For some, early July is the season for poolside relaxation. For medical school applicants, it's the season of secondaries, or supplemental essays required by medical schools for admission. Secondaries roll in very fast, and applicants are expected to turn them around quickly, as admissions are rolling. What's more, each school has a slightly different set of prompts. All of these factors make early July a season of peak stress for medical school applicants.
We have worked with countless applicants on their secondaries, and our thousands of hours of experience in this process have yielded these 5 essential tips.
1. GROUP PROMPTS BY TYPES
Begin by understanding the repeated themes of secondaries - such as, career vision, diversity, adversity, leadership, clinical experience. You're not writing 1,000 essays; you're writing on a dozen themes.
2. PRIORITIZE YOUR SCHOOL LIST
Bucket your school list and make sure you know which schools are most important to you. But, don't go crazy either. It's sufficient to have 2 priority levels; you don't need 10.
3. RESEARCH HIGH PRIORITY SCHOOLS
Focus your research on priority 1 schools. Once you have good answers to these prompts, you can expand your scope. You will also be able to use some of the content you develop for priority 1 schools later for priority 2 schools.
4. CREATE A FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE
Use your priority list to create a schedule that includes the date you received the secondary from a particular school with relevant prompts and character lengths. Your goal is to push these out within 2 weeks of receipt.
5. GET HELP FROM A COACH
Many applicants feel that the secondary process is much more challenging than AMCAS submission. Get the help of a professional! We guide people successfully through this challenging process every year.