HIGH AIMS provides academic, career and mentoring support to AAP students who are interested in gaining admission to health profession school. It is also designed to provide them with effective strategies to be successful in gateway science courses. It is a cohort program that will admit and support students for two years. Students must be in their first or second undergraduate year. Students will be required to participate in internships, research, Saturday Career seminars, program meetings, community service activities and workshops. HIGH AIMS is administered by the Academic Advancement Program’s (AAP) Office of Graduate Mentoring and Research Programs.


  • Dr. Edmond Hewlett, Professor

    Associate Dean of Outreach and Diversity
    UCLA School of Dentistry

  • Ms. Emma Ledesma

    Administrative Director, UCLA PRIME
    David Geffen School of Medicine

  • Dr. Kenrik Duru

    Associate Professor in Residence
    David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

  • Dr. Vicki Mays, Professor

    Department of Health Services
    UCLA School of Public Health
    Special Advisor to the Chancellor on Black Life

  • Dr. Elizabeth Yzquierdo

    Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
    UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

  • Dr. Gerardo Moreno

    David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

  • Dr. Nancy Reifel

    Associate Professor
    UCLA School of Dentistry

  • Dr. Vicki Mays, Professor

    Department of Health Services
    UCLA School of Public Health
    Special Advisor to the Chancellor on Black Life

Application Form

Please apply using the High Aims Application Form.

In order to apply to be a member of High Aims please review the prerequisites, eligibility criteria, and program requirements found below. The Application Deadline is May 1st, 2022 at 11:59 PM.

Program Prerequisites

Students seeking entry into the program must have completed two science gateway classes with a 2.5 average in all science courses and be currently in their first or second undergraduate year, with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher. They also must have a demonstrated interest in the health professions and in learning about health care issues and health disparities.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. A demonstrated interest in the health sciences as evidenced by volunteer, observation, or career exploration experiences
  2. A minimum overall and science GPA of 2.5
  3. Completed at least two “gateway science courses” (life science, chemistry, physics, math, etc.)
  4. Complete the online application
  5. Submit one PDF of your most recent transcript
  6. Submit two letters of recommendation – one from a science professor/TA and one from a counselor/employer
  7. Submit a PDF of your current financial award letter for award year 2022-2023.
  8. Write an essay describing why you want to be in the program and how they would address issues of health disparities
  9. Be interviewed by HIGH AIMS staff and faculty
  10. Students from disadvantaged and historically underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply

Program Requirements

Students selected to participate in HIGH AIMS must adhere to the following:

  1. Sign an agreement committing to the two year program and following all rules and expectations of the program
  2. Maintain at least a 3.0 GPA in all classes
  3. Participate in internships
  4. Attend regular meetings of HIGH AIMS staff and students
  5. Attend all academic and peer learning sessions
  6. Meet with assigned academic counselor twice each quarter to develop an academic plan and timetable for applying to a health profession school
  7. Attend HIGH AIMS workshops and monthly Saturday Career Information Sessions
  8. Participate in research with a UCLA faculty member or assigned mentor for at least one quarter
  9. Adhere to and meet all program deadlines

Note: Qualifying students will also be scheduled for an interview after applications are reviewed.

First and second year students are encouraged to apply.

For More Information

There is currently one upcoming Information Session being conducted virtually through Zoom (Zoom ID: 263 359 4674) for those seeking more information about applying to High AIMS. The date is as follows:

  • Tuesday, April 19th,
    11AM – 12PM

For any questions or concerns, please contact High AIMS Intern Samantha Siordia through email: ssiordia@college.ucla.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to be an AAP student to apply?

For the letter of recommendation from a TA/professor, can a research mentor/PI letter of rec replace it?

  • Yes, if they can speak to your academic ability/experiences.

For the letter of recommendation from a counselor, can it be someone who is a mentor such as a person in graduate school or a counselor from high school?

  • Yes, please consider who can write you the strongest letter and speak to your ability to succeed in a program like High AIMS at UCLA.

Would a professor be better over a TA/PLF that knows my “academic” side much more?

  • A professor or TA’s letter of recommendation is fine; whoever is best positioned to give you the strongest letter of recommendation and knows you better is who you should consider asking. A professor or TA is preferred compared to a Peer Learning Facilitator.

Does the professor/ TA have to be from a class/section you were in? Does their name have to show up as the instructor on a previous class?

  • They need to be someone who is able to speak to your academic experiences or potential.

Is a high school teacher that I have known for 4 years sufficient for the “counselor” letter of rec?

  • Yes, a counselor or a teacher.

Does the letter of rec have to be from a science course or can it be from a math course since it is technically STEM?

  • Math or any STEM field is fine.

To whom should recommenders address their letter of recommendation?

  • They can address their letter to the “High AIMS Admissions Committee” and email the letter directly to High AIMS intern, Samantha Siordia (ssiordia@college.ucla.edu).

Could our two LoR be from two Professors/ TA’s?

  • At least one LOR needs to be from a Professor/TA and the second LOR should be from a counselor, employer, or advisor.

How do we find our science GPA?

  • An academic counselor or peer counselor can help you calculate this. See Registrar Information on how to calculate GPAs by clicking here.

Are there any guidelines for the letter of rec we can give our recommender?

  • You should provide the recommender information about High AIMS as a program and maybe your application materials so that they can highlight your academic and personal attributes that you think would make you stand out in a pool of students interested in pre-health professions. It is helpful for you to provide them more information about High AIMS as a program and why you are applying.

If the program is 3 years long, but we are currently 2nd year students, are we still eligible to apply?

  • High AIMS is a two- to three-year long program. If you apply during your first year, you will participate for three years. If you apply in your second year, you will participate for two years.

Is High AIMS looking for applicants with previous healthcare/clinical experience or people who have not yet had such experience?

  • You do not need to have prior experience with healthcare/clinical experience as long as you can demonstrate a passion and interest in healthcare through your application.

Does having a 2.5 GPA limit my chances of getting accepted into the program?

  • No, as long as you meet the minimum GPA requirement and ensure that you put together a strong application. The goal of this program is to support you.

FAQs Video

Letters of Rec

Application Questions

High Aims Graduate Mentor Video Bios