How to write about responding to feedback and criticism

medical school admissions secondary applications

We have all received feedback or criticism, sometimes in a kind tone and sometimes not. In this essay, your goal is to focus less on what the criticism was, and more on how you directly implemented the feedback into your plans to improve or change your behavior. In medical school and in your future career, you will receive constant feedback on your skills and performance from both patients and fellow physicians. This essay gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your ability to take criticism well, process your emotional response to it, and make appropriate goals/changes to improve. 

When brainstorming about your experience with feedback or criticism, make sure to select one that exhibits your maturity and confidence. Did you get defensive or retaliate in response to the feedback? Did you take it personally? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then that example may not be the best for this essay. Did you accept the feedback calmly, regardless of its delivery, and quickly implement it? If yes, consider this story as an option! Keep in mind that this does not have to be an academic experience. You can receive feedback in many different areas in life (professionally, socially, athletically, and more). Don’t be afraid to use this essay as a chance to briefly mention another activity or hobby that you do. Double points! 

Once you’ve selected your story, you can start your writing with a brief introduction of the circumstances to set the stage. Do your best not to get lost in the details, or make yourself out to be a victim. The real focus of the essay will be to discuss the outcome of your experience with feedback. As you transition from describing the circumstances to describing your response, be sure to discuss your exact emotional thought process. Were you hurt at first? Did you take some time to process alone and make a plan to perform better? Did you adjust quickly and succeed in your next attempt? Your reader wants to know! No matter how you preferred to tackle it, demonstrate that your method was levelheaded, calm, and efficient. 

Finally, as you close out your essay, leave the reader with a glimpse into your future and how this experience has changed, improved, or reinforced your way of receiving feedback/criticism. Did you teach yourself a new way of doing things? Did you commit to processing feedback fully at a later time? Did you decide to embrace failure or setbacks more? Tell us! After all, the reader only cares about how you will respond to their feedback one day down the road. Convince them that you will respond exceedingly well!

Olivia attended the University of Rochester, studying Neuroscience and American Sign Language. She's pursuing her MD at Harvard Medical School, where she’s exploring her interests in pediatrics and neonatology.


academics study skills MCAT medical school admissions SAT college admissions expository writing English MD/PhD admissions strategy writing LSAT GMAT GRE physics chemistry math biology graduate admissions academic advice ACT interview prep law school admissions test anxiety language learning career advice premed MBA admissions personal statements homework help AP exams creative writing MD study schedules test prep computer science Common Application summer activities history mathematics philosophy organic chemistry secondary applications economics supplements research 1L PSAT admissions coaching grammar law psychology statistics & probability legal studies ESL dental admissions CARS SSAT covid-19 logic games reading comprehension engineering USMLE calculus mentorship PhD admissions Spanish parents Latin biochemistry case coaching verbal reasoning DAT English literature STEM excel medical school political science skills AMCAS French Linguistics MBA coursework Tutoring Approaches academic integrity chinese letters of recommendation mechanical engineering Anki DO Social Advocacy admissions advice algebra art history artificial intelligence astrophysics business careers cell biology classics dental school diversity statement gap year genetics geometry kinematics linear algebra mental health presentations quantitative reasoning study abroad tech industry technical interviews time management work and activities 2L DMD IB exams ISEE MD/PhD programs Sentence Correction adjusting to college algorithms amino acids analysis essay athletics business skills cold emails data science finance first generation student functions graphing information sessions international students internships logic networking poetry resume revising science social sciences software engineering trigonometry writer's block 3L AAMC Academic Interest EMT FlexMed Fourier Series Greek Health Professional Shortage Area Italian Lagrange multipliers London MD vs PhD MMI Montessori National Health Service Corps Pythagorean Theorem Python Shakespeare Step 2 TMDSAS Taylor Series Truss Analysis Zoom acids and bases active learning architecture argumentative writing art art and design schools art portfolios bacteriology bibliographies biomedicine brain teaser campus visits cantonese capacitors capital markets central limit theorem centrifugal force chemical engineering chess chromatography class participation climate change clinical experience community service constitutional law consulting cover letters curriculum dementia demonstrated interest dimensional analysis distance learning econometrics electric engineering electricity and magnetism escape velocity evolution executive function fellowships freewriting genomics harmonics health policy history of medicine history of science hybrid vehicles hydrophobic effect ideal gas law immunology induction infinite institutional actions integrated reasoning intermolecular forces intern investing investment banking lab reports linear maps mandarin chinese matrices mba medical physics meiosis microeconomics mitosis mnemonics music music theory nervous system neurology neuroscience object-oriented programming office hours