You’ve submitted your medical school primary application and you feel as though a humongous weight has been lifted off your shoulders. And then, before you know it, secondary applications from every medical school you’ve applied to come pouring in. Why would medical schools want more information from you? — didn’t you just submit your primary application?
Although it might be overwhelming, medical schools have a good reason for requesting secondaries.
Why Are Medical Schools Doing This to You?
But if you think about how many students receive secondaries — possibly 4,500 each year — and how much a school charges for a secondary — about $70 — then you’ll see that this totals around $300,000, hardly enough money for any medical school to do much with.
Further, not every student returns a secondary, so this project is very optimistic. Bottom line: Med schools don’t care about your money, they care about your commitment, and THAT’s why they charge — they want you to put some skin in the game.
Why else are Medical School Doing This to You?
Every medical school requires a secondary application. It serves as a compliment to your primary application — and it is required because it asks questions that are specific to each medical school.
Therefore, your secondary could be the added boost you need to get in if your primary application was not up-to-par with their standards. Treat it seriously.
Just remember that practically all medical schools issue secondaries, so you should not celebrate when you receive one. It’s standard practice, but it is an indicator that your medical school has received and looked through your primary application.
When Should I Complete Them?
Get started on them as soon as you receive them. The quicker you finish them, the quicker you will receive a response. Timeliness is key.
Some premeds submit their primary application early, but then drag their feet when it comes to the secondaries. Your secondary should be of equal quality to your primary application and needs to be submitted as soon as possible.
How Do You Write a Winning Secondary?
There are certain strategies you can employ to answer the essay prompts. Although all secondaries differ, certain topics are recycled.
Luckily, I have many articles on this site to help you brainstorm responses, write, and avoid common mistakes. I also have a FAQ for some of the most common questions on secondaries I have received along with what most people get wrong about them. All of these topics can be found conveniently in one place:
If you like what you see, my course How to Write Your Medical School Secondary Application has extra instruction along with a video guide, sample essays, and writing tricks.