According to the U.S. News and World Report, UCDSOM is ranked #19 for primary care and #42 for research. This medical school campus is unique in that they have seven student-run clinics: Paul Hom Asian Clinic, Clinica Tepati, Imani Clinic, Shifa Clinic, Joan Viteri Memorial Clinic, Bayanihan Clinic, and the Willow Clinic. Medical students can begin serving a diverse patient population early in their education and take on critical leadership roles in community health. This school also provides several special programs to provide you with training appropriate to the area you wish to serve—the Rural PRIME Program, Accelerated Competency-based Education in Primary Care (ACE-PC) Program, the San Joaquin Valley PRIME Program, The Transforming Education and Community Health Program for Medical Students (TEACH-MS) Program, and the Physician Scientist Training Program. They are looking for students who can accurately self-assess their strengths and weaknesses and who will bring a diverse background, perspective and skill set to their campus.
UC Davis School of Medicine 2014 Secondary Application Essay Questions:
• Four 1,500-character essays are required.
• Five additional essays are requested for applicants interested in applying to the special programs that they now offer with a character limit of 1,500 for each one.
• Applicants should use single line spacing and 10 or 12 point size font.
• Responses should be constructed strategically to highlight all of an applicant’s strengths.
The following essays are included in the Secondary Application:
1. Discuss any elements of your application that you feel might be concerning to the Admissions Committee. 1500 characters
Here the admissions committee would like to see how accurately you can identify and address any weaknesses in your application. If it is challenging for you to identify any issues, it may be useful to have an advisor or medical school consultant review your application with you to select an appropriate topic to cover. The best responses will be those that are accurate and that have already been addressed so that you can end this essay on a high note.
2. How will your family, community, academic, work or other life experiences enhance the UC Davis School of Medicine community?
The best way to approach this type of general question on diversity is to identify those aspects of your background in the areas requested (“family, community, academic, work or other life experiences) that are unique to you. Start by making a list. What was unusual about your family, etc.? After creating a short list for each area—quickly select those that you feel are most revealing of your character and identity. The more diverse the combination of characteristics and experiences, the better!
3. Based upon your personal life experiences, what do you foresee as challenges in medical school and in your future career?
Through this response, they are looking again for accurate self-assessment. By using an anecdote from your past of a challenge you overcame—you can put a positive spin on this essay. Choosing an issue that is a common problem for everyone—like time management—will allow you to be honest and demonstrate the creativity and discipline required of your strategy. Projecting how your strategy will allow you to be successful in medical school and beyond—through your career—will allow you to demonstrate your long term planning and goal setting skills.
4. What have you been doing since submitting your AMCAS application? Include contact information for any references related to these experiences.
Using an updated draft of your resume or CV, you can easily create an outline for your response to this essay question. Be sure to include everything you’ve done since submitting the application—including hobbies, exercise goals (for example, marathons or tri-athalons), volunteer work, travel, publications, full or part time work, research, care-giving for friends or family members, etc. The more meaningful activities that you can include, while demonstrating that you establish a healthy balance in your life, the more helpful your response will be.
5. The Rural-Program In Medical Education is designed for students interested in becoming physician leaders in rural California communities. Rural-PRIME curricular enhancements include: weekly seminars in the first and second years, leadership, community engagement and cultural competency, hands-on skill sessions, mentorship and teaching with rural physicians, clinical rotations in rural communities in the third year, leadership and research opportunities related to rural health in the final year. Link to Rural-PRIME Website: http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/mdprogram/rural_prime/index.html. To apply to Rural PRIME, please respond to the following 3 questions. Otherwise please insert “not applicable”. A. Please tell us why you would like to be considered for the program. B. Please describe your experiences working with underserved communities. C. What are your future plans to practice in a rural underserved community?
If interested in applying to this program, research its website. After you have read through the relevant webpages and taken notes about what interests you about their program, you can begin to attack the three-part essay question. In the first part, you’ll want to have a concrete reason to practice in a rural area, for example, personal experience living in a rural community, at any time in your life. In the second part, you’ll want to discuss the work you have done to help those in need—patients from the most vulnerable populations. This could include a diverse list of communities that you’ve worked with. Lastly, explain how this program will help you achieve your goals in choosing to serve a rural community as a physician. Talk through your response with a friend, advisor, or med school consultant or create an outline to provide your best work.
6. In 2014, UCDSOM will launch a new 3-year pathway for students committed to primary care careers, the Accelerated Competency-based Education in Primary Care (ACE-PC) program. Davis ACE-PC allows a select group of eligible students to complete medical school in 3 years and receive a conditional acceptance to a UC Davis or Kaiser Permanente Northern California residency program in primary care. Students who are accepted to the UCDSOM 4-year program and who plan a career in primary care Internal Medicine or Family Medicine will be considered for the program. For more information, please see http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/mdprogram/ACE-PC/about.html. If you would like to be considered for Davis ACE-PC, please tell us what attributes or experiences would make you a good fit for the program. If you are not interested, please insert “Not Applicable”.
This is a brand new program that UCDSOM will be offering to address the primary care physician shortage by offering students the chance to complete their medical educations in a shorter time frame. Review their website in detail here. If this sounds like the program, for you—apply! Highlight information that shows your ability to successfully complete educational goals, projects, publications at a record speed with high quality work. If you thrive under pressure, give examples of doing so.
7. The UC Davis – UCSF Fresno – UC Merced San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education (SJV PRIME) is a tailored leadership pathway for students committed to providing care for the medically underserved in the San Joaquin Valley (http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/mdprogram/sjvprime/index.html). To apply to SJV PRIME, please respond to the following 3 questions. Otherwise please insert “not applicable”. A. Please tell us about your ties to the San Joaquin Valley. B. Please describe an experience where you learned about a challenge in the San Joaquin Valley. C. After you complete your medical training, where (city or county) do you intend to practice and why?
This program is mainly for students who grew up in the San Joaquin Valley or who have a direct connection to it. The website has more information about their curriculum. If you do not have any connection to the area, I do not recommend that you apply. The essay responses all revolve around the strength of this connection. Several of my former students who grew up in the San Joaquin Valley are now participating in this program.
8. The Transforming Education and Community Health Program for Medical Students (TEACH-MS) program is a four year tailored program for students committed to primary care and care for the urban underserved (http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/mdprogram/TEACH-MS/). If you would like to apply to TEACH-MS, please respond to the following 3 questions. Otherwise, please insert “not applicable”. A. Please tell us about your motivation to pursue a career in primary care (Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, or Pediatrics). B. Please describe an experience that has shaped your commitment to underserved communities. C. Please tell us how participating in the TEACH-MS program will enhance your career as a primary care physician for urban underserved communities.
This is another program that is specialized in focusing your education on primary care with an emphasis on community health education. This website provides lots of useful information and links. Dr. Tonya Fancher and Dr. Jorge Garcia are the co-directors. They are two incredible individuals—with the ability to inspire and guide community change.
In responding to this three-part essay, make a list for the first part. Why internal medicine, family medicine or pediatrics? Do you have clinical and/or shadowing experience in those areas? Have you completed relevant research? Secondly, do you have experience in working with patients who were uninsured, unable to assess medical care until their health issues became life-threatening, or only able to access care through government aid programs? If yes, describe those experiences and why they inspire you to continue working with this community. Third, how will their support and program allow you to reach your goals as a doctor for this particular patient population?
9. The Physician Scientist Training Program is designed for students interested in becoming clinician investigators and leads to a dual degree (MD-PhD). The program includes 4 years of dedicated research in addition to the standard medical school curriculum. If you are interested in this program, please describe your research experience, qualifications, and future goals. Otherwise, please insert “Not applicable”.
This is a highly competitive program because they have such a limited number of spots available as there is a large investment of time required for MD/PhD’s to complete their training. Before applying, review your resume or CV in detail. If you do not have years of research experience or any publications, I would recommend that you reconsider applying to this program. They are looking for applicants with a strong, long-term background in research. To respond to this essay, use your CV to draft an outline—highlighting the most relevant experience to this program, as described on their website.
UCDSOM Application Timeline:
AMCAS Application Due October 1, 2013
Secondary Application Strong recommendation: Submit within two weeks after receipt.
Interview Invitations July 2013 – January 2014
Interviews Mid-August 2013 – February 2014
Acceptances October 15, 2013 – July 15, 2014
Waitlist May 15, 2014 – July 15, 2014
School Begins Early August 2014
If you would like professional guidance with your UCD School of Medicine application materials, please consider using Accepted’s Medical School Admissions Consulting and Editing Services, which include advising, editing, and interview coaching for the UCDSOM application materials.
Alicia Nimonkar is an Accepted.com advisor and editor specializing in healthcare admissions. Prior to joining Accepted, Alicia worked for five years as Student Advisor at UC Davis’ postbac program where she both evaluated applications and advised students applying successfully to med school and related programs.