Hello Medical School Applicants!
We know it’s annoying to scroll through numerous websites and blog posts to look for current and previous secondary prompts. The Cracking Med School Admissions team compiled as many medical school secondary essays 2019 prompts and made it available in one blog post right here.
We also have a popular blog post on Medical School Secondary Essay Tips. The post includes frequently asked questions by students who contact us through our website or email.
If you have any secondary prompts to contribute to this community and blog post, please email us: email@example.com. Additionally, if you see anything that should be modified, let us know. Everyone will greatly appreciate it! 🙂
Questions about secondaries? Fill out our contact form below and feel free to ask us questions!
Boston University School of Medicine:
Please provide a narrative or timeline to describe any features of your educational history that you think may be of particular interest to us. For example, have you lived in another country or experienced a culture unlike your own, or worked in a field that contributed to your understanding of people unlike yourself? Or, have you experienced advanced training in any area, including the fields of art, music, or sports? This is an opportunity to describe learning experiences that may not be covered in other areas of this application or your AMCAS application. It is not necessary to write anything in this section. (2000 Characters)
Use the space below to provide additional information you feel will provide us with a comprehensive understanding of your strengths as a candidate for a career in medicine. This should include only information NOT already included in your AMCAS or other sections of the BUSM Supplemental Application. Most applicants leave this blank.
- Please describe your most meaningful leadership positions. (300 words)
- Is there anything else you would like us to know? (300 words)
- Please describe your parents’ occupations. (300 words)
- If you answer yes to the “Did you work during undergrad?” checkbox, this question appears: “Did you work for compensation during college during the year or the summer? If so, what did you do? How many hours a week did you work? (300 words)”
Check out our Columbia School Profile!
Creighton University School of Medicine Secondary Essays:
- Please state your reasons for applying to Creighton University School of Medicine. (2000 characters, spaces included)
- In Creighton’s Jesuit, Catholic tradition, the mission of the School of Medicine is to improve the human condition with a diverse body of students, faculty and staff who provide excellence in educating students, physicians and the public, advancing knowledge and providing comprehensive patient care. Please describe the role(s) you can play in helping the School or Medicine achieve its mission. (2000 characters, spaces included)
- Describe how you have dealt with a personal challenge or major obstacle that you have overcome. Focus on what you learned about yourself and how it will help you during the challenges you might face in medical school. (2000 characters, spaces included)
- Please describe your current activities/employment if you are not currently enrolled as a fulltime student. (2000 characters, spaces included)
- List your volunteer activities (300 characters each)
Dartmouth (Giesel) Medical School Secondary Essays:
- Please indicate your plans for the upcoming year. (No word limit)
- Please share something about yourself that is not addressed elsewhere in your application that you feel might be helpful to our Admissions committee. (No word limit)
- Geisel School of Medicine values social justice and diversity in all its forms. Reflect on a situation where you were the “other”. (250 Word Limit)
Check out our Dartmouth School Profile!
Duke Medical School Secondary Essays:
- Tell us more about who you are. You may provide additional information that expands your self-identity where gender identification, racial and/or ethnic self description, geographic origin, socioeconomic, academic, and/or other characteristics that define who you are as you contemplate a career that will interface with people who are similar AND dissimilar to you. You will have the opportunity below to tell us how you wish to be addressed, recognized and treated. (500 words)
- Optional: If one of the above identities do not best describe you, then what identity do you feel most comfortable with?
I self-identify as.. (50 words)
- Optional: In addition to the broad categorization of race, ethnicity, geographic origin, socioeconomic status as provided through your AMCAS application, you may use the text box below to provide additional clarifying information that may reflect the impact of any of these parameters on your development thus far as well as the impact that these may have had on your path to a career in medicine and your plans for the future. (200 words)
- Describe the community in which you were nurtured. What core values did you receive and how will these translate into the contributions you hope to make in medicine? What improvements do you think might make the community better? (500 words)
- Describe a situation where you have chosen to advocate for someone who is different from yourself. What does advocacy mean to you and how has your advocacy developed? How do you see it linked to your role as a physician? What risks, if any, might be associated with your choice to be an advocate? (500 words)
- What has been your most humbling experience and how will that experience affect your interactions with your peers and patients? (500 words)
- Success can arise from failure. What have you gained from your failed experiences and how does this translate in your current way of thinking? (500 words)
- Critical thinking involves a number of characteristics including creativity, innovation, discernment, emotional intelligence, application and analysis. Describe a situation in which you utilized critical thinking. Why is critical thinking vital in your future? (500 words)
- Leadership, teamwork, and communication operate synergistically. What do you value most as a leader and member of a team? What attributes do you possess as a leader and how will you apply them every day? (500 words)
- Optional: Please let us know of any additional information that you would like us to consider while reviewing your application:
Check out our Duke School Profile!
Drexel University College of Medicine Secondary Essays:
- If you are a recent graduate, please tell us what you have been doing since graduation. You may answer “Not applicable”.
- Optional: What else do you feel is important for us to know about you? Please use this space to highlight something not addressed in your application, including new experiences not in your AMCAS application.
Check out our Drexel School Profile!
Emory University School of Medicine Secondary Essays:
- List your entire curriculum plan for the current academic year. If you are not currently in school, please briefly describe your plans for the coming year. (200 words)
- Briefly describe your health-related experiences. Be sure to include important experiences that are in your AMCAS application, as well as any recent experiences. (200 words)
- Briefly describe your interest in Emory and the Emory degree program you have selected. (200 words)
- What do you consider to be the role of the physician in the community? (200 words)
- If you have any updates or new information to report since you have submitted your AMCAS primary application, please briefly describe below. (200 words)
Check out our Emory School Profile!
George Washington Medical School Secondary Essays:
- Please provide the Admissions Committee with a brief summary of your activities, academics, employment or other occupations to account for full-time activity (approx. 30-40 hours/week) from the point of application through matriculation in 2020. (750 characters)
- The MD Program includes substantial content in Clinical Public Health (population health, health systems science, health policy, and community health) to prepare GW graduates for an expanded scope of practice required to be successful 21st century physicians. What are your specific interests and experiences related to that aspect of the MD Program? (350 characters)
- What is your most meaningful clinical experience to date, involving direct patient contact? (350 characters)
- What makes you a unique individual? What challenges have you faced? How will these factors help you contribute to the diversity of the student body at GW? (1000 characters)
- What is your specific interest in the MD Program at GW? What opportunities would you take advantage of as a student here? Why? (2000 characters)
Georgetown Medical School Secondary Essays:
- Why have you chosen to apply to the Georgetown University School of Medicine and how do you think your education at Georgetown will prepare you to become a physician for the future? (1 page, formatted at your discretion)
- The Georgetown University School of Medicine strives to ensure that its students become respectful physicians who embrace all dimensions of caring for the whole person. Please describe how your personal characteristics or life experiences will contribute to the Georgetown University School of Medicine community and bring educational benefits to our student body. (1000 characters)
- Optional: Is there any further information that you would like the Committee on Admissions to be aware of when reviewing your file that you were not able to notate in another section of this or the AMCAS Application? (1000 characters)
Check out our Georgetown School Profile!
Harvard Medical School Secondary Essays:
- If you have already graduated, briefly (4000 characters max) summarize your activities since graduation.
- If there is an important aspect of your personal background or identity, not addressed elsewhere in the application, that you would like to share with the Committee, we invite you to do so here. Many applicants will not need to answer this question. Examples might include significant challenges in access to education, unusual socioeconomic factors, identification with a minority culture, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity. Briefly explain how such factors have influenced your motivation for a career in medicine. (4000 characters max)
- Our interview season runs from mid-September through January. Please indicate any significant (three or more weeks) restriction on your availability for interviews during this period. If none, leave blank. (1000 characters)
Check out our Harvard School Profile!
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Secondary Essays:
- Are there significant gaps in time, greater than one year, that are unaccounted for in your application? (if yes, 100 words)
- If you are currently not a full time student, please briefly describe the activities you are participating in this academic year. (100 words)
- If there is an important aspect of your personal background or identity or a commitment to a particular community, not addressed elsewhere in the application, that you would like to share with the Committee, we invite you to do so here. Aspects might include, but are not limited to significant challenges in or circumstances associated with access to education, living with a disability, socioeconomic factors, immigration status, or identification with a culture, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity. Briefly explain how such factors have influenced your motivation for a career in medicine. Completing this section is optional. (100 words)
- What is the toughest feedback you ever received? How did you handle it and what did you learn from it? (250 words)
- Describe a situation in your life that you have thought to be unfair or unjust, whether towards yourself or towards others. How did you address the situation, if at all? (200 words)
Check out our Mount Sinai School Profile!
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Secondary Essays:
- Briefly describe your single, most rewarding experience. Feel free to refer to an experience previously described in your AMCAS application.
- Are there any areas of medicine that are of particular interest to you? If so, please comment.
- Briefly describe a situation where you had to overcome adversity; include lessons learned and how you think it will affect your career as a future physician.
- Briefly describe a situation where you were not in the majority. What did you learn from the experience?
- Optional: The Admissions Committee values hearing about each candidate for admission, including what qualities the candidate might bring to the School of Medicine if admitted. If you feel there is information not already addressed in the application that will enable the Committee to know more about you and this has influenced your desire to be a physician, feel free to write a brief statement in the space below. You may address any subject you wish, such as being a first generation college student, or being a part of a minority group (whether because of your sexual orientation, religion, economic status, gender identity, ethnicity) or being the child of undocumented immigrants or being undocumented yourself, etc. Please note that this question is optional and that you will not be penalized should you choose not to answer it.
Check out our Johns Hopkins School Profile!
Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine Secondary Essays:
- During your career as a physician, you will potentially encounter many obstacles and be required to overcome many challenges. Resilience is a prerequisite for success in medical school and beyond. Describe your experience with a situation that had an unfavorable outcome. How did you react, and how might you have responded differently? What did you learn about yourself? (250 words)
- Kaiser Permanente is nationally recognized for its achievements in the realm of equity, inclusion, and diversity. How will you contribute to the diversity of the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine? (250 words)
- Lifelong learning is an essential process for continued professional development in physicians that includes reflection and being open and responsive to constructive feedback. Tell us about an area of intellectual exploration you are passionate about and have sustained over time. What means have you used to explore this area? (250 words)
Loma Linda University School of Medicine:
Every question in this section is required. Although we do not specify a word or character limit, we encourage you to be as concise as possible in your responses.
- What makes LLUSM particularly attractive to you?
- Describe the extent and source of your knowledge of Loma Linda University School of Medicine (LLUSM).
- What personal attributes make you a desirable candidate for admission to LLUSM?
- Identify experiences in your life that illustrate your service to others?
- Discuss how your spiritual origins, development, and experiences have influenced and been integrated into your daily life.
- Do you regularly attend or participate in the services of a church or religious group?
- Loma Linda University is a Seventh-day Adventist institution that has lifestyle expectations that include abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, cannabinoids, and illicit drugs/substances in all forms. Describe any use of these substances within the past year.
- If accepted to LLUSM, are you willing to abstain from alcohol, nicotine, cannobinoid, and illicit drug/substance use?
- If you have already graduated, describe your activities since graduation and your planned activities prior to matriculation into medical school.
Medical College of Wisconsin Secondary Essays:
- Explain how your unique background, identity, interests, or talents will contribute to the MCW learning community and how MCW will uniquely prepare you for your future goals. (2000 characters)
- Recount a time when you failed or made a decision you regret. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? (2000 characters)
New York University Medical School Secondary Essays:
- If applicable, please comment on significant fluctuations in your academic record which are not explained elsewhere on your application.
- If you have taken any time off from your studies, either during or after college, please describe what you have done during this time and your reasons for doing so.
The following questions are designed to assess ways in which you embody our institution’s core values. (Please limit each answer to a maximum of 2500 characters):
- The Admissions Committee uses a holistic approach to evaluate a wide range of student qualities and life experiences that are complementary to demonstrated academic excellence, strong interpersonal skills and leadership potential. What unique qualities or experiences do you possess that would contribute specifically to the NYU School of Medicine community?
Check out our New York University School Profile!
Oregon Health & Sciences University (OHSU) Secondary Essays:
- What experience have you had that has given you insight into the patients you hope to eventually serve? (1500 characters)
Other than work-life balance, what will be your greatest challenge in becoming a physician?
- Discuss a time in your life that demonstrated your resilience.(1500 characters)
- Please describe your path through the OHSU UME Admissions Recommended Premedical Competencies, with special attention to experiences that are not reflected in your transcript. Do not include specific grades or test scores in your response. AAMC’s Core Competencies for Entering Medical Students & OHSU Recommended Prerequisites (1500 characters)
- Give an example of personal feedback in the last few years that was difficult to receive. How did you respond? (1500 characters)
- Please discuss how your personal experience demonstrates the ability to overcome adversity and contributes to diversity in the provision of healthcare. (2000 characters)
Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB) Secondary Essays:
- How have your experiences serving others contributed to your personal growth?
- Describe your motivation to attend OUWB.
- If you have already graduated, briefly summarize your activities since graduation.
Perelman School of Medicine – University of Pennsylvania Secondary Essays:
- Please describe your activities during your graduation and matriculation into medical school in 500 characters or less.
- Are there any special, unique, personal, or challenging aspects of your personal background or circumstances that you would like to share with the Committee on Admissions, not addressed elsewhere (siblings/relatives at Penn, applying as a couple, educational environment, culture, ethnicity, etc.) (1000 characters)
- Have you or your family experienced economic hardships? (1000 characters)
- Please explain your reasons for applying to the Perelman School of Medicine and limit your response to 1,000 characters
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science Secondary Essays:
Applicants are asked to complete two optional essays to further inform our committee.
- Please discuss challenges in your journey thus far to medical school. (150 words)
- Please specially discuss how, if admitted to our program, your admission would contribute to the diversity of the Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science community. (150 words)
Check out our Rosalind Franklin School Profile!
Stanford School of Medicine Secondary Essays:
- The Committee on Admissions regards the diversity (broadly defined) of an entering class as an important factor in serving the educational mission of the school. The Committee on Admissions strongly encourages you to share unique, personally important, and/or challenging factors in your background, such as the quality of your early educational environment, socioeconomic status, culture, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and life or work experiences. Please discuss how such factors have influenced your goals and preparation for a career in medicine. (Please limit your answer to 2,000 characters including spaces)
- What do you see as the most likely practice scenario for your future medical career? Why do you feel you are particularly suited for this practice scenario? What knowledge, skills and attitudes have you developed that have prepared you for this career path? (Please limit your answer to 1,000 characters including spaces)
- How will you take advantage of the Stanford Medicine Discovery Curriculum and scholarly concentration requirement to achieve your personal career goals? (Please limit your answer to 1,000 characters including spaces)
- Optional: Please include anything else that will help us understand better how you may uniquely contribute to Stanford Medicine?(Please limit your answer to 1,000 characters including spaces)
Check out our Stanford School Profile!
Saint Louis University School of Medicine Secondary Essays:
- Will you be a full-time student for the 2019 – 2020 academic year? (if no, then 10,000 characters to explain activities)
- Do you wish to include any comments, other than your AMCAS personal statement, to the Admissions Committee? (10,000 characters)
Temple – Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University Secondary Essays:
- What is the nature of your interest in the Lewis Katz School of Medicine? (2000 characters)
- How do you plan on contributing to the Lewis Katz School of Medicine Community? LKSOM seeks an engaged student body with a wide variety of backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, and interests to enhance the medical school experience for everyone. Please use the space below to describe what makes you unique as an applicant, an obstacle that you had to overcome, or how you will contribute to the LKSOM community. Note: 2,000 character limit per essay question.
- Tell us why you selected your first choice ranked Clinical/Regional Campus (2000 characters)
- What are your plans for the current year – June 2018 until June 2019? (2000 characters)
Thomas Jefferson (Sidney Kimmel Medical College) Secondary Essays:
- Do you have any additional information that hasn’t been covered? (4000 characters)
Tufts University School of Medicine Secondary Essays:
- Do you wish to include any comments (in addition to those already provided in your AMCAS application) to the Admissions Committee at Tufts University School of Medicine? (1000 characters)
- Please briefly describe your plans for the coming year. Include in this explanation if you will be a student, working, conducting research, volunteering, etc.
- Do you consider yourself a person who would contribute to the diversity of the student body of Tufts University School of Medicine? (1000 characters)
- Situational: Do you have any withdrawals or repeated coursework listed on your transcript(s). (1000 characters)
- Situational: Did you take any leaves of absence or significant breaks from your undergraduate education? (Do not include time off after graduation.) (1000 characters)
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences:
Military and Public Health Medicine is a calling that is both rewarding and challenging. “America’s Medical School” is looking for the absolute best to serve all military and Public Health Service beneficiaries—service members, retirees, and family members. Please describe your motivation to learn and practice medicine with the U.S. military medical corps and/or the U.S. Public Health Service. (1500 Character Limit)
The F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine features a distinctive curriculum that meets all of the requirements for a high quality medical degree AND prepares students to be high-performing officers in the medical corps of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Public Health Service. Please describe what in your research about our school and/or in your personal or family background attracts you to our institution’s unique mission and approach. (1500 Character Limit)
The F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine receives far more outstanding applications from potential students than we are able to admit in any given year. Our Admissions Committee likes to assemble classes of students with a diversity of backgrounds, skills, experiences and talents to care for our patients—many of whom have overcome impressive challenges while serving our country. Please describe a special quality or experience that will help you relate to our unique population and that will strengthen your class if admitted to “America’s Medical School.” (1500 Character Limit)
University of California, Davis Medical School Secondary Essays:
- If you answered ‘yes’ to having a connection to Northern or Central California, please explain below. If you answered ‘no’ type ‘not applicable’
At UC Davis School of Medicine, we realize that each applicant brings diversity and perspective from a broad range of experiences. In this section, we give you the opportunity to describe in detail the 3 extracurricular activities or experiences that have been most influential in leading you to a career in medicine. We realize that many applicants have identified key experiences in the main application. However, some do not and others identify less than 3. We apologize for any redundancy – feel free to reproduce the comments from your Primary application and expand on them as appropriate. (500 Characters)
UC Davis PRIME Essay Prompts:
- Pretend you have a UC Davis TEACH MS student pen-pal. Write a short note to them revealing something about you and allows them to understand why you have an interest in urban underserved primary care. (500 characters)
- Please tell us what attributes or experiences would make you a good fit for an accelerated program in primary care. (500 characters)
Check out our UC Davis School Profile!
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Medical School Secondary Essays:
Describe your involvement in the one most important non-academic activity in your life. (800 characters)
What has been the one most unique leadership, entrepreneurial or creative activity in which you participated? (800 characters)
What has been the one most important volunteer work you have done and why was it meaningful? (800 characters)
Has there been or will there be a gap between achieving your last degree (baccalaureate or other degrees post baccalaureate) and the expected time of medical school matriculation? (300 characters)
What is the one most important honor you have received? Why do you view this as important? (300 characters)
What has been your most scholarly project (thesis, research or field of study in basic or clinical science or in the humanities)? Describe one and give number of hours, dates and advisor. (300 characters)
- Describe a problem in your life. Include how you dealt with it and how it influenced your growth. (500 characters)
Where do you see yourself post-graduate education? What experiences have led you to this goal?
Please list any major paid work experience during or since college. (4000 characters)
Check out our UCLA School Profile!
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Drew Medical School Secondary Essays:
Have you experienced any uneven performance in grades and academic achievement? If so, please explain. (Response limited to 800 characters)
- If you are currently not a full time student, please list and describe your current activities. (Response limited to 800 characters)
- Describe the role you play in your immediate family. (Response limited to 800 characters)
Describe your community and socioeconomic environment. (Response limited to 800 characters)
- List the most significant community, public service, and leadership activities you have been involved in over the last six years. (Response limited to 800 characters)
Describe how your experience, your community, and family background impact your understanding of the underserved communities. (Response limited to 800 characters)
- Other than healthcare access, what are some of the most important healthcare issues confronting underserved communities? How would you address them? (Response limited to 800 characters)
- Please describe how your experiences and personal attributes contribute to the mission of Charles R Drew University. (Response limited to 800 characters)
Have you ever been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic or parking violation? If the answer is yes, please explain. (Response limited to 800 characters)
- Please provide any additional information which will give the Admissions Committee greater insight into you as an applicant. (Response limited to 800 characters)
- How did you hear about our program? (Response limited to 800 characters)
University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Medical School Secondary Essays:
- This should be a true autobiographical statement. Topics to be included are family, childhood, primary and secondary school years, undergraduate years, and, if applicable, what you’ve done since completing your bachelor’s degree. You should also discuss the motivational factors which led you to a career in medicine, including any disadvantages or obstacles which might put your accomplishments into context. A repeat of your AMCAS statement will not be acceptable. Please note: if you are applying to the MD/PhD program, please include why you are specifically interested in seeking MD/PhD training at UCSD. (6000 characters spaces included)
- Please describe your interest in the PRIME-HEq program. Topics to include are longitudinal experiences that you’ve had with underserved communities, including the type of community that you’ve worked with and your level of involvement. Additionally, you should discuss the length of time that you’ve spent working in these communities. (4800 characters spaces included)
- Please describe your interest in Global Health. The term Global Health can have many meanings; for our purposes, we find the definition provided by Koplan et. al. in their 2009 Lancet publication useful: “the area of study, research and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide”. In your essay, be sure to describe any personal or professional experiences that have shaped your interests, and how Global Health issues have influenced your decision to pursue a career in medicine. (4800 characters spaces included)
- Please describe your interest in the MAS-Clinical Research program. Topics to include are your previous experience with clinical and/or translational research, your role within the research group, and what you envision for a career that includes clinical and/or translational research. A letter of recommendation from the individual supervising your previous experience is helpful but not required. (4800 characters spaces included)
- The three experiences you identified as “most meaningful” on your AMCAS Application are listed below.
We would also like to know if you have had any NEW experiences that you would consider among your “most meaningful” (i.e. experiences you’ve had in the time between submitting your application to AMCAS and working on the secondary application).
Adding new experiences is optional. You can add new activities using the fields below. A corresponding letter of recommendation for the new experience is not required. Please enter “N/A” in the “Author of corresponding letter of recommendation” field if you do not have a letter. If you do not have any new activities to add, you can simply click “Save and Continue” at the bottom of the page and this section of the application will be marked as complete. (100 characters spaces included, each)
- Some medical school applicants are already focused on pursuing a particular career pathway in medicine. While many students will change from this pathway during medical school, knowing of your potential interests does help us to assign interviewers. Your choice below does not influence how the Admissions Committee selects students to interview.
Please select from one of career pathways listed below. In addition to this selection, please provide a brief description of your future career goals: (400 characters spaces included)
University of Chicago Secondary Essays:
At the University of Chicago, in an atmosphere of interdisciplinary scholarship and discovery, the Pritzker School of Medicine is dedicated to inspiring diverse students of exceptional promise to become leaders and innovators in science and medicine for the betterment of humanity.
Our mission statement is an expression of our core purpose and educational philosophy. In particular, it highlights the value we place on diversity, the creation of new knowledge, service, and leadership. We look forward to learning more about you and your fit for our mission through the following questions.
- Please write a short essay about why you are applying to the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. We suggest that you limit your essay to about 550 words.
- Share with us a difficult or challenging situation you have encountered and how you dealt with it. In your response, identify both the coping skills you called upon to resolve the dilemma, and the support person(s) from whom you sought advice. We suggest that you limit your essay to about 550 words.
- Please feel free to use this space to convey any additional information that you might wish the Committee to know. For example, if you are not currently completing a degree, please share your planned or current activities for this application cycle. We suggest that you limit your text to about 200 words.
Check out our University of Chicago School Profile!
University of Florida School of Medicine Secondary Essays:
Instructions: Please limit all essays to 250-500 words.
- If you are not a full-time student during this application cycle, in particular at any time between September 2019 and May 2020, please detail your current and planned activities below.
The medical profession is frequently described as being both a science and an art. One could summarize this by saying that patients must “be well cared for” (science) but they must also “feel well cared for” (art). Indeed, the late physician, writer and ethicist, Dr. Edmund Pelegrino affirms both the science and art of medicine. But when discussing the nature of the physician/patient relationship he says the following, “The act specific to medicine, that which makes it medicine and thereby distinguishes it from both science and art, is the decision about what is right and good for a particular patient now, with this set of needs, arising out of this particular illness…It is the practical decision, taken in the best interest of a particular person, not in the interest of new knowledge, of society or of the physician.” We work to teach our students not only the scientific principles of medicine, but also the core values of medicine, often called “professionalism”. Toward this end we keep patients at the center of our education and often reflect on their stories with our students.
- The exciting advances in our understanding of the biological basis for disease have led to the emergence of a host of targeted therapies and amazing technologies improving the duration and quality of our patients’ lives. The better a physician knows his/her patient, the better decisions they will make together as they approach important healthcare related questions. This so-called shared decision-making model is one key feature of patient centered care. Practicing the art of medicine in this way yields a physician patient relationship (PPR) that is both therapeutic and mutually enriching. However, many of these same technologies have the unintended consequence of separating us from our patients, both literally and figuratively. In addition, the industrialization of medicine and use of electronic health records have led to a decrease in the time physicians spend with their patients further eroding the strength of the PPR. At the UFCOM, we have numerous strategies to equip our students to preserve their own humanity and that of their patients. As students make connections with and get to know their patients, they begin to experience the joy in medical practice. They also have the chance to consider ways that the forces mentioned above can rob a physician of that joy. As they s hare their stories, they encourage one another to make deliberate choices to preserve what we might call the heart or soul of the profession. Read these reflections from two third year students, one about a memorable encounter with a patient and the patient’s daughter and the second a very moving poem where a student explores the importance of taking time to be quiet and alone despite the busyness of our lives. After considering them, comment on what you learned from one or both of the reflections, and then explain what you will do to “never lose the human side of yourself,” treat your future patients as you would a family member, and thereby preserve the soul of medicine.
Many hours in medical school are appropriately spent pursuing knowledge and skills needed to practice medicine. Medical students must master an enormous amount of information, synthesize it into a workable understanding of the human body, and then discern the best way to translate such knowledge into decisions with individual patients. However, governing this process are larger philosophical questions such as, “What does it mean to be human?” In his 1748 work, “Man as Machine”, French physician and philosopher Julien Offray de La Mettrie argues that humans are nothing more than complex animals. In contrast, many others would suggest there are psychological, social, emotional and spiritual dimensions to being human that are no less important than the biological, and perhaps even more important. Whatever our answers to these questions, those answers will have an impact on what we think it means to be a healthy human.
Below are two brief quotations, one from the Greek philosopher Plato and the other from Sir William Osler (1849-1919), widely regarded as one of the fathers of modern medicine. Read and reflect upon them and then choose one for an essay. Please address whether or not you agree with the author, why you do or do not, and how your conclusion might affect the way you practice as a physician.
“Variability is the law of life, and as no two faces are the same, so no two bodies are alike, and no two individuals react alike and behave alike under the abnormal conditions which we know as disease.” -William Osler
“The greatest mistake in the treatment of diseases is that there are physicians for the body and physicians for the soul, although the two cannot be separated.” -Plato
- Optional:If you think there is any additional information that would help the admissions committee in its review of your application please use the space below.
University of Illinois College of Medicine (UICOM) Secondary Essays:
- Describe a stressful situation that you have experienced. Please detail your reaction, how you managed the situation, and what you learned that will help you handle a similar circumstance in the future. (No character limit specified)
- In addition to training as a competent physician please select up to two additional areas of interest from the items below that you may want to pursue during your medical studies. Your responses will have no bearing on applications to joint degrees or special programs to which you might also apply. Provide a short, 300-500 words, statement on your interest and how you see it influencing your learning.
- Research in healthcare delivery
- Basic Science Research
- Interdisciplinary Collaboration
- Healthcare disparities
- Academic Medicine
- Global Health
- Community Urban Health
- Community Rural Health
- Innovation Medicine
- Have you ever matriculated into and not completed a professional/graduate program?
University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine Secondary Essays:
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- We understand you may be applying to multiple medical schools. Please explain your reasons for applying to the Carver College of Medicine. (1500 characters)
- Describe any unique personal characteristics and obstacles you may have overcome that will contribute to the diversity of, and bring educational benefits to, the entering class. (1500 characters)
University of Massachusetts Medical School Secondary Essays:
Instructions: You are asked to highlight specific examples of how you developed and demonstrated core professionalism competencies that are required of entering medical students. Please respond to the first prompt (#1; Diversity). Then select three of the other six prompts (#2-#7). Each response should be 150-200 words. Use the text box below for your answer. Separate each of your four responses by writing the competency above/before your response (example: Teamwork – All teams have their struggles, but they can be overcome…).
- UMass Medical School strives to be a diverse academic community mindful of the fact that diversity makes our community stronger and benefits the patients we serve. Each person in our community brings a unique set of strengths, experiences and perspectives. Describe an example where you contributed to the diversity of a group, team or class. Connect this to how you will contribute to the diversity of the UMMS community. (Diversity)
- Describe a time when you have made a decision that was not popular and how you handled this. (Leadership)
- Describe a time when you were on a team that was dysfunctional in some regard. How did you address the situation? (Teamwork)
- Describe a meaningful interaction you have had with a person whom you have helped at work, school or another activity. (Empathy/Compassion)
- Have you ever been in the middle of a situation where there was poor communication? What did you do to improve it? (Communication)
- Describe a time when you have “thought outside the box” to solve a problem. (Inquiry)
- Describe a time when you suffered a setback. How did you respond to this challenge? (Persistence/Grit)
University of Michigan Medical School Secondary Essays:
- Comment on how you hope to impact medicine in the future. If examples are needed, feel free to refer to our eight Paths of Excellence. Do not exceed 1500 characters (about 250 words).
- At the University of Michigan Medical School, we are committed to building a superb educational community with students of diverse talents, experiences, opinions, and backgrounds. What would you as an individual bring to our medical school community? Do not exceed 1500 characters (about 250 words).
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University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Secondary Essays:
- Tell us about a challenging problem you faced and how you resolved it. (Limit your response to 250 words or less.)
- UPSOM is a culturally diverse and talented community. How would you enrich/enliven the UPSOM community? The essay should discuss material that is not included in the rest of your application. (Limit your response to 250 words or less.)
- Optional: Is there anything additional that you would like to address that is not already reflected in your application? (Optional – Limit your response to 250 words or less.)
University of Southern California (Keck) Medical School Secondary Essays:
The following questions allow the Admissions Committee to become acquainted with you as an individual. Please answer the questions in 3-5 sentences.
- What is the most fun you’ve had lately?
- If you had to give yourself a nickname, what would it be?
- If you had enormous wealth, how would you allocate your charitable donations?
- Describe a situation in which you didn’t get something you felt you deserved.
- What does health equity mean to you? (Please answer in 150 words or less)
University of South Florida (Morsani College of Medicine) Secondary Essays:
- The University of South Florida, Morsani College of Medicine strives to educate a very diverse set of students who bring a variety of strengths and interests to the field of medicine. The definition of diversity is broad and includes (but is not limited to) lifestyle, race/ethnicity, geography, socioeconomic status and distance traveled through life. The definition of strength is also broad and includes (but not limited to) humanism, scholarship, intellectual curiosity, research and leadership. How do you feel your particular experiences, interests, and passions will add to the strength and diversity of the USF class and ultimately to the field of medicine?
- If you have experienced academic difficulties, please explain the situation and how it was resolved. (Please explain all grades less than a “B”, including B-, or any “withdrawal” on your transcripts).
Wake Forest School of Medicine Secondary Essays:
We seek to train physicians who can connect with diverse patient populations with whom they may not share a similar background. Tell us about an experience that has broadened your own worldview or enhanced your ability to understand those unlike yourself. (200 words or less)
Describe a non-academic challenge you have faced and explain how you overcame it. (200 words)
From your list of “most meaningful experiences” on the AMCAS application, choose one that has been the most formative in terms of your desire for a career in medicine. Why did that experience have such meaning for you in your decision-making process? How did it prepare you for a career in medicine? (200 words)
Tell us about any specific reason(s) (personal, educational, etc.) why you see yourself here at the Wake Forest School of Medicine. (200 words)
Please tell us an interesting fact about yourself that a casual acquaintance may find surprising or interesting (50 words)
If you have already received your bachelor’s degree, please describe what you have been doing since graduation and your plans for the upcoming year. (200 words)
- Situational: If you have received a C grade or lower in any coursework, please explain.
Wayne State School of Medicine Secondary Essays:
- If you could tell the admissions committee one thing unique about yourself that isn’t medically related, what would it be? (1000 characters spaces included)
- Explain an activity that you have been involved in with for at least 6-12 months. What was it about that activity that kept you motivated to continue? What did you learn from that activity? (1000 characters, spaces included)
- Give an example of a project to which you gave sustained effort. How were you involved in the leadership of this project? (1000 characters, spaces included)
Yale School of Medicine Secondary Essays:
- Yale School of Medicine values diversity in all its forms. How will your background and experiences contribute to this important focus of our institution and inform your future role as a physician? (500 words)
- Research is essential to patient care, and all students at Yale School of Medicine complete a research thesis. Tell us how your research interests, skills and experiences would contribute to scholarship at Yale School of Medicine. (500 words)
- Optional: This section is optional. It should be used to bring to the attention of the Admissions Committee any important information (personal, academic, or professional) not discussed in other sections of your Yale Secondary Application. Please limit your response to 500 words.
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Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
- If you are currently not a matriculated student, please indicate what you have been doing since the time of graduation until now. (1500 characters or about 250 words)
- Please use this space to describe any challenge or obstacle you have faced prior to your application to medical school and how you addressed that challenge. (1500 characters or about 250 words)