Nursing Success Stories

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ZoeLimZoe Lim

Major: Biological Sciences, emph. NPB; Minor in Spanish
Graduation Year: 2015

Which school are you attending?

I will be attending Johns Hopkins Masters Entry into Nursing program. 

What UC Davis extracurriculars did you participate in?

BASC Peer Advisor, research internship in a plant biology lab, Sutter Hospital volunteer, UCDMC volunteer, Nursing Club, Swim Club, UCSF internship shadowing in an outpatient clinic

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

35 hours on average. I made sure to spend the majority of my study time on the classes that were most challenging for me. 

Did you use a test prep course?

I took the GRE but I did not use a test prep course. i studied with Kaplan and Barron's test prep books. I recommend both books; especially Kaplan because it comes with a CD that has online practice exams that helped me get used to the real exam which is also taken on a computer. I studied the whole summer for the exam and took it in October. 

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

My strength in my application was definitely my personal statement. I used the many resources at UC Davis, such as the Student Academic Success Center and Health Professions Advising, to create a personal statement that was as human as possible and told my story. 

Did you apply nationally?

Yes, I applied to schools in California and on the East Coast. My goal is to come back to California and work as a nurse practitioner. 

What advice do you have for others?

Find something you'll love to do for the rest of your life and express your passion in great detail in your personal statement. Get as many opinions on your personal statement as possible. Trust yourself and don't take no for an answer!

Sarah DaleySarah Daley

Major: Psychology, B.S.
Graduation Year: 2017

Which school are you attending?

University of Colorado College of Nursing

What drew you to this particular health field?

I realized that, after spending several years working towards veterinary medicine, that nursing was a better fit for me. It incorporates medicine, science, and working with people, and is able to provide me with many career options once I finish the program.

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

Sort of. I took a few months off after I graduated at UC Davis and then spent 2 years taking the pre-requisite courses needed for the nursing programs I wanted to apply for, and working full time. I switched from a job as a veterinary technician to working in the mental health field in order to boost my resume and gain more experience related directly to nursing.

What UC Davis extracurriculars did you participate in?

I was very active in the Vet Aide Club as the Secretary and its associated internships. I also spent several quarters volunteering for Dr. Krubitzer in her Evolutionary Neuroscience laboratory at the Center for Neuroscience on campus. During my last two years at UC Davis I was a part of the Transfer Pre-Health Mentor Program for incoming transfer students interested in a health-related profession, and was active with Health Professions Advising, eventually working as a student advisor for pre-veterinary students.

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


Did you use a test prep course?

I did the Kaplan GRE prep course.

Did you apply nationally? If so, where?

I did not. I only applied to four programs - two 1-year accelerated programs, one non-university accredited 3-year program, and 1 traditional 2-year program, all in Colorado where I live now.

How did HPA help you achieve your goals?

I started going to HPA after having some issues after my first year as a transfer student at UCD. HPA was a new department with the university, and I met with Joanne to talk about my change in majors and career goals. She has been there for me during the remainder of my time at UC Davis and after, when I had a lot of questions about nursing school. Without that support I don't know if I would have continued to pursue a medical career.

Did you use a test prep course?

I did the Kaplan GRE prep course.

What advice would you like to share with others?

I think that one of the best pieces of advice I was given was to foster relationships with faculty and professors throughout your college career. As a medical professional it is good to have people who can write solid letters of recommendation, or who can advise you during applications etc. Network, go to office hours regularly, and stay in touch! Something else I highly recommend (that I did not do for myself at first) is self-care. Don't take on all of the things without scheduling time to relax and take a mental breather. College is challenging and so also is the process of working towards a career in the medical field. Burnout is a real thing and it can be mitigated by learning to time manage and take a time out once in a while. Also, don't give up! Be realistic about your goals and have confidence that you will make it, and all of your hard work will be worth it.