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A Quick and Dirty Guide to Approaching Medical School Secondary ApplicationsSahil Mehta MD - MedSchoolCoach It is time for medical school secondary applications. Honestly, if you thought the primary application was difficult, wait till you tackle these beasts. Here are the major problems people have:
- Way too many of them! Medical schools all of a sudden inundate you with applications all at one time. You are now looking at a stack of 20 applications, each with 1-6 essays on them.
- Generic questions like “why do you want to come here?” You will feel like saying, cause it’s a medical school! Why else?! Then you will start writing the responses and inevitably copy information from the school's website. At this point, you may feel as though everyone is doing the same thing.
- Repeat questions like “tell us about your most important activities.” You may think did I not just do that on my AMCAS? Why am I doing that again?!
- Turnaround time: You want to get a secondary back to a school within a max of 4 weeks of them sending it to you, but ideally 2-3 weeks.
- Perfection: because of the above turnaround time, perfection is harder to achieve on secondaries than on your primary where you had weeks to prepare. While it is still totally UNACCEPTABLE to make spelling or grammatical mistakes, it may be more acceptable to not write a Shakespearean piece for each of the essays.
- Instructions: make sure to follow a school's instructions. If they say LIST, just list with a few words, do not give them long paragraphs. If they say x characters, stick to it.
- What is your most important relationship? Who is the most influential person in your life?
- Most important activity
- Why do you want to come to school X?
- Long term goals
- Diversity. What do you add to the class?
- Describe a challenge you have overcome
- Keep it interesting. Boring writing gets looked over.
- Relate what you are saying back to things you have done or genuinely want to do.
- Follow instructions.