Why UC Davis?

Congratulations on being accepted to UC Davis! You should be very proud of all of your accomplishments so far. Know that this is only the beginning and you are well on your way towards even greater things in the future.

Deciding which college to attend can often be a difficult decision. Below, I write about what makes UC Davis so unique and why I am so proud to be a part of the UC Davis Aggie family.

Throughout high school, I would always avoid the question as to which university was my “dream school.” Having grown up in California, specifically the San Francisco Bay Area, I always dreamed of attending a college in the University of California system. I never wanted to specify which particular University of California campus because in all reality, I had no idea how to decide. I didn’t really know what to look for when touring campuses. With the excitement that comes with getting accepted to different colleges, it often makes the decision even more difficult. I encourage you to take the time to reflect about things that you value as well as what you would like to accomplish/ the experiences you would like to have during your undergraduate career when deciding which college you would like to attend.

During spring break of my senior year of high school, I went on campus tours of some of the universities that I was accepted to. This was round two of campus tours because I tagged along with my older sister (4 years older) when she was in the process of making her college choice. She ended up attending UC Irvine. As a 7th grader, college was the last thing on my mind. In all honesty, each university tour seemed very similar where the tour guides would show you some buildings on campus and point out how the university was ranked highly in a particular subject etc. This all changed when I toured UC Davis for the first time.

It may sound like a cliché but it was honestly “love at first sight,” or in this case, “love on first tour.” Talking to various UC Davis students, I was impressed with how it seemed like each student genuinely loved UC Davis and the campus community. I was struck by the fact that everyone was so friendly. You’d be surprised but to this day, I still remember some of the interactions that I had on that tour. It was the little things that really made an impression. For example, one student waited that extra minute to hold a door for my family to enter the ARC or when a group of students came up asking my family if we needed help with directions, noticing the puzzling look that we all had as we looked at a map of the UC Davis campus. It was little things like these that set UC Davis apart from other college campuses. I really feel like there is a strong sense of community here on our campus. You don’t realize how important little things like these are until you find yourself on other college campuses where things like these occur less frequently.

I am now entering my last quarter at UC Davis, majoring in Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior with minors in Chicanx Studies and Spanish. Choosing to SIR to UC Davis is one of the best decisions that I have made. These past four years can attest to that. Our campus offers many unique opportunities to get involved on campus. For students interested in pursuing a career in the healthcare field, UC Davis has a number of student run clinics affiliated with the UC Davis School of Medicine. These clinics offer students the unique opportunity to get hands on clinical experience, both through patient interaction and non-direct patient care such as taking vitals.

Additionally, UC Davis offers numerous opportunities it offers students to get involved on campus and to study elsewhere through programs with UC Davis Study Abroad. I’ve had the opportunity to study abroad in Mexico with UC Davis Study Abroad and also interned in Washington D.C. with the UC Davis Washington Program. For more information on these programs, please visit these blogs that I wrote about my experiences. Studying abroad in Mexico is most definitely one of the highlights of my undergraduate career here at UC Davis. A common concern that students in the College of Biological Sciences have is that studying abroad will cause them to fall behind in their classes. As long as you plan early in advance, studying abroad is a possibility. I discussed my interest in studying abroad with my advisor during my first year mandatory advising appointment. At that time, we made an academic plan to include the quarter abroad program.

I wish you the best with your future endeavors. All of us here at the Biology Academic Success Center are here to support you both through your college decision process as well as hopefully, throughout your undergraduate career here at UC Davis. Go Ags!

Grant Tominaga
4th Year Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior Major, Spanish and Chicanx Studies Minors
BASC Peer Advisor

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Why UC Davis?

I didn’t have the most linear experience deciding where I wanted to go to college. Rewind to 3 years ago, I was absolutely set on going to a private school in Colorado so that I could be on their figure skating team. I was so certain of my college plans that when I found out that I was accepted to UC Davis, I shrugged off the accomplishment, not giving it much thought, while my friends around me who also got their acceptances were crying from happiness and celebrating.

So what happened? Obviously I’m not at a private school in Colorado. What initially changed my college trajectory was my family’s and my realization that an out-of-state, private school was not financially plausible. So, suddenly, with only a few weeks before I had to commit to a school, I needed to find a plan B. At first, I was crushed and didn’t even want to look at other options, but finally, after moping around for a few days, I decided to seriously consider my other options.

My mom and I scheduled tours at four universities around California. First up was UC Berkeley. Tempted by the university’s prestige, I really wanted to love it there. But, it just didn’t feel quite right. I couldn’t see myself going there. As cliche as it sounds, it just didn’t click. So, even more discouraged at that point, I moved on to the next school – our very own UC Davis.

I unfortunately don’t remember my tour guide’s name, but I do remember their avid and genuine enthusiasm for the school. And as we walked throughout campus, I was struck by how friendly everyone was. Students biking past yelled “Go UC Davis!” and various other exclamations. (It probably helped that I didn’t tour during midterms or finals.) It seemed as though, even though UC Davis was a large university, it was still a community – an observation that I still stand by today. Having grown up in a town of 7,000 people, that feeling of community and familiarity was and is very comforting to me.

Hearing from the tour guide about the various resources on campus also added to that feeling of community. It was apparent that UC Davis took student support very seriously. My interest peaked when I heard about all the internship and research opportunities. Previously, I had pictured going to a UC like being a tiny fish in a huge pond, where opportunities like internships were elusive and hard to come by. Hearing that there were centers like the Internship and Career Center was both surprising and exciting.

Incredibly relieved that I had liked the campus, I spent the hour and a half drive home glued to my phone, doing research about the different academic programs at UC Davis. All I knew at this point in my life was that I wanted to major in something science-y, but I knew nothing beyond that. Reading about majors like Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, Biomedical Engineering, and Genetics, among many others, made me realize that going to a big university like UCD would give me so many more options than if I went to a small private school. As a very indecisive, stereotypical Pisces, having so many options to choose from was a huge factor in my ultimate decision to attend Davis.

So, after realizing that I could easily see myself biking around the campus for the next four years and learning about the different academic programs offered, my mind was basically made up. I ended up cancelling my tours at the last two schools I was considering attending and submitted my intent to register that next week. And, here I am, 4 years later, incredibly grateful for my winding journey that led me to become an Aggie.

Katie Galsterer
4th Year Biopsychology Major, Class of 2018
BASC Peer Advisor