Guide to the Secondary Application for Medical School

Yet Another Hoop to Jump Through

Once you have submitted the primary application, you should have received an invitation to complete the secondary application. If you got an invitation, don’t pat yourself on the back just yet. Almost all applicants are invited to complete the secondaries. You must complete it before you are invited to interview with the school.

The secondary application is different among different schools. My personal feeling is that it is just another way for medical schools to get more money. Some secondaries are just questions to update them about your current status. Others ask for multiple essays. The essays are generally shorter in length, but the topics are different for each school. So it would be hard to re-use essays.

secondary application - jump for joy

If you are asked to fill out the secondary applications, don’t jump for joy yet. Everyone and its mothers are invited to complete it.

Varied Essay Topics for Each School

Here are a few essay topics for some of the schools I applied to in 2009, so you can get an idea of what could be asked of you:

Creighton University School of Medicine

  • Please state your reasons for applying to Creighton University School of Medicine.
  • Describe briefly any experiences and/or skills that have made you more sensitive or appreciative of other cultures or the human condition.

Loma Linda University School of Medicine

  • Describe yourself: (1,000 character limit).
  • If selected for an interview, what one life experience would you most like to talk about? (160 character limit).
  • Describe the extent and source of your knowledge of Loma Linda University (LLU) School of Medicine. (750 characters max).
  • What makes LLU School of Medicine particularly attractive to you? (750 characters max).
  • What traits make you a desirable candidate for admission to LLU School of Medicine? (750 characters max).
  • Loma Linda University is a Seventh-day Adventist institution. The curriculum integrates ethical and relational issues from a Christian perspective into the practice of medicine. Weekly chapel services are part of this program. How would this relate to your personal educational and career goals? (750 characters max).
  • As a Seventh-day Adventist institution, LLU has lifestyle expectations which include abstinence from alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs/substances in all forms while enrolled. During the past year, have you used any of these substances? If so, which ones? (250 characters max).
  • If you are accepted to LLU School of Medicine, are you willing to abide by the lifestyle policies of the university while enrolled? (250 characters max).

Morehouse School of Medicine

  • Type a statement setting forth the key motivational factors in your decision to apply to Morehouse and any information about yourself you feel would be of interest to the Committee on Admission in the consideration of your application. Please keep the response to about one page.

UMDNJ School of Osteopathic Medicine

  • Explain the process by which you decided that osteopathic medicine was right for you?
  • How does the osteopathic profession fit into your professional goals and values?

No Need to Over Scrutinize the Essays

If you applied to many schools, which is very likely to be the case, you will be spending a massive amount of time on secondary applications. With the amount of essays, there is no need to do revisions after revisions. And since most of the essays are short, just write it out in Microsoft Word (or any other software with spell check) and have someone review it.

It doesn’t hurt to refer back to your primary application to make sure there are no discrepancies between the two applications.

Most Important Advice Regarding the Secondary Applications

Remember, the secondary applications should be done by the end of August at the latest. You want that early interview and that early acceptance.

This article is part of the Get into Medical School series. Click on the link if you want more tips and hints about getting accepted into medical school.

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