Boston University 2013 Medical School Secondary Application Essay Tips

BUSMBUSM’s MD Program offers students the opportunity to work with patients beginning in their first year of medical school.  Students will receive their clinical training at the prestigious Boston Medical Center, which has the largest trauma center in the Northeast.  Students also have the option of pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Health.  The secondary application consists of five optional essays.

Boston University 2013 Secondary Application Essay Questions:

  • Five optional short essays with varied word 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.

Application Tip: Check out the BUSM Viewbook with admissions information:

The following are required in the Secondary Application:

1. If you did not go to college directly after high school, please explain: (1400 character limit, approximately 280 words)

Medical schools love non-traditional applicants who have life experience.  If this essay prompt applies to you, provide a brief explanation of how you spent your time before enrolling in college—detailing any awards or accomplishments you earned before entering higher education.  If you worked to help support your family, this is admirable and demonstrates that you took on significant responsibility at a young age.  Responding to this prompt will only help your application. 

2. If you are not expecting to go directly to medical school after completing your undergraduate work, please explain. (1400 character limit, approximately 280 words)

Be honest in this response.  If you needed to take a break before applying to medical school, write about how you used your time.  Discuss all volunteer work, extracurricular interests or clinical experience—any achievements earned.  If you needed to work to save up money to apply—state this in your response.  Explain where you worked and what your responsibilities were.   

3. If you have spent more than 4 years as an undergraduate, please explain below. (You may skip this question if you have graduated within 4 years.)

If applicable, create a list of all the reasons why you were not able to graduate in four years.  After ranking your list in order of importance, use this as your outline.  Having multiple interests or double majors will only help your application, as the reader will have the opportunity to learn more about your unique talents and interests. 

4. 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. It is not necessary to write anything in this section. (2000 character limit, approximately 400 words)

Though this essay is also optional, I would strongly recommend responding to it.  Using an updated copy of your resume or CV, work backwards from the most current to oldest experiences.  What are your other interests, outside of medicine?  Have you lived or worked in another country?  Did you win any science or non-science awards or fairs in your early education?  Focus this response on educational experiences—talents or skills you developed through training or learning opportunities (formal education or self-taught).   

5. We have found that for most applicants, an extra essay written expressly for Boston University adds little to the information content of the portfolio. While we no longer require an essay, some applicants feel that additional information is necessary in order to provide us with a comprehensive understanding of their strengths as a candidate for a career in medicine. If you wish, use the space below to offer an essay or any other information, addressing any issue you feel is of importance. If you choose to use the space, please do not duplicate information provided elsewhere in this Supplemental Application or in material you have submitted to AMCAS.

For most applicants, no supplementary essay will be necessary and this space can be left blank.

In this response, you could focus on any clinical, research or science related experiences that you have not already covered in detail in your personal statement that would reveal your commitment to a career in medicine.  Again, this essay is also optional, but by responding to it you will be demonstrating your interest in the BUSM Program.  Using a copy of your resume/CV or a timeline of your life experiences could assist you in deciding what to write about in this response.  Be strategic in your selection—covering information that you have not yet discussed that will highlight your strengths as an applicant.  

BUSM Application Timeline:

AMCAS Application Due    November 1, 2012
Secondary Application    *January 3, 2013 (Strong recommendation: Submit within two weeks after receipt.)
Interviews Conducted    Early October 2012 to Mid-February 2013
Rolling Admissions    Early January 2013 to End of March 2013
Alternates Accepted    Early June 2013 to Mid-August 2013
School Begins    End of August 2013

If you would like professional guidance with your Boston 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 BUSM application materials.

Alicia Nimonkar is an Accepted.com 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 Accepted.com’s services to see how Alicia can help you achieve your professional dreams in healthcare.


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UCSD 2013 School of Medicine Secondary Application Essay Tips

UCSD School of MedicineThe UCSD School of Medicine prefers applicants with extensive research experience.  If you have not described your research experience in your personal statement, include a description in the secondary application’s autobiographical essay.  They offer a PRIME Heq Program with training in treating medically underserved communities.  They also have a dual degree program that allows medical students to earn a Master’s Degree in Clinical Research.  You will have the opportunity to explain your interest in these programs through optional essays on the secondary application.

UCSD SOM 2013 Secondary Application Essay Questions:

  • One autobiographical essay, with a character limit of 6,000, and a short essay, with a character limit of 400, are required.
  • Two additional essays are optional, one for applicants interested in applying to PRIME-HEq and one for the MAS Degree.
  • 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. AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
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 seeking the MD/PhD training at UCSD.

Note that the autobiographical sketch is limited to 6000 characters.

Before starting your outline for this response, read and review your AMCAS application essays.  If you have not already made a timeline of important events in your life, create one now.  Include when your interest in science first developed, your first exposure to medicine, research experience, and any other events that provide an explanation for how your interest in medicine developed.  Mark off the events from your timeline that you have already covered in your personal statement.  Create an outline based on the events you haven’t yet discussed.  Is there a common theme between the events or experiences?  How did you become interested in a career in medicine?  Why is medicine the ideal career field for you personally?  If you are applying to the MD/PhD program, discuss how this program will allow you to achieve your career goals.     

2. (OPTIONAL) ESSAY FOR APPLICANTS INTERESTED IN PRIME-HEq
PRIME – Heq – PRogram In Medical Education – Health Equities: The goals of PRIME – HEq are: To increase the number of clinicians, research scientists, and advocates addressing minority health and health disparities; to create a diverse community of scholars that develop, transmit, and apply new knowledge in minority health and health disparities; and to promote a multidisciplinary community/university partnership to eliminate health disparities. The program utilizes existing opportunities to allow enrollees to obtain a master’s degree emphasizing minority health and health disparities, tailored to student’s interest (MPH, MBA, MAS, MS).

Applicants indicating an interest in PRIME are required to write an additional essay detailing their qualifications and reasons for interest in the program.

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)

The PRIME Health Equity Program offered at UCSD SOM provides students with the opportunity to earn a MD as well as a Master’s Degree in interdisciplinary fields.  The training students receive will prepare them to treat patients in medical underserved communities.  If you are from an educationally or socio-economically disadvantaged background or an ethnicity that is underrepresented in medicine, share more information about yourself.  By establishing a clear connection to the communities that you hope to work with in the future, you will be providing compelling evidence of your motivation to serve.  Describe your community service to the underserved, focusing on the length of your service.  What will the specific training this program offers enable you to accomplish in your career? 

3. (OPTIONAL) ESSAY FOR APPLICANTS INTERESTED IN MASTER’S OF ADVANCED STUDIES (MAS) IN CLINICAL RESEARCH
Applicants to the UCSD School of Medicine may apply to a program which combines the M.D. degree with a Master’s of Advanced Studies in Clinical Research. This program is appropriate for students who are interested in a career combining medical practice and oversight of clinical research. The Master’s degree can be completed in one year, and is typically pursued between the third and fourth year of medical school. Students accepted into this MD-Master’s program will be supported with a stipend and partial tuition support during the year of the Master’s degree.

Applicants indicating an interest in MAS Clinical Research are required to write an additional essay detailing their qualifications and reasons for interest in the program.

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)

After reviewing the website, explain your interest in their program.  Do you have experience in clinical research studies?  What did you contribute to the research?  How would this degree benefit your patients and improve your knowledge of medicine?

4. Enter a brief description of your future career goals (400 Characters)

Given the character limitations for this short essay, create a concise response.  First, make a list of your top ten career goals.  Number the goals in order of importance.  Using only the first three—explain why these goals are important to you and how they will impact your practice of medicine.

UCSD SOM Application Timeline:

AMCAS Application Due               November 1, 2012

Secondary Application                  Due one month after you receive the request

School Begins                             Last Week of August, 2013

If you would like professional guidance with your UCSD 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 UCSD SOM application materials.

Alicia Nimonkar is an Accepted.com 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 Accepted.com’s services to see how Alicia can help you achieve your professional dreams in healthcare.



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Harvard Medical School Secondary Application Essay Tips

Medical School TipsHMS is looking for students who will help find new ways to approach patient care through diversity, research, and a dedication to service.  In this secondary application, it will be important to include relevant leadership roles that you have held in which you were able to improve methods or outcomes.  Highlight your experience working with diverse communities and your own cultural background.  If you have recent research experience, discuss your contributions to the team.  Most importantly, describe any community service or volunteer roles you participated in and explain how your work impacted the community you served.  HMS is looking for applicants who can set themselves apart through the quality of their leadership, research, and community service experiences.     

Harvard 2013 Secondary Application Essay Questions:

  • Two 4000-character essays are requested, not required.
  • One additional essay is required for applicants interested in applying to the HST MD Program with a limit of one page.
  • Applicants should use single line spacing and 10 or 12 point size font.
  • Responses should be constructed strategically to highlight all of an applicant’s strengths.

The following essays are requested in the Secondary Application:

D. If you have already graduated, briefly (4000 characters max) summarize your activities since graduation.

This essay applies only to students who have graduated Spring 2012 or earlier from an undergraduate institution.  Using an updated copy of your resume, create a list of the activities that you have participated in since graduating.  You can discuss the activities in chronological order, present to past or past to present.  Or you can organize the list based on type of activity.  Select a method of organization—write it out as a list or draw circles grouping similar activities together.  Once you have decided the method of your approach, you can focus paragraph by paragraph on each activity in the order that you chose—providing details about the level of your responsibilities, what you are learning, how you are impacting the community you are working with and/or how the experience is influencing your life goals.  Provide clear and succinct summaries that are focused on demonstrating HMS’ core commitments as described above or on their website. 

E. 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 character maximum)

For a question like this, it is better to demonstrate the strength of your connection rather than describing it.  If you have a personal connection to any of the communities described above, describe your involvement in the community and any relevant community service or work related positions you have held to support the community.  The more long term your commitments, the more compelling your connection and identification with the group will be.  Have you assisted other diverse or minority communities?  How have you been involved?  How long has your commitment been?  What impact did you have on the community?  Be sure to provide a strong conclusion for this essay—focusing on how your life has been enriched by the diverse communities you have served.    

HST Essay:
The HST MD program draws on the combined resources of Harvard University and MIT to provide a distinct preclinical education tailored to preparing students for a career as a physician-scientist. The coursework in the HST program has an emphasis on quantitative and analytic approaches, centered on mechanisms critical for understanding diseases and therapies. Please explain how your prior experiences, including research, have prepared you for this challenging opportunity. In lieu of identifying specific HST faculty or research opportunities, please focus on your particular experiences, interests and aspirations. Please limit your comments to the equivalent of one page of single spaced text with a font size of 10 or 12.

The Health Sciences and Technology MD Program website provides a detailed description of their program for those students interested in applying.  As requested in the essay prompt, focus on describing your research background.  You can use an updated draft of your resume for reference.  Start by describing your research experience—the number of years you spent in each lab and the type of research you conducted.  What did you learn about yourself and scientific research through these experiences?  How did they influence your areas of interest?  What were the limitations of the research that you conducted?  How could you further develop those projects?  What are your long-term goals in research? 

HMS Application Timeline:

AMCAS Application Due October 15, 2012
Secondary Application Strong recommendation: Submit within two weeks after receipt.
School Begins August 19, 2013

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

Alicia Nimonkar is an Accepted.com 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 Accepted.com’s services to see how Alicia can help you achieve your professional dreams in healthcare.


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University of Pennsylvania 2013 Medical School Secondary Application Essay Tips

With excellent ratings in research and primary care, UPENN is looking for students with strong communication skills who can articulate their motivations to study medicine and serve as community leaders.  Providing further information and insight in this secondary application about the reasons why you are motivated to study medicine at UPENN will be important.  Even better, if those motivations illuminate character and how your life goals have shaped you as a person and leader, you will impress the adcomm.    

University of Pennsylvania 2013 Medical School Essay Question:

  • One short essay with a 1,000 character limit is required.
  • Applicants should use single line spacing and 12 point size font.
  • Responses should be constructed strategically to highlight all of an applicant’s strengths, especially to demonstrate how they align with the UPENN mission statement and goals.

The following are required in the Secondary Application:

Please explain your reasons for applying to the Perelman School of Medicine and limit your response to 1,000 characters.

Since this secondary question requests a short essay, be succinct in your response.  Start by doing your research on UPENN; read their mission statement, standards for admission, and basic requirements.  Check out the structure and focus of their curriculum.  What excites you about their school?  Do you have a connection to their location?  Do they offer any special programs or specialties that you are interested in?  In what ways are the school’s goals similar to your own?  How will their faculty, curriculum, or special programs better prepare you for a career in medicine?     

UPENN Application Timeline:

AMCAS Application Due October 15, 2012
Secondary Application *November 15, 2012 (Strong recommendation: Submit within two weeks after receipt.)
Interviews Conducted Late September 2012 to mid January 2013
Rolling Admissions January 2013 to May 2013
School Begins Early in August 2013


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

Alicia Nimonkar is an Accepted.com 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 Accepted.com’s services to see how Alicia can help you achieve your professional dreams in healthcare.


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University of Michigan 2013 Medical School Secondary Application Essay Tips

UMMS is ranked in the top ten schools for excellence in primary care.  Given the school’s focus on self-directed learning and building on a strong science foundation, it will be important in your secondary essays to convey the level of your self-awareness in meeting your academic goals.  How did you approach challenging science courses?  In what ways have you demonstrated a commitment to lifelong learning?  How has your community benefited from this commitment?  For students interested in earning a MD/PhD, UMMS has a Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) Program.  As part of this program, students will be given the training to enter academic medicine and conduct basic science research.   

University of Michigan 2013 Secondary Application Essay Questions:

  • Two short essays with 250 word limits are required.
  • For MSTP applicants, a different essay prompt is provided for Essay #1.
  • Applicants should use single line spacing and 12 point size font.
  • Responses should be constructed strategically to highlight all of an applicant’s strengths, especially to demonstrate how they align with UMMS’ mission statement and goals.

Application Tip: Check out this helpful advice from the UMSOM Director of Admissions.

The following are required in the Secondary Application:

Essay 1
Tell us something you are passionate about and why. Do not exceed 1500 characters (about 250 words).

Based on the school’s goals for their medical education, I recommend selecting one academic interest that you can relate to medicine.  A talent or interest that has required significant effort and long term commitment would be an ideal choice.  Research, team building activities (i.e. clubs, health organizations, volunteer work, etc.), leadership roles that required teaching and/or mentoring others, and organized team sports are some activities that would work especially well for this essay response.  Most importantly, select a topic that you are excited about because your enthusiasm will be captured in your prose.  Once you have narrowed down your topic, create a list of reasons why this activity is important to you.  Review the school’s goals and decide which three reasons coincide with your own interests as well as the school’s.  Use this short list as your outline; start with the least important reason of the three you selected.

MSTP applicants: Instead of the above, briefly describe why you decided to apply to the University of Michigan MSTP. If you are interested in a specific department, program, or area of research for your Ph.D., please provide a brief explanation (we recognize that your interests may change).

This essay response will require that you complete significant research on the history and structure of the MSTP program and curriculum.  After reading their web pages, what features of the program stand out in your mind?  After reviewing a complete list of their departments, what areas interest you?  Have you completed research or a degree in any of these fields?  What attracted you to that research project or field?  Align your background and long-term interests with their program in your essay response.   

Essay 2
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).

This is a common general question on secondary applications; the response that you develop for this essay can be adapted for other applications.  An effective response to this question will provide an overview of the diverse talents and interests that you will share with the UMMS community.  Have you received awards or recognition in any of your fields of interest?  What has been your most long-term commitment—to music, science, volunteering, research, clinical experience, leadership or athletics?  What talents have you cultivated that you have shared with your community?  How many languages do you speak and how has your cultural background increased your connection with the community?  After you have selected those talents and activities that you feel best represent you—relate them back to medicine and how you will share or involve your classmates in these interests.  How will they enrich your classmates’ experience as well as your own?   

UMSOM Application Timeline:

AMCAS Application Due September 30, 2012
MSTP Application and
Secondary Materials Due
October 15, 2012
Secondary Application *November 30, 2012 (Strong recommendation: Submit within two weeks after receipt.)
Interviews Conducted September 7, 2012 to February 15, 2013
Rolling Admissions October 15, 2012 to March 2013
School Begins First Week in August 2013


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

Alicia Nimonkar is an Accepted.com 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 Accepted.com’s services to see how Alicia can help you achieve your professional dreams in healthcare.


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