The starting point has to be an answer to the question posed. "Failure to Answer the Question" is the next post in our series, 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Medical School Essays. Failure to answer the question is such a common error! Applicants so many times ask, “What does the admissions reader want?” They want the answer to their question. And too frequently you don’t provide what they want. If the question asks you to discuss a failure, somewhere in that essay you must discuss a time when you really blew it. And then what you learned, and if appropriate, a nice dose of how you successfully handled a similar subsequent situation. But the starting point has to be an answer to the question posed. If the question asks why you want to attend a given program, you need to provide specifics about that program that relate to your interests and goals. Don’t respond with an answer that could apply to all programs in your field. That is a non-answer, non-starter, and probable ding. Don’t tell them why you are more qualified than anyone else to attend their program. Just answer the question. What if it’s an open-ended question with just general instructions? Then follow the general instructions and enjoy the luxury of writing about what interests you and best presents your qualifications. Avoid Fatal Flaw #2: Keep the application alive. Answer the question. Related Resources: • Writing Secondary Essays That Get You Accepted [Free On-Demand Webinar] • Secondary Strategy: Why Do You Want To Go Here? • How to Get the Most Out of Your Experience Working With A Medical School Consultant Image Source: FreeImages.com/Eran Becker This article originally appeared on blog.accepted.com. Accepted.com's experienced admissions consultants can help you create the most impressive application possible with comprehensive packages,or provide targeted assistance from picking perfect programs to designing a dazzling resume, constructing engaging essays, or preparing for intense interviews…and more! Accepted.com has guided thousands of applicants to acceptances at top programs since 1994 – we know what works and what doesn't, so contact us to get started now!