BUSM’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 School of Medicine 2020-21 secondary application essay questions
Boston University School of Medicine essay #1
A. Are you expecting to go on to medical school directly after completing your undergraduate degree? (1400 characters)
Be honest in this response. If you need to take a break before applying to medical school, write about how you will use your time. Discuss all volunteer work, extracurricular interests or clinical experience that you plan to participate in. If you have a goal for this period, provide it. If you need to work to save up money to apply—state this in your response. Explain where you intend to work and anticipated responsibilities.
B. Did you go on to college directly after high school? If no, 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. If you had a health crisis that delayed college – returning to school demonstrates strength of will. If you did not go directly from high school to college, responding to this prompt will only help your application.
Boston University School of Medicine essay #2
If you have spent more than 4 years as an undergraduate, please explain below. (1400 characters)
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.
Boston University School of Medicine essay #3
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. Also use this section to explain any impact that COVID-19 may have had on your educational/research/volunteering or employment plans. (2000 characters)
Though this essay is optional, Boston University SOM revised it this year to include how you’ve been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. I strongly recommend responding to it.
First, focus this response on educational experiences—talents or skills you developed through training or learning opportunities (formal education or self-taught). Include anything that is distinctive in your educational path. This can include a variety of situations: internships, undergraduate year(s) abroad, or other things like, did you run a marathon, co-write piano scores for a play – any unique aspects of your journey otherwise not represented in your AMCAS application.
Also, this secondary asks about the impact of COVID-19 on your education, research, volunteering or employment. It’s likely this prompt is a place for BU to easily and uniformly locate information on how applicants were affected by COVID-19, across applications. That’s practical. So, stay clear and categorize your response in the manner they ask: education, research, volunteering or employment. Be concise and direct.
Also, consider this prompt as an opportunity to place in context the effect of a public health crisis that no one could foresee. How do you, a future doctor, now foresee patient care in light of this pandemic? How did you take the initiative to ease the burden of COVID restrictions on others, especially the vulnerable?
Boston University School of Medicine essay #4
Boston Medical Center is the largest safety net hospital in New England, serving primarily people who are publicly insured, people of color, immigrants, and low-income people in the Greater Boston Area. Why are you specifically interested in beginning your medical education in this environment, and how do you feel that your previous experiences will prepare you for this unique learning environment. (3000 characters)
This prompt is an opportunity to connect with BU’s mission and purpose. In the prompt, they steer you to address your commitment to caring for the underserved, less privileged, immigrants, diverse cultures and populations of Boston. Be sure to read their mission statement and program descriptions carefully. Then, fit yourself squarely with being a medical student who will thrive and succeed treating the underserved and diverse communities through their programs. Link your suitedness with something you’ve already done to prep yourself to understand the needs of a large urban, multicultural, diverse and vulnerable people. Have you volunteered or shadowed in a large urban hospital? What did you learn about patient care? If what you’ve done is already an “activity” on your application, do not replicate it word for word. Revise the “take away,” or add one, that is an explicit match to the values of BU.
Boston University School of Medicine essay #5
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 (3000 characters).
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. What part of your character makes you particularly suited to be an excellent physician?
If you would like professional guidance with your Boston University School of Medicine application materials, check out Accepted’s Medical School Admissions Consulting and Editing Services, which include advising, editing, and interview coaching for the BUSM application materials.
BUSM 2020 – 2021 application timeline
|AMCAS application due||November 1, 2020|
|Secondary application due||December 1, 2020|
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***
Dr. Mary Mahoney, Ph.D. has over 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 last twenty 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!Alicia McNease Nimonkar worked for 5 years as the Student Advisor & Director at the UC Davis School of Medicine's postbac program where she both evaluated applications and advised students applying successfully to med school and other health professional programs. She has served Accepted's clients since 2012 with roughly a 90% success rate. She has a Master of Arts in Composition and Rhetoric as well as Literature. Want Alicia to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!