Secondary Application Prompts

Updated: 5 days ago

After you are finished writing your personal statement and experience descriptions and your school list is done, you can begin drafting secondaries. I recommend doing this in June.

Here are some secondary prompts from the 2021-22 cycle to get you thinking about what you'll be writing this summer. Keep in mind, they can change.

California Secondaries

USC What is the most fun you’ve had lately? If you had to give yourself a nickname, what would it be? If you had enormous wealth, how would you allocate your charitable donations? What does health equity mean to you?


Describe your involvement in the one most important non-academic activity in your life. (800 characters) What has been the one most unique leadership, entrepreneurial or creative activity in which you participated? (800 characters) What has been the one most important volunteer work you have done and why was it meaningful? (800 characters) Has there been or will there be a gap between achieving your last degree (baccalaureate or other degrees post baccalaureate) and the expected time of medical school matriculation? (300 characters) What is the one most important honor you have received? Why do you view this as important? (300 characters) What has been your most scholarly project (thesis, research or field of study in basic or clinical science or in the humanities)? Describe one and give number of hours, dates and advisor. (300 characters) Describe a problem in your life. Include how you dealt with it and how it influenced your growth. (500 characters) Please list any major paid work experience during or since college. Describe your work experience. (4000 characters) Where do you see yourself post-graduate education? What experiences have led you to this goal? (500 characters)

UCSD AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH This should be a true autobiographical statement. Topics to be included are family, childhood, primary and secondary school years, undergraduate years, and, if applicable, what you’ve done since completing your bachelor’s degree. You should also discuss the motivational factors which led you to a career in medicine including any disadvantages or obstacles which might put your accomplishments into context. A repeat of your AMCAS statement will not be acceptable. (6000 characters) Irvine 1,500 characters, not counting space What personal accomplishment are you most proud of and why? Please describe to the Admissions Committee a challenge or disappointment you have overcome and what you learned about yourself from that experience. This essay is only for applicants that have already received their baccalaureate degree. Please clarify for the Admissions Committee your activities (school, work, and/or volunteer, travel, etc.) since receiving your undergraduate degree. You may list them in chronological order or you may incorporate them into an essay, stating why you chose particular activities. If you have just received or will receive your undergraduate degree this year, please discuss your plans for current year. UCSF If you wish to update or expand upon your activities, you may provide additional information below. If you are 2019 or earlier college graduate, please use the space below to tell us what you have done since completing your undergraduate degree.


Discuss any elements of your application that you feel might be concerning to the Admissions Committee. (500 char)

Do you have a connection to Northern or Central California? (Yes or No) If you answered ‘yes’ to having a connection to Northern or Central California, please explain below. If you answered ‘no’ type ‘not applicable’ (500 char)

Please list the activities you would like to be considered in your application to UC Davis. You may use your activities listed in your initial AMCAS application or select/add others that may be relevant to UC Davis. Please only list three. Briefly describe this activity and its significance. How did it prepare you for a medical career? Include any supporting information (e.g. your contribution to the project or accomplishment as well as links to any publication, etc) (500 characters; spaces count as a character).


The mission of the UCR SOM is to train a diverse physician workforce to meet the needs of underserved communities in inland Southern California. What experiences, skills and abilities will you bring to the class to fulfill this mission?

The values of the UCR SOM are integrity, innovation, inclusion, excellence, accountability, and respect. Please choose one of these values and tell us about a time when you demonstrated it.

In what medical specialty or specialties are you interested? What experiences have created the foundation for this interest?

Tell us about a personal challenge you have faced in your life thus far and how you demonstrated resilience and grit to overcome it.

Western 500 words each What experience observing a DO solidified your desire/ambition to become an osteopathic physician? (This could be a formal shadowing experience (one-on-one with a physician), scribing, observing your own physician, friend, or family member who is a DO). What was your most memorable community service activity and how did your activity benefit the community? How does the COMP Mission statement align with your values? Why do you want to attend COMP? What does diversity, equity, and inclusion mean to you and why are they important? Briefly describe your role and what skills you gained from participation in the research. Briefly discuss any extenuating circumstances which you feel are pertinent to your application (poor grades, course withdrawals, lapse in your education, etc.).

New York Secondaries

Zucker If you are currently not a matriculated student, please indicate what you have been doing since the time of graduation until now. (1500 characters) Please use this space to describe any challenge or obstacle you have faced prior to your application to medical school and how you addressed that challenge. (1500 characters) Stonybrook Will your education be continuous between college and medical school matriculation?

If NO, please explain what you have done or plan to do during the gap period and why. Describe an obstacle you've overcome and how it has defined you:

SUNY - Downstate If you are not from the 5 boroughs of New York City, describe what personal, urban experiences prepare you to live and study in New York City, and what will be your personal support system. If this question does not apply to you, enter "not applicable" in the text box below. (Limit 150 words) not applicable If you have a specific reason why you wish to attend SUNY Downstate or a medical school in New York City, please explain. If this question does not apply to you, enter "not applicable" in the text box below. Will you be attending college full time as of September 15? Yes No Please describe your activities for the period of September 15 to July 1:

University of Buffalo In 500 words or fewer, please explain your reasons for applying to the University at Buffalo's Jacobs School of Medicine. Please be specific.

Weill Cornell Medical College There are three brief essays on the M.D. Supplemental Application. Please limit each statement to no more than 1,500 characters including spaces. Note: Please do not answer question three if you are attending college during the 2019-2020 academic year. Please write a brief statement giving your reasons for applying to Weill Cornell Medical College. Please describe a challenge you faced and how you addressed it. If you are not attending college during the upcoming (2019-2020) academic year, what are your plans? (Optional) NYITCOM Briefly describe the reasons for your campus/site choice and comment on one or two factors that are most important to you in choosing where you wish to pursue your medical education. (Max. 1000 characters) Describe a challenge you’ve faced and the steps you took to overcome it. (Max. 1000 characters) Describe the community in which you see yourself practicing medicine. (Max. 1000 characters) How and where did you learn about NYITCOM? (Max. 250 characters)

University of Arizona - Tucson

Please share a meaningful experience you have had working or volunteering in the health professional field or a time in your past in which you were responsible for the care and well-being of someone else. What did you learn from this as it relates to becoming a physician?

(Limit: 350 words)

Discuss a time in your life in which you have failed at something other than an academic experience. How did you confront the failure and what did you learn from it? Please describe how you typically approach challenges that you face in your life.

(Limit: 350 words)

"The mission of the University of Arizona College of Medicine Office of Admissions is to select a diverse cohort of students who will become the future leaders in advancing health care to the distinct communities that comprise Arizona and the United States. Consistent with the mission of The University of Arizona College of Medicine, selection of individuals with a demonstrated commitment to serve as care providers, physician scientists, clinical leaders, medical educators and/or public health experts, including advocates for rural and urban underserved populations, is highly valued. Applicants seeking admission should exhibit qualities of altruism, academic excellence, leadership and dedication to becoming lifelong learners through research endeavors and academic development."

Please describe the role(s) you can play in helping the College of Medicine to achieve its mission.

(Limit: 350 words)

Describe the effect that your experiences with engaging diversity have had on your own growth and development. Provide an example and describe how it will impact your career in the medical profession.

(Limit: 350 words)

Have you applied to medical school before?

If you have applied to medical school before, please share what you have done since you last applied.

(Limit: 350 words)


Why have you chosen to apply to the Georgetown University School of Medicine and how do you think your education at Georgetown will prepare you to become a physician for the future? (1 page, formatted at your discretion)

Please upload a file (PDF file only, file cannot be larger than 2MB)

Short Answer

The Georgetown University School of Medicine strives to ensure that its students become respectful physicians who embrace all dimensions of caring for the whole person. Please describe how your personal characteristics or life experiences will contribute to the Georgetown University School of Medicine community and bring educational benefits to our student body. (1000 characters)

Further Information

Is there any further information that you would like the Committee on Admissions to be aware of when reviewing your file that you were not able to notate in another section of this or the AMCAS Application? (1000 characters)

Wayne State University

-If you could tell the admissions committee one thing unique about yourself that isn’t medically related, what would it be? (1000 Characters)

-Explain an activity that you have been involved in with for at least 6-12 months. What was it about that activity that kept you motivated to continue? What did you learn from that activity? (1000 Characters)

-Give an example of a project to which you gave sustained effort. How were you involved in the leadership of this project? (1000 Characters)

-What academic, employment, volunteer experiences have you been engaged in since your last application to medical school? How does your current application differ from your previous application? (1,500 characters)


We're interested in knowing more about you than can be understood from your AMCAS application. Please complete the following essays.

If you are a recent graduate, please tell us what you have been doing since graduation. You may answer "Not applicable".


What else do you feel is important for us to know about you? Please use this space to highlight something not addressed in your application, including new experiences not in your AMCAS application.

(200 words)


Explain how your unique background, identity, interests, or talents will contribute to the MCW learning community and how MCW will uniquely prepare you for your future goals. [Current Character Count: 1997 /2000]

Recount a time when you failed or made a decision you regret. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? [Current Character Count: 1987 /2000]


1. Describe personal attributes you possess or life experiences you have had that will enable you to better understand patients with a culture different from your own. Please include your self-reflection on how this experience has changed your insights, beliefs, and/or values. (1000 characters)

Character Count1000

2. Describe a challenging situation in which you did not agree with a directive/rule and how you handled this. (1000 characters)

Character Count1000

3. Reflect on a time in which you personally gained more from an experience than what was expected. (1000 characters)

Character Count1000

4. What do you hope to gain from your Rush Medical College experience that will make you a better/different physician? (1000 characters)

Character Count100


Are you expecting to go on to medical school directly after completing your undergraduate degree?*

(Post bac work is NOT considered undergraduate. If attending a post bac program prior to entering medical school, the answer is NO and should be explained.) If you took gap year(s), please use this space to explain what you have been doing prior to applying to medical school.



Please explain:

For example, attending post bac or other graduate program, working, traveling, etc.

1400 characters left (out of 1400).

If you have spent more than 4 years as an undergraduate, please explain below. (You may skip this question if you have graduated within 4 years.)

1400 characters left (out of 1400).

Please provide a narrative or timeline to describe any features of your educational history that you think may be of particular interest to us.

For example, have you lived in another country or experienced a culture unlike your own, or worked in a field that contributed to your understanding of people unlike yourself? Or, have you experienced advanced training in any area, including the fields of art, music, or sports? This is an opportunity to describe learning experiences that may not be covered in other areas of this application or your AMCAS application. It is not necessary to write anything in this section. (2000 Characters)

Re-Applicant Comment

This section may be used by re-applicants who wish to highlight specific areas of their application or to outline specific changes since their last application. (3000 characters)


1. Do you wish to include any comments (in addition to those already provided in your AMCAS application) to the Admissions Committee at Tufts University School of Medicine? Please explain briefly (1000 characters or less).

2. Please briefly describe your plans for the coming year. Include in this explanation if you will be a student, working, conducting research, volunteering, etc.

3. Do you consider yourself a person who would contribute to the diversity of the student body of Tufts University School of Medicine?

Penn State

Please indicate the entering first-year class year(s) to which you applied, and explain how your qualifications have changed since your previous application. (No more than 75 words)

If not currently enrolled in a full-time academic program, please summate your activities from the time of graduation from your baccalaureate program through the time of this application, as well as your plans between now and your matriculation to medical school. (Maximum 75 words)

Is there a unique aspect of your application that should be considered by the admissions committee? (Maximum 75 words)

Explain why you decided to apply to the Penn State College of Medicine. (Maximum 75 words)

Write a short paragraph describing a significant experience you have had working in a team setting.(Maximum 250 words)

Write a short statement describing how you envision using your medical education to advance care for under-represented or marginalized populations.

(Maximum 250 words)


Please indicate your plans for the upcoming year. (No limit)

Please share something about yourself that is not addressed elsewhere in your application that you feel might be helpful to our Admissions committee. (No limit)

Geisel School of Medicine values social justice and diversity in all its forms. Reflect on a situation where you were the “other”. (250 words)

1. Tell us about a challenging problem you faced and how you resolved it. (Limit your response to 250 words or less.)*

2. UPSOM is a culturally diverse and talented community. How would you enrich/enliven the UPSOM community? The essay should discuss material that is not included in the rest of your application. (Limit your response to 250 words or less.)*

3. Is there anything additional that you would like to address that is not already reflected in your application? (Optional – Limit your response to 250 words or less.)

Rutgers – New Jersey

Integrity is a core value at NJMS. Please share your thoughts on Integrity. Additionally, we seek students who are self-aware, resilient and adaptable. Discuss a personal or professional challenge you have experienced and how you resolved it.

Current Character Count: 0 /1500

NJMS is committed to fostering a collaborative and cohesive environment. With this in mind, how will you contribute to our medical school community?

Current Character Count: 0 /1500

If you will not be a full time student between June 2019-August 2020, please describe in detail your planned activities, including chronology and time commitment for each activity:

Current Character Count: 0 /1500

Please discuss any additional information you feel may help us in our review of your candidacy. Feel free to elaborate on any gaps (educational or experiences), discrepancies in academic history, institutional actions, etc.

Current Character Count: 0 /1500


The OSU COM Admissions vision statement states that the admissions committee will assemble a class that displays ""diversity in background and thought."" Why is ""diversity in background and thought"" a desirable characteristic for a medical school's student body? (250 words or less)"

What is your most meaningful clinical experience to date, involving direct patient contact? (350 characters)


Please provide the Admissions Committee with a brief summary of your activities, academics, employment or other occupations to account for full-time activity (approx. 30-40 hours/week) from the point of application through matriculation in 2020. (750 characters) The MD Program includes substantial content in Clinical Public Health (population health, health systems science, health policy, and community health) to prepare GW graduates for an expanded scope of practice required to be successful 21st century physicians. What are your specific interests and experiences related to that aspect of the MD Program? (350 characters) What is your most meaningful clinical experience to date, involving direct patient contact? (350 characters) What makes you a unique individual? What challenges have you faced? How will these factors help you contribute to the diversity of the student body at GW? (1000 characters) What is your specific interest in the MD Program at GW? What opportunities would you take advantage of as a student here? Why? (2000 characters)

Kansas City University

What are you currently doing to maintain your academic knowledge? (2500 characters)

Describe a time when you had a personal failure. How did you move on from that experience? (2500 characters)

We are often too busy to plan future activities. Describe a time when you were so busy you had to react to situations rather than plan for them. (2500 characters)

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