Getting Into UC Davis Vet School!

Molly Mettler is a second-year student at UC Davis vet school. Each year the UC Davis vet school admission statistics will change. You can check out their website for the latest up-to-date stats on the incoming class.

For the class of 2023, UC Davis vet school had 979 total applicants (in-state and out of state). 191 students were offered admission at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and of those 191 only 147 accepted the offer.

Among other things on Molly’s application that were likely particularly strong were her essays. In no way would she consider herself an amazing writer – but she was able to convey the message: “who I am, what I hope to do as a veterinarian, and how I got to where I am”.  Back in high school, the best advice Molly ever received when writing personal statements for college was “show – don’t just tell.”

University of California Davis Vet School Requirements

Learn more about veterinary schools in California here!

Name, veterinary school attended, and year that you started. 

Molly Mettler, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Fall 2020

Who are the animals that you currently share your life with?

I currently have two little Jack Russell mixes, both black and white furballs. Kenny (4 years) is my little, goofy guy and stays with me during school. Suzy (2 years) stays with my family. 

If you have pets living with you during vet school, how do you balance caring for them with classes? 

I currently live with my dog Kenny, who I lived with during my undergraduate education. My schedule definitely revolves a bit around making sure Kenny is ok. I also had an on-campus job, which sometimes required more extensive schedule planning. If I happened to be on campus a bit longer than expected, I would ask my awesome roommates for their help. They were dog lovers, so they never really minded. 

During the first year of vet school, since we were mainly remote/work-at-home, it was very manageable to care for Kenny. But now that we will heading back in-person for the start of our second year, things will be different. Thankfully, at Davis, they allow kennels where you can keep your dogs for the day. So that may be an option for Kenny and me! 

Molly Mettler's dog named Kenny. Molly is a UC Davis vet school student. Kenny is a black and white Jack Russell mix.

In addition to caring for Kenny, my roommate and I decided to foster cats and dogs through some of our school’s clubs. So, at this moment, we actually have 8 animals in our home. Four of them being special needs fosters. It definitely takes a village to care for all of them.

Having a pet during school is definitely a time commitment, but I would not have it any other way. It is very rewarding and you don’t ever really think twice about it.

University of California Davis Vet School Requirements

Do you think there were any specific experiences or items on your application that helped to strengthen it? 

Honestly, I have no idea. BUT if I had to guess what stood out on my application, it would be my non-animal experiences. I worked in Information Technology (IT) services for about 6 years. And I spent a lot of my time working with high school students interested in STEM and/or veterinary medicine. I made sure to highlight how these experiences impacted me, the way I work, and my future personal and career goals.

Another item on my application that may have been particularly robust was the essays. I definitely WOULD NOT say I am an amazing writer in any sense – but I am confident I did an adequate job showing and explaining who I am, what I want to do as a veterinarian, and how I got to where I am, etc. Back in high school, the best advice I ever received when writing my personal statements for college was “show – don’t just tell.”

Where did you attend undergrad and what was your major?

I attended UC Davis for my undergraduate education. (Go Ags!) So I have been here in Cow Town for a quick second.

I was an Animal Science major and, kind of on a whim, also received a minor in English (which more than likely helped with writing my essays for the application). Figured the best way to “make time” to read any literature was to enroll in courses that would force me to do so. It worked. 

Part of the University of California Davis Vet School Requirements is a Bachelor’s Degree; When Did you Apply? 

I took a gap year! So I worked on my vet school application during my senior year of my undergraduate education. Meaning… I submitted my application after receiving my Bachelor’s degree.

Grad School is Not Part of the University of California Davis Vet School Requirements, but Did you Go?

Nope! I may have considered it if I did not get into vet school.

Since There is No Age Requirement for the University of California Davis Vet School Requirements, at What Age Did You First Apply to Vet School? 

I was 22, but turned 23 by the time of admission.

How many schools/application cycles did you apply to before being accepted? Did you get on any waitlists?

This was my first application cycle. I applied to 8 schools (very expensive, yes – but I was very blessed in having a scholarship that paid toward my applications). 

The 8 schools I applied to were: UC Davis, Ohio, Michigan, The Royal Veterinary College (RVC), Michigan, PennVet, Oregon, and Colorado vet school

I did not experience any waitlists, I was either (and mainly) flat-out rejected or accepted/accepted for interviews.

How many years of study to become a veterinarian all depends on how many application cyles you apply to and what you want to specialize in.

Molly Mettler's a UC Davis vet school student and a lab mix. Molly is wearing blue scrubs.

Did you get invited for an interview? How many of those gave you an acceptance letter? 

3 schools invited me for an interview: RVC, UC Davis, and Ohio. I withdrew from Ohio’s interview after I received admission to my in-state. 

2 of the vet schools gave me an acceptance letter after the interview they were: RVC and the UC Davis vet program. I also got into Cornell, but they do not conduct interviews. Actually the first acceptance I received was from the Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine. I definitely was not expecting it and did not pick up the phone when they first called. Needless to say, I immediately called back. Also, out of sheer shock and excitement, I am pretty sure I was talking quite loudly on the phone… borderline shouting… sorry to the poor admissions director!

Going To The UC Davis Vet School As An In-State Student, Will Cost You Less!

If you were accepted to more than one school, what were some reasons in your choice of school? 


The UC Davis vet program is excellent. One of the reasons I attended Davis as an undergrad was because of their vet school! I fell in love with Davis, its campus, its city, its culture. It truly is my second home. 

It came down to money, for me. One major perk of UC Davis vet school is that it is my in-state school, so that was a big deal for me as I would have in-state tuition. The other schools would have cost much more as I would be considered an out-of-state student, with no option to obtain residency. 

Oh yeah, and another plus to attending Davis is having my family relatively close. 

Vet School Interviews Can Be Stressful, Just Stay Positive!

Do you remember any specifically challenging interview questions? What was your GPA (in undergraduate)?

Due to confidentiality agreements, I cannot really disclose any interview questions. I can talk about my experience, though, which was a positive one!

In general, each school can conduct their interviews slightly differently. They can be Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) or traditional 1-on-1 interviews. They can be open-file (interviews have access to your application) or closed-file (interviewers have no prior knowledge of you). 

The interviews I partook in were MMIs and closed-file. Though, the two experiences were quite different. One was slightly more laid back while the other was more conventional and exacting. Sometimes, interviewers were asked not to show any effect when you gave your answers. Others were able to have more of a conversation with you. Despite the difference among the interviews, both interviews were really good experiences! 

I know, due to COVID, interviews were conducted differently this past cycle. Additionally, MMIs may have been thrown out the window altogether (and possibly replaced with CASPer). But what helped me to prepare for my MMIs was reading “Multiple Mini Interview (MMI): Winning Strategies from Admissions Faculty” by Samir P. Desai. 

Multiple Mini Interview: Winning Strategies from Admissions Faculty
  • Samir P. Desai (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 226 Pages - 07/01/2015 (Publication Date) - Md2B (Publisher)

All in all, I just tried to have some fun – definitely didn’t think about how my entire future depended on those interviews. 

Before getting into the UC Davis veterinary school what was your GPA?

My undergraduate GPA wasn’t outstanding, but it somehow got me to where I am:

Overall GPA: 3.55

Science Prerequisite GPA: 3.52

Last 45 credits GPA: 3.97

What was your GRE score? 

Again, not outstanding in any way. My GRE scores were average-ish: GRE (Q/V/W): 64% / 80% / 57%

How many extracurricular activities did you list on your application? 

 I don’t recall the exact number, but I listed a lot – all the way back from high school. Anything from playing piano for ten years to partaking in volunteer events for the homeless to playing soccer and volleyball.

Did you have exotic, large, and small animal experience prior to applying to veterinary School? 

For exotic animal experience, I essentially had none. One of the animal hospitals I was at would sometimes see clients with exotic pets. But those were slim and few. It was mainly a small animal hospital.

My large/food animal experience was done at Davis during my undergraduate education. I was able to work with horses, cattle, sheep, and swine. And let me know you, as a city-gal, those experiences were absolutely rad! I mean, on a normal basis, you don’t see cattle off the side of the road in the middle of Los Angeles!

What types of paying jobs did you have before getting into UC Davis vet school? Did you volunteer? If so, where? 

I had a few odd-ball jobs before entering veterinary school. For about 6 years, I worked in IT part-time/full-time I was a photographer’s assistant for a moment when I thought that was something I wanted to pursue. Next, I had summer jobs that focused on high school mentorship. I worked with my church as their website manager. Leading up to vet school, I volunteered at local small animal hospitals in Los Angeles. I also was an Animal Care Attendant at a private, non-profit shelter. 

How many people read your personal statement before submitting it? 

So… I actually did not have anyone read my personal statements before submitting them. Regarding what I wrote about in my personal statements, I’m somewhat of a private person.


I would like to clarify, though: While no one read or gave written feedback on my statements, I would sometimes read a couple of sentences or sections of my statements to a select group of trusted individuals. I would ask if the sentence structure sounded okay, or if my idea made sense, etc. Then I’d just run with it.

That was the extent of receiving feedback on my statements. Again, I definitely do not recommend this and really advise that you get people to read your statements! 

When did you decide to become a vet? 

Long story short – or I’ll try – I never thought about being a vet as a kid. I thought I actually wanted to be a mechanical engineer throughout my high school education. I took part in internships and clubs that would have helped me get to that point.

However, during my senior year of high school, after attending an engineering summer program and the death of our first family dog, I realized I had a calling in the animal industry. The most practical career I could think of was a veterinarian. (Little did I know, there are so many other animal science jobs.) But I knew I wanted to help people and be there for people and animals who were in me and my family’s same position when we had to put down our family dog. I stuck with this calling and really enjoyed learning about animals throughout my undergraduate curriculum. It only solidified my choice in becoming a veterinarian.

Did you interview any vets before starting the application process? If so how did you 

approach them?

I did not really interview vets before the application process. One thing I did do was chat with vets that I worked with/shadowed. I got their insight on certain aspects of the vet industry. Otherwise, it was not a formal/informal interview. 

If you are interested in interviewing vets, though, sending an email never hurts. If they don’t reply, follow up. Vets are busy people, but I have yet to meet one that did not want to share their experiences.

Were you a member of any clubs at your undergraduate school? If so, which ones? 

I was a part of a couple of Pre-Vet clubs on campus. I wasn’t a very active member with school and work taking up most of my time. 

Did you join student clubs in the UC Davis DVM program? If so, which ones? Were they helpful? 

I am currently the Vice President of the Orphan Kitten Project at UC Davis. Orphan Kitten Project is a club that aims to rescue neo-natal kittens while educating the public and veterinary students on neo-natal care – something that is super important but isn’t really taught otherwise. 

I am also the Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA) President-Elect. SAVMA, which is part of the AVMA, is an organization dedicated to connecting veterinary students across the nation and enhancing the student experience outside the classroom at UC Davis. SAVMA provides funding for university-registered veterinary school clubs, student travel associated with educational endeavors, and student scholarships.

Molly Mettler UC Davis vet school student holding a cat and wearing scrubs
Molly Mettler, UC Davis vet student, wearing a vet watch and blue scrubs, while holding a cat!

While both commitments require a lot of time, time management, communication, and coordination, I do believe my experiences with both organizations are making me a well-rounded individual and strengthening skills that will make me a better veterinarian. 

I recommend joining a club, in general. You don’t have to join a bunch (albeit very tempting), but just something that you think may add to your experience and interests!

Who gave you your letters of recommendation? Did you know them well? Did you find the application process stressful? Why or why not? 

I had 3 letters of recommendation, which is the minimum for the application (or at least is “was” when I applied). One was from my veterinarian that I worked with. One was from an animal science professor. And one was from my boss for my on-campus IT job. I knew them all relatively well enough. I’d say I had the best relationship with my boss from my job. If I found that the recommender needed more information on me as a person, then I’d send them my resume with some commentary. 

The application process was stressful – especially with all of the supplemental applications for each school. But, if you carve out time each day to get some of the application done, then it won’t be too bad. The stress mainly came from how important the application was to me and my future. Aside from that, the work that needed to be done brought along stress that was comparable to typical schoolwork. 

I will say that making, sure enough, pre-requisites and requirements were met also took some time, but that was more tedious than stressful. Additionally, just keeping in contact with admissions teams from the different schools was also very helpful! Send them an email or call them – they are there to help you. They truly were lifesavers.

Classes At UC Davis Vet School Are In “Blocks”

What is your favorite class so far at UC Davis?

At UC Davis, courses are separated into “blocks” – which essentially means you’re taking one course (with possible related sub-courses) at a time, instead of multiple different classes at one time. This really helps with honing in on one topic, so I enjoy the curriculum design. My favorite block so far was “Heme/Lymph/Coag” – the content was really interesting and very clinically applicable (like reading a CBC… just don’t ask me to do that right now). 

I also enjoyed our “Musculoskeletal” block! In conjunction with the lectures, we had a series of anatomy labs where we had to dissect a canine cadaver. (Please note these canine cadavers were sourced via a business that ethically prepares canines from shelters or animal hospitals in which the owners/clients gave permission that their pet could be used for educational purposes). While the dissection series was an absolutely amazing learning experience, we highly respected the lives that the animals lived and did not take it lightly that they were giving us a chance to better our medical understanding.

Do you have a favorite study technique? 

I like re-writing important content. It’s impossible to re-write EVERYTHING. But being able to make the written connection with information is important for me. I just plug into some chill music and get to work.

Do you use flashcards or record lectures?

I personally do not use flashcards – some of my peers and colleagues have found them useful, though! At UC Davis vet school, they record lectures (thank goodness). And I have yet to meet anyone who has NEVER accessed the recorded lectures. 

Is there any particular veterinary textbook that you use the most?

Something that’s pretty nifty is “The Small Animal Veterinary Nerdbook” by Sophia Yin. It has so much information in it. It’s great for referencing!

The Small Animal Veterinary Nerdbook
  • Taylor Francis
  • Yin, Sophia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 450 Pages - 01/15/2010 (Publication Date) - CattleDog Publishing (Publisher)

Anatomy Lab At UC Davis Vet School!

How is the gross anatomy lab at UC Davis Vet School?

I LOVE ANATOMY LABS. We dissected a canine cadaver during our first year. It truly was an immersive learning experience that allowed me to truly understand what I was learning in lectures. 

We were able to look at skeletons/bones as well (of small/large dogs, cats, horses, elephants).

Does your school offer study/review sessions held by upperclass students? 

Yes! Each block/course, there were upper classmen who offered study/review sessions. I found some of them helpful – it was nice way to review the material in a different way and to also get course insights from previous classes.

Do you have any advice for students thinking about attending UC Davis vet school? 

UC Davis is known to really care about statistics, as in, your grades and test scores really matter. (If you are a California Resident and fall into their second tier of applicants, then your application is looked at holistically. More information about this is on the vet school’s website.)

Definitely keep your grades up. Show growth. And if you are interested in attending UC Davis’ vet school, but need admissions advice, feel free to contact the admissions team at the vet school, but also contact the Animal Science Undergraduate Advising team, too! They have a lot of resources for pre-vets and a great advice that helped me tremendously!

UC Davis is a great and competitive vet school to get into. But you don’t have to be the best (look at me), have the best grades (again, look at me), etc. It never hurts to just try. And if you don’t get in, then you’re going to end up where you’re supposed to be

What is it Like Being a First-Year Vet Student at UC Davis?

In your first year of veterinary school at UC Davis, was there anything that surprised you about veterinary school? Perhaps something you didn’t know or think about beforehand?

I don’t think anything could have really prepared me for what vet school had in store. It is pretty different than my undergraduate education. It didn’t click until I was in vet school that “studying” is the new homework. At least here at Davis, you don’t really get many assignments/projects. You must keep up with the studying. Cramming is not really doable or practical. 

Working at the UC Davis Vet Hospital

As a veterinary student do you get to work in the UC Davis veterinary clinic?

Yes! There are many job opportunities for students to work at the VMTH (Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital). First and second years have also have “mini-rotations” in the hospital. Every 3 weeks or so, we are paired with a fourth-year on clinics and shadow them while they work on their cases! Unfortunately, during my first year, our mini-rotations were modified for virtual learning. But we are looking forward to them in our second year!

UC Davis Veterinary Hospital!

Do you work a paid job during vet school at UC Davis? 

I work at a Student Assistant Tech at the school’s hospital’s Emergency and Critical Care department. It has been a really cool learning experience for me! There are multiple paid job opportunities at our vet school (ex. treatment team, research, etc.).

Do you have any last words of wisdom for helping students interested in your UC Davis Vet School?

Think wisely about this career choice. It is tough and has its challenges (ex. compassion fatigue, debts, etc). I often think about the potential obstacles I’ll face as a veterinary student and veterinarian. But I know this is one of the most rewarding jobs out there. So, I have made sure to have a support group around me to help me get through it all. 

By being a veterinarian, you’re not only helping animals but everyday people. You are in a line of work that puts others above yourself, and that is a very noble calling. Just make sure you will be able to routinely find the time and strength to take care of yourself, for yourself. 

And if you’re currently applying to vet school: GOOD LUCK. It definitely is stressful, but you can do it! You will end up where you are supposed to.

What Is  It Like Being a First-Year Student At UC Davis Vet School?

Maybe this is a result of COVID and distanced learning, but something that I have learned during my first year is that the connections you make throughout vet school are so important. Because of COVID, it was undoubtedly harder to make these connections. But I am very blessed to say that I was able to make amazing friends and meet awesome staff and faculty – I know this was not the case for everyone. 

There were many times throughout the school year when vet school felt completely draining. But it was the people around me that got me through it. I may not remember every little detail about a certain pathological disorder or a species’ genetic predisposition, but I am  sure I will remember the times of fun, care, and support I shared with my family, friends, and mentors.

How can people find you? (Social media or email) 

I’m on Facebook and Instagram (@mettlr). Please feel free to message me with any questions! Or if you’re more comfortable with email: Look forward from hearing from you! Hope I can be of some help to ya!