With excellent ratings in research and primary care, UPENN’s Perelman School of Medicine is looking for students with strong communication skills who can articulate their motivations to study medicine and serve as community leaders. Providing further information and insight in this secondary application about the reasons why you are motivated to study medicine at UPENN will be important. Even better, if those motivations illuminate character and the way your life goals have shaped you as a person and leader, you will impress the adcom.
UPenn Medical School 2021-22 secondary application essays
UPenn Medical School essay #1
Were there changes to your academic work and/or personal circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic that you would like to share with the committee? Y/N
If Y, Please describe these changes during this time in 500 characters or less.
It might be helpful to brainstorm a little before answering this prompt. Other schools categorize the adjustments due to COVID-19 in three ways: personal, professional and educational. Stay factual. You do not have a lot of room here (500 characters or less). Close positively. What did you do to engage the pandemic and help the vulnerable? How did this unprecedented world moment teach you something about being a physician, about population health? How did a pandemic motivate you to get involved in the community in new ways?
UPenn Medical School essay #2
If you were offered an option to continue courses with a standard grading system or switch to Pass/Fail, and you chose Pass/Fail, please describe the reason(s) for your decision here. (500 characters)
Historically in higher education, Pass/Fail is an opportunity for students to explore without consequence a subject matter that is not germane to their degree, or it’s an intervention for an impending poor final grade, which could have a variety of causes. If you chose Pass/Fail during the pandemic, there may be a very reasonable explanation. Also, sometimes, the reason for choosing Pass/Fail for Spring coursework in 2020 has something to do with your college or university’s policies. Don’t over-explain. Don’t be emotional. Just explain the course and the circumstances that made Pass/Fail the right option. If there was institutional precedent to encourage students to choose the Pass/Fail option explain that rationale here. Schools have different circumstances and reasons for the pandemic decisions they made. If you quarantined during Spring 2020 and this influenced your decision to switch to Pass / Fail, explain what is reasonable about having made that decision. Keep it short and clear.
UPenn Medical School essay #3
Have you taken any online courses for credit? (not due to the COVID-19 pandemic)
You should answer this question directly and honestly, giving your grades on the courses. If you took a course online to offset a grade for the same course taken in person at your school because you were unhappy with your performance, please explain what happened, if anything, that influenced your performance without blaming others. If there was a positive reason for taking that online class that had nothing to do with poor performance, tell them that too.
UPenn Medical School essay #4
Have you been nominated for or received an award from any state, regional or national organization?
You should answer this question practically, providing the award, an explanation of what the award is for if it is not immediately clear in the award name, the awarding organization, and the year of the award. You need very little story here. State your awards and honors simply, clearly and directly. Don’t pad this answer. No gloating.
UPenn Medical School essay #5
Have you taken or are you planning to take time off between college graduation and medical school matriculation? If so explain in 500 characters or less.
If you have already graduated from college, you should explain what you were doing over the last year(s). If you haven’t yet graduated, you should describe plans for the gap year(s), including positions for which you plan to apply and planned or actual volunteer work.
Staying engaged in clinical activities is key. Building upon your exposure to patient care and research is wise as well. You might travel abroad for a medical mission trip, volunteer, or work in health care for pay. Are you a scribe? An EMT? The gap year experience must be an opportunity to show the admissions committee how practically or imaginatively you utilized this time to engage health care, locally or abroad, or re-engaged academia in a master’s program, to offset a low GPA, to show your commitment to becoming a doctor.
Show that your gap year will be a growth year!
UPenn Medical School essay #6
Have you participated in any global activities outside of the U.S. prior to submitting your AMCAS application? If so, explain in 1,000 characters or less.
For this question, you should respond if you have done any volunteer, paid or academic work outside of the U.S. This would include overseas missions and study abroad programs. For each activity, provide a brief explanation, including the amount of time you were abroad and the general scope of your activities there. This response should be direct and to-the-point. Be sure to provide the name and brief mission of the organization, if that is how you participated in a medical or humanitarian mission. Conclude with what you learned.
UPenn Medical School essay #7
Are there any special, unique, personal, or challenging aspects of your personal background or circumstances that you would like to share with the Committee on Admissions, not addressed elsewhere (siblings/relatives at Penn, applying as a couple, educational environment, culture, ethnicity, etc.) (1000 characters if yes)
This question is left open-ended. You should respond if you a) have particular circumstances or challenges related to your journey to medical school or personal life or b) have a part of your personal background that you want to reveal to the admissions committee. This essay can take the form of a brief diversity essay. There is a later essay about “why Penn,” so you should avoid answering that question here.
PUPenn Medical School essay #8
Have you or your family experienced economic hardships? (1000 characters if yes)
If you answer yes to this question, you should briefly explain what those hardships were and how they impacted your journey to medical school (etc. frequent moves, working during school, etc.). If you left and returned to school because of hardship, please explain that here.
UPenn Medical School essay #9
Have you been employed at the University of Pennsylvania Health System or Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and worked with a Penn faculty mentor? If yes, please indicate name, department, phone number of faculty, and start/end dates
You should answer this question briefly with the information requested.
UPenn Medical School essay #10
The Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM) is deeply committed to recruiting a diverse class to enrich an inclusive team-based learning experience. How would you and your experiences contribute to the diversity of the student body and/or how would you contribute to an inclusive atmosphere at PSOM? Please explain and limit your response to 1,000 characters.
Please explain an aspect of your identity or culture or upbringing as a valuable contribution to a diverse and inclusive group of medical students, or tell a brief story about how you advocated for someone who experienced bias or discrimination. Witnessing bias or discrimnation and not doing anything about it is not a wise story to tell here. Schools want to see advocacy not solely as an ideal, but as a verb, as an action in the name of inclusivity.
UPenn Medical School essay #11
Please explain your reasons for applying to the Perelman School of Medicine and limit your response to 1,000 characters.
Since this secondary question requests a short essay, be succinct in your response. Start by doing your research on UPENN; read their mission statement, standards for admission, and basic requirements. Check out the structure and focus of their curriculum.
What excites you about their school? Do you have a connection to their location? Do they offer any special programs or specialties that you are interested in? In what ways are the school’s goals similar to your own? How will Perelman’s faculty, curriculum, or special programs better prepare you for a career in medicine? This is an opportunity to show Perelman that you understand who they are, and how you’re a good fit for them — not just what they can do for you.
Applying to UPenn Med School? Here are some stats:
UPenn median MCAT score: 522
UPenn Medical School median GPA: 3.94
UPenn Medical School acceptance rate: 5.2%
U.S. News ranks UPenn #9 for research and #24 for primary care.
Has this blog post helped you feel more confident about approaching your UPenn Med School application? We hope so. It’s our mission to help smart, talented applicants like you gain acceptance to your top choice med school. 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!
University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine application timeline [2021-2022]
|AMCAS application is due||October 15|
|Supplemental application and all required materials (supplemental fee, MCAT score, and LORs) are due||November 15|
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***
Dr. Mary Mahoney, Ph.D. 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!