UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine Secondary Essay Prompts

These are the secondary application essay prompts for University of California Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine. To put your best foot forward and maximize your chance of an interview invitation, visit our secondary application editing page.

2018-2019

Describe involvement in the ONE most important non-academic activity that has been important in your life? (800 char)

Think of an experience which taught you a lesson and helped you grow as a person outside of academics. This may be your biggest hobby or pastime outside of work such as sports or music. Paint a picture, perhaps by describing a memorable or poignant experience with one of these pursuits. This will make it more unique and let it stand out from the crowd.

What has been the ONE most unique leadership, entrepreneurial or creative activity in which you participated? (800 char)

This can be a difficult question to answer as the question asks for a unique leadership experience. First, brainstorm to see if you can think of an unconventional experience to answer this question. For example, one applicant wrote about a summer in his youth when he lead a group of his friends in building a full-length 18 hole golf-course on an enormous dirt lot by his home. The team designed the layout of the course, cleared areas to create “greens” on the dirt, dug holes for the cup, etc. This was very unique was to show ingenuity and leadership. If unable to think of such an experience, make sure you think of a unique angle as to how your more conventional experience helped you grow. Honesty is always the best policy.

What has been the ONE most important volunteer work you have done and why was it meaningful? (800 char)

Consider past experiences which are non-medical in nature, such as volunteer work with children or homeless populations. Using a non-medical experience may allow you to focus on humanism and compassion which is a universal virtue, not specific to medicine. Focus on how this has made you a more empathetic and compassionate person, which will help you help your future patients.

Has there been or will there be a gap between achieving your last degree (baccalaureate or other degrees post baccalaureate) and the expected time of medical school matriculation? (yes or no). If yes, please explain. (300 char)

If you had a gap year before medical school, describe the experiences you had during that time. Either an essay or a list is a reasonable approach to this questions, but essays tend to be more elegant and allow you to show off your writing skills more. Lists read more like a CV. For each experience, explain how this helped you grow and become a better medical school candidate, which should be the goal of the gap year in the admission committee’s eyes.

What is the ONE most important honor you have received? Why do you view this as important? (300 char)

Brainstorm your personal accomplishments/honors which were most formative. Ideally you do not want to just describe a simple victory or triumph, but something which helped you grow and taught you a lesson. Think of a scenario in which you overcame particular adversity to achieve something. Succeeding over a personal challenge will be more poignant than beating a foe, for example. Tie the experience to what lesson it taught you and what skill or trait you gained that makes you a stronger person. Be humble; do not emphasize our tout your personal excellence.

What has been your most scholarly project (thesis, research or field of study in basic or clinical science or in the humanities)? Describe one and give number of hours, dates and advisor. (300 char)

Choose the scholarly project which was most substantial. Describe in detail your role, level or involvement, and outcomes of your work (publication, presentation, etc). Also talk about what the experience taught you and what skills you gained.

Describe a problem in your life. Include how you dealt with it and how it influenced your growth. (500 char)

Choose this experience wisely. Avoid choosing something which makes you sound like a victim, as this can reflect poorly. If talking about personal or family hardship, describe how it was a challenge but focus on what it taught you and how you overcame it. The lesson learned is key.

Section to enter major work experiences. (4000 char to explain each experience)

Similar to the scholarly project question above, describe your role in detail. Choose and describe one lesson or strength you gained from the experience.

If there is any hardship to which you would like the committee to give special attention in evaluating your application, then check the box labeled ‘Hardship’ and briefly explain why you are indicating a hardship. Include any geographic, language, economic, academic, physical, or mental factors. (500 char)

Do not feel compelled to answer this question if you cannot think of a good reason to. Do not let this overlap with the “describe a problem” question above. Again avoid sounding like a victim and focus on the personal strengths gained and lessons learned.

Where do you see yourself post-graduate education? What experiences have led you to this goal? (800 char)

This is a common question which also may be asked on interviews. You will need to introspect and be prepared for this one. Consider your career goals. Do you plan to be a full-time clinician or do some research as well? Are you interested in global health and medical work abroad? Do you see yourself performing community outreach here in the US? Be realistic but optimistic. You are not bound to your answer so it is ok to have reasonable but lofty goals. Make sure to focus mainly on your career in medicine. Detailing your goals in other professional spheres (if you have them) does not necessarily show your strength as a potential doctor.

2017-2018

Describe involvement in the ONE most important non-academic activity that has been important in your life? (800 char)

Think of an experience which taught you a lesson and helped you grow as a person outside of academics. This may be your biggest hobby or pastime outside of work such as sports or music. Paint a picture, perhaps by describing a memorable or poignant experience with one of these pursuits. This will make it more unique and let it stand out from the crowd.

What has been the ONE most unique leadership, entrepreneurial or creative activity in which you participated? (800 char)

This can be a difficult question to answer as the question asks for a unique leadership experience. First, brainstorm to see if you can think of an unconventional experience to answer this question. For example, one applicant wrote about a summer in his youth when he lead a group of his friends in building a full-length 18 hole golf-course on an enormous dirt lot by his home. The team designed the layout of the course, cleared areas to create “greens” on the dirt, dug holes for the cup, etc. This was very unique was to show ingenuity and leadership. If unable to think of such an experience, make sure you think of a unique angle as to how your more conventional experience helped you grow. Honesty is always the best policy.

What has been the ONE most important volunteer work you have done and why was it meaningful? (800 char)

Consider past experiences which are non-medical in nature, such as volunteer work with children or homeless populations. Using a non-medical experience may allow you to focus on humanism and compassion which is a universal virtue, not specific to medicine. Focus on how this has made you a more empathetic and compassionate person, which will help you help your future patients.

Has there been or will there be a gap between achieving your last degree (baccalaureate or other degrees post baccalaureate) and the expected time of medical school matriculation? (yes or no). If yes, please explain. (800 char)

If you had a gap year before medical school, describe the experiences you had during that time. Either an essay or a list is a reasonable approach to this questions, but essays tend to be more elegant and allow you to show off your writing skills more. Lists read more like a CV. For each experience, explain how this helped you grow and become a better medical school candidate, which should be the goal of the gap year in the admission committee’s eyes.

What is the ONE most important honor you have received? Why do you view this as important? (800 char)

Brainstorm your personal accomplishments/honors which were most formative. Ideally you do not want to just describe a simple victory or triumph, but something which helped you grow and taught you a lesson. Think of a scenario in which you overcame particular adversity to achieve something. Succeeding over a personal challenge will be more poignant than beating a foe, for example. Tie the experience to what lesson it taught you and what skill or trait you gained that makes you a stronger person. Be humble; do not emphasize our tout your personal excellence.

What has been your most scholarly project (thesis, research or field of study in basic or clinical science or in the humanities)? Describe one and give number of hours, dates and advisor. (800 char)

Choose the scholarly project which was most substantial. Describe in detail your role, level or involvement, and outcomes of your work (publication, presentation, etc). Also talk about what the experience taught you and what skills you gained.

Describe a problem in your life. Include how you dealt with it and how it influenced your growth. (800 char)

Choose this experience wisely. Avoid choosing something which makes you sound like a victim, as this can reflect poorly. If talking about personal or family hardship, describe how it was a challenge but focus on what it taught you and how you overcame it. The lesson learned is key.

List major paid work experience during (or since) college. Give dates, description, approximate hours worked (list the most recent first). (800 char)

Similar to the scholarly project question above, describe your role in detail. Choose and describe one lesson or strength you gained from the experience.

If there is any hardship to which you would like the committee to give special attention in evaluating your application, then check the box labeled ‘Hardship’ and briefly explain why you are indicating a hardship. Include any geographic, language, economic, academic, physical, or mental factors. (800 char)

Do not feel compelled to answer this question if you cannot think of a good reason to. Do not let this overlap with the “describe a problem” question above. Again avoid sounding like a victim and focus on the personal strengths gained and lessons learned.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What experiences have led you to this goal? (800 char)

This is a common question which also may be asked on interviews. You will need to introspect and be prepared for this one. Consider your career goals. Do you plan to be a full-time clinician or do some research as well? Are you interested in global health and medical work abroad? Do you see yourself performing community outreach here in the US? Be realistic but optimistic. You are not bound to your answer so it is ok to have reasonable but lofty goals. Make sure to focus mainly on your career in medicine. Detailing your goals in other professional spheres (if you have them) does not necessarily show your strength as a potential doctor.

2016-2017

The secondary application essay prompts from this medical school application cycle were the same as above.

Disclaimer: The information on this page was shared by students and/or can be found on the medical school’s website. Med School Insiders does not guarantee the accuracy of the information on this page.

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