By: Savvy Pre-Med Staff
Beautiful weather, sunny beaches, great food, vibrant culture - who wouldn’t want to spend 4+ years living and training in California?
Whether you’re an in-state applicant who’s desperate to say close to home or an out-of-state applicant looking for a new adventure during medical school, the 16 California medical schools draw a lot of attention and receive a bevy of applicants every year.
So, how exactly do you get into a California medical school? Well, it’s not that simple of an answer, mainly because the 16 schools are so different.
But we’re here to offer a general breakdown of what it takes to get into a California medical school, with relevant data and key information about each institution!
First of all, you should know that it’s incredibly difficult to get into California medical schools, compared to many other states:
Let’s start with the obvious - your MCAT and GPA - there’s an equation to find your “index score” (you’ve probably heard of that before):
Overall GPA _____ x 10 = ________
MCAT - 500 = ________
(add together) = 30-60
60 - Average for top ten medical schools
51 - Average for all US allopathic medical schools
45 - Lowest Average for most US allopathic medical schools
39 - Average for osteopathic medical schools
36 - Average for Caribbean medical schools
Okay, got your scores handy? Let’s see how they stack up against the averages for the California schools:
It’s also important to consider the different schools’ preferences for in-state applicants. You can always check out our Savvy PreMed Search Tool for this rating:
Another important factor to consider is whether you meet the different schools’ prerequisite course requirements:
Course requirement takeaways:
Don't forget that the California schools also have different requirements for their letters of recommendation:
Letters of recommendation takeaways:
OK - so if you meet the MCAT, GPA, coursework, and letter of recommendation requirements, you can submit your primary application with a degree of confidence. BUT then you must complete each schools’ secondary essays:
When you're completing secondaries, it will be crucial for you to heavily research each schools' mission statements, opportunities, curricula, and unique features so that you can effectively tailor your essays to what they're looking for.
We've provided a very basic rundown of each of the schools below to give you a feel for their differences:
California University of Science and Medicine (CUSM):
If you do a good enough job of showing your "fit" with the schools, you might be one of the few chosen for an interview. Schools either use traditional formats (one-on-one, panel, or group), the MMI format, or a hybrid of the traditional and MMI:
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! Our blog has a slew of articles about interview tips, including approaches to common questions and sample answers.
Stay tuned for next week's post, where we'll break down profiles, stats, experiences, and characteristics of actual applicants who were accepted into the different California schools, so that we can find some concrete trends in past candidates' success!
Have any questions about writing about getting into a California medical school? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll respond to you personally!