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Last Updated: 03/18/15

Medical School Secondary Application Essays

Here we’ll discuss the medical school secondary application and how to write impressive secondary application essays.

What is a Medical School Secondary Application?

One you submit your primary AMCAS application (read more about AMCAS), you’ll start receiving secondary applications from the medical school’s you’ve applied to. Most secondary applications consist of a few essay questions. Secondary applications are the medical school’s way of requesting more information from you that is specific to their school. Therefore, you should research the medical school sending you the application and tailor your responses to that school. You should try to submit your secondary applications as quickly as you can once you receive them. One way to do this is to research what questions the schools you applied to typically ask so you can start writing essays before you receive the application. This information is sometimes available on google.

How to Write an Effective Secondary Application Essay

Since the essay questions vary so much from school to school, it is nearly impossible to give specific advice on writing an essay response. However, many of the same rules of writing a personal statement apply to secondary application essays (read more about personal statements here). The difference is you should tailor your responses to the individual medical school you are applying to.

Do your research! Is the school focused on research or primary care (or a mix)? What is the curriculum like? What hospitals is the school affiliated with? What does their match list look like? Is it a newer school or is it rich in tradition? Does the school have any special interests, such as serving the elderly? These are all things you should keep in mind when writing your responses. Among the most important things you can do on a secondary application is convincing the admissions staff that you’ve done your research and that you’ll actually attend the school if accepted. They don't want to waste time and resources interviewing you if they don't think you'll actually end up at their school. This means you must use these essays to convince them that your values are in line with theirs. You should also use any personal connections you have to the school or area to your advantage. If you're a student who's lived in Minnesota your whole life applying to a Florida school, explain why. Maybe you have family that lives there or some other connection that makes sense. If you can do this effectively, you have a good chance of landing an interview.

The Bottom Line on Medical School Secondary Application Essays

Medical school secondary applications are a constant struggle because of the sheer volume and time constraints you’re under. Our best advice is to complete the essays as soon as you possibly can once you receive them. Try to make the time to write them quickly yet thoughtfully and without sacrificing quality under the time limit.