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 200-300 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 prerequisites, including the following:One year of biology
- BILD 1, 2, 3, & any upper division Biology lab course (must be at least 4 quarter units)
- CHEM 6A, 6B, 6C, & 7L (lab)
- CHEM 40A, 40B, & 43A (lab),
- OR, Student who are Chem/Biochem, or Engineering majors will use: CHEM 41A, 41B, 41C, & 43A (lab)
Please consult your academic advisor on the most appropriate sequence before scheduling an appointment with Health Beat Advisor through Handshake to discuss Organic Chemistry.One year of physics, including labs
- PHYS 1A, 1AL, 1B, 1BL, 1C, 1CL
- OR, 2A, 2B, 2BL, 2C, 2CL
- Two quarters of calculus (usually MATH 10 series or 20 series)
- One course in statistics (MATH 11, PSYC 60, BIEB 100, etc.)
- One of the following: BIBC 100, BIBC 102, CHEM 114A, or CHEM 114B
One year of English composition or writing
- college general education courses dependent on written material for grading should suffice
- One year of upper division biology such as:
- Genetics (BICD 100)
- Human Physiology (BIPN 100 and/or BIPN 102)
- Cell biology (BICD 110)
- Molecular Biology (BIMM 100)
- Microbiology (BIMM 120)
- One course in psychology and sociology (PSYC 1 and SOCI 70) helpful for the MCAT but not a prerequisite
- Consider classes within the Global Health or Health Care-Social Issues programs
**Students can review specific expectations for prerequisite courses on the AAMC listing of medical school course policy here. Please note that students should always check the admissions website of a medical school for the most up to date policies on courses.**
- 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 Report(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.
- Schools that list a requirement as "recommended" typically will accept AP course credit.
- 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.