Admissions at UCSF....some info

Hello fellow struggling pre-meds. I attended an admissions workshop at UC-San Francisco today and got some valuable info about the admissions process. I’ll try to convey what I found out as clearly as possible.
* Once AMCAS apps are received, they do an initial cut. They receive approx 5600 applications and about 600 are cut automatically. Basically, if your MCAT’s are below 8’s and your GPA’s are below 3.0, AND you are not a resident of California, you get cut. Apparently residency factors in a lot at this level, but only for those who have low scores.
* Secondary apps are sent out and letters of rec are requested. They recommend sending at least 3 but no more than 5 letters, with at least 2 being from faculty who can speak to your academic skills. If you have been out of school for a while, they do take this into account, but still request that someone be able to speak about your academic abilities. If you have significant volunteer experience, ask someone who is affiliated (supervisor, etc.) to write a rec. Letters from people with “big names” (nobel prize winners, politicians, etc.) are not given much credence. Everyone on the faculty panel recommends sending 5 letters. Once the secondary applications are in, it’s the letters that set you apart from the rest of the pack.
* UCSF looks at 3 GPA’s: science GPA, Cumulative GPA, and GPA for the last year of course work (last 20 hours of course work…still unsure if they look at graduate work or if it’s only post-bac and senior year). The cumulative GPA is apparently not that important to them. They also look at the overall trend in your grades…if you didn’t do well during the first 2 years, but your grades have an upward trajectory, you still have a chance.
* They have a post-bac program for people from disadvantaged backgrounds, but this is program is only for re-applicants and those who have taken the majority of their pre-reqs.
* The director of admissions said that if you can afford a formal post-bac program, that’s great, but that it’s really not necessary. Taking pre-reqs at a community college is fine (just make sure you do well).
* One of the students on the student panel had 2 children before her 3rd year. The program is VERY felxible (you can take time off for maternity or research or whatever) and UCSF is VERY supportive of its students taking time off to pursue work that will help them as physicians but is not necessarily provided on campus (volunteering abroad, working in a lab, etc.). The married students and parent students had only positive things to say about having a family and juggling medical school…essentially, they said it’s hard, but doable and worthwhile. Even the Associate Dean of Admissions spoke about how he and his wife had children while they were in med school (20 years ago) and that medical school and family are not mutually exclusive.
* Overall, the students are happy and they are making a difference. This school wants people who can be committed to helping underserved communities or to advancing medicine.
I hope this is helpful information. The competition to get into this school is stiff. But, if you apply and don’t receive a secondary, the Associate Dean (Dr. Wofsy) personally reads every letter for appeal and says that if you present a good case for getting a secondary they will probably send you one, as they recognize the AMCAS does not provide the full picture of a student. He did say that the appeal is less and less likely to be granted after the secondary application phase.
Good luck everyone!

Thanks for the information
I wonder if the near future will bring more schools as CC-friendly as UCSF is…

The CC’s in California are solid and their classes transfer to all the UC’s (including Berkeley), so there is widespread acceptance in California (including Stanford). I have heard from other OPM’s that Yale has a history of taking students who completed some of their post-bac at cc’s as well. Let’s hope others come around, too.

Illinois schools are accepting as well. Plus, I know of someone accepted to MCW this year that took their “post-bacc” courses at a CC.