July 8, 2014

Getting into Medical School: Tips for Secondary Applications

Hello my med school applicant readers! It’s that time of year again when students are turning in their primary applications, getting them verified by AMCAS and thinking about completing their secondary applications. Unlike primary applications, every medical school’s secondary application is different. That means each school will have a different fee, different form and different essays. If you’ve applied to 10+ schools, keeping track of all of your secondaries is a challenge and can be entirely overwhelming. So, what’s an applicant to do?

Here are some quick tips for successfully completing your secondary applications.

1) Be highly organized- Make an …

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December 17, 2012

Application Essentials III: Secondary Applications

You’ve crafted a masterful personal statement, you’ve chosen your favorite 15 activities*, you’ve meticulously entered every class you’ve ever taken — verbatim**, and you’ve finally hit that blue “submit” button on your AMCAS application.

Everything’s going fantastically since you dominated the MCAT.

But now it’s time to turn your attention to that growing pile of letters:  not acceptances (just yet!), but secondaries.  These school-specific applications feature a host of essays — and they’re the next step on the  path to medical school.  As part of our continuing series on holistic review in admissions, let’s look …

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November 30, 2012

Application Essentials I: The Holistic Review Process

Earlier this month, I had the great fortune of attending the 2012 AAMC Annual Conference in San Francisco, CA.  This meeting represents one of the largest gatherings of medical educators, premedical advisors, admissions officers, practicing physicians and students in the country, all with one common goal:  your education.  This is the group that writes the MCAT, runs the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) and creates informative resources like Careers in Medicine to help you plan your future medical career.

One of the “hot topics” in medical admissions these days is holistic review.  While a full detailing of this …

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Applying to Med School
June 27, 2011

Secondary Applications in Medical School Admissions

“Please list five personal hobbies/interests.” I looked at the question on my medical school application and thought, “Do I really write ‘collecting comic books’ here?” It turns out that because I did answer honestly and uniquely (actual response: “Collecting comic books; specifically Batman), I made a positive impression on the admissions committee and was ultimately accepted by my first choice medical school. Sharing the following understanding of the secondary application process will help you on your way to doing the same thing.


As you probably know, the medical school application process is a marathon. It requires patience, determination, perseverance, …

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Applying to Med School
July 7, 2010

Medical School Secondary Applications – “Describe an obstacle you have overcome.”

By Carleen Eaton, M.D.

One common category of secondary application questions are those that ask the applicant to describe an obstacle or hardship he or she has overcome. Some applicants have a background that includes an obvious obstacle: immigrating to the U.S. and learning a new language and culture, growing up in a socioeconomically disadvantaged area, being the first in the family to attend college or having to help out financially at home. However, many applicants can’t easily come up with a topic for this type of secondary questions. Such applicants tell me that, while their lives aren’t perfect, things …

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Applying to Med School
June 8, 2010

Secondary Applications

By Carleen Eaton, M.D.

With June underway, most applicants are deep into working on the primary application. While some applicants have submitted their applications already, many are still busy perfecting their personal statements, entering each course meticulously from their transcripts and finalizing their list of schools, all with the aim of submitting as early in the cycle as possible. You may not have even thought beyond that wonderful day when the application is safely in the hands of AMCAS. However, although a break is certainly in order after weeks or months of work on the primary application, don’t …

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