UCSF Secondary Application Essay Prompts

University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Secondary Application Essay Tips & Prompts

UCSF Secondary Application Essay Prompts by Year
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    UCSF School of Medicine is one of the best medical schools and extremely tough to get an interview invite, especially as an out-of-state applicant. For your UCSF secondary essays, you have to explain your vision to improve medicine. Here’s the good news: Dr. Rachel Rizal and Dr. Rishi Mediratta have helped several mentees get accepted to UCSF over the past decade. We can help you too! Check out our bios, student testimonials, and secondary essay editing packages

    Because the UCSF School of Medicine Admissions Committee does not send UCSF secondaries to everyone, we would recommend not pre-writing this secondary. Some students receive secondary application invites for UCSF as late as October or November each year. 

    UCSF Secondary Application Questions: 2023 – 2024

    1. Provide additional info below (dates, best way to contact) if you will be out of the country during interview season (Late September to February, interviews conducted remotely). (300 characters max)
    2. If you wish to update or expand upon your activities, you may provide additional information below. (500 words max)
    3. If you are 2023 or earlier college graduate, please use the space below to tell us what you have done since completing your undergraduate degree. (350 words max)
    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 max)

    Tips to Answer UCSF Secondaries

    UCSF Secondaries Pre-Writing Guidance: This secondary is tough because it’s long and is similar to writing several new personal statement. We know how tough it is because we’ve been in your shoes! However, we would not pre-write the UCSF secondaries because there is no guarantee you will receive the UCSF secondaries even if you are a California resident. Plus, all the UCSF secondary essay prompts are straight-forward and similar to other medical schools’ essay prompts. Once you receive the official UCSF secondary application from the UCSF School of Medicine Admissions Committee, you will probably have a good starting point of essays from other medical schools’ applications.

    UCSF Secondary Application Tip #1: Answer as many questions as possible on the UCSF secondary application. And, make sure you use up close to the maximum word limit. For example, for the UCSF secondary essay, “please use the space below to tell us what you have done since completing your undergraduate degree” use all the space to discuss everything you’ve been doing in your gap year(s). 

    UCSF Secondary Application Tip #2: Highlight your leadership, passion to change healthcare, and impact on society. After reading your entire UCSF secondary application, the reader should understand the following:

    1. What is your vision to change healthcare?
    2. What have you done to realize this vision?
    3. How will a UCSF medical education, the resources from UCSF medical school, and the UCSF community overall prepare you to be an excellent clinical physician as well as help you achieve your vision to change healthcare? 

    As an added plus, if you have ideas to improve the San Francisco community, the UCSF School of Medicine Admissions Committee loves that too. 

    All the medical students at UCSF are eager to advance medicine, whether it’s through research, community health, or global health. Therefore, the UCSF Admissions committee wants to recruit medical students who have a strong sense of how they want to advance healthcare. Many applicants have extremely strong leadership and execute on their visions. 

    UCSF Secondary Application Tip #3: Tell stories to convey your impact and leadership. For example, if you conducted research over a gap year, tell a story about a challenge you faced and how you solved the research conundrum. Or, if a patient you met while conducting a clinical trial and it made a lasting impression on you, discuss how you helped the patient and what you will take away with you to your future patient care.

    UCSF Secondary Application Tip #4: Don’t forget to incorporate a little bit about “Why UCSF” throughout the UCSF secondary questions. Talk about projects and research you want to do at UCSF. Convey if you want to do any projects in San Francisco city. Here are some super helpful resources to help you think about “Why UCSF School of Medicine.”

    • Read our UCSF Medical Schoolprofile to learn more about UCSF’s curriculum, what it’s like living and studying in San Francisco, and student culture.
    • Read our blog post why this medical school to gain insights on how to incorporate a strong “Why UCSF.” 

    UCSF Secondary Application Tip #5: For the UCSF secondaries questions, “If you wish to update or expand upon your activities, you may provide additional information below” AND “please use the space below to tell us what you have done since completing your undergraduate degree, our students write those essays in one of two ways. 1) They list out a few meaningful activities that relate to their vision of changing medicine and write a short description for each activity (it almost looks like an AMCAS primary application work & activities section (but shorter). 2) Write about your activities theme by theme. Then, discuss various activities under each theme. Contact Dr. Rizal and Dr. Mediratta if you have questions about how to write this essay.

    Again, all the tips above are relevant to the two open-ended UCSF secondary essays: add stories, show your leadership, show your impact to individuals & communities, convey how you have tried to make your vision a reality. 

    UCSF Secondary Application Tip #6: Get our help to edit your UCSF secondary application essays. We can help you through our secondary essay packages. Have questions about how you can stand out? Contact us below.

     

    [Read Other Helpful Secondary Essay Tips: Harvard Medical School, Stanford School of Medicine, University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA), Weill Cornell]

    Your medical school application Coaches, Mentors, & Cheerleaders

    We Personally Advise Every Student We Work With.

    Dr. Rachel Rizal

    Rachel Rizal, M.D.

    Changing the trajectory of people’s lives

    Undergraduate
    Princeton University, cum laude

    Medical School
    Stanford School of Medicine

    Residency
    Harvard, Emergency Medicine

    Awards & Scholarships
    Fulbright Scholar
    USA Today Academic First Team
    Tylenol Scholarship

    Dr. Rishi Mediratta

    Rishi Mediratta, M.D., M.Sc., M.A.

    Advising students to attend their dream schools

    Undergraduate
    Johns Hopkins University, Phi Beta Kappa

    Medical School
    Stanford School of Medicine

    Residency
    Stanford, Pediatrics

    Awards & Scholarships
    Marshall Scholar
    Tylenol Scholarship
    Global Health Scholar

    stand out from other applicants with our secondary essay edit packages

    download your secondary Essay Guide

    Use this essay guide and workbook to write standout secondaries.

    Secondary Essay Guide
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    UCSF Secondary Application Questions: 2022 – 2023

    1. Provide additional info below (dates, best way to contact) if you will be out of the country during interview season (Late September to February, interviews conducted remotely). (300 characters max)
    2. If you wish to update or expand upon your activities, you may provide additional information below. (500 words max)
    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 max)
    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 max)

    Our students successfully receive interviews at their reach schools.

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    Our students successfully receive interviews at their reach schools.

    UCSF Secondary Application Questions: 2021 – 2022

    1. Provide additional info below (dates, best way to contact) if you will be out of the country during interview season (Late September to February, interviews conducted remotely). (300 characters max)
    2. If you wish to update or expand upon your activities, you may provide additional information below. (500 words max)
    3. If you are 2021 or earlier college graduate, please use the space below to tell us what you have done since completing your undergraduate degree. (350 words max)
    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 max)

    UCSF Secondary Application Questions: 2020 - 2021

    1. Please let us know if you will be out of the country during the interview season. (300 words max)
    2. If you wish to update or expand upon your activities, you may provide additional information below. (500 words max)
    3. If you are 2019 or earlier college graduate, please use the space below to tell us what you have done since completing your undergraduate degree. (350 words max)

    UCSF Secondary Application Questions: 2019 – 2020

    Applicants are interviewed by invitation only. Please note that we do not conduct regional interviews. Interviews are scheduled from September to February (days vary).

    1. Please let us know if you will be out of the country during the interview season. (300 words max)
    2. If you wish to update or expand upon your activities, you may provide additional information below. (500 words max)
    3. If you are 2019 or earlier college graduate, please use the space below to tell us what you have done since completing your undergraduate degree. (350 words max)

    UCSF Secondary Application Questions: 2018 – 2019

    1. If you wish to update or expand upon your activities, you may provide additional information below. (500 words max)
    2. If you are 2018 or earlier college graduate, please use the space below to tell us what you have done since completing your undergraduate degree. (400 words max)

    UCSF Secondary Application Questions: 2017 – 2018

    1. If you wish to update or expand upon your activities, you may provide additional information below. (500 words max)
    2. If you are 2018 or earlier college graduate, please use the space below to tell us what you have done since completing your undergraduate degree. (350 words max)

    UCSF Secondary Application Questions: 2016 – 2017

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

    UCSF Secondary Application Questions: 2015 – 2016

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

    UCSF Secondary Application Questions: 2014 – 2015

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