Four tips for writing great secondary applications to medical schools
You have already finished all of your pre-med requirements and sent in your primary application. The only thing left between you and that ever so sweet interview at your dream medical school is the secondary application. You are so close to getting interviewed and potentially accepted! So how do you make the most out of your secondary application and not mess it up?
1. Keep your answers professional
Just because you are so close to getting invited to that interview does not mean that you can stop being professional. Some of the essay questions you may be asked in a secondary application could include questions that ask about your personal life or how you can contribute to their school. Don’t try to make any jokes, even if it is in good humor, or do anything that makes you seem like you are not taking your secondary application completely serious. Your best chance as an applicant comes when you present yourself as a professional and very serious about pursuing a career in medicine. Absolutely do not come across as if you are not taking the questions seriously.
2. Try to max out the character limit for your essay responses
Writing a lot in each of your essay questions shows that you spent time coming up with your response and that you put thought into it. In general, it will always look better if you have an essay that reaches the character limit than a response to the essay prompt that is only three sentences long. This does not mean to fill your answers with fluff to just make it longer. Instead, spend some extra time and think about personal examples that relate to the essay prompt. You can go into extra detail about how meaningful it was to you. Of course you do not have to max out the character limit for your responses, but just try to do your best to write as much quality content as you can. At the very least make sure you have at least a solid paragraph for each answer. You don’t want to be judged for writing too little, so make sure to avoid this easy mistake!
3. Make your answers personal
This is the difference between the average and mediocre essay response and the high-quality ones. The people who can relate each essay response with real experiences they have had always do the best. Do not give generic answers that sound like they could have been written by anyone. Your answers should be one that no one else could replicate because it comes from your personal experiences and reasons that have motivated you to pursue a career in medicine. Everyone has different experiences and reasons that have motivated them to pursue this path. Focus your essays on identifying these. The more genuine and personal you can make your responses the more you will stand out as an applicant who is serious. Don’t tell people why you would be a great physician. Show them why you would be by giving personal reasons and experiences.
4. Make your answers specific to that school whenever possible
This is a great way to set yourself apart from most of the other applicants. A lot of applicants will come up with a generic answer to common medical school essay prompts and then send that exact same answer to every school. The result is that every school gets some generic answer that looks like it was sent to 20 other schools! You need to take the time to write a different answer to every medical school! Even if they ask the exact same essay questions. If you can relate your answer to why that specific medical school would be a good fit for you then those schools will take you much more seriously as an applicant. Giving specific reasons why that medical school is the perfect match for you and how aspects of its curriculum serve your need as a medical student shows you have done your research and you are serious about their school.
I hope these tips helped! Remember, make sure you spend all the time you need to make your secondary applications count. You are so close to getting interviewed and accepted. Be professional in your responses, write as much as you can, and relate your answers to personal experiences and the medical school you are applying to. If you take the time to make a rock-solid application you will surely get those interview invitations!