Is submitting all my secondaries by August 8th too late for this cycle?

DuckDoc98

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Hi, This is my first post on SDN. I couldn't pre-write secondaries cuz of the MCAT and making school list. I will have something close to 30 secondaries coming my way soon. I would assume that most of the essays can be recycled for other prompts, so I think I can finish all by August 8th. Is this too later for this cycle?

Side Q: I took Casper yesterday July 19th and will take 3 weeks to get sent to schools. I assume that for schools that require Casper I have 3 weeks time still right? Or do schools review apps without Casper?

(My stat is 516 and 3.9gpa. Not sure if the info really matters tho)

Thank you.
 
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DuckDoc98

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I'm not sure how doable it is to write 30 secondaries in 3 weeks, for most people.
Yes not very likely if all the essays are unique but I found that there is only 5-6 categories of secondaries you need to write:
Covid, Diversity, Gap Yea, School Specific, Field of medicine: regret/hardship/challenge experience and Unique Qs.
Only for a few of these categories do you need to write different essays every time.
 
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I think that it would probably be more prudent to spend time writing the secondaries instead of using it to ask people on SDN if you have enough time to write secondaries. I mean what’s your alternative? Withdraw your app and wait a year?
 
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deleted889094

Yes not very likely if all the essays are unique but I found that there is only 5-6 categories of secondaries you need to write:
Covid, Diversity, Gap Yea, School Specific, Field of medicine: regret/hardship/challenge experience and Unique Qs.
Only for a few of these categories do you need to write different essays every time.
You would be wrong lol

Take it from someone who has applied twice. If you can do 30 secondaries in 3 weeks you are either an absolute machine or you're putting out some crappy secondary essays.

You should really try to tailor your essays to the school in some way. Align with their mission. It's better to do that than be slightly earlier.

Unless Tulane is your dreamschool
 
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medDaisuki

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Many people including myself haven't got their primaries verified by AMCAS, due to the delay in processing (imagine our feelings seeing this post).....So August 6th would no way be late. I really wouldn't be so neurotic and I would focus on writing your secondaries since you do have a lot to write. And revise them over and over again if you have time, just like the personal statement. Good luck
 
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KnightDoc

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You have a warped sense of what people have done. Most applicants dont work on secondaries until they get then
Really???? Then why does EVERY school specific thread, EVERY year, post them for all to see and obsess on if most applicants patiently wait for them? I'm pretty sure even the earliest submitters pre-write based on prior years, and just about everyone else starts writing based on what is posted without waiting for their e-mail or notification through the school's portal.

Based on what is posted on SDN, I'd bet the vast majority pre-write. It's the only way they would be able to submit 20-30 secondaries within minutes of receiving them, as many apparently do! (I'm kidding about minutes, so please don't take me literally, but many people do manage to be complete within days of receiving secondaries, which would simply not be possible without extensive pre-writing, which truly does seem to be the norm around here.)
 
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Hi, This is my first post on SDN. I couldn't pre-write secondaries cuz of the MCAT and making school list. I will have something close to 30 secondaries coming my way soon. I would assume that most of the essays can be recycled for other prompts, so I think I can finish all by August 8th. Is this too later for this cycle?

Side Q: I took Casper yesterday July 19th and will take 3 weeks to get sent to schools. I assume that for schools that require Casper I have 3 weeks time still right? Or do schools review apps without Casper?

(My stat is 516 and 3.9gpa. Not sure if the info really matters tho)

Thank you.
No.
 

DuckDoc98

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Really???? Then why does EVERY school specific thread, EVERY year, post them for all to see and obsess on if most applicants patiently wait for them? I'm pretty sure even the earliest submitters pre-write based on prior years, and just about everyone else starts writing based on what is posted without waiting for their e-mail or notification through the school's portal.

Based on what is posted on SDN, I'd bet the vast majority pre-write. It's the only way they would be able to submit 20-30 secondaries within minutes of receiving them, as many apparently do! (I'm kidding about minutes, so please don't take me literally, but many people do manage to be complete within days of receiving secondaries, which would simply not be possible without extensive pre-writing, which truly does seem to be the norm around here.)
That is also what I thought tbh but I didn't have the time to do it this cycle cuz of MCAT that got pushed back, which could be the case for more people this cycle.
 

KnightDoc

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That is also what I thought tbh but I didn't have the time to do it this cycle cuz of MCAT that got pushed back, which could be the case for more people this cycle.
Sure. It's not a requirement or anything, and plenty of people are in your position every year. It just makes life easier if you can do it. SDN is full of neurotic overachievers, so it's really not representative of the pool at large. As others have said, you can't go back in time, and it's not going to be fatal, so just go with the flow and get them done when you can, making sure not to sacrifice quality for speed.

As both of the adcoms have already said, 8/8 will be totally fine, particularly because conventional wisdom is that complete by Labor Day is fine for any year, and you probably have an extra month or so this year due to the delays in MCAT scores, transcript verifications, etc.
 
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DuckDoc98

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Sure. It's not a requirement or anything, and plenty of people are in your position every year. It just makes life easier if you can do it. SDN is full of neurotic overachievers, so it's really not representative of the pool at large. As others have said, you can't go back in time, and it's not going to be fatal, so just go with the flow and get them done when you can, making sure not to sacrifice quality for speed.

As both of the adcoms have already said, 8/8 will be totally fine, particularly because conventional wisdom is that complete by Labor Day is fine for any year, and you probably have an extra month or so this year due to the delays in MCAT scores, transcript verifications, etc.
Thank you so much !!
 
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Based on what is posted on SDN, I'd bet the vast majority pre-write. It's the only way they would be able to submit 20-30 secondaries within minutes of receiving them, as many apparently do! (I'm kidding about minutes, so please don't take me literally, but many people do manage to be complete within days of receiving secondaries, which would simply not be possible without extensive pre-writing, which truly does seem to be the norm around here.)

Most people posting on SDN =/= most applicants. The population here is far from evenly representative of the pre-med population as a whole.

Pre-writing secondaries is only something I've seen on here (and r/premed). It's not something I've ever encountered people talking about "in the real world" although I'm sure it exists. I'd bet it's far from the "vast majority" of students, however.

I'm sure you realize this based on your other posts, but boosting panic in other applicants by amplifying and hyping the most stressful worries, especially to argue with admissions committee members, does not help your fellow applicants. Take a step back, take a deep breath, and relax.
 
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TakotsuboOkazaki

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Secondary went to my school in mid-October.

They were patient with me, and I was patient with them (interview wasn’t until February lol).

Here I am. Proof is in the pudding.
 
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gonnif

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We are aware that the perception of many applicants is that if you don't apply very early in the cycle, you are hurting your chances for admission. This is not true and in fact has never been true for UCSD.
We do have "rolling" admissions. But, what rolling admissions means from our perspective is that we plan to make a small number of offers spread throughout the year...but it does NOT mean that we make all of our offers in October and November and reject any applicants that happen to be reviewed later.
It is very much in our interest to try to form the best possible incoming class, and thus we do not make any decisions based on how early or how late we receive or review an application. We leave plenty of room for strong applicants that apply later in the cycle.
The situation is fluid, as the need for social-distancing and other impacts of COVID-19 may extend and force additional MCAT cancellations. We are not yet able to determine how this will impact our process overall, so we ask for your patience as we don't have all the answers yet and may need to adapt our policy to fit the situation to ensure an equitable review process for all applicants.
 
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KnightDoc

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Most people posting on SDN =/= most applicants. The population here is far from evenly representative of the pre-med population as a whole.

Pre-writing secondaries is only something I've seen on here (and r/premed). It's not something I've ever encountered people talking about "in the real world" although I'm sure it exists. I'd bet it's far from the "vast majority" of students, however.

I'm sure you realize this based on your other posts, but boosting panic in other applicants by amplifying and hyping the most stressful worries, especially to argue with admissions committee members, does not help your fellow applicants. Take a step back, take a deep breath, and relax.
All of your points are true, but it IS worth noting that OP also =/= most applicants, since he too is posting on SDN. While I certainly did not mean to induce panic (and don't believe that I did), I also think it's disingenuous to deny what is obvious from a superficial review of posts on SDN.

Thinking people pre-write secondaries does not represent a warped sense of what people do when a ton of people on the two most popular internet premed forums do just that each year. It's also true that a majority of applicants are unsuccessful each year. Does saying that either boost panic or mean that we are all wasting our time by applying? :)

People come here looking for advice on ways to get a leg up. Pre-writing secondaries when you are applying to 20-30 schools is a very effective way to do that. Telling someone that most applicants don't do that is useless. Most applicants are also rejected each year, as some of the adcoms here are very quick to point out, over, and over, and over and over again.
 
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14_karat

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You would be wrong lol

Take it from someone who has applied twice. If you can do 30 secondaries in 3 weeks you are either an absolute machine or you're putting out some crappy secondary essays.

You should really try to tailor your essays to the school in some way. Align with their mission. It's better to do that than be slightly earlier.

Unless Tulane is your dreamschool
I find it interesting that you say this. Although I’m only applying to 15 schools, I’m noticing that secondaries really are these main questions:

- diversity
- adversity / failure / challenge
- gap year / future academic plans
- “why us?”
- list most meaningful clinical experience

Many schools don’t even have over 4 prompts.

Even with the unique questions (i.e. public health, disparities, underserved, physician purpose, goals, etc ), a lot of schools have very similar questions.

Therefore, responses from other secondaries can be easily tailored, remixed, or combined to fit another school’s prompt in a pretty short amount of time.

But then again, I consider myself a strong writer.
 
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deleted889094

I find it interesting that you say this. Although I’m only applying to 15 schools, I’m noticing that secondaries really are these main questions:

- diversity
- adversity / failure / challenge
- gap year / future academic plans
- “why us?”
- list most meaningful clinical experience

Many schools don’t even have over 4 prompts.

Even with the unique questions (i.e. public health, disparities, underserved, physician purpose, goals, etc ), a lot of schools have very similar questions.

Therefore, responses from other secondaries can be easily tailored, remixed, or combined to fit another school’s prompt in a pretty short amount of time.

But then again, I consider myself a strong writer.
Duplicating entire essays tends to not go well. If you are strong writer, you frame the progression of the essay based on how many words you have. Stretching a 500-word essay to 1000 or vice-versa does not produce good essays. Besides, the individual attention to the missions of each school that you can give from writing each one is a massive boon

That's not to say you can't use common chunks in essays, but it pays to give each some individual attention. Like, people wanna go to medical school... but not so badly that they're willing to write a ton of essays for it?

If you think reusing essays doesn't show, I would bet money you're wrong on that. Maybe someone like @Goro would be able to speak to it. Nobody is as good of an essay BSer as they think they are because BS is easily detected by people who do this every year for tons of applicants.
 
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People come here looking for advice on ways to get a leg up. Pre-writing secondaries when you are applying to 20-30 schools is a very effective way to do that. Telling someone that most applicants don't do that is useless. Most applicants are also rejected each year, as some of the adcoms here are very quick to point out, over, and over, and over and over again.

On the other hand, just because a lot of people on SDN and r/premed do something doesn't mean it's necessary or something that in and of itself will give you a leg up. Thinking about how you will answer secondary prompts is a good thing. Pre-writing isn't a bad thing to do, if you have the time and nothing more productive to do. But that doesn't mean I'm going to recommend it to my students who are applying over things I think will have a larger effect on their application.

It's like the hyper-focus on having your application in early. It's not that if all other things are equal that it's bad to get your application in early. And it's definitely a problem to have it in too late. But there's a huge middle ground where waiting a few weeks to improve your application is going to help you rather than hurt you. For instance, in this thread, there are people who have not yet gone through an application season disagreeing with people who serve on admissions committees about when you need to get things finalized to be competitive.

Finally, I'd be very careful about assuming correlation: just because *most* applicants aren't on SDN and *most* applicants don't get in doesn't mean that those populations overlap sharpy. Assuming that because the population here is trying to get a leg up things they do more commonly than average are always good things to emulate might not be the best logical leap to make.
 
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14_karat

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Duplicating entire essays tends to not go well. If you are strong writer, you frame the progression of the essay based on how many words you have. Stretching a 500-word essay to 1000 or vice-versa does not produce good essays. Besides, the individual attention to the missions of each school that you can give from writing each one is a massive boon

That's not to say you can't use common chunks in essays, but it pays to give each some individual attention. Like, people wanna go to medical school... but not so badly that they're willing to write a ton of essays for it?

If you think reusing essays doesn't show, I would bet money you're wrong on that. Maybe someone like @Goro would be able to speak to it. Nobody is as good of an essay BSer as they think they are because BS is easily detected by people who do this every year for tons of applicants.
I did not say duplicate the essay. I said that previous responses could be easily remixed and tailored to perfectly fit the next school’s prompts. By this, I meant also taking into consideration the school’s personal vision/mission.

I’ve done a lot of research on the schools I’m applying to and for each I have written down unique phrases and aspects that they listed on their website that has resonated with me and my goals. I have done my best to work from this angle in my “why us?” responses. But really, that’s the main prompt that I feel needs this more specific approach.

I personally have zero secondaries that have a word max of over 500 words. So, perhaps, I’m biased. But, all in all, I do not believe that the secondary writing process is super complex.
 
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KnightDoc

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On the other hand, just because a lot of people on SDN and r/premed do something doesn't mean it's necessary or something that in and of itself will give you a leg up. Thinking about how you will answer secondary prompts is a good thing. Pre-writing isn't a bad thing to do, if you have the time and nothing more productive to do. But that doesn't mean I'm going to recommend it to my students who are applying over things I think will have a larger effect on their application.

It's like the hyper-focus on having your application in early. It's not that if all other things are equal that it's bad to get your application in early. And it's definitely a problem to have it in too late. But there's a huge middle ground where waiting a few weeks to improve your application is going to help you rather than hurt you. For instance, in this thread, there are people who have not yet gone through an application season disagreeing with people who serve on admissions committees about when you need to get things finalized to be competitive.

Finally, I'd be very careful about assuming correlation: just because *most* applicants aren't on SDN and *most* applicants don't get in doesn't mean that those populations overlap sharpy. Assuming that because the population here is trying to get a leg up things they do more commonly than average are always good things to emulate might not be the best logical leap to make.
At a high level, sure, everything you say is true. As you get closer to the ground, maybe not so much. Yes, you should not recommend that your students skimp on studying for the MCAT, participating in meaningful ECs, or going to class and studying for exams so that they can pre-write secondaries years in advance. Does this mean that it should not be made a priority to make the time to do it so that they don't have to crank out maybe 100-150 essays in the space of a few short weeks, under pressure to push them out the door, once the cycle has begun? If someone is focused and serious, I can think of very little more productive in the months leading up to a cycle than to put yourself in a position where the only secondaries you have to worry about are the ones that changed from last year. But that's just me.

Totally agree on the hyper-focus on being early. It also amuses me that every year, in every school specific thread, as soon as anything happens (secondaries, IIs, decisions, etc.) everyone needs to know when everyone interviewed, submitted, was complete, etc., as though the process was linear, when they see, every year, in every thread, that there is no pattern as to when things happen because applications are always triaged and stratified, as disclosed by every adcom on SDN who ever answered the question.

Finally, correlation was not meant to be strict. It was actually kind of sarcastic. Adcoms say most people don't pre-write, so it's not necessary, while also saying most applicants are not successful, but not following that by saying there is consequently no reason to apply. Of course I never meant to imply that most participants on SDN are successful (there is ample evidence to the contrary) or that most everyone else is unsuccessful (I'd have no way to know that, beyond the fact that 57% of everyone is unsuccessful). No logical leap was made or meant to be implied.
 

Talldoctor96

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At a high level, sure, everything you say is true. As you get closer to the ground, maybe not so much. Yes, you should not recommend that your students skimp on studying for the MCAT, participating in meaningful ECs, or going to class and studying for exams so that they can pre-write secondaries years in advance. Does this mean that it should not be made a priority to make the time to do it so that they don't have to crank out maybe 100-150 essays in the space of a few short weeks, under pressure to push them out the door, once the cycle has begun? If someone is focused and serious, I can think of very little more productive in the months leading up to a cycle than to put yourself in a position where the only secondaries you have to worry about are the ones that changed from last year. But that's just me.

Totally agree on the hyper-focus on being early. It also amuses me that every year, in every school specific thread, as soon as anything happens (secondaries, IIs, decisions, etc.) everyone needs to know when everyone interviewed, submitted, was complete, etc., as though the process was linear, when they see, every year, in every thread, that there is no pattern as to when things happen because applications are always triaged and stratified, as disclosed by every adcom on SDN who ever answered the question.

Finally, correlation was not meant to be strict. It was actually kind of sarcastic. Adcoms say most people don't pre-write, so it's not necessary, while also saying most applicants are not successful, but not following that by saying there is consequently no reason to apply. Of course I never meant to imply that most participants on SDN are successful (there is ample evidence to the contrary) or that most everyone else is unsuccessful (I'd have no way to know that, beyond the fact that 57% of everyone is unsuccessful). No logical leap was made or meant to be implied.
Knightdoc sounds like you need a nice walk outside. Close that laptop, log off of sdn and enjoy the beautiful weather.
 
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deleted889094

I did not say duplicate the essay. I said that previous responses could be easily remixed and tailored to perfectly fit the next school’s prompts. By this, I meant also taking into consideration the school’s personal vision/mission.

I’ve done a lot of research on the schools I’m applying to and for each I have written down unique phrases and aspects that they listed on their website that has resonated with me and my goals. I have done my best to work from this angle in my “why us?” responses. But really, that’s the main prompt that I feel needs this more specific approach.

I personally have zero secondaries that have a word max of over 500 words. So, perhaps, I’m biased. But, all in all, I do not believe that the secondary writing process is super complex.
Sounds like you're advocating for pretty much what I was.

If you're really only dealing with 500 word essays, consider yourself lucky. That was not my experience at all. Many unique essays and differing word limits.

15 schools in 3 weeks is doable. 30, probably not.
 

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All of your points are true, but it IS worth noting that OP also =/= most applicants, since he too is posting on SDN. While I certainly did not mean to induce panic (and don't believe that I did), I also think it's disingenuous to deny what is obvious from a superficial review of posts on SDN.

Thinking people pre-write secondaries does not represent a warped sense of what people do when a ton of people on the two most popular internet premed forums do just that each year. It's also true that a majority of applicants are unsuccessful each year. Does saying that either boost panic or mean that we are all wasting our time by applying? :)

People come here looking for advice on ways to get a leg up. Pre-writing secondaries when you are applying to 20-30 schools is a very effective way to do that. Telling someone that most applicants don't do that is useless. Most applicants are also rejected each year, as some of the adcoms here are very quick to point out, over, and over, and over and over again.
Yes, lot of them pre-write and as others said you can prewrite 4 or 5 and use them with minor modifications. My kid submitted dozen secondaries in first week.
 
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DuckDoc98

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We are aware that the perception of many applicants is that if you don't apply very early in the cycle, you are hurting your chances for admission. This is not true and in fact has never been true for UCSD.
We do have "rolling" admissions. But, what rolling admissions means from our perspective is that we plan to make a small number of offers spread throughout the year...but it does NOT mean that we make all of our offers in October and November and reject any applicants that happen to be reviewed later.
It is very much in our interest to try to form the best possible incoming class, and thus we do not make any decisions based on how early or how late we receive or review an application. We leave plenty of room for strong applicants that apply later in the cycle.
The situation is fluid, as the need for social-distancing and other impacts of COVID-19 may extend and force additional MCAT cancellations. We are not yet able to determine how this will impact our process overall, so we ask for your patience as we don't have all the answers yet and may need to adapt our policy to fit the situation to ensure an equitable review process for all applicants.
Thank you for this information. This makes a lot of sense in my opinion.
 
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