“At the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, we are dramatically advancing the art and science of medical care through an atmosphere of intense collaborative learning, social concern, and scholarly inquiry.”
Icahn is known for its progressive stance towards education. They have an early admission program for sophomores in college, called the FlexMed Program, which allows students to pursue their undergraduate studies without any required premed coursework or even taking the MCAT. Students accepted into FlexMed must maintain a GPA of 3.5 and complete their Bachelor’s degree, in addition to other requirements.
“FlexMed is all about flexibility in your education and the opportunity to pursue what you love to learn. It allows talented students with lots of initiative to ‘flex’ their intellectual, creative, humanistic, and scientific muscles during college.”
– David Muller, MD, FACP, Dean for Medical Education, Professor, and Marietta and Charles C. Morchand Chair in Medical Education
Applicants to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai are encouraged to highlight their achievements in many areas, including scholarship, advocacy, personal maturity, integrity, intellectual creativity, leadership, innovation, and motivation for medicine. Students are encouraged to take premed coursework in statistics and biochemistry and it is “strongly suggested” that they demonstrate fluency in a second modern language, preferably Spanish or Mandarin. Icahn offers MD/PhD and MPH programs, but also has a strong focus on primary care.
For the first two years of medical school at Icahn, students participate in the Longitudinal Clinical Experience, where they are introduced to the primary provider’s clinical reasoning and patient-centered approach. The campus is located on the border between the Upper East Side of Manhattan and East Harlem, a location that exposes students to disenfranchised patient populations with chronic health issues. Students are guaranteed housing in Aron Hall, located across the street from the school and close to Central Park. Location, flexibility, and patient population are often cited as reasons why students choose Icahn.
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai 2020-21 secondary application essay questions
Icahn School of Medicine essay #1
If you are currently not a full-time student, please briefly describe the activities you are participating in this academic year. (100 words)
This can be either a brief paragraph or a bullet point list. Focus on 4-5 main activities, and describe your role and what you hope to accomplish. DO NOT be tempted to answer this question if you are a full-time student. Using this space inappropriately will at best, annoy the reader, and at worst, suggest that you don’t follow rules.
Icahn School of Medicine essay #2
Were there any adverse circumstances in your premedical preparatory journey including but not limited to recent impact from COVID-19? (100 words to explain if yes)
The “COVID essay” is finally here, and you may be stumped. How do you make your story sound different from everyone else’s? Your goal should not be to show how hard it has been on you, but rather, how you pushed through the adversity. Your volunteer activities were canceled, so you found other ways to volunteer and learned about the needs of your community in the process. Your classes were remote, so you found ways to make this type of learning work for you. Show your flexibility, perseverance, creativity, or whatever other qualities shine through during tough times. This essay can be unique and compelling, even if you never left home!
If you have other adversities that are a more important part of your journey, feel free to write about these instead. You can discuss economic hardships, family challenges, racism, gender discrimination, or even health issues, as long as you show personal growth. One topic to avoid is romantic breakups and relationship issues. Even if this impacted your ability to do well in school, it shows a lack of maturity to discuss private issues in an application. Focus on challenges that gave you a new perspective on yourself and how to attain your goals.
Are you submitting your application with a future MCAT date that was rescheduled because of COVID19? Y/N
This doesn’t require any explanation. A simple yes or no is all they’re looking for.
Icahn School of Medicine essay #3
If there is an important aspect of your personal background or identity or a commitment to a particular community, not addressed elsewhere in the application, that you would like to share with the Committee, we invite you to do so here. Aspects might include but are not limited to significant challenges in or circumstances associated with access to education, living with a disability, socioeconomic factors, immigration status, or identification with a culture, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity. Briefly explain how such factors have influenced your motivation for a career in medicine. Completing this section is optional. (100 words)
If you have had a challenging background, what role did this play in your decision to pursue medicine? It is important to connect these two parts (the adverse circumstance and your plan to pursue medicine). You can discuss what you learned from your challenges and why you will be a more compassionate/inclusive/aware physician as a result. Make sure your essay demonstrates a “cup half full” attitude. Blaming or complaining will work against you, so ask a friend or advisor to go through your essay looking for any signs of a negative slant. Show how this challenge made you stronger or more resolved and how you can push forward in the hardest of circumstances.
Icahn School of Medicine essay #4
What is the toughest feedback you ever received? How did you handle it and what did you learn from it? (250 words)
Think of a time when someone criticized you and as a result, you reflected and made significant changes. Try not to focus on criticism of your personality but rather your actions. This could be criticism from a coach, a professor or even a coworker. How will this experience handling feedback impact your ability to receive and respond to criticism in the future? Will it change the way you give feedback to others? Make sure to convey that you are open to and welcome feedback.
Icahn School of Medicine essay #5
Describe a situation that you have thought to be unfair or unjust, whether towards yourself or towards others. How did you address the situation, if at all? (200 words)
Unfairness comes in many forms: Social, economic, societal. An unfair grade in a class is not a good example to use here, as it pales in comparison to greater inequalities. Try to think of an experience that changed the way you think about the world. Discuss your sense of personal responsibility to uphold and advocate for fairness and/or justice. Make sure you answer the last part of this question: What did you do to address the situation? Put yourself in the story and describe the steps you took to make things right for yourself or someone else. If needed, include steps you would take if given a chance to do it over again.
For professional guidance with your Icahn School of Medicine application materials, check out Accepted’s Medical School Admissions Consulting and Editing Services, which include advising, editing, and interview coaching for Icahn’s application materials.
Icahn School of Medicine application timeline
|AMCAS Application Due||October 15|
|Supplemental Application Due||November 15|
Source: Icahn School of Medicine website
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***Dr. Suzi Schweikert has served on the UCSD School of Medicine’s admissions committee, and has mentored students in healthcare programs for over 20 years. She holds a BA in English Lit from UCLA, an MD from UCSD, and an MPH from SDSU. Want Suzi to help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch with Dr. Suzi Schweikert.