GPA & MCAT
The national average for accepted med school applicants is a 3.7 overall and a 3.64 for science. MCAT: 510 or 83rd percentile.
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15 CORE COMPETENCIES
Ensure all of your experiences and knowledge meet the AAMC's competencies for entering medical students.
HEALTHCARE/CLINICAL EXPERIENCEVolunteer at a hospital or clinic. Aim for 150-300 hours of meaningful patient interactions.
Pre-Med/Pre-Health Experiential Opportunities Guidebook
LEADERSHIPShow that you take initiative and can lead a team by sitting on a board, being an Undergrad Instructional Apprentice, or creating your own project. Leadership can take many forms.
LETTERS OF EVALUATIONGet to know faculty and other professionals: Try office hours, coffee with a prof, or become an Undergrad Instructional Apprentice. Look for mentors, not letter writers. Building relationships takes time so begin early!
RESEARCHParticipate in research only if it interests you. This is NOT a requirement, however exposure to research can help you understand the bigger picture of medicine.
- Most medical schools have similar pre-requisites, including the following:
- One year of general biology (BILD 1, 2, 3 or upper-division Biology courses) + 4 unit upper division Biology lab
- One year of general chemistry (CHEM 6A, B, C) + lab (CHEM 7L)
One year of organic chemistry (FAQ)
Students enrolled in CHEM 40A on or before Summer 2022 will use "old" CHEM 40 series (CHEM 40A, B, C) + lab (CHEM 43A)
Student who are not Chem/Biochem, or Engineering majors starting organic chemistry in Fall 2022 or later will use the "new" CHEM 40 series (CHEM 40A , CHEM 40B + Lab (CHEM 43A)
Student who are Chem/Biochem, or Engineering starting organic chemistry in Fall 2022 or later will take (CHEM 41A, B, C) + lab (CHEM 43A)
- One year of physics, including labs (PHYS 1A, 1AL, 1B, 1BL, 1C, 1CL or 2A, 2B, 2BL, 2C, 2CL)
- One year of math
- Two quarters of calculus (usually MATH 10 series or 20 series)
- One course in statistics (MATH 11, PYSC 60, BIEB 100, etc.)
- One course in biochemistry (BIBC 100 or 102 or CHEM 114 A or B)
- One year of English composition or writing
- HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (particularly for non-bio majors and in preparation for MCAT):
- Most medical schools accept some AP and IB credit for pre-requisites.
- Some medical schools DO NOT ACCEPT AP credit. Additional upper division coursework may be needed to meet the pre-requisites for certain schools. Please plan accordingly. If you have concerns, please meet with your pre-med advisor.
AP CREDIT POLICY
According to the Academic Senate, UC San Diego students cannot duplicate courses for credit. Given this policy, any AP credit you receive for AP calculus, chemistry, biology, or physics means you cannot retake these courses at UC San Diego. Instead, Health Beat recommends:
- Only select schools that accept AP credit. Review this information on the MSAR (Medical School Admissions Requirements, located on the AAMC website) or on the individual medical school's website. Here is a list from MSAR of admissions policies and information. This is subject to change each application cycle.
- If you are interested in attending schools who DO NOT ACCEPT AP credit, take the courses you received AP credit for in one of these ways (in descending order of preference):
- Take upper-division coursework or honors courses at UC San Diego in the subjects you received AP credit for (biology, math, chemistry, physics). Keep in mind, these classes can be much more rigorous and are not prerequisites for medical school. If you feel this could affect your GPA negatively, consider the other options.
- At a 4-year university's extension program (UC San Diego, SDSU, etc.)
- At a community college (Some medical schools may see community college course work as less rigorous than at a 4-year institution). *The only exception is if you transferred from a community college to UC San Diego
Timeline to Medical School
Gap Year (Recommended) and No Gap Year Plan
4-Year Timeline (SAMPLE PLAN ONLY)
A Gap Year is the time between when you graduate and when you begin your health professional school. If you apply at the end of your senior year, you will be taking one gap year. If you apply at then end of your junior year, you will NOT have a gap year and will begin your health professional school a few months after you graduate.
Taking a GAP year? Check out what you can do: Explore Options
Gap Year vs No Gap Year Comparison
|GAP YEAR||NO GAP YEAR|
|4 years of your academic progress||3 years of your academic progress (only one year of upper division coursework on your application)|
|more time to develop relationships with faculty||will not have the opportunity to submit letters from faculty during your senior year|
|more time to gain clinical, service, research, and leadership experience||need to start getting experience ASAP (first year)|
|more prep time to take the standardized test that is required||less time to prepare for the standardized test|
|interviews will take place during your gap year when you have more free time||interviews can take place during fall, winter, and early spring quarter of your senior year|
Benefits of a Gap Year
Most health professional schools can be another 4+ years of education and training. Additionally, many schools may require a residency component, which can be another few years. Given this lengthy commitment, it would be wise to consider taking a break and recalibrating so you can be prepared for the academic and mental rigor of a health professional school. Check out additional reasons to take a gap year.
PRE-MED Student Organizations:
A comprehensive list can be found at the Center for Student Involvement. Check under "Health Professions," "Service," and "Pre-Professional."
- Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED) Pre-Health Professional Honor Society
- American Medical Student Association (AMSA) pre-med chapter
- Chicanos/Latinos for Community Medicine
- Health and Medical Professions Preparation Program (HMP3)
- MAPS (Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students)
- Pre-Medical APAMSA at UCSD
Additional Preparation Information
Learn more about gaining experience - clinical, service, leadership, and research.