animals and free rent? Moo yeah! Check out the website below for specific requirements (you have to be able to lift a bale of hay):
You don’t have to be an Animal Science or animal-related major to immerse yourself in the opportunities that the campus has to offer. This is an underrated benefit of attending an agriculture school-don’t miss out!
BASC Peer Advisor
3rd year, Neurobiology, Physiology, & Behavior Major
As busy college students, it is easy to forget to self-care and maintain our physical health. However, as finals approach, it’s particularly important to take time to de-stress and relax. I have personally found that an excellent way to do this is by sticking with a general rule- exercise in any form, 4 times a week and in 30 minute increments.
Here are several great exercise resources to consider as a UC Davis student:
The UC Davis ARC
The indoor track, weight room and huge collection of exercise machines can give you the perfect workout at no extra cost during the school year. However, during the summer, you must be a registered in summer courses or else there is an extra fee. Jogging, strength training, heavy lifting, circuit training- these are all fantastic ways to stay in shape!
If you are new to the gym, the ARC provides personal trainers who can help you set long-term goals and learn how to safely use the huge collection of weights and machines in the building. Other facilities, such as the swimming pools and rock climbing walls, are also available.
Group exercise classes are also a great way to learn a new workout routine under supervised instruction. Available classes range from cycling to Zumba.
If you already enjoy playing a sport, Intramurals (IMs) are a fun way to meet people and team up for playing with friendly competition. Sports offered include basketball, flag football, volleyball, kickball, pickleball, soccer, softball, tennis, ultimate frisbee and even Quidditch. If you do not have a ready formed team, you are still welcome to register for IMs as a free agent. More information on personal training, group exercises classes and intramurals can be found at the CRU website.
The UC Davis Department of Physical Education provides a huge range of PE classes every quarter that are open to all undergraduate students. Classes are usually offered for 0.5 units, and meet for 2 hours every week. UCD students are allowed to take up to 6 units of PE classes for credit in their academic career (more classes may be taken beyond 6 units, but students will not receive credit for these classes). A huge variety of sports at every level is available, and the instruction is excellent because many classes are taught by seasoned trainers or university athletic coaches. Courses include kickboxing, rock-climbing, volleyball and weight-training, just to name a few.
CRU Outdoor Adventures
Particularly popular for summer adventures with friends, the CRU Outdoor Adventures center offers exciting ways to be active through white river rafting, hiking and camping trips in beautiful natural areas around California. More information can be found here:
Although taking time away from work or study may seem counterintuitive, this strategy actually optimizes performance because exercise hugely boosts energy levels and concentration. Exercising regularly not only benefits your general well-being, but also greatly increases your studying productivity.
Take time out of your schedule to have fun and energize!
4th Year Biological Sciences Major
BASC Peer Adviser
This past week, we all received an email about how starting Fall 2017, Schedule Builder will automatically be enforcing prerequisites for courses. Since then, we’ve had several students come into the Biology Academic Success Center (BASC) to inquire as to what that means. If that email was the first time you’ve heard about the new pre-req check, then congratulations, this means that you completed all of the prerequisites for your classes for this quarter. The College of Biological Sciences actually started using Schedule Builder’s automatic prerequisite checking system for Spring 2017 registration. However, as of Fall 2017 registration, the practice will be campus-wide.
To view the prerequisites for a course, search for the course in schedule builder and then click “show details” on the right side of the screen. Under the course description, you will see the prerequisites for the course listed.
So how will this prerequisite checking system affect your registration? Ultimately, if you are staying on top of your prerequisites, it won’t! However, say you want to register for a class, let’s call it ABC 123, that you haven’t completed the listed prerequisite for, you will now have to fill out a prerequisite petition that is made available to you on Schedule Builder. Also, if you think that another class you have taken has prepared you to be successful for ABC 123, you still have to complete the petition. Let’s take a look at what that would be like.
For the purpose of this blog, I added BIS 104 into my schedule. I have not completed one of its prerequisites, BIS 101, so the following message popped up:
Now, let’s say that hypothetically I was planning on taking the equivalent of BIS 101 at UCLA over the summer, so I decided to complete the the prerequisite petition so that I could still register for BIS 104. I would then click on the prerequisite petition and fill it out. This is what it would look like:
Here, I could explain my situation and upload evidence that I was registered for the equivalent of BIS 101 at UCLA. It is recommended that you include as much information on the prerequisite course as possible (expanded course description and/or course syllabus).
As soon as you submit the petition, Schedule Builder will allow you to register for the given class. You do not need to wait for it to be approved. The approval process will not happen until pass 2 (which is in August or September for Fall 2017 registration). At this point, it is at the instructor’s discretion if they approve the petition or not. If they decide not to approve it, then you will be dropped from the course. Therefore, do not assume that if you fill out the petition and register for the class, you will guaranteed a spot.
Also, make sure that when you’re filling out the petition that you are specific about why you do not need to take the listed prerequisite. If you are submitting the petition because you think a different class should suffice as a prerequisite, then be specific about what topics were covered and how it prepared you.
Another feature of this update, is that Schedule Builder will warn you if you save a class that you are currently enrolled in the prerequisite for. Don’t worry, this alert won’t prevent you from registering! However, if you don’t pass the prerequisite class, then you will be dropped from the class, again, at the discretion of the instructor.
In fact, dropping you from the class is not the only thing that is up to the instructor’s discretion, it is also their decision to participate in the prerequisite checking system at all. Some may opt out. So if you notice that you haven’t completed a prerequisite for a class, but are not blocked from registration, this may be the case. That being said, as advisers, we strongly recommend completing the prerequisite(s) before you take a class regardless.
Good luck registering and be sure to come into BASC if you have any questions about the prerequisite check or about registration in general.
3rd Year Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior Major
Nutrition Science Minor
BASC Peer Advisor
Winter quarter has just started, but it is never too early to start thinking about your plan for the summer. There are many options; you can work, intern, or just relax on a couch all day! But if the thought of taking classes during the summer has entered your mind then there are few details to consider. For example, you may want to consider the difference between taking classes at a community college, another 4 year institution, or UC Davis. In addition, it’s important to know the difference between classes that articulate versus transfer when attending an institution outside of UC Davis. Knowing this information is critical in making the best decision for your academic future, but lucky for you it is all located below.
Why consider taking classes during the summer?
- A student can complete additional units towards his or her degree and can help a student graduate within 4 years.
- A student can use summer school to meet minimum progress. For information on minimum progress visit https://registrar.ucdavis.edu/records/transcripts/academic-standing.cfm
- Summer school is a great option for students who have had trouble getting into classes during the academic year.
- Taking courses during summer can lead to a more balanced work load during the academic year.
- Students can take courses in order to satisfy their GE requirements or a minor.
Students have the ability to take classes at a community college, at another four year institution, or stay at UC Davis. Below I will summarize how to navigate through these different options and why each of these options may be a good idea for you:
- Community college is usually close to home! Many students at UC Davis are far from home and want to head back for their summer vacation. Also living at home could potentially be cheaper in terms of housing.
- Community college can save you money! UC Davis summer sessions are more pricey than completing courses at a community college. Community college fees are approximately $46 a unit.
- Most community colleges are on the semester system and have different way of calculating units. To convert the semester units to quarter units, multiply the semester units by 1.5. For example, 3 units at a community college on the semester system is converted to 4.5 units at UC Davis. This can be a great reason to take courses at a community college because you are given more units which can help towards the GE requirement, graduation, or minimum progress requirements.
- Community colleges do not offer upper division courses and courses taken at the community college will not factor into your UC Davis GPA.
- Many students want to complete their preparatory work at a community college (MAT, BIS, CHE, PHY), but it is not recommended to break apart series and take them at different schools. This is because classes at a community college might not correlate with Davis’ structure.
Another important concept that most students get confused with is the difference between a class being articulated and a class being transferred. If a class articulates, that means that a class at a community college is equivalent to a class at UC Davis, and the student will get credit for completing the course. On the other hand, if a class is just transferable, then the student will only receive units for having completed the course. To check if classes at your community college can be articulated use assist.org. Assist.org is a great website to see which classes at a community college articulate to another 4 year institution.
Other Four-Year Institutions: Although there is an articulation database (assist.org) that links community colleges directly to 4-year institutions, there is not one that links 4-year institutions with other 4-year institutions. This is important because if a student wanted to go to another UC or a California State University (CSU) , that student would have to be more proactive in finding an articulation for the class he or she is interested in taking. For example, if a student wants to take a psychology course at Cal State Fullerton, he or she would have to bring in the syllabus from Fullerton and take it to the psychology department at UC Davis. The psychology department would then decide if the class at Fullerton can be articulated to a class at UC Davis or if more information is needed.
- Similar to community colleges, classes at CSU campuses will not be considered in your UC Davis GPA. However, classes from another UC (UCLA for example) will be added into your UC GPA.
Summer Sessions at UC Davis: Taking classes at another UC campus offers additional benefits than a community college or a California State University:
- Taking summer classes at a UC can help improve your UC cumulative GPA.
- Repeating courses can only be done at a UC campus if your intention is to replace the initial grade received in the course.
- Many lower and upper division courses needed for your major, university, and college requirements are offered at UC Davis during the summer.
Extra information for UC Davis Summer session:
Dates for Summer Sessions 2017:
Summer Session 1: Jun 26 – Aug 4
Summer Session 2: Aug 7 -Sep 15
Special Session: Jun 19-Sep 15
Pass times appointments: Registration begins May 1 st. Please see your schedule builder for your specific Pass time.
If you are receiving financial aid at UC Davis, simply register for classes on your designated appointment time and the financial aid office will distribute financial aid based on the classes registered. I suggest to go to the financial aid office, located on 1st floor of Dutton hall, to see a financial aid officer to discuss options for financial aid. For more information about classes offered, fees, and other important dates visit http://summer-sessions.ucdavis.edu/
5th year, Biological Sciences Major
B.A.S.C. Peer Adviser
Wanting to be productive during our long and winding 3+ months of summer break? Just in need of ideas to spend your time instead of wallowing around in your bed binge-watching 12 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy? Here are some ideas to fill up your summer plans.
This one is a given. Go out and explore the world with your loved ones, by yourself or even strangers!
- Summer Session.
Take advantage of the smaller class sizes and get ahead in your major or GE requirements. Plus, the campus is relatively empty so there are more study spaces available and you can actually get one of those coveted outlets in the library. If you want to stay at home for the summer, you can take community college courses. Even more convenient, there are a wide variety of online courses offered by community colleges. Check out assist.org to find out if a community college course articulates to a course here at UC Davis.
- Study Abroad.
What’s better than traveling? Traveling AND earning course credit! Studying abroad gives you an opportunity to make connections with UC Davis faculty in small group sizes. There are a wide variety of programs, including ones that can satisfy your major requirements. Imagine taking BIS 2A in Ireland, BIS 102 in Japan, MIC 102/103L in Thailand or BIS 101 in Europe! For more information about study abroad, visit their website or the Study Abroad office in the International Center.
Do a Health-Related Internship to try and see if a certain health field is for you. Also check out Aggie Job Link for more internship availabilities. Visit the ICC this spring to find internship ideas in the field of your choice.
Make real-world connections while earning money! Check out Aggie Job Link for job openings. Consider attending Internship and Career Center workshops and advising to polish up your resume/CV and other requirements to apply.
- Learn a new hobby.
Summer would be a perfect time to finally get to learn how to play the guitar which you’ve been longing to do since you were 10 years old. Other ideas:
- Learn how to cook
- Learn how to juggle
- Take a salsa class/other dance classes
- Take an art class
- Take up hot yoga- it’ll be hot enough outside to do it without the fancy facility and without the cost!
- Take up bird watching
Volunteering not only provides vital help to those in need but can also help provide a sense of purpose and increase your social skills. Volunteering for a nonprofit organization can also be a wonderful way to explore career choices and can lead to job opportunities. You can volunteer at soup kitchens, SPCA/local animal shelters, summer camps, etc. Sign up for the Community Service Opportunities listserv through the Internship and Career Center (ICC) in order to receive regular volunteer opportunities around the area. They have both one-time and ongoing opportunities to fit your interests– volunteering doesn’t have to take up most of your busy schedule.
- Go outdoors.
Go to the rec pool or the beach. Go camping, white-water rafting, stargazing, parasailing… the possibilities are endless. Summer is a wonderful opportunity to be one with nature so take advantage of its beauty and fun.
- Study for Graduate Entrance Exams. Are you planning to take the MCAT? The GRE? The PCAT? Summer allows you time to study for these exams, without having to also balance your time studying for classes. Some students are naturally good at taking tests and committing to studying alone– so it’s up to you if you want to enroll in a test prep course. Buy a test prep book and study on your own or enroll in a course and gear up to take these exams!
- Other ideas:
- Concerts/Music festivals
- Read books (for fun!)
- Go to a play
- Film festivals
- Get a head start on your fall classes
- Check out Campus Recreation and Unions for opportunities to get involved in youth programs, Outdoor Adventures and more.
- The ASUCD Experimental College also offers exciting classes such as martial arts, dance and music year-round, including the summer. Check them out!
4th year Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Class of 2017
BASC Peer Advisor
As your first year at Davis is coming to an end, have you been thinking about finding an internship? UC Davis offers many internships (i.e. health, business, design, government, law, etc.) so there is always something for everyone. Some ask “will an internship be worth my time”? To make life easier, I listed four reasons (even though there are many more) why internships are beneficial and why you should participate in an internship!
First: The Experience! Wouldn’t it be nice to have an inside look into your future career before fully committing to that career? Internships help you find the right career fit, and allow you to test drive before investing your time and money into a career you may not even enjoy. For example, let’s say you want to become a physician. If you do an internship at a hospital or clinic, you will be able to observe and work alongside a physician, which allows to you see an in-depth look of what really goes on outside of the classroom.
Second: Networking! Internships provide opportunities to network. You get the opportunity to form close bonds between your colleagues and supervisors, who can eventually become your mentors or write you letters of recommendation. If you are planning on applying for positions where you are interning, you are much more likely to be hired as you are a familiar face and already have relationships with the staff. The internship experience looks great on applications because it will show that you have related experience and are therefore highly qualified for the position.
Third: Develop New Skills! Everyone can benefit from building new skills. Internships teach you many things, not only the in and outs of the field you are interning in but also other transferable skills such as improved interpersonal communication, working on a team, and/or expressing empathy.
Fourth: Earn Course Credits and/or Transcript Notation! Yes, you heard right, not only do you get to earn experience, opportunities, and new skills from internships but you may also earn UNITS and/or the internship appears on your transcript, which is managed through ICC. It is a win-win for everyone. Many students take advantage of this opportunity during the summer because there are fewer students at UC Davis and to be considered a full-time student and to be qualified for financial aid a student must be enrolled in a minimum of six units.
I have been involved in many internships and can say that I learned something from each one. Each internship was a wonderful experience that provided a different view on my future career. Through the internships, I learned what I am passionate about as well as things that I knew were not a right fit for me. Remember if you are applying to an internship you have to start the process the quarter/summer before you get involved. Step out of your comfort zone and get involved as soon as you can! There are tons of internships available and if you are interested in an internship that we do not offer, the staff at the Internship and Career Center (ICC) will try their best to get you an internship you like. Visit the Internship and Career Center in South Hall today!