Dietetics/Nutrition Success Stories

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Alyssa KwanAlyssaKwan

Major: Clinical Nutrition

Graduation Year: 2018

Which school are you attending?


What drew you to this particular health field?

I was drawn into nutrition based on my personal and familial experiences and knew that I wanted to be a registered dietitian. I then decided to pursue the DPD program at UC Davis by majoring in Clinical Nutrition. This year, I will complete my dietetic internship, which is similar to residency, at UCSF Medical Center. I aim to be an inpatient/clinical RD.

Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?

No, I did not take a gap year.

What UC Davis extracurriculars did you participate in?

I was very active on campus and was involved in RIVER Clinic and CSUS Cardiovascular Wellness Center as a nutrition intern and then a Director of Nutrition for 3 years. I completed the Burn Unit Nutrition Internship as a Nutrition Volunteer at the UCDMC during my senior year to get more clinical experiences. Additionally, I was very involved with the elderly community as the President and Founder of Kind Aid and Resources for the Elderly (KARE), the first elderly assisting organization at UC Davis for 4 years and as the Nutrition Site Coordinator for On Lok for a year. I also engaged in a ton of community work as the President of California Health Professionals Student Alliance (CaHPSA), an organization that advocates for health care equality for 4 years and served as an active member on the Student Nutrition Association (SNA).

How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?

An average of 45-50 hours a week!

Did you use a test prep course?

No, but I did have to take the GRE. I studied on my own and used Kaplan.

What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?

I believe that my biggest strength in my application was definitely my extracurriculars! I had experiences from clinical, community and food service nutrition, totaling to more than 2000 hours. Also, my application was very central to the schools I applied to, and my main emphasis was on my work with the elderly community and my passion to spread preventative health to this population. I had a diverse amount of work from all three areas, ranging from underserved populations to cardiac rehab patients and burn patients. Moreover, I believe my GRE score and compelling personal statement helped my application.

Did you apply nationally?

No, I only applied to schools in California. I applied to dietetic internships at UCSF, Napa State Hospital, SF State, Sacramento State and Golden Gate.

How did HPA help you achieve your goals?

HPA definitely helped me achieve my goals! I went to personal statement drop ins and the HPA team would give me insight on how I could tailor each one to each school. I would highly recommend you to use the resources there!

What advice do you have for others?

Definitely try to do well in your classes, especially the last 2 years! The MNT courses are very important in most dietetic internships so aim to do well in those courses. I would also recommend to start gaining meaningful experiences that you genuinely enjoy. Do not gain experiences in any of the 3 areas (clinical, food service or community nutrition) just for the sake of the application. For me, I was very interested in continuing my work with the elderly so a lot of my application was about that. Do what makes you content and gain experiences that you are interested in! Lastly, try to make your personal statement as central as possible. Show them your individual passions, your interests and what you can bring to that specific school.