Ranked #8 for research by U.S. News, Stanford University SOM provides a strong foundation in the basic sciences and the opportunity to select a scholarly concentration—to pursue topics of individual interest. Students are provided with a mentor, coursework and research opportunities in the topic of their choice. This medical school strongly prefers an extensive background in research and leadership experience.
Stanford University School of Medicine 2022-2023 secondary application essay questions
Stanford Medical School essay #1: Practice Setting
What do you see as the most likely practice scenario for your future medical career?
Choose the single answer that best describes your career goals and clinical practice setting:
- Academic Medicine (Clinical)
- Academic Medicine (Physician Scientist)
- Non-Academic Clinical Practice
- Health Policy
- Health Administration
- Primary Care
- Public Health/Community Health
- Global Health
Why do you feel you are particularly suited for this practice scenario? What knowledge, skills and attitudes have you developed that have prepared you for this career path? (1000 characters)
In asking this question, the school wants to determine how extensive your clinical experience is and how knowledgeable you are about the different methods of medical care delivery. Be honest in selecting the area of your interest. By describing the experience you have in this area to explain why you prefer it over others, you will convince the adcom of your realistic understanding of the practice of medicine. Create a list of “knowledge, skills and attitudes” to explain as support for your interest in this field. Your conclusion could provide an explanation for how and why their program would be the best to support your pursuit of a career in this arena.
Stanford Medical School essay #2: Curricular Interests
How will you take advantage of the Stanford Medicine Discovery Curriculum and scholarly concentration requirement to achieve your personal career goals? (1000 characters)
Given the unique feature of their curriculum, the scholarly concentration, review the possibilities and select those that reflect your research background and interests. How extensive is your research experience in this area? Do you have training in special techniques or laboratory methods in this area? How will the mentorship, coursework and research experience available at Stanford University SOM assist you in meeting your academic and professional goals? If your prior research experience has allowed you to impact the delivery of medical care, how will further expertise and experience enhance your contribution to patient care?
Stanford Medical School essay #3: Background
Describe in a short paragraph your educational and family background. (E.g., I grew up in New York City, as the 3rd child of a supermarket cashier and a high school principal. I attended Mann High School where my major interests were boxing and drama.) (600 characters)
So often education and family go together. How does your family value education? Do you come from a family of doctors, or are you a first generation college graduate? A family is a legacy, in a way. So often how we were raised influences our path – sometimes congruently – “as my parents did, and as I will do too.” Sometimes an ambitious educational journey happens as a rebound – “my father worked two jobs with very little fulfillment, and I loved school, was good at it, and wanted to change our lives.” How did you come to value education, envision yourself as a doctor, in light of how you grew up?
Stanford Medical School essay #4: Contribution to Learning Environment
The Committee on Admissions regards the diversity (broadly defined) of an entering class as an important factor in serving the educational mission of the school. You are strongly encouraged to share unique attributes of your personal identity, and/ or personally important or challenging factors in your background. Such discussions may include the quality of your early education, gender identity, sexual orientation, any physical challenges, or any other life or work experiences. (2000 characters)
Using the list provided above, “unique attributes of your personal identity, and/ or personally important or challenging factors in your background. Such discussions may include the quality of your early education, gender identity, sexual orientation, any physical challenges, or any other life or work experiences,” free write a response to each item. To free write, simply give yourself five minutes or longer to jot down any experiences you have had that fit the description given. Try not to use examples that you have already used in your primary application essays or in other Stanford essays. Using those descriptions, select the most relevant for this response—those that may also fit the mission and goals of the school’s curriculum. Create an outline and use this to stay on topic. What transitions will you use to connect the experiences? What did you gain, from a bigger picture perspective, from those experiences and how will they benefit your classmates? This essay is pretty broad, but it’s also longer than the others, so you should strive in the final draft to be organized with what you present.
What is distinct about you that makes you stand out from a “traditional” applicant?
Stanford Medical School essay #5
Please describe how you have uniquely contributed to a community with which you identify. (1,000 characters)
Prompt #4 is about who you are, and prompt #5 is about action in relation to who you are. It is important to Stanford that you are a do-er. Are you active in community service at a mosque in your community? If you identify with the LGBTQ community, do you volunteer for a crisis hotline (considering the higher rates of self-harm and suicidality in this community)? Do you teach second language classes or participate in an after school program to help high school children in poor communities have a safe place to interact and get help with homework? Did you participate in a march for Black Lives Matter or the overturning of Roe vs. Wade? What is the significance of this contribution? How is this action a contribution to a community with which you identify? What is the purpose of this activity; to what ends does it support the community?
Stanford Medical School essay #6
Please describe an experience/situation when you advocated for someone else. (1000 characters)
We have the responsibility to speak up, support, intervene, or effect change, when we observe a situation that’s not right, observe discrimination, understand someone’s struggle that could be lessened or alleviated with assistance or solidarity. When did you help someone because it was the right thing to do? When did you help someone because they were disadvantaged and you had ability, in whatever capacity this is true. This prompt is asking you for an action, not just an observation, about social justice.
Stanford Medical School essay #7: Special Insights (Optional)
Please describe any lessons, hardships, challenges or opportunities that resulted from the global COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, describe how these insights have informed your motivations and preparation for medical school in areas of academics, research, employment, volunteer service and/or clinical experiences. (1000 characters)
It’s likely this prompt is a place for Stanford to easily and uniformly locate information on how applicants were affected by COVID-19, across applications. That’s practical. So, stay clear and categorize your response in the manner they ask: academic, research, employment, volunteer service, and clinical experience. Be concise and direct. You don’t have a lot of room to respond, so stay factual.
Also, consider the “lesson” for this prompt. You have a brief opportunity to place in context the effect of a public health crisis that no one could foresee. How do you, a future doctor, foresee the direction of patient care in light of this pandemic? How did COVID give you an opportunity to ease the burden of the pandemic on others, especially the vulnerable? Did you take the initiative to help them? What did you do and learn? How did the pandemic motivate you in your pursuit of medicine?
Stanford Medical School essay #8 (Optional)
Please include anything else that will help us understand better how you may uniquely contribute to Stanford Medicine? (1000 characters)
This is an optional essay that gives you space to discuss anything else relevant to your application to Stanford. You should not repeat earlier material. This can include specific experiences that you would like to explain or a specific connection to Stanford on which you want to elaborate for the admissions committee.
While the prompt says the essay is optional, it is also an opportunity for any applicant to think about ways they will add to the class that they haven’t already covered. If there are additional ways that you can contribute, you definitely want to share them with Stanford’s admissions committee. This may be a moment to solidify your suitability for research and leadership since Stanford clearly seeks out applicants who have strong experience in either of these two areas, or both. What have you done, and what you will do – told with a point of view that does not replicate an activity description or MME.
Applying to Stanford University School of Medicine? Here are some stats:
Stanford SOM median MCAT score: 517
Stanford SOM median GPA: 3.89
Stanford SOM acceptance rate: 1.4%
U.S. News ranks Stanford #8 for research and #30 for primary care.
Check out the Med School Selectivity Index for more stats.
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Dr. Mary Mahoney, PhD, is the medical humanities director at Elmira College and has more than 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 past 20 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!
Stanford University School of Medicine 2022-2023 application timeline
|AMCAS applications are due||October 3 (11:59 pm Eastern Time)|
|Secondary applications are due||October 24 (11:59 pm Pacific Time)|
|Interview invitations are sent||July – January|
|Offers of admission are sent||January – March|
Source: Stanford University School of Medicine website
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***