When it comes to being a pre-med, picking a great college for undergraduate studies can make a significant difference. But it’s challenging to determine which schools are the best because there are numerous options and many variables that could make a difference.
Here’s what we know about UCLA’s pre-med program (and if it’s right for you) to see if it lives up to its stellar college reputation.
UCLA Pre Med Statistics
About half of the UCLA premed applicants were ultimately accepted.
- Average accepted GPA of 3.7
- Average MCAT of 513.6.
However, these numbers don’t tell the full story.
UCLA Pre Med Requirements
The majority of UCLA students will take the life science course series as their prerequisites for medical school. These include:
- CHEM 14A – General Chemistry
- General Chemistry and General Chemistry Lab (CHEM 14B CHEM 14BL)
- Organic Chemistry and Organic Chemistry Lab (CHEM 14C and CHEM 14CL)
- CHEM 14D – Organic Chemistry
- CHEM 153A – Biochemistry
- PHYSICS 5A – Physics
- PHYSICS 5B – Physics
- PHYSICS 5C – Physics
- LIFESCI 7A – Biology
- LIFESCI 7B – Biology
- LIFESCI 7C – Biology
Additionally, students frequently need to enroll in a year of both English (any ENG class, writing II/W class) and Math (MATH 3A-C, LS30A-B). The majority of the prerequisites for life science major courses overlap with these requirements.
For a complete list of pre med requirements needed to be a successful medical school applicant, read: Premed Timeline – Planning for your Medical School Applications
Roadmap for UCLA Pre Meds: 5 Tips for Success
You must make the most of your study time if you want to achieve academic success and keep a high GPA. Find places to be productive, either on or off campus (e g. Establish a routine for your work (e.g., in the dorm lounge, in study areas on The Hill, in libraries, at the Luskin Hotel, or with Ronald Reagan). Studying for exams should be approached as a 9 to 5 job; set aside time to study and participate in extracurricular activities, and then take breaks as if you were working a full-time job. You should look into evidence-based study techniques in addition to developing good study habits. For instance, a lot of medical students use Anki, a flashcard program that combines spaced repetition and active recall (quizzing yourself to remember information). Practice problems and practice tests are still another fantastic study tool. Rereading, underlining, and other ineffective study techniques such as highlighting are not recommended. Make an effort to grasp the material with just one reading, to encode it with active recall and spaced repetition, and to synthesize it by making connections between concepts.
UCLA Pre Med Tip #2: Be strategic about your major and course selection
Course and major difficulty is variable at UCLA. Therefore, be strategic in selecting your major. Most importantly, choose a major you are passionate about because if you are not, it will be challenging to be engaged in your classes and maintain a high GPA. The following are typical life science majors, with the notoriously challenging majors starred (many premeds at UCLA major in life sciences):
- Cognitive Science
- Computational & Systems Biology
- Ecology, Behavior and Evolution
- Human Biology and Society*
- Integrative Biology and Physiology**
- Marine Biology
- Microbiology, Immunology, & Molecular Genetics*
- Molecular, Cell Developmental Biology*
- Psychology, B.A.
UCLA Pre Med Tip #3: Take the initiative and make use of multiple resources
In order to succeed as a student at a large public university, you frequently have to look for academic resources and advice on your own. Due to UCLA’s large student population and consequently large class sizes, this is necessary. It is not unusual for there to be more students than seats in a class or for there to be so many people attending office hours that you only have time to ask a few questions before other students speak up. This isn’t limited to academics. It takes initiative and being ahead of the game to sign up for classes, find university housing, and even use the campus amenities (dining, recreation, and fitness). Prepare yourself mentally for the realities of attending a large public university and make an effort to be proactive. Instead of struggling alone, you might form study groups, ask your professors questions after class or via email rather than during office hours, and come up with creative solutions to institutional or bureaucratic obstacles. At UCLA, you won’t get anything handed to you, but the qualities you learn from taking initiative will help you in medical school and beyond.
UCLA Pre Med Tip #4: Get involved with student organizations
Student organizations are huge at UCLA. These organizations offer you the chance to make friends with other like-minded peers in addition to providing excellent opportunities to gain clinical and general life experience. Due to the high number of undergraduate students and the lack of opportunities, recruitment procedures for student organizations at UCLA are frequently competitive. Have your application read by multiple others and practice interviewing. Think of it as preparation for medical school applications!.
UCLA Pre Med Tip #5: Take time off to have fun and enjoy college
How to have fun and take a break from school is the most crucial lesson you can learn before attending medical school. Join student organizations unrelated to your medical school application. Go out with your floor-mates and friends. Explore Westwood and LA with friends. In contrast to what you learned in your prerequisite courses, when you reflect back on your time in college as an alum, you’ll remember the people you met and the experiences you shared. School is important, but don’t forget to enjoy college!.
Getting Involved: Premed Opportunities at UCLA
Successful medical school applicants need a variety of significant extracurricular activities that highlight their potential as future doctors in addition to strong academic metrics. Thankfully, UCLA provides a wealth of opportunities for driven pre-med students to get involved as an R1 research university with a medical school affiliate and a wide range of student-run organizations:
Being a clinical volunteer broadens your knowledge of medicine and exposes you to the field. With a wide range of active student organizations and a variety of opportunities for motivated students, UCLA offers excellent clinical opportunities:
- Care Extenders Program
- Emergency Medicine Research Associates (EMRA)
- Student Stroke Force/Team
- SCOPE at UCLA
- ARC Medical Program
- Bruin Beans
- CTSI RAP
- PULSE UCLA
- APA Health CARE
- Sports Medicine Internship
- Fellowship for International Service and Health (FISH)
- Medical Experience through Service in Healthcare (MESH)
- Global Medical Brigades
Examine opportunities for clinical volunteerism for specific obligations and distinctive experiences. In terms of your pre-professional development, some student organizations will be more valuable than others. Make sure you do your research and evaluate any commitments you decide to make!
Many UCLA-affiliated hospitals and clinics enforce a no shadowing policy for non-medical students. This makes it difficult for UCLA pre meds to find shadowing opportunities. We recommend reaching out to physicians with whom you have a mutual connection (friend, family, colleague) or cold-emailing physicians to shadow. There are also student organizations connected with physicians that allow their members to shadow. For more information regarding shadowing opportunities, see our blog post.
There are many volunteering activities unrelated to medicine at UCLA. It is impossible to provide a comprehensive list, so we’ve included a few of the more well-known ones below:
- Mobile Clinic Project
- Bruin Shelter
- Hunger Project
- Pediatric AIDS Coalition
- Circle K
- USAC Community Service Commision (CSC)
- UNICEF at UCLA
- Best Buddies
- Learning Assistant (LA) Program
- Peer Learning Facilitator (PLF) Program
- CURE at UCLA
- The Bruin Experiment
- Student Leader Advocates of Music (SLAM!)
The easiest way to find research is to cold-email multiple faculty members in labs you are interested in working in. You should include your cv, transcript, and a personalized cover letter (i.e. body of your email) that addresses why you would be a good fit for that lab. This method is low-yield, but sure to be met with some success if you are persistent enough. Alternatively, you could contact professors you already have a connection with (taken a class with them, went to their office hours, know someone in their lab), or ask a mentor to refer you. For more information about finding research as a premed, see our blog post.
various employment opportunities are pursued during and after undergrad studies. For example, premeds frequently scribe at nearby UCLA hospitals/clinics. Others start working for their labs as research assistants or lab managers. Working for Residential Life, or the on-campus housing and dining services, as an RA or staff member, is a well-liked option. Teaching the MCAT for nearby tutoring businesses in Westwood like The Princeton Review and The Berkeley Review is an additional choice. Last but not least, some students decide to spend their gap years elsewhere than in the LA/Westwood region (e g. TEACH for America, Fulbright/Rhodes fellowships. These are all excellent opportunities to not only get ready for medical school but also to get more life experience before starting the arduous path to becoming a doctor.
Being premed at UCLA can be difficult, but extremely worthwhile. You will have access to experiences and opportunities that are only available at a select few undergraduate institutions, and you will be able to study with top researchers in your field. If you heed this advice, you might be fortunate enough to be selected as one of the 500 UCLA applicants who are admitted to medical school when application season rolls around. Go Bruins!.
Blog post written by Kevin Li and Dr. Rachel Rizal
A Day in the Life: UCLA Pre-Med Student
How hard is it to get into UCLA pre-med?
UCLA’s premed program is difficult to complete because of the demanding coursework and competitive extracurricular scene. However, there are many excellent opportunities available, including those for academic study, research, and clinical work.
Is UCLA good for pre-med?
UCLA is a top university for preparing students for a range of careers in the medical and health professions, despite the fact that it does not offer a pre-med or pre-health major.
Is UCLA or UC Berkeley better for pre-med?
For instance, UCLA has a better pre-med program than Berkeley and a medical school. However, there are only minor academic differences between the schools in general biology and molecular biology. UCLA might be a better option if you are interested in medicine.
What pre-med major has the highest acceptance rate?
This information indicates that three major groups have higher admissions rates than others: the humanities, math and statistics, and physical sciences. In fact, these are the only three fields (apart from biological sciences) where the rate of admission to medical school is higher than 40%.