Please note that this page reflects the opinions of the writers, and that what they "recommend" might not be the best decision for your particular situation. It is highly recommended that you also seek out other testimonies, etc. and make the most informed decision for yourself.

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Legal Disclaimer/Financial Disclosure:
1. We have no financial relationship or support to disclose. All organizations and products mentioned on this page are discussed based on our experiences and our discussion with other Pre-Med students. The organizations and the owners of the products did not contact or sponsor us to be promoted on this page.
2. Unless stated specifically, we do NOT have any endorsement or recommendation for any groups, companies, organizations, or products mentioned below.

Our Timelines and Experiences

​In this section, we will share with you our timelines and experiences, so you can learn a bit about us and get a sense of what activities we have done. Please do not use this as a checklist or a comparison for your own timeline. Everyone is different, as you will see below, and this is just to give you a general sense of how we have tackled our (seemingly limited) time at UCLA.


Year 1 Fall Quarter

  • Joined Student Government: sanctuary campus committee under the Academic Affairs Commission
  • Took Biochem (don’t do this your first quarter)
  • Took the biomedical research introductory course (5HA) and applied for the minor
  • Joined the UCLA transfer mentorship program as a mentee

Year 1 Winter Quarter

  • Joined the Biomedical Research Minor, and started searching online for PIs whose research I’m interested in
  • Joined the UMMA volunteer project, which allowed me to gain clinical experience at health fairs, as well as provide health education lessons for middle school children
  • Shadowed my primary care physician

Year 1 Spring Quarter

  • Joined a basic research lab
  • Joined Unicamp (so fun!!)
  • Helped launch a club on campus with my friends that provides ESL tutoring for the local Syrian refugee community
    • If there is something you would like to do on campus that is not being addressed, I highly encourage you to take the initiative and make it happen!
  • Applied for the Transfer Mentorship Program
  • Signed up for the MCAT


  • Studied for the MCAT and took it in mid-September

Year 2 Fall Quarter

  • Joined a second research laboratory to explore clinical research
  • Joined Student government as part of the transfer student representative office
  • Started volunteering at the transfer center
  • Became a transfer mentor

Year 2 Winter Quarter

  • Joined a soccer IM team
  • Became a site coordinator for SOS
  • Joined Unicamp, again!

Year 3 Spring Quarter

  • Joined a volleyball IM team
  • Presented my research at Neurology poster day and Undergraduate research poster day
  • Med School apps consumed my life (don’t wait until spring quarter to ask for letters of rec)

Gap year:

  • Part-time paid position at my research lab
  • Volunteering
  • Spending time with my parents and visiting my family back in Lebanon

Year 1 Fall Quarter

  • Joined a research lab
  • Applied and joined SCOPE Patients Health Advocate
  • Joined 3D4E
  • Applied for and became a Youth Advisor for American Red Cross Los Angeles Region (have lots of experience in Red Cross prior)
  • Took the biomedical research introductory course (5HA) and applied for the minor

Year 1 Winter Quarter

  • Joined the Biomedical Research Minor
  • Joined the American Red Cross at UCLA

Year 1 Spring Quarter

  • Started studying for the MCAT
  • Interned for SCOPE PHA and applied for a Coordinator position
  • Applied for a UCLA Red Cross board position
  • Applied to be a Transfer Mentor
  • Applied to MCDB Departmental Honors
  • Applied to URSP


  • Took the MCAT in July
  • Volunteered at an oncology summer camp for 2.5 weeks (had a blast!)
  • Took Summer Session C classes

Year 2 Fall Quarter

  • Became Vice President for American Red Cross at UCLA for the school year
  • Became Resource Coordinator for SCOPE PHA for the school year
  • Became a Transfer Mentor
  • Awarded URSP

Year 2 Winter Quarter

  • Joined IM basketball
  • Started shadowing an oncologist
  • Started training for a half-marathon
  • Slowly started medical school applications and gathering letters of evaluations
  • Presented research in Atlanta

Year 2 Spring Quarter

  • Applied to medical schools!
  • Continued to ask for recommendation letters
  • Ran a half-marathon as a potato
  • Presented at UCLA Research Poster Day and MCDB Poster Day
  • Presented research in Memphis

Gap year

  • Work full-time in my research laboratory as an SRA
  • Work part-time as a SAT/ACT tutor
  • Attend medical school interviews
  • Serve on the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles American Red Cross
  • Serve as a Project Manager in SCOPE PHA
  • Serve as a Youth Advisor for Red Cross

Our Failures

​Our timelines may seem intimidating as they only highlight our achievements. We believe that it is crucial for us to show you that like you, we struggled too. We have put together our list (not exhaustive) of failures to let you know that when a door closes, others could be opened, and that your road to medicine could absolutely withstand these small (in hindsight) roadblocks.

Labs that I did not get into:

  • Ke Shuai
  • Gottfried Konecny
  • Judith Gasson (she retired)
  • Hanna Mikkola
  • Christopher Denny

Volunteering opportunities I could not get:

  • UCLA Boyer Oncology Center
  • Hematology/Stem Cell Transplantation department in UCLA Medical Center
  • Pediatric Hematology Oncology department in UCLA Medical Center
  • Simms/Mann-UCLA Center
  • UCLA-LIVESTRONG Survivorship Center
  • UCLA EMRA (Emergency Medicine Research Associates)

Note: I could not volunteer at a cancer-related facility for the life of me, sigh.

Scholarships I did not get:

  • UCLA College Honors Scholarships
  • UCLA Undergraduate Research Fellows Program (URFP) (course conflict)

Internships I did not get:

  • SHEP Student Peer Health Education Internship

Classes I could not enroll in:

  • MCDB 168: Stem Cell Biology
  • Disability Studies 101W: Perspectives on Disability Studies
  • Honors Collegium 177: Biotechnology and Art
  • Honors Collegium M123: Philanthropy as Civic Engagement
  • Honors Collegium 105: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare

Labs I did not get into:

  • Elaine Hsiao (rejected two times)
  • Craig Fox (still hurts)
  • Naomi Eisenberger
  • Nanthia Susana
  • Avi Adhikari
  • Jerome Niquet
  • Raman Sankar

Internships I did not get:

  • Sustainable LA Grand Challenge Spring Internship
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory Summer Internship
  • UCLA Space Flight Laboratory
  • Talent Development and Innovation in Sciences
  • McGowan Institute For Regenerative Medicine Summer Internship
  • Vanderbilt Undergraduate Clinical Research Internship Program

Clubs I couldn’t join:

  • UCLA Men’s Soccer club
  • UCLA Men’s Ultimate club
  • Mobile Clinic Project

Classes I could not enroll in:

  • EEB M157: Biology of Superheroes