UCSF Medical School – UCSF Secondary Essay Prompt 2017:

UCSF Medical School Secondary essays are optional. However, we always recommend our students writing something for Essay #1. This is a good amount of space for you to write about one of your extra-curricular activities, extenuating circumstances, or highlight your strengths / leadership potential.

Essay 1. If you wish to update or expand upon your activities, you may provide additional information below. (500 word limit)

Essay 2. Applicants are interviewed by invitation only. Please note that we do not conduct regional interviews. Interviews are scheduled from September to February (days vary). Please let us know if you will be out of the country during the interview season. (300 characters)

UCSF Medical School – Interview Style:

Usually two one-on-one interviews with faculty members and students (admissions committee members) at UCSF.

Get tips and tricks to ace medical school interviews. Read our blog, including advice for how to prepare and what to wear!

Click here to read our blog about how to prepare for medical school interviews

Admission Stats







Admit Rate


UCSF Medical School Median GPA: 3.84

UCSF Medical School Median Old MCAT: 35 Total (11 Verbal / 12 Physical Science / 12 Biological Science)

UCSF Medical School Median New MCAT: 514 (129 chemical & physical / 128 critical analysis / 130 biological & biochemical / 129 psychological, social)


Your UCSF Medical School Admissions Advisers

Rachel Rizal, M.D.

Changing the trajectory of people’s lives

Undergraduate: Princeton University
Medical School: Stanford School of Medicine
Residency: Harvard, Emergency Medicine
What I did After College:
• Improved vaccine distribution in developing countries
• Worked with the World Health Organization in the Philippines
• Launched a national HIV Awareness Campaign in the Philippines
• Produced an HIV awareness commercial for MTV
• Worked full-time at a healthcare consulting firm, advising pharmaceutical companies
• Created a public health program in Stanford’s Emergency Department

Devin Nambiar

Helping students reach their full potential

Hometown: San Francisco Bay Area, California
Undergraduate: Columbia University
What I did after I graduated:
• Worked at two education non-profits, improving public & charter schools across the U.S.
• Coached students to master interview, debate, and speech techniques in the U.S. and Asia
• Advised students in China, Korea, and Japan with college applications to American Universities
• Developed mobile education content for iPhone apps
• Worked in investment banking, conducting industry analysis and advising technology companies

Rishi Mediratta, M.D., M.P.H., M.A.

Advising students to attend their dream schools

Undergraduate: Johns Hopkins University
Medical School: Stanford School of Medicine
Residency: Pediatrics, Stanford
Masters: Masters in Medical Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies; Masters of Science in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
What I did after I graduated:
• Interned with the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland
• Founded and launched an NGO to improve the health and education of Ethiopian
• World Bank consultant who helped implement Ethiopia’s national nutrition program
• Partnered with the Ethiopian Ministry of Health to study child health practices in communities

The Insider’s View on How to Get Into UCSF Medical School

How to Get Into UCSF Medical School – Know the Curriculum:


As a UCSF medical school student, your first two years are spent as a pre-clinical student, mainly learning through lectures. The curriculum is split through systems-based blocks. A lot of learning occurs through small group discussion sessions.

For more information about the pre-clinical curriculum visit the UCSF website,

At the end of your second year, you start your clinical rotations. Core Clerkships include: anesthesia, family medicine, internal medicine, neurology, psychiatry, OB/GYN, pediatrics, and surgery.

View the clinical curriculum on UCSF’s website here:


During the first two pre-clinical years, grades are Pass/Fail.

For the most part, most core clerkships are graded: Honors; Pass; and Fail.

Taking Time Off:

Many students take time off between 3rd and 4th year. Many students pursue additional degrees, including a Master’s of Global Health and a Master’s of Public Health. For more information about UCSF Medical School’s official joint degree programs, read here:

Special Joint Programs at UCSF Medical School:

  • MD/MS with UC Berkeley: Students can enter a special 5-year program in which you can get a Master’s degree, selecting thesis topics on other aspects of health and human disease (including historical, social, ethical, epidemiological, or policy)
  • PRIME-US (Program in Medical Education – Underserved): Another 5-year program that accepts 15 students annually. Students work directly with urban underserved populations, including in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Fresno. For more information about UCSF’s PRIME-US program:
  • MD/MPH: UCSF medical school students can take a year off between their 3rd and 4th years of medical school and get an MPH at UC Berkeley.

What students are saying about UCSF Medical School

Strong clinical training and many opportunities to work with the underserved.

Many of my classmates were working on public health and public policy. There are endless faculty members you can do research or policy work with. For example, some of my classmates did advocacy work with the California Medical Association.

Global health opportunities are plenty! Many faculty members work with the WHO and USAID. A large percentage of my classmates get funding to do projects or clinical rotations abroad.

Because we are in the heart of Silicon Valley, many students are working with start-ups or creating their own companies. UCSF has partnerships with healthcare innovation orgs.

Unique highlights about pre-clinical years:

  • Systems-based learning with small group discussions
  • Learn how to read and use science-based articles using evidenced-based medicine
  • Classes on teaching communication skills, including “How to deal with upset patients” and “How to communicate well with nurses.”

Unique highlights about clinical years:

  • Students can choose to do longitudinal clinical work at primarily one hospital their 3rd year or rotate through several clinical sites.
  • Many opportunities to work with the under-served.

Main Clinical Rotation Sites:

  • Parnassus
  • UCSF Fresno
  • San Francisco General Hospital
  • San Francisco VA Hospital
  • Kaiser Oakland

Students have a wide variety of clinical sites in locations around Northern/Central California where they can choose from for each rotation.

What students are saying about clinics at UCSF Medical School

I found it helpful to learn about various clinical practice settings by rotating through different hospitals, including a hospital in Fresno, Kaiser, and the VA.

The faculty were strong in their clinical training and skills. Oftentimes, I would be asked WHY I am ordering a specific lab test. Justifying my rationale made me a strong clinician.

I enjoyed UCSF's flexibility and options with where to do clinical rotations. Although I was not in the underserved track, I treated patients from various ethnic backgrounds, and I really got to understand the socio-economic effects on a person's health and care.


Where do students live?

There are no dorms or student housing. Students live around San Francisco. Most live in the Western part of San Francisco next to UCSF. However, a good portion of students move to the “Mission” neighborhood where it is still easy and feasible to commute.

You may need a car, especially if you do your rotations outside of San Francisco your 3rd and 4th years.


Financial Considerations:

  • You can apply for grants and financial aid with UCSF’s financial aid office.
  • Full-time Tuition:
    • $33,420 in-state and $45,665 out-of-state
    • Average indebtedness of graduates: ~$140,000

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