The Med School Secondary Application

The second step in the medical school application process is completing the secondary application. Medical schools vary widely in their protocol for secondary applications. Some send a med school secondary application to every person who applies. In contrast, other medical schools conduct a preliminary screening process and only send secondaries to select applicants. Most schools require an additional fee to be submitted with the secondary application. Therefore, if your budget is limited, you may wish to carefully evaluate your chances of admission before completing the secondary essays for a particular school.

Purpose of the Med School Secondary Application

Medical schools use secondary essays to learn more about your  character and goals. The information collected from the secondary application is combined with the rest of the application, in order to present a complete and holistic view of the applicant. Ideally, a secondary essay should complement the other parts of the application seamlessly without any overlap. It is important for your medical school secondary essays to present you as a highly capable future physician.

Tip 1: Answer the Question

The most common error medical school applicants make on secondary applications is not answering the question. Medical schools provide very specific essay prompts. They expect you to write about what they ask. Therefore, make sure that your secondary application essay clearly and completely answers the question. Although it may seem simplistic, a great trick is to mirror the essay prompt in your response. For example, if a school asks “Why do you want to attend school x?”, you could respond by stating ‘I am interested in school x’s program because of ___’. Using the mirroring technique makes it very clear to the reader that you have answered the question that was asked. Another common error is neglecting to answer all of the question. If an essay prompt has multiple parts, make sure that you address each portion of the question.

Tip 2: Be Concise

Med school secondary application prompts typically have a word limit. However, you should aim to keep your essay as brief as possible. Admissions officers have limited time to review many applications. Therefore, they will appreciate your brevity. Do not litter your essays with flowery language or unnecessary descriptions. Stay with the facts and write a clear, succinct essay.

Tip 3: Be a Good Fit

Medical schools benefit when their students graduate from their programs, secure prestigious residency positions, and go on to have successful careers. Therefore, schools want  to admit students who will succeed in their programs. For this reason, they take great care to only admit people who are a good fit for their school.  Success in medical school depends on more than intelligence. Medical students need to be mature and self-motivated. It is a good idea to demonstrate that you have these skills in your secondary essay. In addition, medical schools differ in the types of  specialties that their graduates enter. Admissions officers look to admit applicants who have career goals that align with the school’s strengths.

Tip 4: Be Specific

You should be very clear about the claims you make in your med school secondary application. If you state that your dedication to community service will make you an ideal fit for a particular school, you must provide examples of your volunteer activities. Similarly, if you state that you are interested in a school because of the excellent programs they offer, you need to mention specific programs that appeal to you and state the reason why.

Tip 5: Be Timely

Most medical schools have rolling admissions. For this reason, there is a definite advantage to submitting your primary application early. This principle also applies to secondary applications. In general, you should aim to return your secondary essays within one week. In order to navigate this timeline, it is helpful to write your secondary essays in advance. If you do so, you will be able to return your med school secondary application in a timely manner.

Secondary applications for medical school are a crucial part of the application process. If you make use of the above tips, you will be on the right path to becoming a medical student.

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