I have discussed which medical school applications to start with and what to do with a medical school secondary essay sample, so in this article I’m “back to basics” answering your most-common questions regarding the medical school secondary. Here we go.
Q: What is the medical school secondary?
A: The med school secondary is a second application that is sent from the medical school directly to you after the medical school has received your primary AMCAS application. Think of the secondary as an opportunity for you to write out a specific and direct statement to the individual medical school that clarifies:
- Your reasons for wanting to become a doctor.
- Most importantly, why you have chosen this specific medical school for yourself. What makes you feel like this medical school will work best for you?
Q: When do I expect to receive the medical school secondary?
A: Medical school secondaries arrive soon after medical schools receive your primary application. If you send your primary application in the beginning of June and it gets verified within a couple of weeks, then you can expect us to receive secondaries very soon after AMCAS releases your primary application to medical school. If you send your primary application in later, and if it takes several weeks to process, then you’ll get your secondary much later.
Q: Do all medical schools send secondaries?
A: While most medical schools will send a secondary, the big difference is when they send the secondary. The majority of medical schools will send a secondary without screening your application.
However, a number of competitive public and private universities will screen your primary application before they will send a secondary. This means that the secondary that you receive will come much later compared with the other secondaries that you received. As a result, a normal delay (as compared with the relatively quick delivery date of secondaries from schools that do not screen) makes most students feel as though they are less competitive or less qualified. Be careful about making judgements based upon the delivery date of a secondary.
Q: Do medical schools send secondaries just to get my money?
A: This is a common accusation that applicants make. A typical medical school receives roughly 2,500 secondary applications. Assume that each secondary costs about $100. So that $250,000 in revenue. I cannot believe that a medical school needs the $250K. Their budget is tens of millions of dollars a year, so I can’t imagine that $250,000 is going to matter to them that much.
Instead, I believe that medical schools send a secondary to all candidates because they really want to give you as many chances as possible to share your motivation and your inspiration, so that they can really find out who you are and give themselves the best chance of finding the most qualified candidates.
Q: What is inside a medical school secondary?
A: A medical school secondary contains a series of essay questions. The essay questions revolve around several common themes
Q: Where can I find a secondary application prompts?
A: You can find secondary applications prompts for individual medical schools online.
Q: How do I write the secondary essays?
A: The best way to write your secondary essays is to focus on a specific theme, and then write your essays to be consistent within that theme.
Consider what you wrote in your personal statement in the primary application (AMCAS or ACOMAS). You should have a theme that you chose to anchor your experiences to your motivation to practice medicine.
Within the secondary essays, you want to expand that theme and provide additional detail and insights into your motivation to medicine and the experiences you have had that have confirmed your desire to practice medicine.
Time-Saving Secret: Pre-Write Your Secondaries
My online course, “How to Write The Medical School Secondary Application” helps you find your focus so you can write the most effective and persuasive secondary application possible.
A lot of secondaries have similar essay questions, so you can save a lot of time and get your secondaries in more quickly if you develop a consistent theme, and then write a series of “Master Secondary Essays.”
“How to Write The Medical School Secondary Application” will also teach you how to effectively answer the question, “Why do you want to come to this medical school?” This question trips up many students, and can put you over the top, or be your downfall.
Many secondaries ask, “Is there anything else you want us to know?” This essay is your opportunity to explain blemishes in your application, or highlight an experience that you feel really makes you stand out.
Learn more about “How to Write the Medical School Secondary Application” online course.