HMS is looking for students who will help find new ways to approach patient care through diversity, research, and a dedication to service. In this secondary application, it will be important to include relevant leadership roles that you have held in which you were able to improve methods or outcomes. Highlight your experience working with diverse communities and your own cultural background. If you have recent research experience, discuss your contributions to the team. Most importantly, describe any community service or volunteer roles you participated in and explain how your work impacted the community you served. HMS is looking for applicants who can set themselves apart through the quality of their leadership, research, and community service experiences.
Harvard 2016 Secondary Application Essay Questions:
• Two 4000-character essays are requested, not required.
• One additional essay is required for applicants interested in applying to the HST MD Program with a limit of one page.
• Applicants should use single line spacing and 10 or 12 point size font.
• Responses should be constructed strategically to highlight all of an applicant’s strengths.
Secondary Application Essays:
1. If you have already graduated, briefly summarize your activities since graduation. (4000 characters maximum)
This essay applies only to students who have already graduated from an undergraduate institution. Using an updated copy of your resume, create a list of the activities that you have participated in since graduating. You can discuss the activities in chronological order, present to past or past to present. Or you can organize the list based on type of activity. Select a method of organization—write it out as a list or draw circles grouping similar activities together. Once you have decided the method of your approach, you can focus paragraph by paragraph on each activity in the order that you chose—providing details about the level of your responsibilities, what you are learning, how you are impacting the community you are working with and/or how the experience is influencing your life goals. Provide clear and succinct summaries that are focused on demonstrating HMS’ core commitments as described above or on their website.
2. If there is an important aspect of your personal background or identity, not addressed elsewhere in the application, that you would like to share with the Committee, we invite you to do so here. Many applicants will not need to answer this question. Examples might include significant challenges in access to education, unusual socioeconomic factors, identification with a minority culture, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity. Briefly explain how such factors have influenced your motivation for a career in medicine. (4000 characters maximum)
For a question like this, it is better to demonstrate the strength of your connection rather than describing it. If you have a personal connection to any of the communities described above, describe your involvement in the community and any relevant community service or work related positions you have held to support the community. The more long term your commitments, the more compelling your connection and identification with the group will be. Have you assisted other diverse or minority communities? How have you been involved? How long has your commitment been? What impact did you have on the community? Be sure to provide a strong conclusion for this essay—focusing on how your life has been enriched by the diverse communities you have served.
If you would like professional guidance with your Harvard Medical School application materials, please consider using Accepted’s Medical School Admissions Consulting and Editing Services, which include advising, editing, and interview coaching for the HMS 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.
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