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How to Ace Your UCLA Secondaries

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

A female med student looking into her laptop while 2 more med students are studying at the desks behind her

How to Ace Your UCLA Secondaries

Welcome to our comprehensive exploration of UCLA secondaries, a critical step for prospective medical students seeking to make their mark at one of the nation’s top-rated medical institutions.

Housed in the heart of sunny Los Angeles, the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA annually entices thousands of aspiring healthcare professionals from around the globe with its advanced curriculum, groundbreaking research opportunities, and a reputation for academic excellence.

Getting through the application process is not for the faint of heart, with the school’s secondary application essays being an especially rigorous and vital component. In this article, you’ll learn how to craft winning secondary essays that will make you stand out from the competition and increase your chances of getting accepted.

Understanding the UCLA Medical School Secondary Application Process

Before you can craft exceptional secondary essays, you need to understand the process you’ll be going through. The UCLA Medical School secondary application requires you to answer several essay prompts. These prompts cover topics such as your personal and professional experiences, your future goals as a physician, and your fit with UCLA’s medical program. Your responses provide the admissions committee with additional information about you, so they can better assess your candidacy for the program.

Medical students sitting and talking at the university

The Importance of Secondaries in Medical School Admissions

While the secondary application might seem like just another hurdle to jump over, it’s an essential part of the medical school admissions process. In fact, many medical schools rely heavily on the secondary application to get a better sense of who you are as a person and as a prospective physician. The secondary essay prompts are your opportunity to show the admissions committee that you have the qualities they’re looking for in a medical student, such as empathy, resilience, and a dedication to your patients.

It’s important to note that the UCLA secondaries are also an opportunity to differentiate yourself from other applicants. While your primary application may have covered your basic information and qualifications, the secondary application allows you to showcase your unique experiences and perspectives. This is your chance to stand out and show the admissions committee why you’re the right fit for their program.

UCLA Medical School’s Unique Approach to Secondaries

UCLA Medical School takes a unique approach to their secondary application process. Instead of just asking generic essay prompts, they ask you to reflect on specific aspects of your experience and why they make you a good fit for their program. UCLA wants to see that you’ve researched their mission and values and that you understand what sets their medical program apart from others. By tailoring your responses to UCLA’s prompts, you can show the admissions committee that you’re genuinely interested in attending their medical school.

One of the unique aspects of UCLA’s medical program is its focus on community service and social justice. In your secondary essays, you might reflect on your experiences working with underserved populations or your interest in addressing healthcare disparities. You could also discuss how UCLA’s commitment to community service aligns with your own values and goals as a physician.

Another aspect of UCLA’s medical program that sets it apart is its emphasis on research and innovation. If you have experience conducting research or a particular interest in a certain area of medical research, you could highlight this in your secondary essays. You might also discuss how UCLA’s research opportunities and resources would help you achieve your future goals as a physician.

Overall, the UCLA Medical School secondary application process is an opportunity for you to showcase your unique experiences and perspectives, while also demonstrating your fit with UCLA’s mission and values. By taking the time to carefully craft your responses to UCLA’s prompts, you can increase your chances of being accepted into their highly competitive program.

Tips for Writing Compelling Secondary Essays

Now that you know what to expect from the UCLA secondaries, let’s explore some tips for writing compelling secondary essays.

Researching UCLA’s Mission and Values

Researching UCLA’s mission and values is a crucial step in writing compelling secondary essays. UCLA’s mission is to provide excellent education, research, patient care, and public service to improve the health and wellbeing of people worldwide. Their values include diversity, equity, and inclusion, excellence, integrity, respect, and accountability.

student doctors sitting around a table while one of them is looking at the camera smiling

When researching UCLA’s mission and values, look for ways to highlight your experiences that align with their mission. For example, if you have a dedication to serving underserved populations, you can highlight this in your essay. If you have a commitment to research and innovation, you can also mention this and how it aligns with UCLA’s mission.

Tailoring Your Essays to UCLA’s Prompts

Each of UCLA’s essay prompts is unique, and it’s essential to tailor your responses to each one. Use specific examples from your life and experiences to illustrate your points. Show, don’t tell. Be authentic and honest about who you are and why you’re passionate about medicine.

For example, if one of the prompts asks you to discuss a challenge you faced and how you overcame it, you can share a specific experience from your life and how you overcame it. This can be a great opportunity to showcase your problem-solving skills and resilience.

Demonstrating Your Fit with UCLA’s Medical Program

Show the admissions committee that you’ve done your research on their program and why it’s a good fit for you. Highlight aspects of your experience that align with UCLA’s medical program. Share your long-term goals and how attending UCLA Medical School can help you achieve them.

If you’re interested in a particular aspect of UCLA’s medical program, such as their research opportunities or their commitment to serving underserved populations, you can mention this in your essay. You can also share your long-term goals and how attending UCLA Medical School can help you achieve them. This can demonstrate your fit with UCLA’s medical program and your commitment to pursuing a career in medicine.

In conclusion, writing compelling essays in your UCLA secondaries requires research, tailoring your essays to UCLA’s prompts, and demonstrating your fit with their medical program. By following these tips, you can create a compelling and persuasive application that showcases your strengths and passion for medicine.

Common UCLA Medical School Secondary Essay Prompts

When it comes to applying to UCLA Medical School, there are a variety of essay prompts that you may encounter. These prompts are designed to help the admissions committee get to know you better and understand your motivations for pursuing a career in medicine. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most common essay prompts you might encounter when applying to UCLA Medical School.

Overcoming Challenges and Personal Growth

One of the most common essay prompts you may encounter when applying to UCLA Medical School is related to overcoming challenges and personal growth. This prompt asks you to describe a time when you faced a significant challenge in your life, academic, or professional career. The admissions committee wants to know how you overcame this challenge and what you learned from the experience. Additionally, they want to know what personal qualities you developed through this experience and how they will help you succeed in medical school.

When answering this prompt, it’s important to be honest and reflective. Don’t be afraid to discuss a difficult experience or a time when you struggled. Admissions committees are looking for applicants who are resilient and can overcome obstacles. Use specific examples to illustrate your points and focus on what you learned from the experience.

medical students wearing scrubs looking at the camera

For example, if you struggled with a particular class or subject, you could discuss how you sought out additional resources and developed better study habits. You could also discuss how this experience taught you the importance of perseverance and determination, qualities that will be essential as you navigate the challenges of medical school.

Diversity and Inclusion in Medicine

Another common essay prompt you may encounter in your UCLA secondaries could be related to diversity and inclusion in medicine. As a future physician, it’s important to understand the diverse needs of your patients and provide care that is culturally sensitive and appropriate. This prompt asks you to discuss how you will contribute to the diversity and inclusion of the healthcare field. You should also discuss any personal experiences that have influenced your understanding of diversity and how it relates to healthcare.

When answering this prompt, it’s important to demonstrate your knowledge of the challenges facing diverse patient populations and your commitment to providing equitable care. You could discuss experiences you’ve had working with underserved communities or how you’ve sought out opportunities to learn about different cultures and perspectives. You could also discuss how you plan to advocate for marginalized patients and work to address healthcare disparities.

Your Future Goals as a Physician

The final common essay prompt you may encounter in your UCLA secondaries is related to your future goals as a physician. This prompt asks you to discuss what motivates you to pursue a career in medicine and what your long-term goals are as a physician. You should also discuss how you envision using your education to make a difference in the lives of your patients and your community at large.

When answering this prompt, it’s important to be specific about your goals and how you plan to achieve them. You could discuss a particular area of medicine that you’re passionate about or a specific patient population you hope to serve. You could also discuss how you plan to use your medical education to advocate for public health initiatives or work to improve healthcare access in underserved communities.

Ultimately, the admissions committee wants to see that you have a clear vision for your future as a physician and that you’re committed to making a positive impact in the world. Use specific examples and anecdotes to illustrate your points and demonstrate your passion for medicine.

Strategies for Tackling Each Essay Prompt

As you embark on the journey of applying to medical school, you’ll encounter a variety of essay prompts. These prompts are designed to help the admissions committee get to know you better and understand why you’re a good fit for their program. Here are some strategies for tackling each essay prompt.

Using the STAR Method for Personal Anecdotes

One common type of essay prompt asks you to share a personal anecdote. This is a great opportunity to showcase your unique experiences and qualities. To structure your response, consider using the STAR method.

The STAR method stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Start by describing the situation you were in and the task you needed to accomplish. Then, describe the action you took and the result of your actions. This formula ensures that your response is clear and concise, and it helps you avoid rambling or getting off topic. This strategy will surely help you ace your UCLA secondaries.

For example, if the prompt asks you to share a time when you overcame a challenge, you might start by describing the situation you were in (e.g. “During my junior year of college, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness”). Then, describe the task you needed to accomplish (e.g. “I needed to manage my symptoms while still keeping up with my coursework”). Next, describe the action you took (e.g. “I worked with my professors to create a flexible schedule that allowed me to rest when needed”). Finally, describe the result of your actions (e.g. I was able to maintain a high GPA and graduate on time despite my illness”).

Balancing Personal and Professional Experiences

While it’s important to highlight your academic and professional experiences in your secondary essays, don’t forget to share personal anecdotes as well. Showing your personal side can help the admissions committee get to know you on a deeper level and understand what motivates you.

Students practicing dentistry on medical dummies in a teaching facility or university

However, be mindful of selecting anecdotes that are relevant to the essay prompt and your candidacy for medical school. For example, if the prompt asks you to describe your leadership experience, you might share a personal anecdote about how you organized a successful fundraiser for a local charity. This demonstrates your leadership skills while also showcasing your commitment to your community.

Showcasing Your Unique Qualities and Skills

Finally, don’t be afraid to highlight what makes you unique in your secondary essays. The admissions committee is looking for candidates who will bring diversity and new perspectives to their program. Share experiences and qualities that set you apart from other applicants.

For example, maybe you’re a talented musician who has performed at local venues. This demonstrates your creativity and passion for the arts. Or maybe you’re a devoted volunteer in your community who has organized multiple service projects. This demonstrates your leadership skills and commitment to making a difference.

By showcasing your unique qualities and skills, you can make yourself a memorable candidate and increase your chances of being accepted to medical school.

Conclusion

The UCLA secondaries can be daunting, but with the right approach, you can craft essays that showcase your fit with their program and make you a strong candidate for admission. Remember to do your research, tailor your responses to UCLA’s prompts, and be authentic and honest in your writing. Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to acing your UCLA Medical School secondaries and achieving your dream of becoming a physician.

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