Secondary Applications

Can anyone tell me, is this a typical list of questions asked on secondaries? I have heard they simply want supplemental letters and information, then I came across this scary list. If I apply to 20 schools, this list with variations by school, will become a full time job!!!

  1. Describe yourself?

  2. What areas of medicine are you interested in? Explain your reasons.

  3. Describe experiences that you consider to be important in your career as a physician

  4. If you have been out of school, describe your activities during that period.

  5. Have you applied to us or other medical schools in the US previously. Give dates.

  6. List your extracurricular activities

  7. To continue processing of your application to our medical school please remit a check for $85. (You must provide your own envelope!).

  8. If you have any comments you want to bring to the attention of our Admissions Committe, write them here.

  9. Explain why you chose to apply to our MFD (XYZ, ZYX) medical school.

  10. Describe any research experiences you have had. Commend on them.

  11. Where do you see yourself in 10, 20, 50 years.

  12. What are your long-term goals in becoming a physician.

  13. When you think of apples, what color are the oranges?

  14. What people and/or experiences have been most influential in your life.

  15. List courses you have taken to fulfill prerequisites for admission at our MFD Medical School

  16. Describe (an) experience(s) or projects in which you take particular pride.

  17. Describe a difficult situation or an obstacle that you encountered in your life and tell us how you dealt with it.

  18. What sparked your interest in medicine?

  19. Describe why you decided to become a physician.

  20. Describe any academic difficulties you might have had and how you dealt with them.

  21. Of all extracurricular activities you have done while in college which is most important to you? Why?

  22. What life experiences or relationships contributed to your development as an individual? Corroborate with specific examples that show how your personal qualities make you fit to become an MD.

  23. Describe any honors or awards you have received.

  24. If you were to get acceptances to more than one medical school, how would you choose where to go? (Dreaming is good!)

Except for question 13, those questions all resemble questions I had on my secondaries. They aren’t particularly scary. You will get similar questions in your interviews.

  • Aime Said:
...If I apply to 20 schools, this list with variations by school, will become a full time job!!!...

Yes, it does become quite tedious. Especially since your answers have to be tailored for each application and cut&paste of replies really doesn't work.

The greater pain in the arse is the extensive editing required to keep replies within character/word count limits, without making your response sound like a rambling drunk on Saturday night.

Dazed, you’re too funny. Hey, at least we know what’s ahead. I can start working on these answers now, write, re-write and be super, uber ready! I think I’ll make a journal with chapter headings matching some of these questions with a few good answers under each chapter. That way, woo hoo! No sweat. (Ya right!) I assumed questions like this would come up, but this is more thorough than I expected.

Secondaries have been a real bear for me, I seem to want to dance around the question instead of answering it directly.’s free fatal flaws e-mail series really helped me, you might want to check it out. Good Luck!

Thanks, Jaysun0373. I’ll check it out. There seem to be a lot of sites offering services geared toward secondaries. Couldn’t hurt, right?

If you go to the school specific section pertaining to secondaries on SDN, you can see what each school asks on their secondary apps. I normally recommend avoiding SDN if possible but this is an area where they can be quite helpful.

This is just my two cents, so you can take it or leave it. I wouldn’t worry about your secondaries for a long time…and I wouldn’t spend time or money on a service that says they can can help you. Think of the secondary essays as a gift, especially as an older student. When you get one, look at your personal essay and your list of experiences and think about what you’ve left out. I looked at my resume and made a list of things I’d like the committee to know about me. In the closed file interview, the interviewers had only read my personal statement, experiences, and the essays in the secondary app. With those three things, you have a great opportunity to explain who you really are and why you want to go to med school. As a result, that interview was borderline fun.

With the personal statement and the secondary essays, I had a couple of brainstorming sessions with a friend, and I had a close friend read a rough draft.

I don’t think you should worry about it just yet. I imagine secondaries are less of a gift when you have to do fifteen of them, but I didn’t have that wonderful problem

That is an excellent point. It is always difficult to toot my own horn, so my initial reaction is UGH! And yes, with a stack of them looming before you, the ‘gift’ aspect is sure to be dimmed.


Aren’t you 41 and currently in year one of a biochem u-grad degree?

Secondary applications are, according to you, three years away yet.

Maybe you should focus more on making sure you do now what you need to and worry about 2ndaries when they arrive.

Just a thought