A Guide To Being Pre-Med At UCLA

It is no secret that being pre-med in college is hard. It often feels like during undergraduate years, every single obstacle is thrown at you, making school, and therefore life, much harder. It is also no secret that UCLA has an amazing academic and research reputation, especially when it comes to science majors. This mere fact can make dedicating to the pre-med life more scary than exciting and new, but in reality, it can be worth it and satisfying.

You need to have a strong GPA, decent MCAT score and an amazing resume to get into medical school, and all of these goals are definitely attainable. When it comes to your classes and GPA, make sure you have the right study habits. Everyone at UCLA who is pre-med has the same goal, and if you don’t focus on yourself, the competition can get the best of you. Make sure you are attending every lecture and every discussion section, and if you can, even every office hour because it is during office hours you have the chance to meet and actually get to know your professor. This can often lead to a solid letter of recommendation.

The other plus side is that you are getting more exposed to the material. While studying, make sure you understand the concept behind the answers to the point where you can potentially teach another student. Additionally, manage your time appropriately and do not procrastinate, especially during the quarter system. You can do this by taking advantage of weekly planning. Divide your midterm and finals study plans by week or even by day, and make sure to set daily goals everyday to ensure you are getting everything done. Do not be afraid to use your resources, such as optional worksheets posted on CCLE, LA workshops and even emailing your professor when you have a question. It is worth doing all of these things because it is only going to benefit you in the future. With that being said, when the quarter starts, hit the ground running. Work hard, take a break when it is necessary and try your best not to get distracted.

People often have the misconception that it is difficult to develop a strong resume when you are a pre-med student, and people may get confused on where to start or how to get involved. One of the most common things on a pre-med resume is clinical experience. You can get clinical experience by volunteering at any local hospital, joining clubs and programs that allow you to travel to help those who are less fortunate and by simply shadowing doctors.

Here at UCLA, Care Extenders offers hospital volunteer hours both at Ronald Reagan Hospital here in Westwood and the Santa Monica location. Other organizations that provide clinical experience include Flying Samaritans, Stroke Force, Stroke Team, Mobile Clinic and Global Med. Additionally, shadowing a doctor can be done through networking and having the connections. This previous summer, I shadowed a physician assistant who has his own clinic, and I got this opportunity by asking my mom’s friend who is a pharmacist. These connections matter and can help you so much. Another very important thing to have on your resume is research. At UCLA, you can get research by emailing different professors and reading up on their own projects. You can email to ask if they need a research assistant, or you can take advantage of your majors counseling department, which can offer you even more options for research. At UCLA, you truly have to be a go-getter, rather than waiting for someone to hand you the answer.

UCLA offers a wide range of resources to help students get into medical school. They offer MCAT classes, which are essential, and counseling. It is okay to be confused and lost in this process. If anything, that is normal, but if you use such resources you are one step ahead. UCLA also offers interview prep once you get to the interview section of getting into medical schools and even perfecting your resume. Also, remember to use your own personal support system. This journey takes a lot of dedication and time, and it can definitely be mentally straining. Use your friends, family and anyone else you have in your life that can either relate to you or understand your stress and anxiety. My advice is to really focus on time management, but also do not forget that college is going to be the best years of your life. Enjoy your time, make the best memories and create everlasting relationships. You are not in this alone.