Featured Students: Veterinary
My name is Kim Conway, and I am unbelievably excited to be a part of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2018! I started at CSUF as a Health Science major. I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the health field, but it wasn’t until the semester I was supposed to graduate that realized I wanted to be a veterinarian. With absolutely none of the veterinary school pre-requisites completed, I decided to declare Biology as a second major to complete the required classes, and have a second degree as a back-up. (First piece of advice: if sentencing yourself to three more years as an undergraduate will help you obtain your dream, go for it. There is absolutely no rush when it comes to getting the education you want).
What organizations were you associated with during your time at CSUF?
The best decision I made while attending CSUF was joining Dr. Stapp’s research lab. Dr. Stapp has provided me with so many opportunities as an undergraduate, and I am extremely grateful for his mentoring. (Second piece of advice: get involved in research on campus. I could go on for an eternity about why this is a good idea, so just take my word for it). Additionally, I am the Biology section editor for our on-campus NSM journal Dimensions and an active member of the Biology Club.
Why did you choose the profession you did?
I have always had an interest in diseases and medicine, and a passion for wildlife and endangered species. Veterinary medicine was the perfect fit. At one point, I considered human medicine instead. I weighed the pros and cons of human vs. veterinary medicine until it boiled down to one important difference: only one of those fields allows you to cuddle with furry patients.
Application process and interviews
I took a tour of the UC Davis teaching hospital last summer and fell in love. I had my heart set on it so much that it was the only school I applied to. (Third piece of advice: do NOT do that. But also don’t apply to 15 schools. I think 3-5 is a happy medium). Almost all veterinary schools use the VMCAS application, so familiarize yourself with it as early as possible. Even though the deadline is early October, complete your application during the summer (especially asking for letters of recommendation and writing your personal statement). You don’t want to find yourself scrambling to finish your application during the heart of midterms week. Also, make sure you have a good record of all awards and extracurricular activities you had in college AND high school. The high school part caught me off guard and I almost didn’t see that part on the application, so be prepared for that. For the interview, UC Davis used the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) format. In my opinion, there is really no way to prepare for this type of interview except to get a good night’s sleep, dress professionally, and relax. During the interview, just be yourself and find a way to incorporate your personal and academic experiences into your answers. I actually really enjoyed my interview!
Advice to current students
Be proactive! Start looking at schools now. Check out their accepted applicant statistics and aim higher. Give yourself a solid month to study daily for the GRE. Get as much experience as possible (I had 4,200+ hours of veterinary experience at the time of application) with as many types of animals as possible. Research the schools you want to go to, and take into consideration their program, location, and tuition. Do not blindly say you will go to “whichever school accepts you.” Veterinary school is challenging and expensive, so make sure you will be happy and comfortable with your choice!