I had an interesting phone call from a student yesterday. He asked, “How should you choose which medical school secondary applications to work on first?” So I thought I’d write up a little summary.
How to Think About Medical School Secondaries
I’m going to start with a little comparison. The medical school application process is a lot like online dating.
Step 1: Write up your dating profile. Equivalent for medical school admissions: Write up your AMCAS / primary application
Step 2: Receive inquiries from potential dating partners. Equivalent for med admissions: Get secondary applications.
Step 3: Have an initial phone chat or quick coffee date. Equivalent for pre-meds: Think of the secondary as a personal valentine between you and the school.
Step 4: Go on a real date. Equivalent for medical admissions: Interview.
Step 5: Continue with the relationship. Equivalent for med admissions: Acceptance and then going to the ‘Second Look.’
Step 6: Get married or make The Big Commitment. Equivalent for medical applications: Go to the med school and start.
OK, so what does this have to do with prioritizing secondaries? To borrow from my metaphor, you want to go on a date with the people who you are most attracted to. So for secondaries, you start there, and write your secondary essays for the schools you are most excited about attending.
There’s lots of good reasons for this: Your writing will be fresh, you’ll have good energy to slog through the essay content, and any resistance / procrastination you feel will be met head-on with “I really want to go to this school, so let’s just get this done.”
And the bonus is that by the time you’ve finished writing your first three secondary essays, you’ll have a good chunk of content to lean on for the other secondaries. More on how to write the medical school secondary application.
Continue Reading: What to do when your second-choice medical schools send out secondaries first