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Primary vs. Secondary App: Differences in experiences being described

HouseJC

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Hello everyone,

I know that AMCAS primary application allows you to list and describe 15 activities. Often, in secondary essays, you will need to describe your activities in a different way (i.e. shine it in a new light).

I would like to ask if it is advisable to list an experience in your secondary essays when it is NOT mentioned in your primary application? Or will that be frowned upon by Admissions Committees?

Thank you all in advance for your help and suggestions!
 

juliannewman

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If it’s a hobby or some sort of outside pursuit that somehow ties in to the prompt, that’s okay I think. But I would not pull out a random volunteering experience that hadn’t been mentioned before. Ideally, in secondaries, you’re expanding upon your most meaningful activities, which you roughly summarized in the primary
 
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HouseJC

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If it’s a hobby or some sort of outside pursuit that somehow ties in to the prompt, that’s okay I think. But I would not pull out a random volunteering experience that hadn’t been mentioned before. Ideally, in secondaries, you’re expanding upon your most meaningful activities, which you roughly summarized in the primary
Thanks for your reply Julian!
 
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Wolvvs

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Are you saying that you have 15 activities already and want to find ways to mention even more?

Showing long-term commitment to a smaller set of activities is going to be more valuable than doing a ton of different activities. The more in-depth you can go, the better. The primary application honestly doesn't give you a ton of space to go in-depth, meaning the secondary can give you opportunities to expand on what you wrote in the primary. If you're introducing something new, especially something big, you'll look unfocused.
 

Rachapkis

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While I would not recycle what is in your primary application, I would not worry too much about whether what you want to say has been mentioned previously or not. The key is to read the secondary and carefully and answer the call of the question keeping your ultimate goal in mind: You want to use the secondary as an opportunity to show what you have already done that fits with the school's mission and why you are a good fit for the school.
 

HouseJC

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Thank you very much for your responses, @Rachapkis , @Wolvvs, @juliannewman

I'm pre-writing secondary essays based on prior prompts. My problem is that given how limited the primary is, I have been involved long-term with programs that are associated/related to the activities described in the primary, but these programs were NOT mentioned as part of my primary. For example, in my primary application, I described a teaching experience at a neuroscience outreach summer camp where I've been teaching for 5 years. In my secondary essays, I'm mentioning a sister program (another neuroscience program that I run during the school years (i.e. Fall, Winter, Spring semesters)). However, the sister program is NOT mentioned in my primary application. Will this make me look unfocused towards the Admissions Committee?

Look forward to hearing your opinions!
 
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HouseJC

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Why can’t you mention the sister program in the primary
Hi Julian, I originally categorize both programs as teaching experiences, but already have other teaching experiences I wanted to mention. In theory, I could combine the descriptions for both primary and sister programs together, but I am afraid of confusing the Admissions Committee member since I only have 700 characters.
 

HouseJC

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I would include short, maybe 1 sentence, summary of the sister program after you’ve described the primary program in the application. Maybe, ‘ I continue my passion for teaching during the school year by running...’
That makes a lot of sense! I'll add that in there, so Admissions Committee members will not be caught off-guard by my secondaries. Thank you!
 
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Rachapkis

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Ad Coms will have. your entire application, so they will be aware of all that you show them. Within reason, I would not worry about some overlap between your primary and secondary (or lack thereof)—provided that your application considered in its entirety does not make you look one-dimensional. Again, in the secondary, I would focus on the school’s mission and show them why you are the perfect person to carry that mission forward.
 
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