Gap Year Advice for Recent UCLA Grad

Hello everyone, I graduated from UCLA this Friday and just joined this forum today! I feel a bit weird listing stuff I’ve done but I’m including these details because I would like some advice on what to do during my gap years to become a stronger applicant:

  • Neuroscience major with a humanities minor
  • overall cumulative GPA: 3.511 , science GPA: 3.113 --> rough sophomore year but have had upward trend since
    (not sure what exact non-science GPA is but I’ve only gotten one B+ and the other grades are A’s for non-science courses)
  • have ~ 400 hours of clinical volunteering (started in high school)
  • honestly just had 2 main extracurriculars I was pretty involved with during undergrad, 1 year leadership position with one of them
  • only one year as research assistant (pretty limited tasks though, translating and transcribing interviews English <–> Spanish)
  • will work as medical scribe for the next 1.5 years
  • haven’t taken the MCAT yet, was planning on shadowing doctors after graduating but COVID-19 kind of threw the plan off

I know my science GPA is not competitive and even though I’ve had an upward trend and performed better in upper division courses I’m not sure if I should do an informal post-bacc at community college to raise my sGPA, do a formal post-bacc, or just “rely” on a high MCAT score to avoid taking additional courses?? I wanted to take a few classes to get stronger letters of rec ( I feel like I didn’t really get to know my science profs as well as I would’ve liked to) but not sure if formal vs informal program was the way to go? Thank you for reading this and thank you Dr. Gray for creating this forum!

Rely on decent MCAT. Taking some courses to raise your GPA at community college seems backward and doesn’t add any value to your application. If you’ve taken all of the prerequisites, then a formal post-bacc may not accept you. You can get LOC from doctors you will be working with as a scribe. I would keep in touch with some professors who got to know you so by the time you ask for a recommendation, they wouldn’t be clueless of who you are. I would also consider graduate school that also has a medical school. Good luck!