Do I have a chance at going to a UC for Pre-med?

Oct 15, 2010
Hello, I realize this site isn't a "what are you chances" kind of forums, but I'd greatly appreciate if you could give me some feedback. I'm a California resident and really hoping to go to a UC (University of California) for pre-med by applying for admission by exception. (Mainly because of more research opportunities and the UC name to back me up.)

The reason I'm applying for admission by exception is because I grew up with only my mother and little brother. I come from a low income family, my mother only makes 19k annually. In the 9th grade, my mother was diagnosed with cancer and was unable to work, our house was almost foreclosed. Seeing her bedridden and seeing all the sick people in hospitals during visits is one of my inspirations for being a doctor. I had to get a part time job and work after school to try and make money for monthly payments as well as watching over my little brother (taking him to school, babysitting, etc.) Due to this, my grades started to drop resulting in an extremely low GPA. This experience, however, gave me responsibility that is rare for other kids my age and has taught me alot about life. I hope to address these issues in my personal statement.

Male, Asian (Vietnamese)
CA Resident
12th Grade
First generation American

Academic GPA Non-weighted: 2.62
Weighted GPA: 2.72
APs: Environmental Science (2 on AP Test), Calculus AB (In Progress), Biology (In Progress)
Honors: Chemistry, American Literature
School doesn't rank students.
My GPA for sophomore year was 3.5 and 3.1 (1st/2nd Semester), I received C's in both semesters of chemistry.
I started working after 1st semester of sophomore year and I received straight D's first semester of Junior Year (1.6 GPA, very bad time management), second semester my grades went up but only slightly (2.3 GPA)

ACT with Writing: 28 Composite (Took twice, received 28 on both)

Ecological Biology - Just took
US History - Just took
Math II - Just took

Intended Major: Cognitive Science
Alt Major: Psychology

Boy Scouts (Since age 7, will obtain Eagle in about 3 months)
Marching Band (Grade 9-12, Section Leader for Saxophones)
Key Club (11-12)
Community service (300+ hours)

2 Jobs:
Sales Associate at Furniture store (Summer before sophomore year)
Intern at Wave Systems Corp., a software engineering company. (2nd semester Sophomore year to present)

My mom was treated and was able to start working again so our total income is about $24,000 annually.

I'm really hoping to get accepted at UC Santa Cruz or UC Riverside. Do I stand any chance?


10+ Year Member
Jul 3, 2008
it's hard to say when your SAT scores haven't been released yet. but looking at your stats and overall extra curriculars, it's possible. while your gpa is not strong, your act is good for UC Riverside and Santa Cruz. if you can improve your gpa to 3.0 and above, you will be strong applicant :) worst case sceneiro is that you enroll into a community/junior college and finish your general education the first 2 years there. afterwards transfer to UC Riverside/Santa Cruz. this option's benefits are financially affordable, communting wise great, and academically doable :thumbup:
Sep 23, 2010
It is going to be really tough getting into any UC with that low GPA. I would probably go the community college route and get your grades up and then transfer. Good luck!
Jan 5, 2010
It is going to be really tough getting into any UC with that low GPA. I would probably go the community college route and get your grades up and then transfer. Good luck!
:thumbup: This. While you will miss out on the social scene, it will better your chances of getting into medical school over going to a CSU school.


Membership Revoked
Apr 28, 2010
You might have some semblance of a shot at Riverside or Merced. With a lot of luck you might hit SC, but I wouldn't count on it. I also approve of the community college route.