2023-2024 Harvard

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

chilly_md

Full Member
Staff member
Administrator
Volunteer Staff
2+ Year Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2021
Messages
4,290
Reaction score
4,508
2023-2024 Harvard Secondary Essay Prompts

1. If you have already graduated, briefly (4000 characters maximum) summarize your activities since graduation.

2. If there is an important aspect of your personal background or identity not addressed elsewhere in the application that may illuminate how you could contribute to the medical school and that you would like to share with the Committee, we invite you to do so here. Examples might include significant challenges in access to education, unusual socioeconomic factors, or other aspects of your personal or family background to place your prior academic achievements in context or provide further information about your motivation for a career in medicine or the perspectives you might bring to the medical school community. Many applicants will not need to answer this question. (4000 characters)

3. The Committee on Admissions understands that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted applicants in various ways. If you wish to inform the Committee as to how these events have affected you and have not already done so elsewhere in your application, please use this space to do so. (This is an optional essay; the Committee on Admissions will make no judgment based on your decision to provide a statement or not.) (4000 characters)

4. The interview season for the 2023-2024 cycle will be held virtually and is anticipated to run from mid-September through January 2024. Please indicate any significant (three or more weeks) restriction on your availability for interviews during this period. If none, please leave this section blank. (1000 characters)

HST Prompt:
The HST MD program draws on the combined resources of Harvard and MIT to provide a distinct preclinical education tailored to preparing students for careers as transformative physicians who will shape the future practice of medicine. Our students come from the full spectrum of disciplines including biological, physical, engineering and social sciences. HST classes are small, commonly include graduate students and have an emphasis on quantitative and analytic approaches. The unique HST pre-clinical curriculum prepares students well for the HMS clinical education while also emphasizing disease mechanisms and preparing students to solve critical unmet needs in medicine and healthcare (ranging from novel diagnostics and therapeutics to applications of ‘big data’ and systems engineering). Please focus on how your interests, experiences and aspirations have prepared you for HST (rather than identifying specific HST faculty or research opportunities).

(4000 character maximum)


Good luck to everyone applying!

Interview feedback:


Members don't see this ad.
 
Last edited:
HMS says they want a letter from 'every significant research experience'. How should I consider the word significant? I'm listing six different research experiences on my AMCAS. Of those, three have 400 or more hours, two I started in the last few months and have lower hours but a lot more projected, and one will be my honors thesis work which was in a non-clinical domain related to my major. Do I need letters from all six of these supervisors? How did others who applied in the past approach this?

My issue is I only asked for letters from two of my supervisors since that's what fits in line with the vast majority of other schools, and I'm not sure if the four other supervisors would even consider writing a letter in such short notice, let alone one that would add value to my application.
 
HMS says they want a letter from 'every significant research experience'. How should I consider the word significant? I'm listing six different research experiences on my AMCAS. Of those, three have 400 or more hours, two I started in the last few months and have lower hours but a lot more projected, and one will be my honors thesis work which was in a non-clinical domain related to my major. Do I need letters from all six of these supervisors? How did others who applied in the past approach this?

My issue is I only asked for letters from two of my supervisors since that's what fits in line with the vast majority of other schools, and I'm not sure if the four other supervisors would even consider writing a letter in such short notice, let alone one that would add value to my application.
Just submit the 2 you have. I don't think it'll make a difference. If they interview you and ask just say what you've said here.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Members don't see this ad :)
I actually did not get a letter from my research supervisor (missed this requirement). Is it even worth paying for a secondary without one? I do have some research experience but it is not a significant part of my application. I also don't have any special X factor to impress them. Just kind of on the fence.
 
I actually did not get a letter from my research supervisor (missed this requirement). Is it even worth paying for a secondary without one? I do have some research experience but it is not a significant part of my application. I also don't have any special X factor to impress them. Just kind of on the fence.
Just ask for one asap
 
I'm just now seeing the stuff about research supervisors as well. I have a letter from my main PI, but I didn't ask my supervisor for my thesis for one since we've only been working together academically since March. Would it be worth having her write one and send it within the next couple months at this point? I'm also doing a summer research program where my supervisor is faculty at Harvard Med. If I ask her for one at the end of the program would it be likely to significantly affect my application, or is it not that big of a deal since it's a 2 month program? Any insights appreciated!! :)
 
I'm just now seeing the stuff about research supervisors as well. I have a letter from my main PI, but I didn't ask my supervisor for my thesis for one since we've only been working together academically since March. Would it be worth having her write one and send it within the next couple months at this point? I'm also doing a summer research program where my supervisor is faculty at Harvard Med. If I ask her for one at the end of the program would it be likely to significantly affect my application, or is it not that big of a deal since it's a 2 month program? Any insights appreciated!! :)
in the same boat. been advised that the absence of the letter probably won't make a difference at all. at most I see myself being asked about it in the interview and giving them my excuse.
 
Looking at this conversation about the research letters. I'm a nontraditional student without much research. If I don't have significant research or just started a research job in the past 4 months before applying, should I consider my app DOA or not waste my time/money? Totally fair if the answer is yes, just want to know.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Have the secondaries been released yet? I haven't found anything online.
 
Just received OOS secondary!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Written prompts:

If you have already graduated, briefly (4000 characters maximum) summarize your activities since graduation.

If there is an important aspect of your personal background or identity not addressed elsewhere in the application that may illuminate how you could contribute to the medical school and that you would like to share with the Committee, we invite you to do so here. Examples might include significant challenges in access to education, unusual socioeconomic factors, or other aspects of your personal or family background to place your prior academic achievements in context or provide further information about your motivation for a career in medicine or the perspectives you might bring to the medical school community. Many applicants will not need to answer this question. (4000 characters)

The Committee on Admissions understands that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted applicants in various ways. If you wish to inform the Committee as to how these events have affected you and have not already done so elsewhere in your application, please use this space to do so. (This is an optional essay; the Committee on Admissions will make no judgment based on your decision to provide a statement or not.) (4000 characters)

The interview season for the 2023-2024 cycle will be held virtually and is anticipated to run from mid-September through January 2024. Please indicate any significant (three or more weeks) restriction on your availability for interviews during this period. If none, please leave this section blank. (1000 characters)

@chilly_md
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Members don't see this ad :)
I'm so intrigued by their effective lack of a secondary! But also appreciative :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users
do we put courses we took online due to COVID for the question on page 1?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
do we put courses we took online due to COVID for the question on page 1?
It says this on Harvard's website: "There will be an opportunity on the Harvard Medical School secondary application to indicate coursework that was taken online. Please note that all online coursework should be listed in this section, including coursework that was taken online due to the COVID-19 pandemic."


So I think we are supposed to. I might label it as being during the pandemic though
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users
I feel like none of these questions apply to me, the only one I could maybe write something for would be the second prompt. Should I write fluff or is it better to leave it blank?
 
I feel like none of these questions apply to me, the only one I could maybe write something for would be the second prompt. Should I write fluff or is it better to leave it blank?
i think since they emphasized that many people will not need to answer one question and that another question is truly optional, they are heavily implying they’re not interested in fluff. i would answer the question only if you have a genuine response not already addressed.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
For the portion of the MD-PhD application where they request the following for publications

For manuscripts in preparation (f), please request that your PI reference such manuscripts in their recommendation letter. For all other stages of submission (a-e), please provide the journal’s official email documentation. For published papers (a), please also provide the citation and article link.

What is the "official email documentation" for a published paper? I have a published paper in a well-known journal and they did not send me any direct email communications after the submission stage. I was considering just using a PDF of the author portal page from where I submitted the manuscript. They should be able to see that I'm an author on the journal website anyway.
 
Also, there seems to be a character limit for the manuscripts/publications field that is far too short to put in more than 1-2 citations? I'm trying to get in four with reasonably long author lists.
 
Also, there seems to be a character limit for the manuscripts/publications field that is far too short to put in more than 1-2 citations? I'm trying to get in four with reasonably long author lists.
You can et al. after the first three authors
 
Anyone knows if the online classes include the ones due to COVID? I mean I was on campus the whole time but a couple of my classes were fully online while some were hybrid
 
Anyone knows if the online classes include the ones due to COVID? I mean I was on campus the whole time but a couple of my classes were fully online while some were hybrid
I wrote out every class I took online but put an asterisk next to the one's that were mandated to be online due to covid
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
@chilly_md
Anyone know the HST prompt?
Instructions: The HST MD program draws on the combined resources of Harvard and MIT to provide a distinct preclinical education tailored to preparing students for careers as transformative physicians who will shape the future practice of medicine. Our students come from the full spectrum of disciplines including biological, physical, engineering and social sciences. HST classes are small, commonly include graduate students and have an emphasis on quantitative and analytic approaches. The unique HST pre-clinical curriculum prepares students well for the HMS clinical education while also emphasizing disease mechanisms and preparing students to solve critical unmet needs in medicine and healthcare (ranging from novel diagnostics and therapeutics to applications of ‘big data’ and systems engineering). Please focus on how your interests, experiences and aspirations have prepared you for HST (rather than identifying specific HST faculty or research opportunities).

(4000 character maximum)
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
I am just learning about the HST program now. I have years of experience in clinical research and several pubs, abstracts etc, but my quant and STEM background is lacking (I was a psych/anthro major and did a postbac for all my premed prereqs). That said, I feel like I can learn anything and I AM hoping for a career in which I can be a physician and investigator... Just probably more on the translational-clinical front than basic.

Is it worth applying? It seems like since the two paths are considered separately we should just apply to both (if interested). But I'm just having a hard time imagining what it really entails, like is it going to force me to stay in basic science, ML/big data, or physics/bioengineering if I think ultimately I'm seeking a more clinical research career?
 
MSTP-specific question: anyone else having difficultly uploading PDF's under the "Manuscripts/Publications" tab? I can't see if anything has successfully uploaded and I'm worried I may have uploaded the same document many times... the view file button only generates a 'document not found' error.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Has anyone who submitted gotten an "application complete" email? I got one saying my secondary was received, but nothing about it being marked as "complete" like at other schools...
 
Has anyone who submitted gotten an "application complete" email? I got one saying my secondary was received, but nothing about it being marked as "complete" like at other schools...
No application complete email but it's marked as complete within the portal
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
anyone not seeing the option to write / submit the HST essay? is it on a separate application portal or email? thanks!
 
MSTP-specific question: anyone else having difficultly uploading PDF's under the "Manuscripts/Publications" tab? I can't see if anything has successfully uploaded and I'm worried I may have uploaded the same document many times... the view file button only generates a 'document not found' error.
Same here.
 
How important do y'all think it is to reach the character counts for each essay? I normally do, but it seems kind of hard to do here, given that most essays are just opt-ins.
 
How important do y'all think it is to reach the character counts for each essay? I normally do, but it seems kind of hard to do here, given that most essays are just opt-ins.
I am keeping mine shorter, because these essays are really long and generous on the word count. But for me, I feel like I would be saving the poor reader significant amounts of time by avoiding fluff. My responses are pretty dense. Short and sweet I guess is what I’m going for.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
How strict is the one letter of rec from each research experience requirement if you are applying regular MD?
 
Does anyone know if Adcoms read both the Pathways and the HST essays together? Or, does each program read their specific application separately? I'm trying to figure out how much my gap year essay can overlap with the HST essay.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Does anyone know if Adcoms read both the Pathways and the HST essays together? Or, does each program read their specific application separately? I'm trying to figure out how much my gap year essay can overlap with the HST essay.
My understanding is the Pathways committee gets all the MD-specific essays except the HST essay, whereas the HST committee obtains not only the Pathways essays but also the HST-specific one.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Is anyone else nervous that there's nothing on their secondary... I only wrote about post-grad activities. Should I talk about my immigration experience despite me talking about it in the disadvantaged essay on the primary? Should I write stuff for covid essay or would it be too much fluff if there haven't been significant activities to talk about other than the one in my activities section... just very surprised it's so empty :unsure:
 
Did anyone receive a confirmation email of "Application Complete" after submission? Other than the one that says "Application Received?" Most of the other schools that use similar programs auto-send the "Application Complete" email so just wondering
 
Did anyone receive a confirmation email of "Application Complete" after submission? Other than the one that says "Application Received?" Most of the other schools that use similar programs auto-send the "Application Complete" email so just wondering
I didn't
 
OOS secondary today. I only had one prompt to write something for (the additional info to share one, I wrote about growing up internatioanlly) because I felt weird not putting any writing on my application. I'm still in undergrad, so no post-grad activities or anything else to add.
 
For the question "If there is an important aspect of your personal background or identity not addressed elsewhere in the application that may illuminate how you could contribute to the medical school and that you would like to share with the Committee, we invite you to do so here..."

Would it be inappropriate to talk about aspects of my academic career (i.e. specific programs of study) that are unique and furthered my motivation towards medicine? I feel like it is part of my "academic" background but wasn't sure if this question was concerned only with personal identity (household, ethnicity, etc.). Can someone provide thoughts?
 
In an email, they said that there was no impact on your chances of being accepted as long as the application was submitted before October 22 due to rolling admissions. Are they suggesting that we take as long as we need on the supplemental? Or is it still safer to submit earlier?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
@wysdoc I see that Harvard allows only 2 updates to your app during the whole cycle. I just got one of my papers officially published (3rd author). Should I submit an update to them now, pre-II? Or wait a bit since I still have 2 other papers kind of in the works (both where I am 1st author)? Any thoughts and advice, esp since II's have not been given out yet? TY!
 
@wysdoc I see that Harvard allows only 2 updates to your app during the whole cycle. I just got one of my papers officially published (3rd author). Should I submit an update to them now, pre-II? Or wait a bit since I still have 2 other papers kind of in the works (both where I am 1st author)? Any thoughts and advice, esp since II's have not been given out yet? TY!
How long do you expect the other papers to take for publishing roughly? I don't think it would hurt to send this one as 1 of the updates if you aren't already wanting to add other more significant activities in there. Also is this like 1 of 12 pubs or is it your only one?
 
  • Like
  • Haha
Reactions: 1 users
Top