The curriculum and goals of George Washington SMHS center on its ability to graduate “Physician Citizens.” Since the school is located in the most powerful city in the U.S., Washington D.C., GW emphasizes the opportunities to treat the area’s diverse communities. It is essential to have years of service, either clinical or nonclinical, with diverse populations and to have a demonstrated record of long-term leadership experience.
In addition you need to know about GW’s educational approach. It initiated a brand new curriculum in Fall 2014 that incorporates more technology, independent study time, active learning models and clinical exposure. It also offers a Track System that allows students to gain special training in the following areas: Community/Urban Health, Emergency Management, Global Health, Health Policy, Integrative Medicine, Medical Education Leadership, Medical Humanities and Research. The Track System will influence the direction of a students’ education throughout their four years at George Washington SMHS.
George Washington 2016 School of Medicine and Health Sciences Essay Questions:
• Four essays total requested: two essays with 750-character limits, one essay with a 1,000-character limit and one essay with a 2,000-character limit.
• Applicants should use single line spacing and 12 point size font.
• Responses should be constructed strategically to highlight an applicant’s strengths.
Secondary Application Essays:
1. Please provide the Admissions Committee with a brief summary of your activities, academics, employment or other occupations to account for full-time activity (approx. 30-40 hours/week) for the 2015-2016 application cycle, or from the point of application through matriculation in 2016. (750 characters)
The best way to approach this type of question is to create a list of the commitments you have made for the next year. Only include those activities that you have already started or plan to definitely complete. It will not be helpful to list things that you end up not participating in because you could be asked about them in an interview, and it will not help your application if you have to explain why you are not completing the activities you listed on the secondary. Ideally, you will be able to bring an updated CV or resume to the interview with the new experiences you have completed.
2. What is your most meaningful community service experience to date? (350 characters)
Based on the fact that they emphasize leadership, community service and a commitment to life-long learning, you can select an achievement that 1) was truly meaningful for you and that 2) allows you to share your dedication to helping others through leadership and/or education. It’s essential to be authentic so do select something that is important to you. Situations that reveal creative leadership will be most effective.
3. What is your most meaningful clinical experience to date, involving direct patient contact? (350 characters)
For this question, consider the range of your experience and the level of responsibility that you’ve taken on in a clinical setting. Choose the one that required you to provide the most support or hands-on assistance. Effective examples would be if you’ve traveled to another country for a medical mission or translated at a free clinic. Educating patients on any aspect of preventative health or taking a patient’s medical history would also work. The most important part of this essay will be providing successful outcomes for your work. What was the end result or patient reaction? Did you receive an award for your service or recognition for excellence in patient care? Highlight any outcomes from your clinical experience.
4. What makes you a unique individual? What challenges have you faced? How will these factors help you contribute to the diversity of the student body at GW? (1000 characters)
In responding to this essay prompt, it will be important for you to select a challenge that you have overcome that will allow you to demonstrate by showing, rather than telling, how you are a “unique individual.” For example, if you came up with a unique way to approach an issue that provided a successful resolution for everyone involved, this would be an effective choice.
Creating an outline will help you ensure that you respond to all three questions in the prompt. In identifying what was unique about your approach to the challenge, you will be answering the third question listed. Many different challenges would work well for this essay, just be sure to select one that highlights your approach to problem solving.
5. What is your specific interest in the MD Program at GW? What opportunities would you take advantage of as a student here? Why? (2000 characters)
Do your research for this question. There are lots of wonderful special programs at GW. Create a list as you read through their website. After you’ve read through all of their webpages, rank your list in the order of importance to you. Create an outline based on these rankings. Again, it’s essential to be authentic in your response and to demonstrate how you have used similar opportunities in the past. It’s even more helpful if you have visited the school or spoken with representatives or students.
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***
*Strong recommendation: Submit within two weeks after receipt.
If you would like professional guidance with your George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences application materials, check out Accepted’s Medical School Admissions Consulting and Editing Services, which include advising, editing, and interview coaching for GWSMHS application materials.
Alicia McNease Nimonkar is an Accepted 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.