Just as soon as you've submitted your primary application for medical school, you will begin to receive secondary applications from each school.
Most of the discussion you'll find online about the medical school secondary is individual premeds freaking out about one medical school secondary application prompt or another. Not super helpful when you're just getting started. First, you need to learn the broader "must-know" strategic info about the secondary that will help give you the edge.
Medical School Secondary: The "Need to Know" Info
A Series of Essays
The medical school secondary application is a series of 3-5 (sometimes more!) essays that each medical school requests from you after they receive your primary application.
Predictable and Unpredictable Prompts
Many of the secondary essay prompts are used year after year. You're very likely to see most medical schools send you the "Why our school?" prompt, or the "Tell us about a challenging situation you faced" prompt. Although many of the prompts are predictable and fairly straight-forward, sometimes you'll be caught off guard by surprise prompts
Be Competitive: Turn in Your Essays ASAP
A common reaction to the secondary is to procrastinate and delay the writing process for weeks, or even months because post-AMCAS burnout sets in. Don't delay! The sooner medical schools see your secondaries, the sooner they'll make a decision about your application. You want to be among the first premeds to submit your completed essays.
Make Sure Not to Do This
- Repeat ideas from your personal statement without enhancing them
- Wait to write your essays
- Introduce something new and surprising about yourself that can be interpreted in a negative way (I was suicidal once, I was chronically depressed, etc.)
Now you have the basics down: Write your secondaries as quickly as possible and make sure that they enhance your personal statement.