You might have two huge misconception about the medical school secondary application.
- Misconception #1: Because it comes later, the secondary application isn’t time-sensitive or as crucial as your primary application
- Misconception #2: Medical school secondaries are “just for the money”
Avoid Secondary Application Burnout
The idea that your secondary applications aren’t that important is born from application burnout: “I’m burnt out from the primary application so I’ll take a break before I start the secondaries.”
You’re competing against thousands of other competitive premeds, so every bit of effort you put into your secondaries improves your chances. And once you know the trick to writing secondary essays, it really doesn’t take all that much time to finish them.
The Secondary Application Should Enhance Your Primary
Here’s the line of thought that sabotages premeds every year: “I’ve already laid it all out in my primary application, so there’s really not anything more to say. I talked about my motivation to medicine in my personal statement and I described all of my experiences in the experience description area of AMCAS. I have nothing else to write about.”
And so you repeat what you wrote in your personal statement and repeat your experiences, without enhancing the idea or giving any new insight. Now your secondaries are repetitive and boring. Uh oh.
Think of your primary application — your personal statement and experience descriptions — as your way of introducing yourself to medical schools, and think of your secondaries as the supporting evidence to your introduction.
In your primary app you introduced your motivation to medicine, and in your secondaries you provide further evidence that supports and enhances that introduction.
For example, if your personal statement introduces the idea that “I have a love of medical research,” your secondary reinforces that idea with a new story or a new insight about love of research. Don’t re-tell the same story you told in your personal statement, enhance it and expand upon it with new material.
The Best Way to Write Secondaries
• Give new details
• Tell new stories
• Say more about your core motivation to medicine
Enhance, improve, and magnify your primary application and your secondaries will be better than your competition.