“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 2020-2021 secondary application essay questions
UCSF School of Medicine essay #1
Applicants are interviewed by invitation only. Interviews are scheduled from late September to February (days vary). For the 2021 interview season, we will conduct interviews remotely.
Then there is a checkbox and 300 characters to provide details: “I will be out of the country – provide additional info below (e.g. dates, best way to contact, etc.)”
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 organizing 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.
UCSF School of Medicine essay #3
If you are 2017 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 going to be enough. Describe a time when you made a difference and show how 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.
If you would like professional guidance with your University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine application materials, check out Accepted’s Medical School Admissions Consulting and Editing Services, which include advising, editing, and interview coaching for UCSF’s application materials.
UCSF School of Medicine 2020-2021 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.