OHSU is Oregon’s only health center, and the school focuses on training med students to serve throughout the state. The goal is to advance health care delivery and leadership throughout Oregon. OHSU has a strong preference to accept applicants who are residents of Oregon or have a personal “heritage” or affiliation with the state. The curriculum is heavily focused on primary care, in order to meet the needs of underserved communities in the region.
Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) 2022 – 2023 secondary application essay prompts
OHSU School of Medicine essay #1
What experience have you had that has given you insight into the patients you hope to eventually serve? (1,550 characters)
For this essay, you should think about your career goals and what kind of patients you hope to work with — the category can be defined in terms of socio-economic class, language, ethnicity, immigration status, age, medical conditions, etc. Then think of a story to tell about experiences, either clinical or personal, where you interact with someone from this population, including what you learned from the experience… What did you learn about medicine, quality care, diverse populations, underserved people, health care access and equity?
OHSU School of Medicine essay #2
Tell us about a time you went into a situation completely unprepared. (1,550 characters)
This is a question about uncertainty. When we are unprepared for an event or situation we have to make the best judgment call based on the information or situation at hand. In healthcare, sometimes we’re unprepared intellectually, in that we need information that we do not have, lab test results, a medical history, accurate allergy lists. So we have to seek out the information we need or find someone who has that information at hand to help us. Other times, the situation itself is unknowable, unprecedented, or rife with complexity. This situation suggests a need for future study or research to begin to know about something that has not presented itself in this light prior to now. COVID-19 is an example of this. So are world events, like 911. Conclude your story with a “take away” – what do you now know about handling a situation like the one you describe that will help you be resourceful yet safe in an uncertain situation in the future?
OHSU School of Medicine essay #3
Discuss a time in your life that demonstrated your resilience. (1,550 characters)
Make a list of times when you have had to show resilience, or the ability to recover from a setback. Then, choose one where you are able to explain how you overcame the setback. Consider not only how you dealt with the challenge (including reaching out to others) but also include how you have used your own resilience to help others. Two thoughts on this question: 1) I would encourage you to think about resilience beyond “I worked harder” and 2) I would choose an example that isn’t repetitive of the other secondary essays and that has some stakes involved. It can be a personal, academic, or work-related challenge.
Basically, the story should demonstrate how you got back up again, adapted to a challenge, and continued to move forward rather than be dismayed, crushed or resentful of a challenge or setback, even if it was an unfair situation.
OHSU School of Medicine essay #4
In 1990, Salovey and Mayer defined emotional intelligence (EI) as “the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions”. The components of EI include self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Briefly describe one example of a time you harnessed your EI to resolve a difficult situation, AND one example of a time your failure to use your EI compounded a difficult situation. What did you learn about yourself in each of these situations? (2,050 characters)
You have two stories to tell. What is the best story you can tell about yourself when awareness and reason guided you through “what to do” in a challenging situation? This is the story of a level-headed leader.
Then, what is the story about when you responded emotionally, making a situation worse? This is the story of feeling and reacting – perhaps it is a story of a time when you felt attacked, wounded, or disappointed by a situation or person? Conclude this story with what would have been the better way to respond, or what you learned about yourself that you did not really understand prior to the experience. Do not conclude this story with victimization or blame. Rather, conclude with insight and growth.
OHSU School of Medicine essay #5
Give an example of personal feedback in the last few years that was difficult to receive. How did you respond? (1,550 characters)
In this response, you should think about a moment when you received criticism or other feedback from someone that wasn’t what you wanted to hear. Then, walk through the steps you took after receiving the feedback. This would include your initial reaction, your contemplation of the feedback (in which you assess the value of the feedback), and then your implementation of change. It’s important to make sure this story isn’t about arguing with someone, but rather about taking into account a viewpoint that isn’t necessarily what you agreed with or expected to hear, but with hindsight you came to value the feedback, and you grew or matured by accepting its validity.
OHSU School of Medicine essay #6
Please discuss how your personal experience demonstrates the ability to overcome adversity and contributes to diversity in the provision of healthcare. Please include any insight into the diversity that you would bring to OHSU School of Medicine and the profession of medicine in the context of OHSU’s definition of diversity:
Diversity at OHSU requires creating and sustaining a community of inclusion. We honor, respect, embrace and value the unique contributions and perspectives of all employees, patients, students, volunteers and our local and global communities. Diversity may include age, color, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. We respect diversity of thought, ideas and more. Diversity maximizes our true potential for creativity, innovation, quality patient care, educational excellence and outstanding service. (1,550 characters)
As with all diversity questions, this is open-ended on purpose. You may, of course, write about diversity in terms of your own personal experience, socio-economic status, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or other identity. You can also write about diversity of experience, which might include your own family or upbringing, being a caretaker, etc. Finally, you can write about an experience working with people from diverse backgrounds and how that has helped you appreciate diversity overall.
Perhaps you held a leadership role where you took steps to be inclusive rather than exclusive? Perhaps you took on the role of advocate for another person when they were discriminated against, or disrespected or denied a voice?
Medical students, as rising physicians, must be able to embrace diversity as a core value. In order to do this, applicants may draw from personal experience, may draw from observed experiences, or retell a story that was integral in your character education about the necessary and essential value for diversity. How have you taken action to right a moment or undo a pattern of social injustice?
OHSU School of Medicine essay #7
Are there any additional ties to the state of Oregon you wish to share? If so, use the space below. Please note that this does not factor toward your consideration as an Oregon resident or Oregon Heritage.
This prompt is an opportunity to claim being Oregonian, claim being a self-appointed future Oregonian, a former Oregonian seeking to return there, a formerly transient Oregonian having only lived there for a year when you were a child. Perhaps your parents grew up there? As always, it’s best to stay factual.
OHSU School of Medicine essay #8
We know that many of our applicants in the OHSU UME Program may have familial relationships with individuals who are OHSU faculty, residents, staff, or current students who serve as evaluators in our admissions process. We have added this question in hopes to prevent perceived or actual conflicts of interest that can occur when an applicant has a family member (or someone with a similar close personal relationship) they may encounter through the admissions process. If you have any such connections, please list those individuals’ names and departments below.
This is a prompt seeking full disclosure. If you know someone affiliated with OHSU, even casually, you must say so. Keep this answer simple and factual, and be sure to include names, departments and how you know each person.
Using the fields below, please provide a brief chronological account of your major activities and employment, including volunteer and summer activities, for the five years immediately preceding your proposed entry to medical school. This should include present and projected activities to the point of matriculation to medical school. Please do not include activities that ended prior to or during high school. Note: You are limited to 20 entries in this section.
Start with the future work during a gap year, what’s ahead. Then work backward in time through five years. They do not ask for hours or time spent, but they do designate “major” activities and employment. Major could mean the amount of time spent doing something, but it could also mean a significant opportunity or endeavor that was valuable for your growth on your journey to medical school.
Applying to OHSU? Here are some stats:
OHSU School of Medicine average MCAT score: 510
OHSU School of Medicine average GPA: 3.66
OHSU School of Medicine acceptance rate: 3.1%
U.S. News ranks OHSU #32 for research and #4 for primary care.
Has this blog post helped you feel more confident about approaching your OHSU application? We hope so. It’s our mission to help smart, talented applicants like you gain acceptance to your target schools. 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!
OHSU School of Medicine 2022-23 application timeline
|AMCAS application deadline||October 15th|
|Secondary applications become available||Mid-July|
Source: OHSU website
*Strong recommendation: Submit your secondaries within two weeks after receipt.
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***
Dr. Mary Mahoney, Ph.D. is the Medical Humanities Director at Elmira College and 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!