Duke University’s Medical School is ranked 8th among its peers with a focus on interdisciplinary learning and inclusiveness among the student body. They aim to take medical research to solve global problems. Duke emphasizes diversity, inclusion, and attention to community health problems. The secondary application questions ask you to consider your role as a physician in global and local communities.
Duke University’s 2016 Secondary Application Essay Questions:
• No word count. We suggest aiming for about 500-1000 words.
• Applicants should use single-spacing and 12-point font.
Secondary Application Essays:
1. Describe the community in which you were nurtured or spent the majority of your early development with respect to its demographics. What core values did you receive and how will these translate into the contributions that you hope to make to your community as a medical student and to your career in medicine? What improvements do you think might make the described community better?
This question asks you to look at your own experience and examine your values. Make a list of the communities to which you belong and what you have learned from each one. Then, ask yourself how these lessons apply to your motivation to pursue medicine. Finally, step back and look at the big picture – how does you community fit into the larger scope of the world? What can you say about your own community with some objective perspective and informed outlook?
2. Describe a situation where you have chosen to advocate for someone who is different from yourself. What does advocacy mean to you and how has your advocacy developed? How do you see it linked to your role as a physician/leader? What risks, if any, might be associated with your choice to be an advocate?
For this prompt, make a list of times you have either helped someone express his or her needs or obtain a needed service or acknowledgement. The prompt asks for an individual example, but you can also think about an individual you have worked with who represents a broader group of people. This question is asking you to think about your role as a physician-advocate, someone who will represent her patient in the quest to obtain fair and adequate healthcare. The question also addresses Duke’s emphasis on the physician as a member of the community with a duty to improve care for all.
3. What has been your most humbling experience and how will that experience affect your interactions with your peers and patients?
This prompt requires that you address an experience where things did not go as planned. You should give an example honestly while avoiding any response that implies you did something illegal or immoral. Your answer should emphasize what you did after this experience – how did you recover? What lesson did you learn? What would you do differently next time?
If you would like professional guidance with your Duke University application materials, please consider using Accepted’s Medical School Admissions Consulting and Editing Services, which include advising, editing, and interview coaching for the GWSMHS application materials.
Jessica Pishko graduated with a J.D. from Harvard Law School and received an M.F.A. from Columbia University. She spent two years guiding students through the medical school application process at Columbia’s PostBacc Program and teaches writing at all levels.
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