Aug 25, 2018
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My undergrad had a very generous need based financial aid policy, but explicitly stated that they did not offer merit aid because they didn't want to create a sort of hierarchy (palpable or not) between students, with some inherently designated as "exceptional" coming in.

Given @Radiata20's comments I doubt getting the Geffen affects socialization among classmates because only super weird people would pointedly brag or ask if you have it. And it IS a fantastic recruiting tool for UCLA (using that money to reduce tuition for all students could be an interesting experiment though). There are some undergrad schools (Duke, Vanderbilt, etc) that do something similar too.

All that said - and noting that I'm personally biased since I didn't get it (while someone I strongly dislike did) - the Geffen scholarship was actually one of the things that turned me off from UCLA. Knowing that several of my classmates would essentially being paid to go to med school while my family shells out $$$$$ every year doesn't exactly make me ecstatic about attending. I also ended up being accepted to a better-fit, slightly higher ranked school that's only marginally more expensive, so there were external contributing factors as well. tl;dr UCLA is a fantastic med school that's almost definitely worth the cost of attendance, but it's also understandable why some students might feel resentful/inferior/sidelined by the school because they didn't get the Geffen scholarship. Mum's the word seems to be best practice.
 
Jun 20, 2018
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The whole Geffen scholarship thing kind of annoys me actually. It’s a little frustrating that UCLA has the ability to dramatically reduce the debt of all their students, but instead chooses to give a large portion of the class everything and more and leave everyone else struggling. This obviously doesn’t apply to everyone, but I imagine that a not insgnificant number of Geffen scholars benefited from having parents that could support them financially during school, allowing them to have the time to get amazing scores and ECs. It’s frustrating that many of those people now get a free ride through medical school while some of us who had to work actual jobs through UG are saddled with debt. Like I said, I know this isn’t true for every Geffen scholar, as there are some people on this thread that I know it doesn’t apply to. But, in light of the whole recent UG admissions scandal, it really put into perspective for me how easy children of upper class families have it in applying. I’m not talking illegal actions. I’m talking Things like paid MCAT tutoring, admissions consultation since freshman year, professional essay writing - all of that stuff could contribute to someone getting a Geffen, and it’s all the direct result of money.

I also don’t believe that there isn’t a divide between Geffen scholars and non-Geffen scholars. I’ve already talked to several current students, and each of them has asked me if I have the scholarship. I already feel like I’m less of a student/applicant because I don’t have it. I feel like it’s wrong for me to feel inferior (and to have that inferiority validated by the administration through this scholarship) to my classmates when we were all accepted to a T10 school. I don’t know - to me this seems like it creates a dysfunctional environment.

Anyway, I’m just ranting. I’m frustrated that this scholarship comes up in every conversation about the school, and I’m frustrated that I’m going to be going into a life changing amount of debt while some of my classmates will be literally paid to go to med school.
I totally hear you. I definitely felt some guilt in receiving the Geffen. As someone fortunate enough to grow up without financial hardship, I had more time and cognitive space to pursue ECs and maintain my GPA, instead of working full-time to support my tuition, send money back to my family, etc. And while I never used any paid consultation throughout college/MCAT/med school apps, I was able to benefit from paid tutoring in high school. I've been shielded from stressors throughout my life that many folks in lower-SES face, which allowed me to be more productive than I otherwise may have been. So, so much respect for those of you who've been accepted (and/or got the Geffen) who grew up in a different financial situation.

When I got the offer, it was wild thinking that my privilege beget even more privilege. But I'm now even more determined to translate that privilege into fighting inequities, through lower-paying paths in medicine/public health. While I'm grateful for the scholarship, I recognize how it's unfair, and am open to learning about ways to help make The System more equitable.

Here's an interesting piece in NEJM challenging merit aid: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1713146
 
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Jul 20, 2017
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I appreciate everyone's thoughtful replies regarding the Geffen Scholarship, and I'm glad to see that students who have earned the scholarship are aware of it's potential negative effects on UCLA's class dynamics. I have no doubt that all of you are amazing applicants that absolutely deserve the scholarship. I think @chick_fil_eyyy really hit the nail on the head - it's really more about feeling sidelined by the school, not necessarily by other students. It just seems like all this scholarship does is create two groups, one consisting of the good students and one consisting of the better students. And, as much as we try to deny it, that elephant in the room will be awkward/difficult to avoid. I mean, isn't medical school supposed to be where you make life long friends? How can you expect to make those connections if 1/3 of us have this big secret that we're afraid to reveal because it may upset someone? And it'll become more obvious who has it over time as well - some classmates will be more aloof about going out to eat, or buying a new video game, or maybe even going to Disneyland for a weekend, because, for them, they have the money, why not use it to make medical school a little more enjoyable? But for the rest of us, doing those things means paying back the same amount 3 times over 10 years later. As much as I want to believe that there is absolutely no effect on the class dynamics, basic human psychology tells me otherwise. Geffen scholars will naturally group together because 1) they have the financial means to do similar things together and 2) it's just what humans do - we form groups with similar identities and, as has been discussed before, the school has artificially stratified the scholars into their own identity.

Of course, that is all conjecture, and I sincerely hope I am proved wrong. But there are more consequences to UCLA's decision making beyond arbitrary social interactions. For one, look at UCLA's average debt. Last time I checked, it was about $180,000. While that certainly isn't the largest debt, it is a good notch higher than many of UCLA's peer T10 intuitions. I don't have access to MSAR anymore, but I believe that Harvard was about 120K, Stanford 90K, Mayo 70K, and Yale just recently announced that they aim to drop their average debt to 60K. Columbia has an initiative to eliminate debt for those in financial need. NYU has free tuition. UCLA get's the largest donation in the history of a medical school? They create the Geffen Scholarship program, providing a full ride to a select number of students and not helping anyone else, a fact reflected in that despite the fact that UCLA students benefit from in state tuition (and that 20-30% of their students get a full ride), they still come out with more debt than their peer institutions. What makes this worse is that UCLA encourages its students to pursue primary care, careers that command a lower salary than most specialties. Wouldn't UCLA then want to reduce the debt of all their students so more can perform primary care jobs? Apparently not, they're more interested in recruiting so and so with a nature publication who will hopefully match ortho at Stanford.

I still like UCLA, and I still will likely be attending. But the administration has made decisions about what to do with their money that we, as students, have a responsibility to be critical of. As we all know, money doesn't necessarily recruit students, but reputation and opportunities do. Why do you think so many students over at the school x vs y thread are weighing this scholarship against offers at Harvard and UCSF? UCLA is moving up in the world. We're now #6 on USNWR research and are revitalizing our curriculum. We don't necessarily need the Geffen anymore, students will come here for UCLA, not for the money. The administration should do the responsible thing and use the money to help all their students, not just a select few.

Hi all, current Geffen scholar here. I appreciate all of the insight that everyone has provided, especially from the current students. I wanted to throw in my two cents based on my own observations.

The Geffen scholars know who everyone is, based on the annual reception in the fall, email lists to interview us for the Geffen Foundation, etc. Medical school is very cliquey, and although my circle of friends is diverse, I feel that there is a trend for Geffen scholars to congregate together. There have been some uncomfortable social situations, such as when my classmates discuss how much loans they're taking or how much easier things would have been if they had received the Geffen scholarship. This does create some tension in the social dynamic of the class that is indeed palpable. Some students are passive aggressive towards scholarship recipients, but I haven't had any of those problems yet. In an ideal world, I believe that this scholarship should have been divided among all students to reduce the burden of the class, but it is a recruitment tool as stated by Dean Hall.

I only came to UCLA because of the Geffen scholarship and did not want to shell out 200k-300k for other peer institutions. However, UCLA isn't the best fit for everyone, and I do believe that other schools have better curriculums and more opportunities to pursue outside interests. I also feel that there isn't enough of an emphasis on research aside from the MS1 summer. I would like to reiterate that UCLA is a great school if you are primarily interested in underserved, diverse communities and wish everyone the best of luck in their choices.
 
Apr 28, 2018
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Hi all, current Geffen scholar here. I appreciate all of the insight that everyone has provided, especially from the current students. I wanted to throw in my two cents based on my own observations.

The Geffen scholars know who everyone is, based on the annual reception in the fall, email lists to interview us for the Geffen Foundation, etc. Medical school is very cliquey, and although my circle of friends is diverse, I feel that there is a trend for Geffen scholars to congregate together. There have been some uncomfortable social situations, such as when my classmates discuss how much loans they're taking or how much easier things would have been if they had received the Geffen scholarship. This does create some tension in the social dynamic of the class that is indeed palpable. Some students are passive aggressive towards scholarship recipients, but I haven't had any of those problems yet. In an ideal world, I believe that this scholarship should have been divided among all students to reduce the burden of the class, but it is a recruitment tool as stated by Dean Hall.

I only came to UCLA because of the Geffen scholarship and did not want to shell out 200k-300k for other peer institutions. However, UCLA isn't the best fit for everyone, and I do believe that other schools have better curriculums and more opportunities to pursue outside interests. I also feel that there isn't enough of an emphasis on research aside from the MS1 summer. I would like to reiterate that UCLA is a great school if you are primarily interested in underserved, diverse communities and wish everyone the best of luck in their choices.
I have a few friends in the class of 2022 here, and their views essentially align with what this post says. One has loved it, few others have not. They said that while there is a slight divide amongst geffen and non-geffen scholars, its not something that is too overwhelming or that weighs on them too much socially. They are dissapointed with opportunies especially in research, for non-Geffen students - it can be difficult to find supportive caring mentors who will make time for students particularly in the more competitive specialties. They’ve also complained about the curriculum being woefully inadequate for STEP and will have to study overtime during summer to catch up. That being said, opportunities in service and primary care/free clinic type work abound at the school, and its a great place for those interested in those types of fields.

Just wanted to share, since what the poster above me stated is almost exactly what I’ve heard from my close friends who currently attend the school. Hope this helps!
 
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Jun 18, 2017
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Wow, I wasn't expecting to spark this much conversation about the topic. Thank you so much to everyone who responded and gave their perspective!

There's a similar merit scholarship program at my undergraduate institution, and it's always been a bit of a touchy subject even though none of us go around saying we're a part of it, so that's why I wanted to ask. I didn't really think about it being an issue initially, but it's been making me more anxious recently for some reason.

I was initially ecstatic to receive an offer from UCLA, as it was one of my top choices and I'm OOS. But I was really disappointed by the lack of aid they offered and their unwillingness to negotiate given how much money they clearly have available.
 
Apr 29, 2018
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The match list seems very solid for a public school with a significant primary care emphasis. It might seem less impressive in comparison to Duke/Yale/WashU etc. but those schools have a stronger research focus and honestly Vandy/Northwestern/Pitt are probably closer peers.
 

Aree

2+ Year Member
Jun 19, 2016
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Is the significant primary care emphasis really true? I mean I have nothing against an emphasis there but the school seems to be fantastic in terms of research funding and opportunities as well. There even seems to be opportunities for things like entrepreneurship in medicine which is exciting. Any thoughts on this from people attending/anyone else?
 

Radiata20

2+ Year Member
Feb 3, 2016
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Is the significant primary care emphasis really true? I mean I have nothing against an emphasis there but the school seems to be fantastic in terms of research funding and opportunities as well. There even seems to be opportunities for things like entrepreneurship in medicine which is exciting. Any thoughts on this from people attending/anyone else?
Unless you’re in PRIME or DREW or both, to the rest of us ~130 students per class there is no palpable primary care such focus. The only arguable area it comes up is that there are ~6 sessions in MS1 (preceptorship) shadowing usually a primary care MD. I’m not really sure why this emphasized so much on online fora. It’s played up in match lists because of a high number of IM matches, but nearly all of those plan to subspecialize in something decidedly not primary care.

As an example, we do 12 wk surgery rotation. Nearly every other school in the nation does only 6-8 wk. I wouldn’t exactly call surgery primary care :)
 
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Jul 27, 2018
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looking at their match list, not as impressive as you would think for such a high ranking school
I'm not sure why you say this, but a large factor that people undervalue when looking at match lists is where people want to be for residencies. A lot of people want to stay in the LA area cuz it's LA. I was very impressed while going through their match list. Go onto Doximity and explore a little.
 

Laix

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Apr 7, 2017
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looking at their match list, not as impressive as you would think for such a high ranking school
On the opposite, I think this is a great match list. Do you mind to be more specific on "not as impressive"? Do you simply measure the impressiveness of a class's match by counting # matched into ROAD/NS/OS and the "famousness of name" of the program? I'm not defending DGSOM, I am just simply curious.

If you do a little more research by googling the student's name who got matched into FM at "Not-Famous" programs, you'll find a lot of them actually wanted to go there in published articles/websites and/or are in specific programs.

C'mon, I thought we all learned different confounds and bias on the MCAT.
 
Mar 21, 2019
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Has anyone received either of the other two merit scholarships? Leaders of tomorrow and dean’s leadership are both full-tuition scholarships I believe.
Also, does anyone know when we can expect to hear back about merit scholarships? I’m not sure how we’re supposed to commit to a school by 4/30 if we won’t be notified of all financial aid by then....
 
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Apr 7, 2018
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Also, does anyone know when we can expect to hear back about merit scholarships? I’m not sure how we’re supposed to commit to a school by 4/30 if we won’t be notified of all financial aid by then....
there's still an entire month! assuming will receive more info at second look
 
Apr 5, 2018
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I appreciate everyone's thoughtful replies regarding the Geffen Scholarship, and I'm glad to see that students who have earned the scholarship are aware of it's potential negative effects on UCLA's class dynamics. I have no doubt that all of you are amazing applicants that absolutely deserve the scholarship. I think @chick_fil_eyyy really hit the nail on the head - it's really more about feeling sidelined by the school, not necessarily by other students. It just seems like all this scholarship does is create two groups, one consisting of the good students and one consisting of the better students. And, as much as we try to deny it, that elephant in the room will be awkward/difficult to avoid. I mean, isn't medical school supposed to be where you make life long friends? How can you expect to make those connections if 1/3 of us have this big secret that we're afraid to reveal because it may upset someone? And it'll become more obvious who has it over time as well - some classmates will be more aloof about going out to eat, or buying a new video game, or maybe even going to Disneyland for a weekend, because, for them, they have the money, why not use it to make medical school a little more enjoyable? But for the rest of us, doing those things means paying back the same amount 3 times over 10 years later. As much as I want to believe that there is absolutely no effect on the class dynamics, basic human psychology tells me otherwise. Geffen scholars will naturally group together because 1) they have the financial means to do similar things together and 2) it's just what humans do - we form groups with similar identities and, as has been discussed before, the school has artificially stratified the scholars into their own identity.

Of course, that is all conjecture, and I sincerely hope I am proved wrong. But there are more consequences to UCLA's decision making beyond arbitrary social interactions. For one, look at UCLA's average debt. Last time I checked, it was about $180,000. While that certainly isn't the largest debt, it is a good notch higher than many of UCLA's peer T10 intuitions. I don't have access to MSAR anymore, but I believe that Harvard was about 120K, Stanford 90K, Mayo 70K, and Yale just recently announced that they aim to drop their average debt to 60K. Columbia has an initiative to eliminate debt for those in financial need. NYU has free tuition. UCLA get's the largest donation in the history of a medical school? They create the Geffen Scholarship program, providing a full ride to a select number of students and not helping anyone else, a fact reflected in that despite the fact that UCLA students benefit from in state tuition (and that 20-30% of their students get a full ride), they still come out with more debt than their peer institutions. What makes this worse is that UCLA encourages its students to pursue primary care, careers that command a lower salary than most specialties. Wouldn't UCLA then want to reduce the debt of all their students so more can perform primary care jobs? Apparently not, they're more interested in recruiting so and so with a nature publication who will hopefully match ortho at Stanford.

I still like UCLA, and I still will likely be attending. But the administration has made decisions about what to do with their money that we, as students, have a responsibility to be critical of. As we all know, money doesn't necessarily recruit students, but reputation and opportunities do. Why do you think so many students over at the school x vs y thread are weighing this scholarship against offers at Harvard and UCSF? UCLA is moving up in the world. We're now #6 on USNWR research and are revitalizing our curriculum. We don't necessarily need the Geffen anymore, students will come here for UCLA, not for the money. The administration should do the responsible thing and use the money to help all their students, not just a select few.
While I understand that issues could potentially arise between those who received merit scholarships and those who did not, I would hope that most students--to the extent they had issues--would be critical of the game, not the players. After all, the students who received scholarships did not design the system, and did not seek to harm others. What's more, I can understand UCLA's motives in awarding the scholarship. The school is attempting to lure students who may have otherwise attended high ranking institutions on the right coast. Regardless, I think that the opportunity to attend UCLA medical school is an incredible opportunity, and I hope that all who do are happy with their decision.
 
Dec 20, 2018
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Dean Hall did say we would hear back with our acceptance but someone on this thread heard a few weeks after their acceptance!

Where did you hear the 4/15 date for scholarships?
It's what I've been hearing from essentially every school. They want to be able to tell you before you have to narrow down to 3.
 

Bruinmarcher

7+ Year Member
Aug 16, 2009
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Hello all...I am a semi-recent graduate (4-6 years ago) of DGSOM and current resident at a UCLA affiliated hospital. I posted the following a few years back on the UCLA thread and wanted to share some of my thoughts/mythbusting again about DGSOM-UCLA (Congrats to those holding an acceptance, and hang in there those who are waitlisted). I attended DGSOM prior to the initiation of the Geffen Scholarship, so I can't comment on that dynamic.

First off, I had a fantastic 4 years here. Yes I love UCLA as a university in general, so I may be really bias, but this school will provide you with great medical training in one of the best areas in the country, sunny Southern California. I did not have any of the negative experiences being told on this thread. Let me mythbust some of the comments that have been brought up in the past:

1) DGSOM works you too hard: First and Second year I had ample time to study and also go out and do things I love to do including go to every UCLA football game, just about every home basketball game, frequent trips to Disneyland with college friends, and not to mention Friday and Saturday nights hanging with classmates. Heck I even had time to go to every UCLA football game as a 3rd and 4th year. So this talk about working you to the bone doesn't seem representative. I am no medical genius and had to study for exams but never came close to failing an exam. My work/school life balance was definitely manageable. Never ever did I feel shackled to the work here. I actually think most people here have the West Coast chill and relaxed atmosphere. Class time was manageable with only 15 (15!) hours of required attendance 1st and 2nd year with an additional 10 hours of lecture (all of which are video taped/podcasted). That's 25 hours of class a week, about 5 hours of classroom instruction/day. Yes there will be some self study and preparation at home, but this is a school where you have to be self motivated, things won't be spoon fed to you. Third year will be tough at any medical school but again I don't think I ever worked more than 80 hours a week (the same ACGME requirements that apply to residents) and most weeks were in the 60 hour range which for third year is manageable. 4th year will be variable based off how competitive specialty you go into, but UCLA doesn't work you any more than any other Ortho or Uro subI at any other medical school.

2) UCLA classes are too big: A large class give you such diverse classmates from all walks of life, with different majors and experiences, and interested in just about every specialty. For first and second year, the whole class attends/podcasts the lecture in the morning and then the class is divided in 3 groups (50-60 students) to rotate through the afternoon labs Tues-Thurs. A lot of these labs are broken down into smaller groups of 8-10 students for the learning activities. PBL on Monday and Friday mornings are 8-9 students each. Anatomy has 3-4 students/body. So I think you do get a good faculty: student ratio. 3rd and 4th year typically has at most 2 other students with you on your team and there usually no animosity between them. Most of the time you will be the only 3rd or only 4th year on your ward team.

3) UCLA doesn't emphasize patient care: This is hogwash. From day one they emphasize the doctor-patient relationship and are always culturally sensitive care, especially given that Los Angeles is such a melting pot of different races/ethnicities/cultures. First and Second year has something called "Doctoring" where you spend you about a fifiteen afternoons each year in a small group of 8 students with two faculty members going over interviewing techniques and honing your humanistic skills to talk to patients. 3rd year this continues with "System Based Healthcare" which is held every 3 weeks where you leave the wards and come and discuss again in small groups your experiences with healthcare principles and ethics from your experiences third year. OSCE exams require written self reflection of watching the video of you interviewing the standardized patient. UCLA really emphasizes patient care.

4) UCLA graduates don't perform as well as the schools reputation suggests: I will be honest, the school does not teach to the boards. You will not be spoon fed Step 1 facts for the first two years. However this doesn't mean we don't do well on the boards. Our class average was 10 points over the national average for step 1 wit a lot of my friends breaking the 260 mark. The proof of performance is always in the match list and I can tell you that the match list is absolutely incredible. UCLA students typically like to stay near by so about 40% stay at a UCLA affiliated hospital (usually ranking the programs in their top 3), 20% go to bay area (mainly UCSF and Stanford), 15% stay somewhere else on the West Coast, and the rest go across the country, mainly to Chicago, Michigan, Texas, and the prestigious East Coast Programs in NYC, Boston, Baltimore, and North Carolina. And we match very well in competitive specialties like Derm, Ophtho, Ortho, Plastics and Uro. I got my number one choice and have a very strong suspicion that the program I ended up in ranked me to match.

5) UCLA students are stuck up/lame: Again not true. In a big class you will find people that are very similar to you and people very different from you. The diversity of the class is amazing. But the people are really fun, social, and driven. Our class had numerous hangouts, parties, and activities. We had block parties, beach days, ski trips, vegas trips, tailgates, football games, dinners and so much more. And that is just the organized class-wide stuff.

6) The faculty don't care about the students: False. A top 10 medical center in the nation and best on the west coast is staffed by top 10 set of faculty physicians that care about your success. They come in teach in the lecture hall 1st and 2nd year and they are the ones leading your ward teams 3rd and 4th year. They are outstanding physician educators and they really care about medical students.

7) UCLA has malignant wards towards medical students: I was never abused or harassed in my 4 years. Period. I was given constructive criticism at times that I know made me a better physician, but I was never yelled at, thrown out of the OR, or used as a punching bag. Medicine is a stressful field and people will get frustrated, but never was the frustration taken out on me. Residents and Faculty always treated me with respect. And the school take medical student abuse very very seriously. One faculty member, Joyce Fried, has made it her mission to stamp out Gender and Power abuse in the UCLA culture. She has started several initiatives including resident awards, campaigns for abuse awareness, and safe havens and anonymous reporting of suspected abuse. You can check out her work in this 2012 article: Med school redoubles efforts to abolish mistreatment of students (I'm sure there is even more recent ones). I felt really safe and never crossed my mind that anything would be used against me in my evaluations. I felt my evaluations accurately represented my performance on the wards.

8) UCLA doesn't provide great training: UCLA has one of the most diverse hospital systems, and is basically the only medical school rotating through them, so you don't often share the hospital or teams with other students (some places have Podiatry or DO students, but you don't really interact with them that much). We have 2 counties (Olive View and Harbor) that like all counties across the nation are understaffed and rely on medical students to get really involved. I was doing ABGs on my own, signing orders, putting in foleys and assisting residents in line placements at Harbor. We have a VA that has very bread and butter medicine in the veteran population. We have 2 state of the art private hospitals in Reagan and our affiliation with Cedars that sees some of the craziest, rarest stuff on the West Coast. We can rotate through Kaiser LA to see HMO care and their emphasis on population based medicine (although with the new med school opening there in a few years, not sure how much it will be open for UCLA students to rotate at). And with a diverse hospital system, you have a diverse patient population that really teaches you how to be a culturally competent, patient care first physician.

9) LA is expensive: Ok this is true, but I don't think it's as expensive as the Bay Area, Chicago, and Northeast. Rent will typically be about 1400 for a studio, 1700 for a one bedroom, and 2100 for a 2 bedroom. On campus housing and married/family housing are fair pricing. Traffic sucks and you will need a car given how spread out all our training sites are, but you get used to it.

10) Just a quick note about bureaucracy: This is a state institution, so it will have some of the red tape that comes with public institutions. But I don't think this is any more than other public schools and really it's usually over little things like delays in getting your 3rd year schedule for 2 weeks from the announced date, getting permits from the main campus to hold certain events on campus, applying for funding for projects, etc. I would be lying if I said it doesn't exist, but it never negatively impacted my abilities to succeed at this school.

I know this is one opinion but after going through the last 4 years and knowing what I know now, I would absolutely choose UCLA again for my medical school education. I felt my years here really prepared me for my residency training and my future career and provided the professional connections and awesome friends along the way. And I thought the work/school life balance as very manageable for me to enjoy time outside of school going home and seeing family, exploring SoCal, and hanging out with both college and medical school friends. Hope that helps clear up some of the insights about DGSOM.
 
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Apr 5, 2018
247
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Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hello all...I am a semi-recent graduate (4-6 years ago) of DGSOM and current resident at a UCLA affiliated hospital. I posted the following a few years back on the UCLA thread and wanted to share some of my thoughts/mythbusting again about DGSOM-UCLA (Congrats to those holding an acceptance, and hang in there those who are waitlisted). I attended DGSOM prior to the initiation of the Geffen Scholarship, so I can't comment on that dynamic.

First off, I had a fantastic 4 years here. Yes I love UCLA as a university in general, so I may be really bias, but this school will provide you with great medical training in one of the best areas in the country, sunny Southern California. I did not have any of the negative experiences being told on this thread. Let me mythbust some of the comments that have been brought up in the past:

1) DGSOM works you too hard: First and Second year I had ample time to study and also go out and do things I love to do including go to every UCLA football game, just about every home basketball game, frequent trips to Disneyland with college friends, and not to mention Friday and Saturday nights hanging with classmates. Heck I even had time to go to every UCLA football game as a 3rd and 4th year. So this talk about working you to the bone doesn't seem representative. I am no medical genius and had to study for exams but never came close to failing an exam. My work/school life balance was definitely manageable. Never ever did I feel shackled to the work here. I actually think most people here have the West Coast chill and relaxed atmosphere. Class time was manageable with only 15 (15!) hours of required attendance 1st and 2nd year with an additional 10 hours of lecture (all of which are video taped/podcasted). That's 25 hours of class a week, about 5 hours of classroom instruction/day. Yes there will be some self study and preparation at home, but this is a school where you have to be self motivated, things won't be spoon fed to you. Third year will be tough at any medical school but again I don't think I ever worked more than 80 hours a week (the same ACGME requirements that apply to residents) and most weeks were in the 60 hour range which for third year is manageable. 4th year will be variable based off how competitive specialty you go into, but UCLA doesn't work you any more than any other Ortho or Uro subI at any other medical school.

2) UCLA classes are too big: A large class give you such diverse claassmates from all walks of life, with different majors and experiences, and interested in just about every specialty. For first and second year, the whole class attends/podcasts the lecture in the morning and then the class is divided in 3 groups (50-60 students) to rotate through the afternoon labs Tues-Thurs. A lot of these labs are broken down into smaller groups of 8-10 students for the learning activities. PBL on Monday and Friday mornings are 8-9 students each. Anatomy has 3-4 students/body. So I think you do get a good faculty: student ratio. 3rd and 4th year typically has at most 2 other students with you on your team and there usually no animosity between them. Most of the time you will be the only 3rd or only 4th year on your ward team.

3) UCLA doesn't emphasize patient care: This is hogwash. From day one they emphasize the doctor-patient relationship and are always culturally sensitive care, especially given that Los Angeles is such a melting pot of different races/ethnicities/cultures. First and Second year has something called "Doctoring" where you spend you about a fifiteen afternoons each year in a small group of 8 students with two faculty members going over interviewing techniques and honing your humanistic skills to talk to patients. 3rd year this continues with "System Based Healthcare" which is held every 3 weeks where you leave the wards and come and discuss again in small groups your experiences with healthcare principles and ethics from your experiences third year. OSCE exams require written self reflection of watching the video of you interviewing the standardized patient. UCLA really emphasizes patient care.

4) UCLA graduates don't perform as well as the schools reputation suggests: I will be honest, the school does not teach to the boards. You will not be spoon fed Step 1 facts for the first two years. However this doesn't mean we don't do well on the boards. Our class average was 10 points over the national average for step 1 wit a lot of my friends breaking the 260 mark. The proof of performance is always in the match list and I can tell you that the match list is absolutely incredible. UCLA students typically like to stay near by so about 40% stay at a UCLA affiliated hospital (usually ranking the programs in their top 3), 20% go to bay area (mainly UCSF and Stanford), 15% stay somewhere else on the West Coast, and the rest go across the country, mainly to Chicago, Michigan, Texas, and the prestigious East Coast Programs in NYC, Boston, Baltimore, and North Carolina. And we match very well in competitive specialties like Derm, Ophtho, Ortho, Plastics and Uro. I got my number one choice and have a very strong suspicion that the program I ended up in ranked me to match.

5) UCLA students are stuck up/lame: Again not true. In a big class you will find people that are very similar to you and people very different from you. The diversity of the class is amazing. But the people are really fun, social, and driven. Our class had numerous hangouts, parties, and activities. We had block parties, beach days, ski trips, vegas trips, tailgates, football games, dinners and so much more. And that is just the organized class-wide stuff.

6) The faculty don't care about the students: False. A top 10 medical center in the nation and best on the west coast is staffed by top 10 set of faculty physicians that care about your success. They come in teach in the lecture hall 1st and 2nd year and they are the ones leading your ward teams 3rd and 4th year. They are outstanding physician educators and they really care about medical students.

7) UCLA has malignant wards towards medical students: I was never abused or harassed in my 4 years. Period. I was given constructive criticism at times that I know made me a better physician, but I was never yelled at, thrown out of the OR, or used as a punching bag. Medicine is a stressful field and people will get frustrated, but never was the frustration taken out on me. Residents and Faculty always treated me with respect. And the school take medical student abuse very very seriously. One faculty member, Joyce Fried, has made it her mission to stamp out Gender and Power abuse in the UCLA culture. She has started several initiatives including resident awards, campaigns for abuse awareness, and safe havens and anonymous reporting of suspected abuse. You can check out her work in this 2012 article: Med school redoubles efforts to abolish mistreatment of students (I'm sure there is even more recent ones). I felt really safe and never crossed my mind that anything would be used against me in my evaluations. I felt my evaluations accurately represented my performance on the wards.

8) UCLA doesn't provide great training: UCLA has one of the most diverse hospital systems, and is basically the only medical school rotating through them, so you don't often share the hospital or teams with other students (some places have Podiatry or DO students, but you don't really interact with them that much). We have 2 counties (Olive View and Harbor) that like all counties across the nation are understaffed and rely on medical students to get really involved. I was doing ABGs on my own, signing orders, putting in foleys and assisting residents in line placements at Harbor. We have a VA that has very bread and butter medicine in the veteran population. We have 2 state of the art private hospitals in Reagan and our affiliation with Cedars that sees some of the craziest, rarest stuff on the West Coast. We can rotate through Kaiser LA to see HMO care and their emphasis on population based medicine (although with the new med school opening there in a few years, not sure how much it will be open for UCLA students to rotate at). And with a diverse hospital system, you have a diverse patient population that really teaches you how to be a culturally competent, patient care first physician.

9) LA is expensive: Ok this is true, but I don't think it's as expensive as the Bay Area, Chicago, and Northeast. Rent will typically be about 1400 for a studio, 1700 for a one bedroom, and 2100 for a 2 bedroom. On campus housing and married/family housing are fair pricing. Traffic sucks and you will need a car given how spread out all our training sites are, but you get used to it.

10) Just a quick note about bureaucracy: This is a state institution, so it will have some of the red tape that comes with public institutions. But I don't think this is any more than other public schools and really it's usually over little things like delays in getting your 3rd year schedule for 2 weeks from the announced date, getting permits from the main campus to hold certain events on campus, applying for funding for projects, etc. I would be lying if I said it doesn't exist, but it never negatively impacted my abilities to succeed at this school.

I know this is one opinion but after going through the last 4 years and knowing what I know now, I would absolutely choose UCLA again for my medical school education. I felt my years here really prepared me for my residency training and my future career and provided the professional connections and awesome friends along the way. And I thought the work/school life balance as very manageable for me to enjoy time outside of school going home and seeing family, exploring SoCal, and hanging out with both college and medical school friends. Hope that helps clear up some of the insights about DGSOM.
I really appreciated being able to read the insights of someone who has been through the program. Thanks for passing on your wisdom. Attending DGSOM sounds like the opportunity of a lifetime.
 

Radiata20

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@hiitsme1234 First, some context so that what I say makes sense to anyone who isn't familiar with Step 1 scores (don't worry about Step 2; everyone does better, it matters less, and some people don't even take it early enough to report it for residency apps):
  • https://www.usmle.org/pdfs/transcripts/USMLE_Step_Examination_Score_Interpretation_Guidelines.pdf Breakdown of Step 1 score distribution. Theoretically the highest score is 300, but I have never heard of anyone at this school or another breaking 275 (if anyone here has, I'd be interested to hear what that score was out of curiosity). Someone can figure out the exact percentile correlations for rough equivalencies to the old and new MCAT scores so that you have some sense. But for a gross approximation, I would say that compared to the old MCAT, you could consider the following more or less equal (everyone here will disagree with me by a bit on the exact numbers by a bit but this is at least a good enough estimate for a pre-med thinking about Step):
    • 32 ~ 220
    • 36 ~ 230
    • 40 ~ 240
    • 42 ~ 260
    • 44 ~ 270
  • http://www.nrmp.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Charting-Outcomes-in-the-Match-2018-Seniors.pdfNRMP Breakdown of matching by specialty. See page 95 for % matched for a given Step score. See specialty-specific pages for average step scores of matched applicants. Highlights of the most competitive specialties excerpted below:
    • Neurosurg 245
    • Ophtho 245
    • IR 246
    • RadOnc 247
    • Ortho 248
    • ENT 248
    • Derm 248
    • Plastics 249
  • So, at least the way I think about it, high 240s are great scores that will not close any doors for you (at the average for even the most competitive specialties). 250s are even better, 260s are truly exceptional and deserve a fancy bottle of wine uncorked to celebrate. 270s are absurd, and I have actually heard some attendings and residents say they actually view those students as "weird." I've been cited that "265-270 is the sweet spot" by plastics; a very difficult sweet spot that is unrealistic and not necessary for most students, but just to give you a sense that going over 270 is neither necessary nor even recommended.
So, as it pertains to UCLA:
  • It's true that our curriculum does not teach specifically toward Step 1. You will learn more facts than won't come up on Step 1 but will come up instead on your MS3 rotations. This means you will spend less time on learning those solely the facts tested on Step 1. However, that being said, I highlighted all of the info in FirstAid (the "bible" for Step 1 studying) that was covered in our curriculum as I went through the first two years; by dedicated Step study period, only a cumulative ~10-15 pages out of 500 had not been fully highlighted. I did not highlight stuff that I learned from outside materials such as UWorld/Sketchy/Pathoma.
  • Our block exam questions are much easier than Step 1 questions. The con to this is that when you first start UWorld, you will be surprised by how much harder it is. The pro to this is that it's much easier to score that passing 70% on the 9 exams of MS1-2 (that's right, only 9 graded exams over all two years, all pass/fail), so you can spend the extra non-studying time enjoying your life...or, if you must, doing research. You know who you are, you gunners you :)
  • A previous poster mentioned how much free time you have during MS1, with only ~15 hr/wk required in-classroom time. During MS2 it is even, usually being only 8-12 hr/wk (+ 10hr of podcasted lectures), and sometimes being as little as 6 (!!!) hr/wk. That's a lot of free time to study for Step 1 throughout the whole second year. You will be using the aforementioned outside materials for this, more than our lecture/lab/PBL/TBL material.
  • We give you 7 weeks for dedicated study period (no classes, only studying to take Step 1). You can use it as you see fit, with most people taking either 5 or 6 weeks to study + take the test, and use the remainder for pre-MS3 vacation. This is quite long, with many of my friends at other schools only getting 4-6 weeks.
  • You will receive very, very comprehensive study resources from upperclassmen. I'm not just talking about hand-me-down books, but also everything ranging from long emails/texts with tips ranging to several hand-written booklets from many different upperclassmen with very detailed advice for Step (and lots of other stuff in med school too). Some of them detail exactly what materials to study from and how much each block and even each week of dedicated. Touching base with my friends at other med schools, none has had anywhere near the amount of written upperclassmen advice at their schools. I personally got a lot of advice from students who scored high 260s and low 270s. If you make just a little effort to make a few upperclassmen friends, it will pay off, not just for Step 1 but throughout med school. There is a strong culture of mentorship and collaboration here, as I hope many of you will find at Second Look. There even are several of us MS3s and MS4s volunteering at that event--in my experience, this was fairly rare to see at Second Looks, which are more often exclusively populated with MS1 volunteers.
  • All of this is why I was very confused to hear above that allegedly current MS1s feel they are underprepared for Step. Especially when they are only now finishing Block 4, and are a full year from dedicated study period. My guess is that they may have started UWorld too early--before they have learned MS2 material or even all of MS1 material, adequately studied other supplemental resources like Sketchy/Pathoma/FirstAid, and received upperclassman Step 1 advice--and found that they were not getting a lot of questions correct. Which is to be expected, because again the majority of the pathology is learned in MS2, and many questions rely on you being able to understand all possible organ systems that could be the etiology or negatively affected by the disease process in the question stem, which they have not yet at this time (they still have yet to finish MSK, and haven't done neuro, psych, or microbiology at all).
Bottom line, I don't think you'll have any big disadvantage with Step 1 scores here if you adequately utilize your resources, especially upperclassmen who can point you in the direction of good resources and help you build your study plan/schedules. To answer your specific question, I suppose the UCLA method is to spend a lower % of in-class time on Step 1, but make you spend total less in-class time so that you have a lot of free time to use as you see fit. If you use this time well--again, I highly recommend starting with asking your upperclassmen friends for advice as a jumping off point for the rest of your studying--you will do well. There are several hundred pages worth of upperclassmen guides floating around, and you just have to make friends with a few for in-person advice. I bugged four of them weekly with questions during my own dedicated last year; likewise, the MS2s are currently in their third week of dedicated, and I get multiple texts from them weekly.

Thanks in large part to upperclassmen advice, I got a score which is well-above the average of even the most competitive specialties. But are we the school that will get you the highest possible Step 1 score by grooming you for that test and nothing else for your first 20 months here? Nope. If that's the most important thing to you when picking a med school, then no, UCLA is not going to be at the top of your list. Come here if you like the rest of the package :)


P.S. You can really tell how much I feel like studying for my shelf exam right now. The studying never stops...except for at schools that have no shelf exams or MS3 grades, that does admittedly sound pretty nice haha.
 
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f4reignbeauty

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looking at their match list, not as impressive as you would think for such a high ranking school
This is the exact reason why we tell premeds and applicants not to rely on a school's match list to determine a school's competitiveness. MANY of my colleagues matched at their #1 institutions, several others gained spots in double board, and triple board programs where there are few spots across the nation. And yes, the emphasis this year was largely primary care, but that says more about the individual (which you cannot conclude from a match list), than the school itself. Some years you'll see a lot of individuals apply for highly specialized fields; other years not so much.
 

Radiata20

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Tutoring underclassmen for pay possible for MS2-4. MS1 tutoring income would only be through other channels for undergrads
 
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@hiitsme1234 First, some context so that what I say makes sense to anyone who isn't familiar with Step 1 scores (don't worry about Step 2; everyone does better, it matters less, and some people don't even take it early enough to report it for residency apps):
  • https://www.usmle.org/pdfs/transcripts/USMLE_Step_Examination_Score_Interpretation_Guidelines.pdf Breakdown of Step 1 score distribution. Theoretically the highest score is 300, but I have never heard of anyone at this school or another breaking 275 (if anyone here has, I'd be interested to hear what that score was out of curiosity). Someone can figure out the exact percentile correlations for rough equivalencies to the old and new MCAT scores so that you have some sense. But for a gross approximation, I would say that compared to the old MCAT, you could consider the following more or less equal (everyone here will disagree with me by a bit on the exact numbers by a bit but this is at least a good enough estimate for a pre-med thinking about Step):
    • 32 ~ 220
    • 36 ~ 230
    • 40 ~ 240
    • 42 ~ 260
    • 44 ~ 270
  • http://www.nrmp.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Charting-Outcomes-in-the-Match-2018-Seniors.pdfNRMP Breakdown of matching by specialty. See page 95 for % matched for a given Step score. See specialty-specific pages for average step scores of matched applicants. Highlights of the most competitive specialties excerpted below:
    • Neurosurg 245
    • Ophtho 245
    • IR 246
    • RadOnc 247
    • Ortho 248
    • ENT 248
    • Derm 248
    • Plastics 249
  • So, at least the way I think about it, high 240s are great scores that will not close any doors for you (at the average for even the most competitive specialties). 250s are even better, 260s are truly exceptional and deserve a fancy bottle of wine uncorked to celebrate. 270s are absurd, and I have actually heard some attendings and residents say they actually view those students as "weird." I've been cited that "265-270 is the sweet spot" by plastics; a very difficult sweet spot that is unrealistic and not necessary for most students, but just to give you a sense that going over 270 is neither necessary nor even recommended.
Funny story....PD in a top neurosurgery department told me that you need at least a 270 on Step 1 to even be considered for his program o_O
 

Radiata20

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Funny story....PD in a top neurosurgery department told me that you need at least a 270 on Step 1 to even be considered for his program o_O
Then after automatic numbers screening, that PD would be able to go through all remaining applications solo one evening in the time it takes them to finish a cup of tea. Which perhaps is the whole idea ;)
 
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So I've been WL at UCLA for a while and I was wondering UCLA rejects people post II? Does the WL mean anything or do they WL everyone?
 

Aree

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To folks on the WL, definitely don't lose hope. A lot of accepted people I talked to during second look had other options on the east coast that they were leaning towards. I'm guessing there'll be a good movement in the WL
 
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I am fortunate to have been accepted here (without scholarship) and am trying to make a decision on whether to come vs. another top 10 school. I loved the campus, location, people seemed friendly, I like the large class size. But one thing that turned me off in general was the admissions process/office. In my experience, the admissions office was pretty unresponsive (by phone and email) when responding to my questions, and my interview day seemed kind of poorly run (things were not on time, some speakers were missing). Also, Dean Hall was very vague in when telling us when we'd hear back, which was kinda disappointing given they said they were trying to be transparent. Basically, all the logistic aspects of the admissions process were the worst I experienced compared to all of the other schools I interviewed at (both public and private, both in CA and out of CA).

Based on what I've heard from other students in person and on this forum, this opinion is not uncommon either. People don't seem to like the admissions process here (looks like this year they accidently sent people rejection emails when they waitlisted or something?). They don't really do a good job of giving you a good first impression of the school here and it kind of seems like they don't care about it.

My question for people who matriculated here: does these negative attributes of the admissions office extend beyond the admissions process? I think i'd be happy here in terms of the people/location/opportunities, but I'm worried that I'll have to deal with logisitical difficulties/annoyances similar to the admissions process. Basically, can you address why the admissions process seems like it sucks here, and does this bother you at all after you matriculate?
 
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puahate

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I am fortunate to have been accepted here (without scholarship) and am trying to make a decision on whether to come vs. another top 10 school. I loved the campus, location, people seemed friendly, I like the large class size. But one thing that turned me off in general was the admissions process/office. In my experience, the admissions office was pretty unresponsive (by phone and email) when responding to my questions, and my interview day seemed kind of poorly run (things were not on time, some speakers were missing). Also, Dean Hall was very vague in when telling us when we'd hear back, which was kinda disappointing given they said they were trying to be transparent. Basically, all the logistic aspects of the admissions process were the worst I experienced compared to all of the other schools I interviewed at (both public and private, both in CA and out of CA).

Based on what I've heard from other students in person and on this forum, this opinion is not uncommon either. People don't seem to like the admissions process here (looks like this year they accidently sent people rejection emails when they waitlisted or something?). They don't really do a good job of giving you a good first impression of the school here and it kind of seems like they don't care about it.

My question for people who matriculated here: does these negative attributes of the admissions office extend beyond the admissions process? I think i'd be happy here in terms of the people/location/opportunities, but I'm worried that I'll have to deal with logisitical difficulties/annoyances similar to the admissions process. Basically, can you address why the admissions process seems like it sucks here, and does this bother you at all after you matriculate?
This is just me but if i had another top 10 and UCLA didn't give me the scholarships I would go to the other top 10. To me i would feel disposal and disheartened if i got in UCLA without Geffen.
 
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I am fortunate to have been accepted here (without scholarship) and am trying to make a decision on whether to come vs. another top 10 school. I loved the campus, location, people seemed friendly, I like the large class size. But one thing that turned me off in general was the admissions process/office. In my experience, the admissions office was pretty unresponsive (by phone and email) when responding to my questions, and my interview day seemed kind of poorly run (things were not on time, some speakers were missing). Also, Dean Hall was very vague in when telling us when we'd hear back, which was kinda disappointing given they said they were trying to be transparent. Basically, all the logistic aspects of the admissions process were the worst I experienced compared to all of the other schools I interviewed at (both public and private, both in CA and out of CA).

Based on what I've heard from other students in person and on this forum, this opinion is not uncommon either. People don't seem to like the admissions process here (looks like this year they accidently sent people rejection emails when they waitlisted or something?). They don't really do a good job of giving you a good first impression of the school here and it kind of seems like they don't care about it.

My question for people who matriculated here: does these negative attributes of the admissions office extend beyond the admissions process? I think i'd be happy here in terms of the people/location/opportunities, but I'm worried that I'll have to deal with logisitical difficulties/annoyances similar to the admissions process. Basically, can you address why the admissions process seems like it sucks here, and does this bother you at all after you matriculate?
I understand your frustration with the admissions process. That is something the administration should make every effort to address—ASAP. However, I don’t think that will affect your medical school experience, as the happiness of current med students attests. I would attend UCLA (or the other Top 10) if that is where you feel you fit best.
 
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The interview day is a mutual interview. They are interviewing us as much as we are interviewing the school. We forget that in the midst of all our nerves and feel that the spotlight is on us. With that being said, DGSOM's admissions office and process is one of the worst I have encountered having interviewed at other T30 schools. Current M1s I spoke to on interview day also agree with this and had a similar experience. As interviewees interviewing medical schools, this gave me a bad first impression and an overall negative vibe about the whole school.

My interview day was one of the later ones (late Nov-Dec). When Dean Hall was explaining the Geffen scholarship, he made it absolutely clear that it was used as a recruiting tool. Since my fellow interviewees and I were on the later end of their interview cycle, he explained that they had already interviewed their top applicants and were recruiting them with the Geffen. Those same applicants who would have multiple acceptances from top tier schools. Talking with a few of my fellow interviewees, this left us in an uncomfortable feeling about the school and their admissions process. It made us feel like second-rate applicants and the Dean wasn't shy about saying it out loud to my interview day group. One of my friends who interviewed in Mid-November had a similar experience with the Dean sharing about the Geffen and made it feel like they were out of the running for the scholarship, I can't disagree with this notion. In their case, the student host had also completely forgotten to send out student host assignments after repeated emails and phone calls. It was later offered but only after they had checked into their hotel. The admissions office leaves much to be desired, especially from a T10 school.

People will naturally gravitate towards Geffens and no-Geffens; it is natural human behavior. Someone on my interview day asked if there was a special gathering for the Geffens and the Dean mentioned that there is a private dinner gathering for the Geffens at the beginning of the school year. So they all know each other. I know as future medical students and through our experiences, we won't create these cliques ourselves. Moreso, it is the admissions office designating these cliques with the Geffens and no-Geffens and not the students. As we aim to be more inclusive of one another, this just drives exclusivity. The admissions office makes it very clear with this who is a top applicant and those who are a step below a top applicant. I think it makes sense that a previous commenter mentioned that at second-look day. many accepted students had other east-coast options and were leaning towards those.

With all that being said, DGSOM is a world class school. If your heart tells you this is the place to go, go. Personally, I don't think there is anything different in terms of opportunities available between DGSOM and a T30 school. Go somewhere you will be happy to learn medicine.
 

puahate

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I agree with the issues UCLA has. Especially with the Geffen thing. Like i said before, if i had another top 10 acceptance i would perfer not to go to UCLA without Geffen. I would feel disposal.
 
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Does the office being seemingly slightly disorganized (bad interview day) impact the medical education and/or opportunities at DGSOM? Would love to hear from a current student.
 
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To folks on the WL, definitely don't lose hope. A lot of accepted people I talked to during second look had other options on the east coast that they were leaning towards. I'm guessing there'll be a good movement in the WL
I feel like this is definitely true. I didn't even end up going to second look because I was disappointed by the admissions office's overall attitude and my poor financial aid package. And then the night before second look, I got an email saying that all students were too busy with exams so there were no hosts available... :p. If I had actually been going, especially coming from the East Coast, I would have been quite angry to have to spend money on a last-minute Airbnb.
 
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Will also be withdrawing my acceptance and attending another school for the same reasons listed above. When I attended second look, current students admitted the slight awkwardness and reduced research opportunities for those not receiving the Geffen, which imho is just not an appropriate atmosphere for a t10 medical school. Will instead be attending a different t10 school that does not offer merit aid to any student (and also frankly had a much more responsive and welcoming administration and student body). Highly disappointed, as UCLA was my number 1 choice going into the cycle.

Of course, UCLA is an amazing institution and an incredible opportunity for any student. I hope my withdrawing opens up a spot for someone on the waitlist!
 

Aree

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Will also be withdrawing my acceptance and attending another school for the same reasons listed above. When I attended second look, current students admitted the slight awkwardness and reduced research opportunities for those not receiving the Geffen, which imho is just not an appropriate atmosphere for a t10 medical school. Will instead be attending a different t10 school that does not offer merit aid to any student (and also frankly had a much more responsive and welcoming administration and student body). Highly disappointed, as UCLA was my number 1 choice going into the cycle.

Of course, UCLA is an amazing institution and an incredible opportunity for any student. I hope my withdrawing opens up a spot for someone on the waitlist!
That's interesting to hear. I can't speak to the 'awkwardness' but I think we have had multiple UCLA students chime in on this thread and tell us that there has not been any of that among them and their classmates. I can speak to the research, however, and I can tell you that having spoken to a couple of MS4s there, there is absolutely no difference in terms of the research opportunities available. The only thing is that geffen scholars don't have to apply for the summer scholarship money for research and non-geffens do. However, it's important to note that the money for research during that summer is guaranteed for all students and the two-page form that non-geffens have to submit is nothing but a formality. I have not been a fan of the way applicants have been treated either, but I think it's important to have all the facts as well before making a decision.
 
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