Secondary Essays: Completing the Jigsaw Puzzle
Most medical schools to which you submitted your primary application AMCAS will send you their school-specific secondary applications that usually require you to write additional essays. This process is incredibly grueling, much more so than writing your medical school personal statement or completing your AMCAS Work and Activities section.
While secondary essay prompts vary in length and topic, there are two pieces of good news:. Moreover, you can pre-write recurring essays using our medical school secondary essay prompts database. For example, if you're writing an essay for Tufts, be careful not to mistakenly leave in "Emory" if you're recycling your Emory essay for Tufts.
Although you should aim to submit your secondary applications as soon as possible to take advantage of rolling admissions, never sacrifice essay quality to do so. In my experience working with many medical school applicants, the following three—with varying prompts—come up most often:.
Challenge essay e. Then, I will offer fresh ways to write each one, as well as strong samples from students who got into prestigious medical schools.
Thank you! Your guide is on its way. You can also learn more about our 1-on-1 medical school admissions support here. How will you contribute to the diversity of your medical school class and to the medical community in general? Please discuss how such factors have influenced your goals and preparation for a career in medicine. Is this just for show? Medicine—and other health care fields—are most effectively practiced when clinicians are able to understand and respect whomever is seeking service, regardless of their backgrounds.
Thus, having a diverse student body creates a stimulating learning environment that incorporates multiple perspectives. The awareness that patients have diverse health beliefs, practices, and needs. The effort and willingness to incorporate these differences to provide effective care that fits patients' contexts. Believing you know everything about a particular group of people—including your own—and therefore knowing exactly how to treat them.
Having to learn everything about a particular group of people before you are able to effectively treat them. Moving past this notion will expand your thinking and options for choosing a compelling topic many fold.
Diversity can refer to anything that makes you unique or interesting, including:. Unique experiences e. Visions and goals e. Think about why diversity is interesting in the first place: everyone is different. If you do want to focus on ethnocultural and socioeconomic diversity, strong essay topics include:. Extracurricular activitiespursuits, or organizations committed to diversity and social justice issues. Demonstration of multicultural competence during patient interactions.
I hear this most often from students of various Asian backgrounds who feel their demographic is so well represented in medicine that they cannot make a case for their uniqueness as a medical school applicant.
However, given Asia's many countries and races, cultures, subcultures, languages, religions, and philosophies across and within countries, there's probably a ton you could write about.
Different cultural views on health care and how both can be valuable for treating patients. Regardless of the topic you choose, as with all essays, make sure to link it back to your identity and experience by answering these questions:. How do you plan to apply these lessons throughout your education and career? Quite the opposite. The best essays are those that are written honestly about who you are and your actual perspectives and interactions with diverse individuals.
There are many things a girl could be self-conscious about growing up, such as facial hair, body odor, or weight gain. Growing up with a few extra pounds than my peers, I was usually chosen last for team sports and struggled to run a minute mile during P.
As I started to despise school athletics, I turned towards other hobbies, such as cooking and Armenian dance, which helped me start anew with a healthier lifestyle. I appreciate not only being able to bring together a range of people, varying in age, socioeconomic status, and ethnicity, but also helping instill a sense of confidence and excitement that comes with making better lifestyle decisions.
I have enjoyed encouraging kids in the inner city to combat similar issues of weight gain and low self-esteem through after-school gardening and physical activity lessons. Now, I hope to share my love for culinary nutrition and fitness with fellow medical students at UCLA.
As students, we can become better physicians by passing on health and nutrition information to future patients, improving quality of life for ourselves and others. In your response, identify both the coping skills you called upon to resolve the dilemma, and the support person s from whom you sought advice. Medical school admissions committees ask about adversity simply to understand how you respond to difficult situations.
There are multiple ways to approach adversity essay prompts, including writing about:. Relatable life events e. Situations beyond your control e. I get it. Medical school admission is a high supporting statement template process, and you want to stand out in every part of your application.
It's your thoughtfulness and handling of those challenges that will set you apart. To make this process easier, I ask my students to create the following list of challenges to help them choose a strong topic I've used a common topic as an example :.
Challenge: Difficult academic adjustment from high school to college with corresponding drop in confidence and drive, as well as questioning fitness for medicine.
Response: Acknowledged poor study habits and corrected them, humbly asked for help from faculty and classmates. Result: Sustained improvement in study habits and grades, developed mentorships with all college application essays. Lesson: No shame in asking for guidance and help, better to strengthen weakness than rely on false confidence.
Transparency about your hardships and honesty about your growth help to write great essays. I named my one-year-old beagle Fitch, after my favorite clothing store. That fact recurred through my mind as I shouted her name for hours at the break of dawn, wondering how I left the door open and where she could have gone. Was she attacked by roaming bands of coyotes? Killed in a hit-and-run? Lost in the desert mountains? Yet, my mother admonished me to not let guilt interfere with my judgments and to reach out for help.
Therefore, I enlisted the support of the community, including friends, fellow dog owners, and neighbors, some of whom I had never met before, to find my pudgy, spotted beagle.
Over the next two days, this dedicated group helped me create flyers to post in nearby parks, organize teams for day and night searches, and send neighborhood-wide emails.
Finally, on the third day, a biker found Fitch behind a dumpster, shivering beneath a pile of debris and branches. Consider why admissions committees want you to answer this question. By integrating your qualities, experiences, and aspirations with their specific mission, programs, and resources, you will have a unique opportunity to demonstrate "fit" in your application.
In addition, [resources] provide support to help students reach their potential. You should be able to see how this essay says nothing about why YOU want to go to their school. Then, consider:. For example, if a school focuses a lot on community service and you have similar experiences, mention that. In addition, let the school know how you want to further focus your skills while there. On the other hand, if you have a more research heavy background and are applying to the same school, you could either focus on research or discuss how community service will make you a more well-rounded physician.
The more specific you can be, the better. To really impress admissions committees, you could integrate information from current students or recent alumni into your response.
Ask these individuals whether they would be willing to share their experiences attending a particular school, and also whether you would be a good fit there given your background and goals. How do you find these people?
The easiest people to contact are those you know personally or through a mutual acquaintance. While this requires additional work, it will be well worth it for your top school preferences.
If you have to contact a stranger, use the following email template:. I hope this email finds you well. I'd really appreciate it if you would spare minutes to answer quick questions in the upcoming days.
If so, please let me know some days and times that are most convenient for you, your time zone, and the best number to reach you. Thanks for your time and consideration. Looking forward to hearing from you soon! For example, I used to believe that illnesses were just a set of tangible symptoms that resulted solely from maladaptive genes. However, after working closely with families in Boston's inner city, I have come to realize how racial, physical, and social factors, such as a lack of access to fresh produce or primary health services, can influence the likelihood of disease.
As I obtained a broader understanding of the many factors that contribute to health, I find myself asking new questions and wanting to learn more. How can an understanding of sociocultural factors be used to heal current patients and prevent new ones? I believe that the answers to these questions and others will come from the Community Health Program at the University of Washington UW. Having can someone write my essay with a range of Boston families, varying in age, socioeconomic essay writing for english tests, and ethnicity, I have improved my sense of self-awareness and cultural sensitivity, attributes I hope to continue developing with the surrounding Seattle community.
I am confident that UW and the Community Health Program can further prepare me to be a physician who not only improves the lives of individual patients, but also addresses the needs of secondary essay examples communities. Nevertheless, you should give yourself some breaks to recharge so that you never rush submissions for the sake of rolling admissions and sacrifice quality. Like every other piece of written material you submit, aim not only to answer the prompt, but also to give admissions committees deeper insights into what makes YOU so great for their school specifically.
Below is a list of the most frequently asked questions FAQ I receive about medical school secondary essays that are not answered in this article. I encourage you to ask any other questions you have about secondary essays in the Comments section below. Answer: Once you certify and submit your primary application and AMCAS receives your official transcripts, they begin verifying your application.
You will receive your secondary applications after AMCAS completes verification and releases your primary applications to medical schools.
Secondary Essays: Completing the Jigsaw Puzzle
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Jul 20, - In my experience working with many medical school applicants, the following three—with varying prompts—come up most often: Diversity essay. Challenge essay (e.g., "Describe a significant challenge you overcame and what you learned from it.") "Why us?" essay (e.g., "Why do you hope to attend [our school]?"). Secondary essays are a crucial part of your medical school application. As long as your application is in by the deadline, you're just as good as everybody. Several common secondary essay topics that are listed below. . Remember, good secondary essays can.