Hi! I'm a current MS3 with the Geffen Scholarship and I wanted to address a few concerns that seem to have come up on the page.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!
(1) Geffen scholarship students vs non-Geffen scholarship students: I think first and foremost, there is no difference in research opportunity between Geffen and non-Geffen scholarship students. The school does not have any clear division between the two groups. We do not get ANY preferential treatment in terms of research opportunity. There isn't a special research coordinator for Geffen Scholarship students. No one assigns us a research mentor. The dinner that the geffen scholarship students have during the semester is purely a social gather, centered on taxes lolol. They literally give us sandwiches or some burritos and it's more of an informal "this is how much taxes you pay on the striped and you better pay those taxes" type of deal. Super low key and really not anything special. I promise you're not missing out. Among the student body, it doesn't matter who's a scholar and who's not. No one really cares... At the end of the day, the scholarship does not define social groups or creates any noticeable rift in students. We're all very grateful for the financial gift but to say that somehow we get any preferential treatment is not true at all. My feeling is that you might have spoken to a distressed MS1 who was stressed about their research summer abstracts due that week.
(2) Admissions process vs. student affairs (aka what y'all when just went vs. student life): Yes, the admissions process is awful. Yes, they have been trying be more transparent. Yes, I know it sucks. I almost withdrew my application because of the negative interview experience I had. However, there have been so many student lead initiatives to change the process and it is slowly coming through. UCLA has so many applicants, and they do try to review the applications in a holistic way. (see recent Dean's message about the revoking the hard GPA/MCAT cutoffs). They try really hard to get through the apps and as a result, everything is freaken slow. However, I can assure you student affairs is SO MUCH DIFFERENT. All our Deans are very receptive to students and student feedback. On a personal note, I've been needing time off for doctor appointments quite frequently during clerkships. He's consistently been my advocate helping me navigate through my pre-clinical and clinical years and is always happy to chat.
I hope this clears up any misconceptions that the incoming class may have. I was choosing between several top tier schools and am so happy to have chosen UCLA. Picking a medical school is a deeply personal decision and I know y'all will be happy wherever you end up. In the end, base your decision off of your personal experience and whether you can see yourself there this August. Ignore the rest of the noise. Wishing y'all the best!