“At UCSF, our mission is to advance health worldwide, and we are attracting some of the nation’s best and brightest students to help us achieve that goal. One of the reasons our students come to UCSF is to work in a culture of discovery and innovation.”
The feeling that applicants often get from a UCSF interview is that the school is looking for interesting people, not just smart ones. Sure, your MCATs and GPA need to be high, but these are not enough. Just one look at the number of UCSF student-run organizations (at last glance it was 30) and special interest groups (23) makes one wonder if everyone at UCSF has started their own club. It seems that the adcom is looking for (and finding) future leaders. Treat your secondary essay as a chance to show them what you are capable of. Write about an experience when you took the initiative, perhaps to solve a problem, modify a protocol, or organize people to support a cause. Show that you can hold your own in a medical school class filled with strong leaders.
The UCSF Bridges Curriculum emphasizes the “assessment FOR learning” philosophy, which gives students ongoing feedback and guidance to help guide their next steps. This means that students are evaluated not simply with a grade or score, but with constructive feedback that encourages them to improve and learn as a direct result of the assessment process. UCSF wants applicants who can learn in a wide variety of experiences and situations, so think about a time when you learned in an unusual way, or from an unexpected source.
UCSF organizes it curriculum into 2 Foundations (“Foundational Knowledge” and “Team-Based Clinical Settings”). To support students, UCSF has a Coach program, a Dashboard to self-review progress, and ARCH weeks (Assessment, Reflection, Coaching, and Health). Students also benefit from the Career Launch, which includes individualized time to develop interests and do a scholarly project. If you are interested in a specific area of research or study, be sure to show your knowledge of this field in your secondary. You can also demonstrate evidence of your leadership, but be careful not to overstate your role. If you are lucky enough to get an interview, there is a good chance it will be with someone who is a world expert in your area of interest.
Given UCSF’s assessment style, you can expect the interview to teach you something. Remember, they are looking for students who can handle feedback and criticism, so they will notice if you get defensive or resist guidance. They might even push you into admitting that you don’t know an answer on a topic you feel comfortable with. Maintain your composure and show an eagerness to learn from the interviewer. To help you do well on your UCSF interview, it is crucial to do mock-interviews with their “assessment for learning” approach in mind. Contact a consultant at Accepted to find out more about our mock-interview services and guidance.
University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine 2021-2022 secondary application essay questions
UCSF School of Medicine essay #1
Provide additional info below (dates, best way to contact) if you will be out of the country during interview season (Late Sept to February, interviews conducted remotely).
Make sure to answer this question if you will be out of the U.S. during interview season. If so, briefly states the reason, dates, and the best way(s) to reach you.
UCSF School of Medicine essay #2
If you wish to update or expand upon your activities, you may provide additional information below. (500 words)
This is your chance to show the adcom you are someone who will make a significant impact on the medical field. There is no single way to do this, and in fact, they are hoping to find a variety of people and interests. Show them your leadership, problem-solving, creativity, or communicating abilities, and while you’re doing that, make sure to express a healthy degree of humility and compassion. Emphasize if you led or inspired others to join you, and how that made the impact of your work greater than if you had tackled it alone. Yes, they want leaders, but they also want people who know how to work with others and are dedicated to serving their community.
UCSF School of Medicine essay #3
If you are 2022 or earlier college graduate, please use the space below to tell us what you have done since completing your undergraduate degree. (350 words)
Focus this essay on an experience that highlights your active role in something meaningful to you. A passive description of shadowing or studying is not enough. Describe a time when you made a difference and your actions led you to understand the world and yourself in a new way. Strategically bring their attention to your ability to learn in unexpected situations, and how your time after college has made you a better person and a stronger future physician.
UCSF School of Medicine essay #4
Do you identify as being part of a marginalized group socioeconomically or in terms of access to quality education or healthcare? Please describe how this inequity has impacted you and your community. (350 words)
This question is optional, so if you do not identify with the topic, it’s okay to leave it blank. Reasons to answer this might include having less access to academic opportunities as a child, having to work through high school or college to support yourself (less time to pursue extracurriculars), having parents/family with limited education who were unable to guide you through applying to college and succeeding once you were there, or societal barriers to your education, including racial or other types of discrimination. To describe how being in a marginalized group has impacted you, discuss the challenges you faced and how you had to work to overcome them. To describe how this impacted your community, imagine how many kids in your shoes might pursue careers in healthcare if they had more support in preparing for and applying to college. Wrap your answer up with discussing how you hope to give back to your community once you have established your career. This might include increasing access to healthcare, increasing equity in education, reducing costs of education so students can pursue volunteer or research work, or offering strong role models to your community. Make sure your essay ends on a positive note, showing that although your experience was difficult, it has made you more willing to enact changes on behalf of others.
Are you applying to UCSF School of Medicine? Here are some stats:
UCSF School of Medicine average MCAT score: 517
UCSF School of Medicine average GPA: 3.86
UCSF School of Medicine acceptance rate: 3.9%
U.S. News ranks UCSF School of Medicine #4 for research and #2 for primary care.
You’ve worked so hard to get to where you are in life. Now that you’re ready for your next achievement, make sure you know how to present yourself to maximum advantage in your UCSF School of Medicine applications. In a hotly competitive season, you’ll want a member of Team Accepted in your corner, guiding you with expertise tailored specifically for you. Check out our flexible consulting packages today!
UCSF School of Medicine 2021-2022 application timeline
|AMCAS Application Due||October 15|
|Secondary Applications Due||UCSF School of Medicine maintains a rolling admissions policy|
Source: UCSF website
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***Dr. Suzi Schweikert has served on the UCSD School of Medicine’s admissions committee, and has mentored students in healthcare programs for over 20 years. She holds a BA in English Lit from UCLA, an MD from UCSD, and an MPH from SDSU. Want Suzi to help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch with Dr. Suzi Schweikert.