This medical school places special emphasis on the relationships formed during medical school with classmates and faculty. Students participate in small group learning activities through the four colleges. In the first two years of medical school, students create their own project to self-direct their learning process with mentorship. The school is seeking students who will contribute to the diversity of their class and share successful strategies in building communication skills and a solid foundation of scientific knowledge. The secondary application requires three essay responses.
Vanderbilt University 2016-17 Secondary Application Essay Questions:
1. Autobiography: Write a brief autobiography. As completely and precisely as possible, give a picture of yourself, your family, and events you consider important to you. In doing so, identify the values that are of greatest importance to you. If you have completed your undergraduate education, please comment on what you have done or have been doing since graduation. (1200 word limit)
To structure your response to this essay question, I recommend creating a list of values that you want to emphasize. Selecting only the top three values from your list, rank them in order of importance. For each value, is there an example from your life, family interactions, or volunteer and clinical experiences that you can use to “show” rather than tell how you exemplify this value? You can arrange the values in any order that makes the most sense to you in terms of creating clear transitions from one example to the next. If you have graduated from college, use some of the life experiences you have gained to illustrate these values. Or after you have provided examples for the values most important to you, you can provide a brief summary of your activities after college.
2. Challenge: Please discuss a challenging situation that you faced in the past. Why was it challenging? How did you handle it? Knowing what you know now, would you do anything differently? What did you learn? (500 word limit)
Select an example that has a positive outcome for all parties involved. As a direct result of your efforts, how did you improve the situation? The best examples will be professional in nature. I do not recommend using a personal example for this response. Using an example in which you gained new skills or learned a new approach to create a successful resolution will be important.
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***
If you would like professional guidance with your Vanderbilt University School of Medicine application materials, check out Accepted’s Medical School Admissions Consulting and Editing Services, which include advising, editing, and interview coaching for the VU SOM 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.