In the top ten ranking for research, WUSOM provides exciting opportunities for medical students to participate in research at the basic science or clinical levels. They are looking for students with strong ties to their communities—with excellent communication skills, a dedication to service, and well-rounded interests. The secondary application requests three essays.
Washington University (St. Louis) 2016 Secondary Application Essay Questions:
1. If you have already completed your education, if your college or graduate education was interrupted, or if you do not plan to be a full-time student during the current year, describe in chronological order your activities during the time(s) when you were not enrolled as a full-time student. (maximum 1800 characters including spaces)
Using an updated copy of your resume or CV, be comprehensive in your response. Capture the diversity of your activities and interests. Include all work experiences or volunteer activities. Review a copy of your transcript to be sure that you have covered all significant gaps in your education. If there were increases or decreases in your GPA before or after these breaks, explain.
2. Describe a time or situation where you have been unsuccessful or failed. (maximum 3000 characters including spaces)
The best responses to this type of question will demonstrate resilience. It will be important to select an event or commitment that you clearly did not perform well on but one in which you did not give up. Choose something that you had to repeat or improve and demonstrate how, through hard work, you were able to succeed. For example, you could use your first teaching experience. For most people, the first time you have to teach a class or group, it does not go well but we learn from that first experience and improve. Focus the bulk of the essay on how you improved and on outcomes. End on a high note.
3. Do you have unique experiences or obstacles that you have overcome that were not covered in your application about which you would like to inform our Admissions Committee? (maximum 3000 characters including spaces)
Given this institution’s dedication to community service, I recommend sharing the details of any long-term volunteer work that you have not discussed in your personal statement. What was your role? How did you help the community? What was your connection to this group of people? Staying true to the prompt, have you overcome any significant challenges in your life to be successful? Learning a new language or finding resources to reach your goals can be good examples. Think broadly of your life experiences—were there difficulties in your life that you have overcome which other people may see as obstacles?
***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 Washington 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 WUSOM 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.