“The mission of Yale School of Medicine is to educate and inspire scholars and future leaders who will advance the practice of medicine and the biomedical sciences.”
As a top ten research institution, Yale is not simply interested in training students to practice good medicine. They are searching for physician-scientists who will take medical knowledge to the next level. Yale has countless opportunities to do research, and they make it available early on. The first two years of the Yale curriculum are flexible and self-directed, allowing students to follow their own interests and complete a required research thesis by the end of four years. They also have an optional 5th year, which is taken between years 3 and 4, and can be used to complete a research project.
A full 98% of Yale first year medical students report premedical research/lab experiences, so you might wonder if this is a requirement. However, the Yale SOM website states that they also are looking for evidence of leadership, maturity, integrity, and dedication to service. To make it even more challenging, one of the personal qualities they seek in applicants is “the ability to inspire and maintain confidence.” The message is, if you have significant research experience, go ahead and emphasize it, but make sure your essay is not about the details of your research, but rather about YOU and what you learned by doing it.
If you are applying to Yale’s MD/PhD program, you probably already know that it is one of the largest in the country (they accept 20 per year). A unique feature of the program is that students do 6 months of clinical rotations at the end of their second year, to solidify their clinical knowledge before undertaking PhD work. This can theoretically make your research more clinically based and increase your potential to solve real-world medical problems. They also have a program called Start@Yale, which allows MD/PhD students to take an early 8-week research rotation in the first year, in addition to two 6-week research rotations in the summer between the first and second years. With all this back and forth between clinical and research education, they are helping students connect the dots between medicine and science and furthering their overall mission.
Yale Medical School 2018-19 Secondary Application Essay Questions:
Below are some suggestions for the Yale Medical School secondary essay prompts.
Please submit answers to the following questions. Please limit your responses to approximately 500 words each.
Yale Medical School Essay #1
Yale School of Medicine values diversity in all its forms. How will your background and experiences contribute to this important focus of our institution and inform your future role as a physician?
While this is a chance to highlight something that makes you unique, many premeds who have followed a traditional track wonder if they can write about anything genuine. The answer is, find something about you that has changed. First, make a list of possible topics, including academic and non-academic experiences, humanitarian or research work, and challenges you faced. Choose one that has a different angle from your primary application and which highlights a personal strength. Now, bring the focus of your essay to the present. What skills or self-insight have you gained as a result, and how are you different from the person you were before? Lastly, take your self-discovery to the future. Show how this self-awareness has equipped you to work well with others, to solve problems, or to effect changes. How will your colleagues and patients benefit from what you learned? What you are bringing to your interactions with others? Ultimately, diversity is about being able to thrive in settings with people who are different from you, and to create an environment in which others’ strengths complement your own. Your diversity does not have to be extraordinary. It just needs to be meaningful.
Yale Medical School Essay #2
Please select one of the following.
MD applicants: Please answer either one of the following questions.
MD/PhD applicants: Please answer question 2 as it pertains to your proposed PhD research.
Option 1. While there is great emphasis on the physician-patient relationship, Yale School of Medicine also emphasizes the importance of training future physicians to care for communities and populations. Describe how your experiences would contribute to this aspect of the mission of the Yale School of Medicine.
If you tend to think about big-picture issues, such as improving access to care, funding for underserved populations, and research on environmental determinants of health, then this question is for you. Show the Yale admissions committee that you have thought deeply about the effect of environmental variables on individual health and how to change risk factors by impacting population dynamics. This is an opportunity to discuss your interest in public or global health, so if you have an interest in these fields, include your preparation and future goals.
Option 2. Research is essential to patient care, and all students at Yale School of Medicine complete a research thesis. Tell us how your research interests, skills and experiences would contribute to scholarship at Yale School of Medicine.
If your research interest takes a more basic science approach, you can use this question to highlight your understanding of research methodology and study design and your awareness of the potential pitfalls of research. Be sure to go into possible clinical implications of your work. There is currently a big focus on translational research, and Yale is at the forefront of this movement. Show your ability to not only delve into the fine details of science, but to make this knowledge applicable to clinical problems. Discuss your long-term research goals and what you hope to accomplish at Yale.
Yale Medical School Additional Essay Question for MD/PhD Program Applicants
Write a statement (approximately 500 words) concerning:
- Your reasons for wishing to undertake the combined MD/PhD program, rather than the MD program alone.
- The specific PhD program that you propose to follow at Yale.
- The strengths of that Yale graduate program and its faculty as they relate to your career goals.
This is a complex question, but they have broken it down into three topics, each of which can be about a paragraph in length. Make sure to keep your writing succinct and organized. The first paragraph should discuss your background and goals (why an MD/PhD). The second can go into your planned course of study and why this interests you (the specific PhD program). In the third, you can name one or two labs or research teams at Yale that you would like to work with and how you hope to build on their current research (the strengths of the Yale faculty and your fit). You might also mention some unique resources that Yale offers and how you plan to utilize them. Your essay will likely be reviewed by the faculty you name, so be sure you have read their work and can discuss it articulately. In your conclusion, summarize your goals and highlight some personal attributes that will make you successful in their program. When you are finished, go back to make sure you answered the 3 main questions: Why an MD/PHD, Why You, and Why Yale? This is not an easy task, but then again, neither is an MD/PhD.
If you would like professional guidance with your Yale School of Medicine application materials, check out Accepted’s Medical School Admissions Consulting and Editing Services, which include advising, editing, and interview coaching for YSOM’s application materials.
Yale Medical School 2018-19 Application Timeline
|AMCAS Application Due||October 15, 2018|
|Supplemental Application Due||November 15, 2018|
|Interview Invitations Sent||August 2018 – February 2019|
|Admissions Decisions Released||March 2019|
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***
Suzi Schweikert is a former UCSD School of Medicine adcom member who has mentored students in healthcare programs for over 20 years. She has a BA in English Lit from UCLA, an MD from UCSD, and an MPH from SDSU. Want Suzi to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!
• The Ultimate Guide to Secondary Essay Questions from Top Med Schools, a free guide
• 7 Signs An Experience Belongs In Your Application, a podcast episode
• 4 Tips for Writing Successful Secondary Essays
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