The California University of Science and Medicine is one of many excellent medical schools in California. With an acceptance rate just over 2%, it is also one of the most selective medical schools out there. Getting into CUSM School of Medicine requires academic excellence and a strong history of clinical experience, research experience and service to the community. In this blog, we’ll explore the admissions statistics, selection factors, application timeline and components, and everything you need to know to get accepted!
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“To advance the art and science of medicine through innovative medical education, research, and compassionate healthcare delivery in an inclusive environment that advocates critical thinking, creativity, integrity, and professionalism.”
- Overall acceptance rate: 2.4%
- In-state acceptance rate: 3.2%
- Out-of-state acceptance rate: 0.13%
- Median GPA accepted: 3.73, science GPA 3.68
- Median MCAT accepted: 513
% of Applicants with clinical, volunteer and research experience
At this time, the California University of Science and Medicine School of Medicine (CUSM) does not accept international students who are not permanent residents or US citizens. This includes Canadian applicants, so CUSM is not considered a Canadian-friendly med school.
The majority of applicants accepted to CUSM are from California, and although the out-of-state acceptance rate is very low, the school does accept out-of-state applicants. Since there are no additional requirements or higher academic thresholds for out-of-state applicants, CUSM is considered one of the out-of-state friendly medical schools, although it is still quite competitive to get into.
CUSM School of Medicine’s core values center on community, leadership and diversity. Applicants who demonstrate high academic standards with their GPA and MCAT score, as well as a passion for community building and diversity through volunteer work will be more likely to be accepted.
We’ve included CUSM’s core values and their definitions below so you can start brainstorming which experiences you have tie into these values:
Here's a quick guide to the AMCAS application:
MCAT and GPA
CUSM has a minimum undergraduate GPA requirement of 3.0 or above, as well as a science GPA requirement of 3.0 or above.
For MCAT scores, the school looks the last three years of scores visible, so if you’ve retaken the MCAT, all your scores from the past three years will be visible. A minimum MCAT score of 506 is preferred, and your score cannot be more than 3 years old at the time of applying.
Since the academic medical school requirements for CUSM are relatively high, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself well before you apply to CUSM if this is your target school. If your GPA is too low, your chances of getting in will be diminished, so check out some strategies for how to get into med school with a low GPA. If you’re struggling with studying for the MCAT or achieving a high enough score, consider hiring an MCAT tutor or enrolling in an MCAT prep course.
Coursework and Prerequisites
CUSM is one of the medical schools without prerequisites, so applicants don’t need to worry about taking a preset list of courses. CUSM does provide a list of recommended courses the school believes students will need to succeed in medical school:
- Behavioral Science
- Biology, with lab
- College English
- General Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Molecular Biology
- Organic Chemistry
The option to choose your courses from this recommended list can work in your favor if your GPA is too low. For instance, if there is a particular course where you would struggle you can choose another course where you excel in order to boost your GPA and meet the minimum requirement.
Similarly, if you don’t have a science background or science-related undergraduate degree, you can still get accepted to CUSM and ace the MCAT. Around 72% of accepted students at CUSM have a science background or related undergraduate degree. So while academic excellence is important at CUSM, it is not a requirement to have an extensive science background.
CUSM med students with science backgrounds
If you want to expand your science coursework to help you ace the MCAT, or you’re wondering if a graduate degree will boost your chances of medical school acceptance to a competitive school like CUSM, there are options. While only 12% of students at CUSM have a graduate degree, you can look at post-bacc programs for premeds to improve your science-related coursework or science GPA, and to help you prepare to take the MCAT.
CUSM med students with graduate degrees
Shadowing and Clinical Hours
CUSM does not have required shadowing hours, but it is highly recommended that students learn how to ask to shadow a doctor and gain some clinical observation experience before applying. You can find excellent shadowing programs for premed students or pursue some virtual shadowing experiences to help round out your application.
Clinical work experience is also highly recommended when applying to CUSM. Clinical experience is highly valued by medical schools as it shows you have a passion for medicine and that you have a deeper understanding of the profession. It’s also one of the best ways to start building your professional skills and show the admissions committee you align with their core values. If you have clinical experience working with diverse or underserved populations, your application will be especially welcome at CUSM, where a majority of accepted applicants have both shadowing and clinical experience.
If you’re not sure how to find premed jobs for medical school, check out some of the best companies for premeds to get started.
AMCAS Work and Activities
Your AMCAS work and activities section is your opportunity to showcase how you represent CUSM’s core values. Your volunteer hours for medical school, any clinical work experience you have and your extracurriculars should demonstrate your leadership, diversity and focus on community.
In your AMCAS most meaningful experiences section, it is vitally important to highlight these types of experiences and how they have shaped you as a future physician. For example, if you’ve volunteered in rural or underserved communities, particularly in a healthcare capacity, include this in your most meaningful experiences. Have you participated in leadership projects or won any leadership awards? Have you spearheaded any diversity initiatives during your undergraduate years or joined any related clubs? Do you have research experience? What have you learned from it? Think about how these experiences influenced you, helped you grow personally or professionally, and how they have prepared you to become a doctor.
Here's a quick guide to your AMCAS Work and Activities section:
Your AMCAS personal statement is just as important as having a high GPA and MCAT score. Just like in your most meaningful experiences, dig deep and reflect on what has led you to apply to medical school and why you want to study at CUSM especially.
CUSM is looking for students who have a passion for working with diverse populations, demonstrate strong leadership qualities and professional excellence. Touch on some of the experiences you list in your work and activities section, but do not restate this section or list items from your CV. Use your personal statement to weave a narrative and self-reflect on what choices and experiences have led you to medical school.
Something else CUSM emphasizes is service work and research, and this is something you can include in your personal statement. Discuss any research experience you have, and how it helped you build your professional skills or sparked an interest in the field of medicine. If you’ve done any service work, write about the impact it had on you and what it allowed you to accomplish.
Choose 2 or 3 key experiences from your life to highlight in your personal statement, focusing on any that relate to CUSM’s core values.
Medical school secondary essays allow you to expand on your application and stand out from the crowd. Considering how competitive CUSM can be, writing stellar secondary essays is important. The secondary essay prompts from CUSM are:
- Have you ever been exposed to long periods of significant stress in your life (months at a time)? Even if you haven’t if you were to encounter such a challenge, how would, or did you, cope with it.
- Sometimes it is necessary to work in unsettled or rapidly changing circumstances. When have you found yourself in this position? Tell us exactly what you did.
- If you were working on a small group project and you thought that another student wasn’t meeting his/her responsibility, how would you feel about this situation and how would you handle it?
- If given the opportunity to attend medical school where would you see yourself in ten years?
- Diversity comes in many forms. How do you think you might contribute to the diversity of the class?
As we can see, the CUSM secondary essay prompts relate to the school’s core values of motivation, accountability, excellence and diversity. These questions are designed to evaluate your motivation for getting a medical degree and whether you are sufficiently prepared for the rigors and stressors of medical school. The admissions committee also wants to know if you have a sense of ethical responsibility and accountability, and whether you can handle difficult situations. Keep the core values of CUSM School of Medicine in mind when brainstorming your secondary essays and be sure to address the prompt completely in your short essays.
CUSM requires 3 medical school recommendation letters. The school accepts individual letters as well as committee letters from a pre-health advisory committee. It’s recommended that at least one of the letters is from an MD or DO.
Based on CUSM’s values and requirements, it’s a good idea to approach any doctors you’ve shadowed, your clinical supervisors, research supervisors and any science faculty members with whom you have a good rapport to write your recommendation letters. These individuals should have the most experience with your work ethic, professionalism and academic abilities. Ask for letters from teachers or supervisors who you have worked with extensively, as these will produce stronger references for you. If possible, get a letter pack from your university’s pre-health advisory committee as well.
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Medical school interviews at CUSM School of Medicine are either virtual interviews or held on campus with traditional panel format.
After getting through the primary application and secondary application, this is your final hurdle before acceptance, so effective medical school interview preparation is vital. Use a mock med school interview to practice with the most common med school interview questions and get comfortable with a traditional interview format. The interview will be your last opportunity to stand out and impress the admissions committee, so you need strong answers to common questions like “why do you want to become a doctor” and why you chose CUSM.
You can expect to be asked similar questions you encountered in your secondary application and other questions designed to get to know you better. Again, avoid restating your CV or relisting your work and activities section. Share experiences you didn’t include in your initial application or expand on the experiences you previously listed in your interview.
Acceptance and Waitlist Information
When do you hear back from medical schools for interviews? CUSM typically sends interview invitations around 3 weeks after your primary application is submitted. Once admission decisions are made, offers of acceptance or waitlist notifications are sent by mail within 2 weeks.
The earliest acceptance notices are usually sent out in early October for the Early Decision Program. If you are placed on the medical school waitlist, you may not hear back from the school until July, once admissions decisions are finalized.
Your medical school application timeline will typically depend on the official deadlines of the application service you’re using—in this case, the AMCAS system. Below, we’ve listed some important dates and deadlines for CUSM and AMCAS you need to know.
Tuition and Funding Opportunities
The medical school tuition at California University of Science and Medicine is $66,687. The total cost of attending CUSM for a year is $99,655.
Around 84% of students at CUSM receive financial aid to help them pay their tuition and fees. CUSM has several options for financial aid and loans for students, or you can check out medical school scholarships to help you pay for your education.
Residency Match Rates
CUSM is one of the medical schools with the best match rates for residency, boasting a 100% match rate for its graduates the last several years in a row.
Residency match rate for CUSM graduates
Here are the top medical specialties graduates from CUSM go into:
- Emergency Medicine – 16%
- Internal Medicine – 32%
- Orthopedic Surgery – 5%
- Psychiatry – 21%
- Surgery General – 7%
The first and second year at CUSM, students engage in 18 integrated courses and clinical presentations, including one foundational course, 10 system-based courses and 6 longitudinal courses to help develop clinical skills, research skills and professional development. Students also enroll in one board preparation course. Students at CUSM are introduced to clinical sciences in their first year, and progress to clinical rotations in their third and fourth years, with options to study at CUSM’s affiliated hospitals and health centers.
CUSM uses a “flipped classroom” model, meaning students have access to pre-class material online before they attend lectures so they can take responsibility for their own learning and come to class prepared to participate in discussions and presentations.
Affiliated Teaching Hospitals
The California University of Science and Medicine is affiliated with the Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, which is the school’s primary teaching hospital partnership. However, CUSM is currently expanding its clinical affiliate network to include the following centers:
- St. Bernardine’s Medical Center
- Temecula Valley Hospital
- Rancho Springs Medical Center
- Inland Valley Medical Center
- Chino Valley Medical Center
- Desert Valley Hospital
- San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health
- Walter Reed Hospital
- Loma Linda Veterans Affairs Medical Center
- Montclair Hospital Medical Center
Students can also take electives in locations outside California, throughout the US or internationally with visiting student learning opportunities.
Here's how we helped Morgan get into her top medical school!
Student Research Opportunities
Premed research is a must for the CUSM application and student is an important part of CUSM School of Medicine’s curriculum. First-year medical students can enroll in the CUSM 7-week summer student research program or volunteer for a research project at the school. Before applying to CUSM, check out any premed research opportunities to gain some foundational research experience.
Address: 1501 Violet Street, Colton, CA 92324
Phone: (909) 490-5910
Email: [email protected]
1. What is the easiest medical school to get into in California?
The easiest medical school to get into in California is the Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine, which has comparatively lower GPA and MCAT requirements. The school also has a slightly higher acceptance rate than other medical schools in California.
2. What is the average GPA required for CUSM medical school?
The median accepted GPA at CUSM medical school is 3.73. The school also has a minimum required cumulative GPA and science GPA of 3.0.
3. What is the average MCAT for California University of Science and Medicine?
The median accepted MCAT score at CUSM is 513.
4. Is it hard to get into CUSM med school?
Getting accepted to CUSM School of Medicine is competitive, given its relatively low acceptance rate and high academic requirements. The school receives a large number of applications, particularly in-state.
5. How can I get into CUSM School of Medicine?
To get into CUSM School of Medicine, you should aim to have a GPA above 3.0, a competitive MCAT score, and a strong AMCAS application. CUSM values diversity, community service, leadership and academic and professional excellence. It’s also recommended to have at least some shadowing and clinical experience.
6. Does CUSM School of Medicine require CASPer?
No, the CUSM School of Medicine is one of the medical schools that do not require CASPer.
7. What interview format does California University of Science and Medicine use?
CUSM prefers virtual interviews for its applicants, but interviews may also be schedule in-person using a traditional panel format.
8. Is CUSM fully accredited?
Yes. Founded in 2015, the California University of Science and Medicine is fully accredited.
To your success,
Your friends at BeMo
BeMo Academic Consulting
Disclaimer: BeMo does not endorse or affiliate with any universities, colleges, or official test administrators. The content has been developed based on the most recent publicly available data provided from the official university website. However, you should always check the statistics/requirements with the official school website for the most up to date information. You are responsible for your own results.
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