What You Should Know About Secondary ApplicationsFebruary 5, 2014
Every medical school that you apply to, will send you a secondary application after receiving your primary application. That means if you applied to 10 medical schools, you can expect to receive 10 secondary applications. Receiving a secondary application is routine and does not mean that you have successfully gone through any screening process. Most schools automatically send out the secondary application to all applicants and only a few schools actually screen applicants pre-secondary.
Importance of the secondary application
It may sound unnecessary but the fact is every piece of your application is equally important and the secondary is no exception. This is in effect a second chance for you to impress the interviewer and make up for the lapses in your primary application. The secondary is often also known as a supplementary application. It in fact complements or adds to your primary.
Answering the questions asked in the secondary application
The questions that are asked on the secondary applications vary hugely from one school to another. The purpose of this application is to glean additional information from prospective students. If you didn’t have enough space on your primary to put down everything you wanted to say, this secondary application is the perfect opportunity to supplement what you had written previously.
You may find that some of the essay prompts in the secondary are essentially asking for information already covered on your primary. While repeating the information may be acceptable, it is best to try not to, especially if the school has specific instructions not to. Even if you are repeating the information, it is important that you do not copy-paste anything. Instead, rewrite the same information in different words.
When writing your personal essay for the secondary, make sure to adhere to the specific guidelines mentioned by each school. Sometimes, two schools may ask similar questions only worded differently. In such cases, even though the same information is required, your answer has to be crafted to address the specific question and should not be generic. This would mean writing two versions of the same answer.
All schools may not necessarily ask for a personal essay on the secondary. If there is no essay prompt, you do not have to provide one. Read through the application carefully and only submit the information that is asked for.
Some applications may have an optional section. If there is one, you are under no compulsion to fill it out. However, this is a good opportunity to write a unique essay about a significant activity you may have recently started.
Timing is important when submitting your secondary
Completing and turning in your secondary application promptly can work hugely in your favour. Ideally, you should send it in no later than one week after you receive it. A quick turn-around shows that your level of commitment to becoming a doctor and your interest in that medical school. If the school a submission deadline is mentioned, try to submit at least two or three days before that deadline.