Aug 8, 2018
So I’ve read on other threads not to mention any struggles with anxiety/stress because it shows you might have these issues during medical school as well. But then that leaves me with what do I respond to these essay prompts? Specifically I’m talking about the Rowan SOM prompt: Please describe any significant barriers or challenges you may have overcome in the pursuit of your personal/professional goals.

Right now I’m drafting an essay with the general theme of having hard classes but having a “if you’re going to do something do it right” mentality to explain why I chose a biochemistry concentration (that led to very hard classes that I didn’t do great in) and will be graduating with it even though most students in the program dropped it. I’m also going to mention how my poor grades were also partially a result of several family deaths and how I’ve started grief groups at my local church and learned the truth about mortality, something a doctor will face frequently.

I’m not sure if I should continue with this train or thought because it almost feels like I’m trying to make excuses for my grades. Another topic I could focus on could be growing up in a predominantly white town/being one of the only Hispanic students/experiencing racism and how when I chose my university I knew it would be a similar environment but how I used my experiences to toughen up and embrace my culture by doing service trips to South America and joining Hispanic student clubs on campus.

Don’t anyone have any advice on these type of essays and what would be more appropriate/beneficial to write to them?


2+ Year Member
Feb 22, 2016
I think the second prompt you suggest is a lot better about facing adversity with racism, etc. I think these prompts are much better suited for non-academic challenges (writing about poor grades brings attention to poor grades). I also think talking about anxiety/death in family can often sound like making excuses. It may be true, but the second example you give about adversity is actually a much better topic IMO.
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