Stanford University 2013 School of Medicine Secondary Application Essay Tips

Med School ApplicationRanked in the top five for research, Stanford University SOM provides a strong foundation in the basic sciences and the opportunity to select a scholarly concentration—to pursue topics of individual interest.  Students are provided with a mentor, coursework and research opportunities in the topic of their choice.  This medical school will only interview students with an extensive background in research and leadership experience.  The secondary application contains three essay questions.    

Stanford University 2013 School of Medicine Essay Questions:

  • One longer essay, with a character limit of 2,000, and two short essays with 1,000 character limits are requested.
  • Applicants should use single line spacing and 12 point size font.
  • Responses should be constructed strategically to highlight an applicant’s strengths.

The following are required in the Secondary Application:

1. The Committee on Admissions regards the diversity 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, sexual orientation, sexual 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.

Using the list provided above, “unique, personally important, and/or challenging factors in your background, such as the quality of your early educational environment, socioeconomic status, culture, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, sexual identity, and life or work experiences,” free write a response to each item.  To free write, simply give yourself five minutes or longer to jot down any experiences you have had that fit the description given.  Try not to use examples that you have already used in your primary application essays.  Using those descriptions, select the most relevant for this response—those that may also fit the mission and goals of the school’s curriculum.  Create an outline and use this to stay on topic.  What transitions will you use to connect the experiences?  What did you gain, from a bigger picture perspective, from those experiences and how will they benefit your classmates?      
2. What do you see as the most likely practice scenario for your future medical career?

Choose the single answer that best describes your career goals:

  • Private Practice
  • Health Policy
  • Academic Medicine
  • Public Health
  • Health Care Administration

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.

In asking this question, the school wants to determine how extensive your clinical experience is and how knowledgeable you are about the different methods of medical care delivery.  Be honest in selecting the area of your interest.  By describing the experience you have in this area to explain why you prefer it over others, you will convince the adcom of your realistic understanding of the practice of medicine.  Create a list of “knowledge, skills and attitudes” to explain as support for your interest in this field.  Your conclusion could provide an explanation for how and why their program would be the best to support your pursuit of a career in this arena.    

3. How will the Stanford curriculum, and specifically the requirement for a scholarly concentration, help your personal career goals? Please limit your answer to 1,000 characters including spaces.

Given the unique feature of their curriculum, the scholarly concentration, review the possibilities and select those that reflect your research background and interests.  How extensive is your research experience in this area?  Do you have training in special techniques or laboratory methods in this area?  How will the mentorship, coursework and research experience available at Stanford University SOM assist you in meeting your academic and professional goals?  If your prior research experience has allowed you to impact the delivery of medical care, how will further expertise and experience enhance your contribution to patient care?

Stanford University SOM Application Timeline:

AMCAS Application Due October 15, 2012
Secondary Application *November 15, 2012 (Strong recommendation: Submit within two weeks after receipt.)
Interviews Conducted August 2012 to February 2013
Rolling Admissions December 2012 to April 2013
School Begins August 2013

If you would like professional guidance with your Stanford University School of Medicine application materials, please consider using Accepted’s Medical School Admissions Consulting and Editing Services, which include advising, editing, and interview coaching for the Stanford University SOM application materials.


Alicia Nimonkar  is an advisor and editor specializing in healthcare admissions. Prior to joining Accepted, Alicia worked for five years as Student Advisor at UC Davis’ postbac program where she both evaluated applications and advised students applying successfully to med school and related programs. Explore’s services to see how Alicia can help you achieve your professional dreams in healthcare.