Edit 3/30/17: This program is no longer offered by Caltech. This page exists only for historical purposes. If you would like to learn more about pre-med/pre-health at Caltech, please visit this website.
For those of you who are considering premed or don't know what this program is, here is the short description on the Caltech Admissions website (<--link there):
CALTECH–UC SAN DIEGO MEDICAL SCHOLARS PROGRAM
The Caltech–UC San Diego Medical Scholars program is an eight-year medical school program. Each year, six newly admitted freshmen at Caltech will also be offered early admission to the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, pending completion of their Caltech degrees as "medical scholars."
There is also a handy little pdf for the Medical Scholars Fact Sheet on the website, so be sure to take a look at that too. The general process of applying to the program is as follows:
- To apply to the program, you MUST apply to Caltech by the EARLY ACTION DEADLINE. I cannot emphasize this point enough. Many, many premeds I have met on campus did not know about the program until it was too late, when they applied during regular decision. Of course, if you apply to this program, you cannot simultaneously apply to a single choice early action program at another university.
- If you are admitted Early Action to Caltech, you will be notified sometime mid-December and then required to submit an additional recommendation letter and an essay describing your interest in medicine.
- Around mid-February or so, some applicants will then be selected for an interview with the medical school faculty at UC San Diego (note that this interview is a mandatory part of eventually being accepted into the program; I do not know the percentage of people selected for an interview, but in my year there were about 35 interviewees, of which 6 were accepted -- this number remains the same every year).
- Interviewed students will be notified sometime during the beginning of April about their results. (I know the fact sheet says April 1st, but last year and previous years, the decision date was pushed a bit later due to the larger number of applicants applying.)
If you are admitted into the program and decide to enroll at Caltech, you will also be "provisionally admitted" into the UC San Diego School of Medicine. To be accepted into the medical school after graduating Caltech, you must maintain a 3.5 GPA and safisfy some additional premed requirements, in addition to obtaining a degree at Caltech (in any option offered here, not necessarily Biology). One very big perk to being in this program is that you do not have to take the MCAT! Imagine all the other things you can focus your time on (such as research, clubs, other extracurricular activities, etc.) if you do not have to stress over the MCAT and spend hours upon hours studying for it! If you are considering premed at all, I highly suggest you apply to this program.
One last point I would like to make, which is not mentioned in the fact sheet, is that admission into the Caltech-UCSD Medical Scholars program is not binding. That is, you are not required to matriculate to the UC San Diego School of Medicine upon graduating Caltech. You are still allowed to apply elsewhere, should you want to. I cannot think of a better deal you can come across!
In my next post, I will talk about my personal reasons for choosing to come to Caltech as a medical scholar. (I didn't realize how much explaining I wanted to do about the program, so I'll save that for next time. Keep following my blog and you'll see that I will also touch on the interview process at UCSD and much more!)