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How to Get Into UCLA Medical School

September 6, 2022
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UCLA Medical School Programs: What Do They Offer?UCLA Medical School Application RequirementsUCLA Medical School Secondary Application: The EssaysUCLA Medical School Interview Process: Your Time to ShineUCLA Medical School Acceptance Statistics: How You RankTuition & Scholarships: What Will It Cost You?UCLA Medical School Timeline: The Application ProcessGetting Into UCLA Med School: FAQs


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 5/25/22

Planning to become a doctor? Want to study in sunny Los Angeles? Here’s everything you need to know about getting into UCLA Med School.

So you have completed your pre-med requirements and are looking into one of the top medical schools in the United States. You aren’t sure how to get into UCLA Medical School, and the more you research, the more daunting it seems. 

As one of the top medical schools in the United States, the David Geffen School of Medicine (DGSOM) at UCLA is also one of the most competitive. The medical school proudly declares its ninth-place ranking in the country in research funding from the National Institutes of Health

Getting into UCLA Medical School is a real possibility, and it is not as complicated as it seems. If you are interested in becoming one of the lucky few to enter DGSOM but aren’t sure where to start, look no further. Below is the definitive guide for getting into UCLA Medical School.

Infographic showing how to get into UCLA Medical School

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UCLA Medical School Programs: What Do They Offer?

There are several different programs of study available at UCLA Medical School. Requirements for each can vary, so let’s go through them here. 

All candidates will need to apply through the David Geffen School of Medicine. Once DGSOM accepts you, you’ll need to apply to the specific program you want, submit letters of recommendation, and go through an interview process. 

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UCLA Medical School Application Requirements

So, let’s say you are interested in applying. How hard is it to get into UCLA Med School? How would you start? What would you need? There are hundreds of questions running through your mind, but we have the answers you need.

You will apply through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) portal. Before filling out the $95 application, you will want to meet the requirements.

Here are the minimum qualifications and materials you will need for your AMCAS application:

Failure to provide any of the above materials will result in a delay in your application review or rejection of the application overall. Thankfully, we have provided you with a list of needed materials. Let’s take an in-depth look at each item, starting with your undergraduate record.

Undergraduate Record: Minimum Coursework

Successful applicants will have obtained a Bachelor’s degree from a U.S. or Canadian institution, which entails completing three years of undergraduate work, or have received a graduate degree from an institution in the U.S. U.S. or Canada.

AP credit is accepted as well. DGSOM does not evaluate specific prerequisite coursework. Applicants have a chance to demonstrate their competency in basic principles required at UCLA Medical School.

The school of medicine does recommend applicants demonstrate key competencies in the following college-level coursework and abilities:

While you will be proving your abilities through the exams and written essays they require during the application process, educational experience in these categories are excellent to display in your records. It demonstrates the key competencies the David Geffen School of Medicine is looking for in its candidates.

MCAT Scores: Prove Your Knowledge

The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is one of the best ways to show medical schools that you know your stuff. For your application to UCLA Med School, the MCAT is mandatory. 

We recommend applicants take the exam in the Spring but no later than September of the year before admission. Although it does not specify a minimum score, the DGSOM admissions committee will not review applications that do not contain MCAT scores.

Letters of Recommendation: What Others Think Matters Here

The other key requirements for UCLA Medical School are your letters of recommendation. You must submit three to five letters of recommendation, two of which must be from previous instructors. ULCA Medical School will only accept letters of recommendation through the online application.

You can give the writers a short synopsis highlighting key moments when working or learning with them. This will remind the writer of key characteristics about you that they will translate in their letter.

Transcripts: Proof of Your Degree

UCLA Medical School requires your transcripts. Before submitting your application, you will need to request a complete set of official transcripts to be forwarded directly through the AMCAS by the registrar of each school you have attended.

The Admissions Committee will not accept unofficial transcripts.

Work Experiences: What Have They Taught You?

Your personal statement will be the best place to talk about your experiences. Details of any research, volunteer work, clinical work, or publications will bolster your application.

Discuss how your experiences have contributed to your desire to enter the medical field and what you can contribute to the program. You must display your writing and communication skills and your ability to research and convey your health care delivery methods. In short, sell yourself as best as possible.

UCLA Medical School Secondary Application: The Essays

Once you have completed all aspects of the primary application, the Admissions Committee at DGSOM will review it. Select candidates will submit a secondary application consisting of short answer questions. They vary in structure but have a similar theme: extracurricular activities that have prepared you for medical school.

Because there are multiple questions, you will want to focus on one activity in detail for each one. Be as concise, clear, and detailed as possible.

Use the following examples of the previous essay prompts to give yourself a better idea of what to expect:

These questions engage with the students. The goal is to understand their interests and experience and any significant achievements and hardships that would prove beneficial to know. This is the time to give as much information as possible about yourself.

UCLA Medical School Interview Process: Your Time to Shine

The Admissions Committee will review your primary and secondary applications. If you meet the standards they seek, you will be invited to interview for a spot at UCLA Medical School.

Application interviews follow a holistic review process. Prospective students must complete the Video Interview Tool for Admissions (VITA) administered by the AAMC. The video interview takes 24 minutes and has six questions. 

Candidates selected to move forward will go in for a second interview. These typically take place from August through November until they fill the class. Reviewing sample questions is a great way to prepare. The second interview is the final requirement for UCLA Medical School. 

You will want to stress your abilities, why you selected the David Geffen School of Medicine, and how you will thrive at UCLA. The Admissions Committee will determine final admission offers after a comprehensive review of the potential candidate’s application.

UCLA Medical School Acceptance Statistics: How You Rank

While David Geffen School of Medicine receives many applications, the limited spots make it one of the most competitive schools you can enter.

Acceptance rates are low, with less than three percent of all applicants receiving an offer. This appears challenging, considering the school receives over 12,000 applications every year.

The positive aspect of such low acceptance rates is a higher faculty-student ratio of 3.9:1--as opposed to the 2.2:1 faculty-student ratio at Stanford Medical School.

The UCLA Medical School admission statistics can seem daunting, but you can set yourself apart with the right preparation. Remember to start early and keep important dates in mind. 

Tuition & Scholarships: What Will It Cost You?

Now, you have decided UCLA Medical School is the place for you. You’ve decided on a program and have your application ready, but you know medical school is not cheap. So, how big of a dent is UCLA Medical School going to leave in your wallet?

In terms of tuition, costs vary on living and other expenses. These fees are subject to change. For the 2022-2023 admissions cycle, the estimated tuition costs for students living on-campus are $37,448 for residents of California and $68,474 for non-residents. 

Off-campus students can expect to pay between $29,092 to $37,129 as a resident and between $60,118 to $68,155 for non-residents.

These costs can seem daunting, but they should not discourage you. The David Geffen School of Medicine offers multiple scholarships to cover a large sum (or all) of tuition fees. 

There are also need-based scholarships available. The DGSOM Financial Aid Office emails information regarding financial aid to all entering medical students who get into UCLA Medical School. Applicants can apply for need-based scholarships, in addition to student loans.

The cost of living matches the standard of living in Los Angeles. A room in housing would cost a minimum of $1,000 a month. You can save some money by looking for a residency outside the campus. Usually, the housing costs around universities are slightly lower to bring in the student demographic. 

Furthermore, many external scholarships are available to medical students in the U.S. Do your research and apply because the money is waiting for you! 

UCLA Medical School Timeline: The Application Process

The David Geffen School of Medicine utilizes a rolling admissions schedule. While application deadlines are mid-October, you should submit no later than October 1st. Due to the substantial number of applicants, it is crucial to have all materials completed on time, or UCLA Medical School will not consider the application.

You can see the admissions timeline below: 

Table outlining the UCLA medical school application, interview, and admissions deadlines

If you receive an offer of admission, you’ll have 15 days to respond to the offer. 

Getting Into UCLA Med School: FAQs

Still have questions about how to get into UCLA med school? We’ve got you covered.

1. How Hard Is It to Get Into UCLA Medical School?

UCLA Medical School’s acceptance rate is around 1.5%, meaning it can be difficult to get in. However, with dedication, patience, and guidance from admissions consultants, you can give yourself a great chance of getting in. 

2. How Many Letters of Recommendation for UCLA Med School Do I need? 

You’ll need to include 3-5 letters of recommendation for UCLA Med School. Letters go through your AMCAS application and should come from professors or professionals who know you well and can speak to your qualifications. 

3. What Are the UCLA Medical School Prerequisites?

The UCLA Med School application requirements do not include any specific prerequisite courses. However, you should have significant knowledge in the following areas:

You should also have skills in writing and communication, clinical experiences, and research experience.  

4. What Score Do I Need on the MCAT for UCLA Medical School?

Although there is no specified minimum MCAT score required for UCLA Medical School, it’s a good idea to aim for a score around or above 520. This will put you at a competitive advantage for many programs, including UCLA. 

You Can Get Into UCLA Med School

Now, you should know exactly how to get into UCLA Med School. While the process is quite competitive and time-sensitive, it is possible to get admitted into the David Geffen School of Medicine. The most important thing to remember is to make sure you submit all materials at the appropriate deadlines.

There are excellent resources available to assist you when applying. With this guide and admissions consulting, becoming a student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA is within your reach!

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