Duke University’s Medical School is ranked 3rd by U.S. News for research and 51st for primary care, and is known for its focus on interdisciplinary learning. It aims to use medical research to solve global problems. Duke emphasizes diversity, inclusion, and attention to community health problems. Consequently it comes as no surprise that Duke’s secondary application questions ask you to consider your role as a physician in global and local communities.
Duke secondary application tips 2021-2022
Duke secondary application essay #1
Tell us more about who you are. You may provide additional information that expands your self-identity where gender identification, racial and/or ethnic self description, geographic origin, socioeconomic, academic, and/or other characteristics that define who you are as you contemplate a career that will interface with people who are similar AND dissimilar to you. You will have the opportunity below to tell us how you wish to be addressed, recognized and treated. (500 words)
As schools are taking more factors into consideration when it comes to diversity, they are also asking applicants to put more thought into the relationship between diversity (of patients and colleagues) and their own identity. This is one such question. You should feel free to talk about aspects of your identity that might not be obvious from your application. I suggest doing so through the use of examples in order to illustrate how those parts of your personality inform your behavior towards others. You should also explain how these qualities or experiences will impact how you treat and interact with others. What story can you tell about your life that defines you?
Duke secondary application essay #2
Describe a situation where you have chosen to advocate for someone who is different from you or for a cause or idea that was different from yours. What risks, if any, might be associated with your choice to be an advocate? (400 words)
When have you helped someone after they experienced discrimination, hardship or bias? What happened? What did you do? What was the outcome of your actions? Looking back, what was the risk of advocating in light of the situation?
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 their 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.
Duke secondary application essay #3
Not achieving a goal or one’s desire can sometimes be disheartening. What have you learned/gained from your setbacks and disappointments and how does this translate to your current way of thinking? (400 words)
This prompt challenges applicants to be truthful about a disappointing moment, an initiative or effort that didn’t have the desired results. If looking at oneself as “having failed” sounds too self-deprecating, then turn the table here. Tell the story of a setback as a growth moment. Keep in mind, hitting road bumps on the way to achieving life goals is inevitable. Being able to adapt and learn, perhaps, is the moral of this story because physicians adapt to circumstances and compensate for gaps in patient care often.
Duke secondary application essay #4
What has been your most humbling experience and how will that experience affect your interactions with your peers and patients? (400 words)
This prompt requires that you address an experience where things did not go as planned or provide a story about having learned or gained insight from another person whom you may have underestimated. 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 respond? What lesson did you learn? What would you or did you do differently next time?
Duke secondary application essay #5
Leadership, teamwork, and communication flow synergistically. What do you value most as a leader and as a contributor? What attributes do you possess as a leader and as a team member and how do you apply them on a daily basis? (400 words)
This is a very broad question about critical skills in medicine. Doctors are leaders, but they are also part of a medical team. Communication with patients, peers, and other members of the healthcare professions is mandatory.
When did you take on a leadership role? How did that go? What guiding principles helped you lead effectively, or what guiding principles came to light while adapting to a leadership role? Discuss which skills and attributes contributed to your effectiveness as a leader and/or a team member. What worked for you when you were in a leadership role? How did this experience change how you “walk the walk” of a leader?
Duke secondary application essay #6
Critical thinking involves a number of characteristics. Research experience enhances critical analysis skills. Describe any research experience or another situation in which you utilized critical thinking. How will critical thinking be important in your future career? (400 words)
In your research, how do you analyze and evaluate the progress of your work to stay in line with the research goal? How do you provide context for a research outcome so others understand its value or potential impact in medicine? Effective critical thinking demonstrates cognitive ability to assess complexity. Your answer, therefore, should demonstrate how you think through an essential issue inherent in the research project. How does this research progress or propel medicine into the 21st century?
Duke secondary application essay #7
Potential sources of health inequities include race, gender, education, income, disability, geographic location, and sexual orientation. Moments to Movement (M2M) is Duke’s collective stand against systemic racism and injustice. The name signifies going beyond passive moments of reflection and becoming more active as we build to make lasting change for our patients, their loved ones and each other. Describe your understanding of race and its relationship to inequities in health and health care. (400 words)
Minority populations are at risk for poor health care outcomes related to COVID-19, but not only in relation to COVID-19. Why is this so? Explain what you know about race as it affects health care disparities. It does. So be sure to briefly explain the reality of this truth. From here, what does this disparity mean regarding a doctor’s approach to patient care? When is race a critical factor in patient care? How should physicians respond to this situation?
Duke secondary application essay #8
How has the COVID-19 pandemic influenced your journey to medical school? Have these events changed your outlook on medicine’s role in society? (400 words)
Almost all medical schools require a response from applicants to the current COVID-19 pandemic. This prompt, like others, asks how you were affected. If possible, you should also answer with how you responded — did you start or participate in an initiative to help shut-ins obtain food, for example? However, the emphasis in this prompt, and the majority of one’s thought in addressing it, should be spent on the answer to the second question. Duke University SOM is asking you what this unexpected shift in preparing to be a doctor has done to you. Moreso, it is asking how this unexpected shift in preparing to be a doctor has revised your vision of “doctoring” in the future. This surely engages some insight and perspective about public health, the common good, the disparity of risk among less advantaged populations, cultures and demographics. It may also be an opportunity for you to reveal adaptability, initiative, grit, and/or resilience.
Applying to Duke? Here are some stats:
Duke average MCAT score: 519
Duke Medical School average GPA: 3.87
Duke Medical School acceptance rate: 3.6%
U.S. News ranks Duke #3 for research and #51 for primary care.
Has this blog post helped you feel more confident about approaching your Duke secondary application? We hope so. It’s our mission to help smart, talented applicants like you gain acceptance to your top choice medical school. With so much at stake, why not hire a consultant whose expertise and personalized guidance can help you make your dream come true? We have several flexible consulting options—click here to get started today!
Duke University Med School application timeline 2021 – 2022
|AMCAS deadline||October 15|
|Secondary application deadline||November 15|
|Interview invitations are sent out||Late August until early January|
|Duke makes final acceptance decisions||Mid-Late February|
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***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!
- School-Specific Secondary Application Essay Tips
- All About Duke Medical School’s Unique Curriculum and How to Get In, a podcast interview with Dr. Linton Yee, Assoc. Dean for Admissions
- Successful Medical School Secondary Application Strategies