Secondary question.....again

I’m completing a secondary that requires me to fill in family background info. Of course, this stuff is already on AMCAS, but this school is requesting it without as much detail as AMCAS. It asks for “undergraduate school attended” for each of my parents. Although my parents both attended briefly, neither have degrees, which I have indicated on AMCAS. Should I leave it blank on the secondary? Or fill it in, even though it doesn’t ask if a degree was earned?

I can’t get over how bizarre this secondary process is for you guys. I’m glad that I’m absorbing it now–maybe I won’t be so impatient next year when I have to repeat myself over and over.

**I’m wondering if some of this secondary repetition is an attempt to catch you being dishonest about something? I often ask my four year old the same question 3 different ways just to make sure her story is consistent… maybe figuring that if you switch the small details, you may not be as credible on some of the rest of it?

It’s a stretch, I know. I’m just trying to find some random reason to justify the redundancy!!)

If it were me, I’d just go with the same answer you used for AMCAS–just to be consistent.

Yes, I think it is partly done to catch liars in their web of deceit. I also think that, with some of the changes to the AMCAS application this year, schools haven’t yet updated their secondary apps. What’s even more complicated is that AMCAS asks for you to choose up to 3 of your activities (volunteer, leadership, clinical, etc) as “most significant” and then gives extra space to describe in detail. One of my secondaries in particular asks basically this same exact question. Yet, we are not supposed to repeat info on our secondaries!!! I spent hours perfecting my wording on the primary app for these experiences, so how am I supposed to make it sound even better…but different? Wut? Oh my, I’m dreading that one, and it’s unfortunately my top choice school. Off to complete secondary #9.

And thanks for the advice - I’ll list the schools for my parents, and they’ll just have to refer to my primary app to get the details they don’t allow on their secondary app.

I don’t remember that question at all. If your parents didn’t get degrees, then why would it matter where they attended? I would leave it blank. I can’t imagine an admissions committee member who gives a hoot where they went (twenty years ago?) if they didn’t graduate. If you list a college, then at first glance, they’ll think it’s your parent’s alma mater. It makes no sense. My parents don’t have a Bachelor’s either, and I can’t imagine then listing the places where they took courses. How is that at all relevant to their adult child’s med school app?

Hmmm that makes sense when you look at it from the perspective of alma mater. I have to admit, being 3-years new to the whole “higher education” scene, I don’t understand the hype about ‘school prestige’ and all that - if you’re smart, you’re smart, no matter where you went to school. Show me what you can do, don’t just tell me. I can see that I have to put myself into the minds of the adcoms, to whom such things are important. Thanks for the alternate viewpoint. Luckily I haven’t submitted it yet.