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How invested I should be with secondaries?

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Lifeblood_20

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My approach to secondaries has been, write a sensible draft, have one or two people I trust read over, make some adjustments, and if I still feel good enough a few days later I would submit. I think there’s diminishing returns to over editing and writing too many drafts for every secondary prompt.
How have you guys been doing?
 
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M&L

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when i applied last year, i didnt even give them to anyone to read. I literally just answered the questions, then proofread in word document, and submitted. I do better when i do not overthink though, i am one of those ppl who always changes answer to the wrong one, so i guess it depends.
 
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Like anything else, it all depends. If your resume is rock solid all you have to do is not mess up majorly. If you have academic sins to confess and repent on, it may be more involved.

If it's a long or involved essay I'll have a low threshold to have a copywriter or editor take a look at it for a couple bucks and scold me for whatever writing mannerisms I have. Especially if you can get someone familiarish with the application process it can be really worth it.

David D MD - USMLE and MCAT Tutor
Med School Tutors
 
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djiboutiman

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I’m a firm believer in spending time on your secondaries. It’s the easiest part of the application to control and can boost you if you are a seemingly regular applicant. I myself sent in some meh secondaries and you can bet not one one of those schools sent me an interview invite, even though my MCAT was way above their mean and I had some good ECs. You can recycle your essays too for other schools. Don’t get lazy, treat it like it was your personal statement.
 
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Lifeblood_20

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I’m a firm believer in spending time on your secondaries. It’s the easiest part of the application to control and can boost you if you are a seemingly regular applicant. I myself sent in some meh secondaries and you can bet not one one of those schools sent me an interview invite, even though my MCAT was way above their mean and I had some good ECs. You can recycle your essays too for other schools. Don’t get lazy, treat it like it was your personal statement.
I will definitely put in a lot of effort in them... Just that I worked on my PS for months and wrote 10+ drafts. I think there’s happy medium
 
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I hate to recommend it, but I'd suggest getting a Grammarly subscription for a month or two. If you're applying to 15+ schools, you don't have the time to proofread everything like you normally would. I was able to use a friend's account and it was very helpful in catching any mistakes or bad phrasing.
 
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gonnif

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My opinion is you damn well should be fully invested in your secondaries as if the rest of your professional life depends on it, which it does. This is why I always tell applicants that applying to medical school is a full-time job from May thru August if not September. At many schools, secondaries can be more important than the primary. You are writing, in essence, a job application to get an interview where at least 80% of the people will be rejected before getting invited.

On these applications, you should be coherent, concise, and compelling:
1) you need to answer the question asked.
2) in a way that demonstrates your characteristics, traits and personal attributes
3) described in a well structured, supported essay that has at the very least, a logical and easy flow, if not engaging and compelling
4) It should share themes and points with your primary.

Let me try to put this together. Applicants always seem to get caught up in the action of the activity they are talking about where they need to show what impact the activity or subject had, what they learned from it, and, above all, what it says about your characteristics, traits and personal attributes. It is these points and themes that should show a pattern from the activities and PS in primary
 
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jhmmd

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Flying Penguin said:
My approach to secondaries has been, write a sensible draft, have one or two people I trust read over, make some adjustments, and if I still feel good enough a few days later I would submit. I think there’s diminishing returns to over editing and writing too many drafts for every secondary prompt.
How have you guys been doing?
Like gonnif said above, you can't overdo this. You want to strike a balance bet. "overdoing" secondaries to the point where it takes too long to send them back to the school, and breezing through them.

You'll find that some schools send similar secondary prompts (what makes you unique? why medicine? etc.) and you can reuse some sentences throughout your secondaries; that's not plagiarism if YOU wrote it.

Bottom line: secondaries are EXTREMELY important. If you made it to the secondary stage, then the med school in question is considering accepting you. Don't blow it! 50-60% of those who send back secondaries are screened out--DON'T be one of those people that types something up carelessly and is rejected.

Good luck! :)
 
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