Looking for the best osteopathic med school admissions advice out there? Ace those AACOMAS apps by reading our osteopathic application tips series – each post, another set of 5 expert tips that will help you get accepted.
Once you file the AACOMAS application and choose your schools, the process is not yet over. You will start to receive secondary essays in the mail for each school. While some may be similar (e.g. biggest challenge, significant volunteer experience), others will ask you to explain why you would like to attend their school. Below are a few tips to help you through the process.
One of the hardest parts of this process is to allocate enough time to get the secondary applications done in a timely manner. So, plan ahead. Don’t leave them all for the last minute. The turn-around time can be as tight as two weeks, so start early and leave time to revise. There’s nothing secondary about secondaries!
- Emphasize fit
Secondary essays are all about assessing whether you are a right fit for the school. Remember that old John F. Kennedy quote, “ask not what the country can do for you – ask what you can do for the country.” Same thing. In this case, how will you bring dedication and honor to their school? How, without bragging, will you help fulfill their vision of being a doctor? Speak to their mission. Highlight what fits about you to the kind of student they seek.
So, research the schools and emphasize the qualities that are important for each school. For instance, some osteopathic schools seek applicants that are likely to stay in the school’s region of a state or region of the country. Offer up this interest as yours too, and why, as a key point in your secondary response especially if they ask you about geography or demographics.
- Dedicate the time
Often, applicants run out of steam when they reach the secondaries, especially those who apply to many schools. But, you should make sure that you put as much time into these essays as you did the AACOMAS application. This is a way to show schools that you are serious about the process and their admission committee’s time.
- Research the schools
Applicants sometimes apply to schools without looking into their missions or specific programs. But, schools want applicants that want to go to attend their institutions. So, the time you spend researching and asking questions is well worth it. For instance, if a school states they are committed to rural medicine, show them you are too and why. If a school states they are committed to improving access to care for underserved populations, explain how that is certainly your value, and tell a true story that demonstrates it empathetically and compassionately while staying true to holistic aims.
- Don’t repeat
Make sure that the anecdotes and information in the secondary applications don’t repeat stories in the personal statement. You want to present new information, new stories/experiences or new insights to the school. Applicants who are redundant could run the risk of seeming as if they need a gap year to gain more experience.
You need to work hard if you want to submit a winning AACOMAS (or AMCAS or AADSAS) application — and we can help! Check out Accepted’s Primary Application Package to receive complete application guidance from conceptualization to final review. Your experienced consultant will guide you through the entire primary application, ensuring that you make the best use of your time to create a compelling portrait of yourself as a future leader in the medical field.
Dr. Mary Mahoney, PhD, is the medical humanities director at Elmira College and has more than 20 years of experience as an advisor and essay reviewer for med school applicants. She is a tenured English professor with an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College and a PhD in literature and writing from the University of Houston. For the past 20 years, Mary has served as a grad school advisor and essay reviewer for med school applicants. Want Mary to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!