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Hi guys,

I just graduated college, and I'll be applying to medical school next cycle (2016-2017). I have pretty decent stats, and I'm confident I can put together a competitive application for medical school (Ivy undergrad, 3.8+ GPA, strong extracurriculars, independent research w/ publications, etc...) I haven't taken the MCAT yet, but I've done well with standardized tests in the past. I'm convinced that UCSF is the 100% perfect school for me. In short: I love San Francisco, and the school has a wonderful and very unique program for medical students that's right up my alley. HOWEVER, I'm not from California, and I've heard that UCSF is impossible to get into for out-of-state students.

Is there anything that I can do in the next year -- short of moving to California -- to improve my chances? Would it help to publish with a UCSF professor, or something like that? Anything else anyone can think of?

Thanks!!!
Don't ever get focused on 1 school, that's asking for heartbreak. Especially when it's one of the best medical schools in the world...

Crushing the MCAT should be your #1 priority. An extremely high score and you can go anywhere, a low one and you'll find yourself nowhere.

No.
 

Doug Underhill

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If your GPA is less than 3, you are not getting into UCSF.

Jokes aside, UCSF matriculated 35 out-of-state applicants from a pool of roughly 3500. That's not impossible, but it is difficult. NEVER get focused on one school in this process. Stanford is pretty close to San Francisco, and is far friendlier to OOS applicants. It is still extremely difficult to get into, but your 3.8 is pretty close to their median GPA.
 
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md-2020

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If your GPA is less than 3, you are not getting into UCSF.

Jokes aside, UCSF matriculated 35 out-of-state applicants from a pool of roughly 3500. That's not impossible, but it is difficult. NEVER get focused on one school in this process. Stanford is pretty close to San Francisco, and is far friendlier to OOS applicants. It is still extremely difficult to get into, but your 3.8 is pretty close to their median GPA.
Am I missing the joke?

It's way too early to be talking about UCSF and Stanford when the OP doesn't have an MCAT score.
 
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GrapesofRath

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Thanks, guys. I realize that I need to ace the MCAT first -- but assuming I do well on that, does anyone have any other tips for how to set up a good out-of-state application to UCSF?
The same way you would set up a good application to any other school. Get the best LOR's you can, spend as much time as possible on your app. Put your best foot forward on each of your essays. And even if you do a fantastic job at all of this the odds are overwhelming in favor of UCSF contacting you back in a couple months with a rejection letter. That's just how this game works; admission to any single school is a long shot for almost anybody no matter how spectacular their stats are.

And like others have said the MCAT is basically as important as your GPA(if not more) and you still have to take it. Therefore, any chance thread is meaningless. Even amongst those with 3.8+ GPAs in the best schools in the country, at least half of those students at almost all school still fail to get a 36+ MCAT score which is around what UCSF's median is(can't remember if it is 36 or 35 now days). So you have another big hurdle to try to clear before chances at any top school can be discussed.
 
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gyngyn

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Even amongst those with 3.8+ GPAs in the best schools in the country, at least half of those students at almost all school still fail to get a 36+ MCAT score which is around what UCSF's median is(can't remember if it is 36 or 35 now days).
It's "only" 35.
 

Goro

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You and five gazillion other pre-meds.

I'm convinced that UCSF is the 100% perfect school for me. In short: I love San Francisco, and the school has a wonderful and very unique program for medical students that's right up my alley.


UCSF is hard to get into due to a superfluity of excellent candidates already in CA.
HOWEVER, I'm not from California, and I've heard that UCSF is impossible to get into for out-of-state students.


Do lots of volunteer hours or clinical experience. Like high 100s to > 1000. Get a publication, period. Score > 35 on MCAT.
Is there anything that I can do in the next year -- short of moving to California -- to improve my chances? Would it help to publish with a UCSF professor, or something like that? Anything else anyone can think of?

The people who are joking here are referring to your thread title .

Your screen name is interesting.
 

gyngyn

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Give it time. The way things are trending UCSF's days of "only" being a 35 are numbered.
If you look at their matriculants you will see that there is so much more than stats involved in the decision to interview and accept. Given their social justice mission, it is hard to predict which way their stats might go. They could easily fill with MCAT's to drop Wash U's jaw (if they wanted).
 

GrapesofRath

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If you look at their matriculants you will see that there is so much more than stats involved in the decision to interview and accept. Given their social justice mission, it is hard to predict which way their stats might go. They could easily fill with MCAT's to drop Wash U's jaw (if they wanted).
Sarcasm over the internet is always rather hard to detect and I failed at it again it looks like. But yes what you are saying is of course spot on.

Furthremore, what you are saying is true of the vast majority of top 20 schools in terms of them being able to self select an absurd MCAT median for their school if they wanted to. There is a reason why UCSF is often cited as one of the schools that reward re-invention and are recommended to those who had rocky starts but really picked things up and fit UCSF's mission to look into for precisely the reasons they said.

The one thing I'll add is that there is a clear distinction people often fail to make in that "more hollistic schools" where more people might have a shot at doesn't mean "less competitive" than schools which are more strict about their numbers. And I think that's particuarly important for the OP to consider; just because UCSF is more likely to consider someone with a 33 MCAT doesn't make them much less selective(if at all) than a WASHU that's more likely to throw an application with a 33 MCAT without any hooks in the trashcan.
 
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gyngyn

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Sarcasm over the internet is always rather hard to detect and I failed at it again it looks like. But yes what you are saying is of course spot on.

Furthremore, what you are saying is true of the vast majority of top 20 schools in terms of them being able to self select an absurd MCAT median for their school if they wanted to. There is a reason why UCSF is often cited as one of the schools that reward re-invention and are recommended to those who had rocky starts but really picked things up and fit UCSF's mission to look into for precisely the reasons they said.

The one thing I'll add is that there is a clear distinction people often fail to make in that "more hollistic schools" where more people might have a shot at doesn't mean "less competitive" than schools which are more strict about their numbers. And I think that's particuarly important for the OP to consider; just because UCSF is more likely to consider someone with a 33 MCAT doesn't make them much less selective(if at all) than a WASHU that's more likely to throw an application with a 33 MCAT without any hooks in the trashcan.
Sorry, dude.
My sarcasm meter doesn't work irl either!
 
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Give me a WAMC OP and I'll tell you with 95% confidence what the next 6-7 posts are going to say, replete with pre-med analysis of the posts of the adcoms.

The OP, in the first post, wrote: "HOWEVER, I'm not from California, and I've heard that UCSF is impossible to get into for out-of-state students.

Is there anything that I can do in the next year -- short of moving to California -- to improve my chances?"


The OP right at the outset stated "I've heard it's almost impossible to get in," and "is the anything I can do to improve chances." Clearly the OP knows the chances are slim regardless. Clearly the OP isn't going to just apply to one school. And clearly the OP knows that a top-notch MCAT score is critically important for any tippy-top school.
 
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efle

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I'm curious what UCSF would have to sacrifice about their admitted students if they raised their median numbers to be closer to peers like Harvard, Stanford, Penn
 

GrapesofRath

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I'm curious what UCSF would have to sacrifice about their admitted students if they raised their median numbers to be closer to peers like Harvard, Stanford, Penn
Well basically alot of matriculants with 32-34 MCAT scores with exceptional stories and activities that fit their mission statement in favor of those with higher MCAT scores that don't fit their mission statement as well.

Alot of those re-invention candidates, those with peace corps type experience but MCAT scores that don't crack 33, those with exceptional volunteer service with the less fortunate(such as in hospices) and any other candidates who can fit a mission towards social justice very well but who's MCAT score isn't high enough would be left in the dust if UCSF insisted on making their MCAT median in the 38 range.
 

efle

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But their mission is the same generic blah as other top schools, four fold mission of education / research / care / service. That's all the same stuff as Harvard/Hopkins/Stanford/Penn isn't it? UCSF emphasizes service more maybe?
 

GrapesofRath

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But their mission is the same generic blah as other top schools, four fold mission of education / research / care / service. That's all the same stuff as Harvard/Hopkins/Stanford/Penn isn't it? UCSF emphasizes service more maybe?
Well UCSF as Goro and others who have spent along time here have said is one of those big name schools that believes in re-invention.

The key thing here is that all schools in theory like the idea of "re-invention' and "looking past the numbers"; the proof is in the pudding in who they admit and how willing they are to take those with clear flaws in their academic record at some point or a lower MCAT. While many schools will give lip service about believing in re-invention and while this is not something ADCOMs for big schools like to highlight it takes alot for a big name school to be willing to look past a flawed academic record or a lower MCAT when there are so many candidates who don't have those issues and who also have a strong record of EC involvement. It really speaks to commitment to an actual mission for a school like UCSF to be more willing to look those prior transgressions and really emphasize the mission. It takes alot for one school to say we have an exceptional high stat applicant who fits our mission well but we are going to go in favor of one who only got a 32 on his MCAT because he doesn't just fit our mission well he fits it extraordinarily well. So the issue really isn't the nuances in how schools label their mission and how they all sound the same; it's commitment to that mission to the point you are willing to look past weaker numbers even when there are candidates with strong numbers who do fit the statement well but not necessarily exceptionally well.
 
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Cyberdyne 101

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I'm curious what UCSF would have to sacrifice about their admitted students if they raised their median numbers to be closer to peers like Harvard, Stanford, Penn
They'd have less students going into primary care.
 

Goro

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And your point????

Give me a WAMC OP and I'll tell you with 95% confidence what the next 6-7 posts are going to say, replete with pre-med analysis of the posts of the adcoms.

The OP, in the first post, wrote: "HOWEVER, I'm not from California, and I've heard that UCSF is impossible to get into for out-of-state students.

Is there anything that I can do in the next year -- short of moving to California -- to improve my chances?"


The OP right at the outset stated "I've heard it's almost impossible to get in," and "is the anything I can do to improve chances." Clearly the OP knows the chances are slim regardless. Clearly the OP isn't going to just apply to one school. And clearly the OP knows that a top-notch MCAT score is critically important for any tippy-top school.
 
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And your point????
There are a lot of points. For starters, 1) reading more carefully and 2) the pre-med "advisors" (what are their credentials anyway and have they already been accepted to 5 top 10 schools?) learn the 8-10 red flags preached by adcoms like yourself and then if they see anything pinkish they can't get off of that item as a huge negative for the applicant (oh man, that downward trend is really gonna be a huge downer for your app right before the applicant shares he's already getting interviews). And the tones of superiority and condescencion from the pre-meds are a little much for my tastes. By the time you've read a few posts in this thread one would assume the OP is a very entitled and very distorted and unrealistic young person, but then one reads the very first post and that was not the case at all. And to top it off, the adcoms and pre-med "advisors" go around liking each other's posts, reinforcing the pre-meds to be even more opinionated and "expert."
 
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Banco

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I think that after a certain point in stats, it comes down to what the school is looking for specifically. Like gyngyn said, UCSF could fill itself with strong MCATs. So yeah try to get a 517+ MCAT, but also do some research on what UCSF really wants. It may be better to get some insider info from students/admissions, and not just a cursory glance on the website; it could be service to underserved, certain language skills, certain experiences etc. Then you can craft your application for a specific school. No guarantees, but hey you can at least put forth a good shot. Here we can't necessarily advise you on what UCSF specifically wants because this forum is more for general list making. As mentioned before, don't get your heart set only on one school. There are a bunch of other excellent schools out there that can provide you with what UCSF can.

There are a lot of points. For starters, 1) reading more carefully and 2) the pre-med "advisors" (what are their credentials anyway and have they already been accepted to 5 top 10 schools?) learn the 8-10 red flags preached by adcoms like yourself and then if they see anything pinkish they can't get off of that item as a huge negative for the applicant (oh man, that downward trend is really gonna be a huge downer for your app right before the applicant shares he's already getting interviews). And the tones of superiority and condescencion from the pre-meds are a little much for my tastes. By the time you've read a few posts in this thread one would assume the OP is a very entitled and very distorted and unrealistic young person, but then one reads the very first post and that was not the case at all. And to top it off, the adcoms and pre-med "advisors" go around liking each other's posts, reinforcing the pre-meds to be even more opinionated and "expert."
Instead of going into every other thread saying this, you could have just helped the OP. It is kind of getting tiresome honestly; the general advice given is pretty solid and there are often some conflicting opinions in threads, so rest assured it isn't simply an echo chamber.
 

efle

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There are a lot of points. For starters, 1) reading more carefully and 2) the pre-med "advisors" (what are their credentials anyway and have they already been accepted to 5 top 10 schools?) learn the 8-10 red flags preached by adcoms like yourself and then if they see anything pinkish they can't get off of that item as a huge negative for the applicant (oh man, that downward trend is really gonna be a huge downer for your app right before the applicant shares he's already getting interviews). And the tones of superiority and condescencion from the pre-meds are a little much for my tastes. By the time you've read a few posts in this thread one would assume the OP is a very entitled and very distorted and unrealistic young person, but then one reads the very first post and that was not the case at all. And to top it off, the adcoms and pre-med "advisors" go around liking each other's posts, reinforcing the pre-meds to be even more opinionated and "expert."
You have an odd idea of what qualifies someone to give advice. Being accepted to a top 5 or 10 programs doesn't mean someone knows better what advice is appropriate in a variety of situations vs a premed that has read a lot of WAMC adcom posts and perused a lot of MDApps. Does having a 4.0 and 40+ and strong research really change how much you respect someone's advice to retake an MCAT or apply to certain OOS programs over others etc? And here I thought you had a mind for philosophy
 
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Instead of going into every other thread saying this, you could have just helped the OP. It is kind of getting tiresome honestly; the general advice given is pretty solid and there are often some conflicting opinions in threads, so rest assured it isn't simply an echo chamber.
Yes, it is tiring, on that we can agree (honestly).
 
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You have an odd idea of what qualifies someone to give advice. Being accepted to a top 5 or 10 programs doesn't mean someone knows better what advice is appropriate in a variety of situations vs a premed that has read a lot of WAMC adcom posts and perused a lot of MDApps. Does having a 4.0 and 40+ and strong research really change how much you respect someone's advice to retake an MCAT or apply to certain OOS programs over others etc? And here I thought you had a mind for philosophy
You misread the post. I didn't suggest that would qualify someone, but rather was asking what might make one think he or she is qualified, and I was imagining that some type of self-perceived extraordinary success might make one feel he or she is so entitled. Am I now qualified simply on the basis of having read tons of WAMCs since May??? But since you raise that example, would you approve of someone performing the advisor task who struck out 2 cycles in a row with low stats? I don't find the argument compelling that one's status as a pre-med is irrelevant. Don't we see candidates advised all the time that the experiences of actually doing things (volunteering, clinical, research, etc) are critical to one's viability as an applicant? Same principle. And even if the pre-meds can offer even better advice than the adcoms, should they be presenting with toen and style even more "adcom" than the adcoms?

-- Zarathustra
 

efle

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I didn't misread, you very much implied acceptance to a Top 5 or 10 was a credential you'd want to see a poster have before giving advice with an air of certainty. I very much disagree that one's competitiveness matters at all in this arena - for example I know what programs are most friendly to OOS or most emphasize research or what MCATs are competitive where because of time put into the MSAR data; earning a 40+ MCAT taught me exactly nothing of relevance to WAMC.

And whatever criticisms you have of SDN advising, it is at least a huge improvement from most premed advisers at colleges!

-- iamverysmart wannabe ubermensch
 
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Goro

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There are a good number of pre-meds that offer excellent advice in these forums.

You misread the post. I didn't suggest that would qualify someone, but rather was asking what might make one think he or she is qualified, and I was imagining that some type of self-perceived extraordinary success might make one feel he or she is so entitled. Am I now qualified simply on the basis of having read tons of WAMCs since May??? But since you raise that example, would you approve of someone performing the advisor task who struck out 2 cycles in a row with low stats? I don't find the argument compelling that one's status as a pre-med is irrelevant. Don't we see candidates advised all the time that the experiences of actually doing things (volunteering, clinical, research, etc) are critical to one's viability as an applicant? Same principle. And even if the pre-meds can offer even better advice than the adcoms, should they be presenting with toen and style even more "adcom" than the adcoms?

-- Zarathustra
 
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Never give up. Attended Fresno State with a 3.94 GPA, 30 MCAT in 1996, spent 3 years admissions committee at UCSF, graduated in 2001. Just make your application stand out....
 
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I didn't misread, you very much implied acceptance to a Top 5 or 10 was a credential you'd want to see a poster have before giving advice with an air of certainty. I very much disagree that one's competitiveness matters at all in this arena - for example I know what programs are most friendly to OOS or most emphasize research or what MCATs are competitive where because of time put into the MSAR data; earning a 40+ MCAT taught me exactly nothing of relevance to WAMC.

And whatever criticisms you have of SDN advising, it is at least a huge improvement from most premed advisers at colleges!

-- iamverysmart wannabe ubermensch
So, you know better than I what I intended and whether you misread what I intended? That was sarcasm....like what could their credentials possibly be to make them think they could come off the way they do. Put it this way, I wouldn't be more impressed if you, with your superlative stats, were one of the pre-med advisors offering your advice every 5 minutes. The tone sometimes is just unreal. Sorry if no one wants to hear that. And, that tone will come out somewhere, somehow, in their own journeys. Maybe, just maybe, they should be spending a little more time on their own apps, interviews, etc.
 
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There are a good number of pre-meds that offer excellent advice in these forums.
I wholeheartedly agree. By the same token, a few should be able to handle a litle nuanced feedback when they can so freely dish the same out. There is always room for improvement.
 

Holmwood

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I've read from the school specific thread that they were looking for people who have the potential to be future leaders in medicine and not too hard-pressed on stats (though high stat applicants typically are high-achieving all around... but not always). Maybe that'll help guide your approach to improving your applications?
 
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