Medical School Essay
Evaluations are important. They are personal statements about you
as well as about your work. Think carefully about the evaluations
you solicit. Medical school admissions committees are interested in
academic achievement, motivation, suitability for a medical career,
and those variables which make you an interesting person. There is
no perfect number of evaluations; we recommend that students have
between three and five letters in their file, with two of these
coming from faculty members in the sciences. Think of those aspects
of your work you wish presented and who might present them best. Do
not overlook areas outside the sciences. Your major field of study
is especially important. If it is a science, you might also wish to
include an evaluation from a humanities or social science professor.
Also remember employers, volunteer and research supervisors, and
coaches. We recommend against family friends and politicians unless
you have had a direct working relationship with them.
Whenever possible, ask for an evaluation in person. Give the
person you ask a chance to talk with you. Prepare a succinct
autobiographical statement to help the writer. In lieu of this you
might consider sharing your Career Interest Form or Personal
Comments section of the AMCAS application. Most people appreciate
this type of information and it generally improves your letter.
Please keep in mind that:
- We forward in full every evaluation we receive.
- Evaluations are written exclusively for submission to
admissions committees and may not be used for any other purpose.
- We will accept evaluations only directly from the writer.
- These evaluations should augment your academic record.
- The status of the writer is not as important as the content
of the evaluation.
- Request evaluations from those people who know you and your
- People who know you and like you will generally be glad to
write for you.
In accordance with the Family Rights to Privacy Act, students
have the right to read any evaluative materials sent out about them.
If you choose to have an open UCSB Health Professions Evaluation,
you may do so. However, we have found that many evaluators believe
that their letters should be considered confidential, and will only
write if you agree to waive your rights. In addition, you will need
to inform the medical schools whether or not yours is an open or
confidential file. Most students choose to waive their rights to see
the letters written on their behalf.
Evaluation forms are available in the Biology Advising Office
Bldg 478 rm 1124, as well as the Health Professions Advising Office.
All letters should be sent to the Health Professions Advising
Office, c/o College of Letters and Science, UC Santa Barbara, Santa
Barbara, CA 93106.
OUTLINE FOR AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
The autobiographical sketch assists the persons writing your
letters of evaluation in preparing their letter. It is not to be
confused with statements and essays you will be asked to prepare by
medical schools. You may use the following outline to prepare your
1. High School and personal background
b. high school
extracurricular and volunteer activities
honors and awards
course selection, advanced courses
2. University (academic)
a. course selection
b. academic load
c. bad quarter/semester
d. disciplinary history
e. grade trend
f. independent work, research
g. MCAT scores
3. University (extracurricular)
a. organized activities
b. hobbies, interests
d. work while attending school
e. summer activities (employment, research, study, travel)
f. what you have learned from your extracurricular pursuits
4. Exposure to health-related fields
a. volunteer experiences
c. special courses
d. familiarity with health issues
Give a BRIEF history of your interest in a career in medicine.
Which experiences have convinced you that medicine is an appropriate
career choice for you? Include discussion of leadership,
originality, creativity, time off from school, and any hardships you
may have encountered.
6. Anything else you would wish an admissions committee to know