The David Geffen School of Medicine (UCLA) is interested in physician excellence, leadership and impact. According to Clarence H. Braddock, III, MD – the Vice Dean of Education and Chief Medical Education Officer, the Geffen SOM is interested in change, innovation, research, health, education, advocacy and humanistic care. Also, UCLA is standing by an initiative to change their policies and procedures to fix infrastructure that thwarts diversity, inclusion and equity in their institution. The Geffen School of Medicine is an institutional leader in rectifying systemic racism.
David Geffen School of Medicine (UCLA) 2020-21 secondary application essay questions
UCLA Geffen essay #1
Describe your involvement in the one most important non-academic activity in your life. (800 characters)
This is a relatively open-ended prompt. They want to know about your capacity for passion and engagement. There is absolutely nothing wrong with writing (briefly, the limit is 800 characters with spaces) about your love of surfing, hiking, hover-boarding, dog-training, or baking. You may be a person of faith. You may be a person with political ambition. You may be an artist, musician, or writer. Be honest. The prompt aims to expand the scope in which UCLA knows you. However, if you speak about personal activities a bit more in other areas of your application (activities, MMEs), consider that the UCLA Geffen School of Medicine “strives to prepare for a future in which scientific knowledge, societal values and human need are ever changing.” Write about a volunteer experience that you love or did not know you would love until you did it.
UCLA Geffen essay #2
What has been the one most unique leadership, entrepreneurial or creative activity in which you participated? (800 characters)
This is an interesting prompt. It overlaps a bit with #1. However, this prompt adds categories for your unique and meaningful engagement beyond being a strong student, beyond being an academic achiever. They seek your presence in the world, always engaging and growing – beyond the sciences. Choose one category, leadership, entrepreneur, or creative, and demonstrate your efficiency and love for the learning you found there.
UCLA Geffen essay #3
What has been the one most important volunteer work you have done and why was it meaningful? (800 characters)
You may be tempted to answer this prompt considering what was the most comfortable volunteer work for you, and why. That is okay, but consider UCLA’s mission dedicated to being prepared for forever changing “human need.” A ”most important volunteer work” may better be represented by what impact it had on the community. Your Covid-19 volunteer work could be quite suitable here, though be sure to explain its meaningfulness in relation to human need. These are trying times.
UCLA Geffen essay #4
Has there been or will there be a gap between achieving your last degree (baccalaureate or other degrees post baccalaureate) and the expected time of medical school matriculation? (300 characters to explain if yes)
This prompt has a very short character limit. Stay factual. Then, close with what you are doing during the gap year to deepen your experience in or contribution to public health, or deepen your knowledge of medicine and patient care.
UCLA Geffen essay #5
What is the one most important honor you have received? Why do you view this as important? (300 characters)
This is your brag moment. Go for it. Stay clear, factual, and insightful. Then, emote, briefly and gracefully.
UCLA Geffen essay #6
What has been your most scholarly project (thesis, research or field of study in basic or clinical science or in the humanities)? Describe one and give number of hours, dates and advisor. (300 characters)
This is the research question. Hopefully, you have research experience from your upper level courses, ones in which you were distinguished among others or part of a tight team. Stay factual. Be specific.
UCLA Geffen essay #7
Describe a problem in your life. Include how you dealt with it and how it influenced your growth. (500 characters)
This is the “dealing with adversity” prompt. Everyone deals with adversity though some more than others. How have you dealt with adversity? Keep in mind, how one deals with adversity is the information they seek to gain from your answer to this prompt. You must be an equitable problem-solver.
UCLA Geffen essay #8
Please list any major paid work experience during or since college. (4000 characters per work experience)
This is a lengthier prompt. UCLA provides room to elaborate here. UCLA is committed to equalizing the playing field for all applicants from all areas of life. They have recently changed curriculum in the Geffen School of Medicine to further educate medical students in the value of diversity. So, if you had to work for pay, in whatever way, this is the place to tell your story, or your family’s story. UCLA is committed to identifying less-advantaged students, and lifting them up into a space of opportunity.
UCLA Geffen essay #9
Is there any hardship to which you would like the committee to give special attention in evaluating your application? (500 characters)
It is okay to say “no” here. That is more honest than padding this prompt. However, life brings unexpected challenges. Did you or your family have an adverse or perhaps devastating event that derailed, delayed, or altered your plan to proceed with becoming a doctor? Keep in mind, though traumatic or challenging life events force us to adjust to life and its realities. Sometimes, after dusting ourselves off, and changing from them, a goal or passion can be further realized, clear and true, afterward. How did this experience change or intensify your goal to becoming a doctor?
UCLA Geffen essay #10
Where do you see yourself post-graduate education? What experiences have led you to this goal? (500 characters)
UCLA seeks students who as doctors will be adaptable to “societal values and human need” as they are “ever changing.” In your vision of being a doctor, state what will you be doing, where will you be working, and how will you be adaptable to societal need.
UCLA Geffen essay #11
Describe how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted your pathway to medical school. Include any academic, personal, financial or professional barriers, as well as any other relevant information. (500 characters)
This is a short prompt (500 characters). Work through the categories: academic, personal, financial, and professional. Get your answers organized according to their criteria. Stay factual and specific. It is likely UCLA is using this prompt as a place-holder for their admissions committee to find the impact of COVID-19 among applicants in a specific application place. There is not much room for a story. Stay clear, direct, and truthful. Conclude with what you were able to do by adjusting to the loss of volunteer work, scribing, work for pay, MCAT plans, etc. Show how you found a valuable way to contribute to your community (or any community) or to the social good in some way during a pandemic. After some of your commitments derailed, what did you do to help the underserved or those in need?
If you would like professional guidance with your David Geffen School of Medicine (UCLA) application materials, check out Accepted’s Medical School Admissions Consulting and Editing Services, which include advising, editing, and interview coaching for UCLA Geffen’s application materials.
David Geffen School of Medicine (UCLA) 2020-21 application timeline
|AMCAS application deadline||October 15 (Recommended submission no later than October 1)|
|Supplemental application||October 30|
|Screening of completed applications||July – November|
|Invitations for interviews||July – November|
|Interviews||August – November (Until class is filled)|
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***
Dr. Mary Mahoney, Ph.D. has over 20 years of experience as an advisor and essay reviewer for med school applicants. She is a tenured English Professor with an MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and a PhD in Literature and Writing from the University of Houston. For the last twenty years, Mary has served as a grad school advisor and essay reviewer for med school applicants. Want Mary to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!