Is it OK to use the same Secondary App Essays as last year?

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


Full Member
10+ Year Member
Aug 12, 2011
Reaction score
I am a re-applicant and I'm noticing that the secondary application questions are exactly the same from the previous year. I changed my personal statement quite a bit on my primary application, but am I expected to change my secondary application essays? My answers to the questions aren't really changing. Do they put your old secondary right next to your new secondary when they review it? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

Members don't see this ad.
I'd change it for two reasons:

1) If schools do compare your old secondary with your new one and see it's the same, it could lead them to conclude that you're lazy. That's not something you want.

2) Your answers didn't work last year, what makes you thing they'll work this year?
Think about it this way: the secondary essays you used last year didn't get you an interview. Do you really want the adcom to see the same essays again?
Members don't see this ad :)
Just to play the devil's advocate, how do you know it's the OP's secondaries that didn't work last time? Maybe other aspects were weak. That being said, I do concur with the "being lazy" assumption.

OP: did you ever get a chance to ask some of the med schools how to improve your app? That might've been the best option. /side tracked.
My weakness last year wasn't my secondary. My weaknesses were that I applied really late in the cycle and that i didn't have any clinical volunteer work. Both of which are being corrected for this year. That's what the people who interviewed me told me. My secondary application wasn't the issue. I'm not submitting the identical essay. I'm tweaking each essay, but my examples remain the same. Basically, my life history isn't going to change. Thoughts?
I doubt that it would matter. If it's a good essay, there's no reason to change it unless something life-changing happened since the last time you applied.
I'm in the same boat OP, I'm changing some and not changing others. Most are at least tweaked and most of the schools i'm applying too are new anyway, but I think I understand more about what schools want and am changing where appropriate