Why schools don't publish their secondary prompts in advance ?

Jun 2, 2020
32
29
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
Is there a reason why most medical schools don't officially publish their secondary prompts in advance ? Given that this cycle some schools (e.g. NYU, UMich) have done this in advance is there a reason why others don't follow suit ? One can, maybe, make a case for schools that screen secondaries, but for most I can't think of a downside. I am sure most schools have the prompts finalized at least couple months before secondary season, why wait till the secondaries go out ?
I know we can scrape this information from prior cycle school specific threads, however some prompts do change.
Why this suspense ? Is there something obvious that I am missing ? Maybe the resident adcoms can enlighten.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Med Ed

5+ Year Member
Sep 13, 2015
3,255
11,460
Status
  1. Attending Physician
It's always interesting when you're reviewing an application and the personal statement reads like it was crafted by Steinbeck while the secondaries read like they were dictated by a drunk toddler.
 
  • Like
  • Haha
  • Love
Reactions: 30 users
Apr 2, 2019
756
1,900
Status
  1. Medical Student (Accepted)
It's always interesting when you're reviewing an application and the personal statement reads like it was crafted by Steinbeck while the secondaries read like they were dictated by a drunk toddler.
I would attribute that less to lack of prep time and more to mental numbing after writing your 1000th essay of the cycle haha
 
  • Like
Reactions: 7 users
About the Ads
D

deleted804295

You have like 6 essays you have to write max.

You're doing it wrong if you're rewriting every single one.
 
  • Hmm
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

Goro

SDN Gold Donor
Gold Donor
10+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
63,701
95,894
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
  1. Non-Student
You have like 6 essays you have to write max.

You're doing it wrong if you're rewriting every single one.
And three are the same from school to school:
Diversity
Adversity
Where do you see yourself in the future?

And two that are common, but not universal:
Explain academic weaknesses
What did you do in your gap year(s)?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users
Jan 7, 2020
201
326
Status
  1. Medical Student
I still have my three diversity essays saved, a 1500 character one, 2000 character one, and 2500 character one :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users
Jun 24, 2020
839
973
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
Is there a reason why most medical schools don't officially publish their secondary prompts in advance ? Given that this cycle some schools (e.g. NYU, UMich) have done this in advance is there a reason why others don't follow suit ? One can, maybe, make a case for schools that screen secondaries, but for most I can't think of a downside. I am sure most schools have the prompts finalized at least couple months before secondary season, why wait till the secondaries go out ?
I know we can scrape this information from prior cycle school specific threads, however some prompts do change.
Why this suspense ? Is there something obvious that I am missing ? Maybe the resident adcoms can enlighten.
Where can I find the 2021 prompts for those who released early?
 

HappyThankfulDriven

2+ Year Member
Jun 8, 2016
40
21
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
If ours is the 1000th essay you're working on then that shows us where we are in your list of priorities.

I don't understand the concept that Medical Schools take into account the date that you apply (as in the later you apply, the least interested you are at that school??). How does this make sense and why is this a factor? This seems to go against "holistic" review. I understand rolling admissions but applicants are applying to that school and spending money because they want to go there! There are a 100+ medical schools and they chose to apply to your school over others. Also some applicants have circumstances that prevent them from submitting all their applications the moment they receive their secondaries.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Med Ed

5+ Year Member
Sep 13, 2015
3,255
11,460
Status
  1. Attending Physician
I don't understand the concept that Medical Schools take into account the date that you apply (as in the later you apply, the least interested you are at that school??). How does this make sense and why is this a factor? This seems to go against "holistic" review. I understand rolling admissions but applicants are applying to that school and spending money because they want to go there! There are a 100+ medical schools and they chose to apply to your school over others. Also some applicants have circumstances that prevent them from submitting all their applications the moment they receive their secondaries.

Every cycle we get a slew of applications in the weeks after opening, then it slows to a trickle. Then we get a late bump, and a bolus immediately before the final day.

Given the overall pattern, what should we make of the applicants who don't apply until right before the deadline?
 
Last edited:
  • Love
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
Mar 14, 2019
4,173
4,265
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
I don't understand the concept that Medical Schools take into account the date that you apply (as in the later you apply, the least interested you are at that school??). How does this make sense and why is this a factor? This seems to go against "holistic" review. I understand rolling admissions but applicants are applying to that school and spending money because they want to go there! There are a 100+ medical schools and they chose to apply to your school over others. Also some applicants have circumstances that prevent them from submitting all their applications the moment they receive their secondaries.
Actually, it is very much consistent with a holistic review insofar as it involves looking at EVERYTHING, including timing of submission!!! :cool:

Yes, the are 150 medical schools. Each school also has thousands of applicants for 100-200 spots. You have lots of schools to choose from and they have lots of applicants to choose from. You prioritize schools and they prioritize applicants. You probably apply to ones you are interested in first, and they understand this and use the timing of an application as a proxy for your level of interest, not in attending medical school at all, but in attending their school as compared to the 150 others.

As adcoms have been stating repeatedly, if you are an exceptional candidate and you apply by the deadline, schools will find a way to interview you. On the other hand, if you are not so exceptional, and you apply months after thousands of other equally interesting and equally qualified candidates, regardless of the circumstances, it sucks to be you because you have put yourself at a significant disadvantage and maybe you should just hold off for another cycle. Neurotic premeds on SDN wondering whether they are late in the middle of August is one thing, but asking the same question in the middle of October when applications have been open since May and have been transmitted to schools since July is quite another. JMHO.
 

HappyThankfulDriven

2+ Year Member
Jun 8, 2016
40
21
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
@Med Ed @KnightDoc

In my humble opinion they shouldn't look at the submission date because it really shouldn't mean anything?

Coming solely from my own experiences as an applicant, sure I picked schools within my GPA and MCAT range, but that's not the only reason I applied to them. There are many I didn't apply to because their program isn't what I was looking for. Furthermore there are many variables that can affect a submission/completion date. Primary Verification date, MCAT score release date, date secondary received, question similarity, or/and external circumstances. Hypothetically some applicants can submit their first secondary in September which could be later than some applicants' last secondary submission date. A date really doesn't tell you anything when you exclude assumptions about the applicant

What I am trying to say is, a reviewer's gauge of an applicant's interest in their school should stop at their level of engagement with the medical school, the fact that they used their own money to apply specifically to them and spent their time filling out their secondary. My hope is that Adcoms won't interview a qualified applicant because they think they are not really interested in their program because of their late submission.

But ultimately this is my opinion and I understand your perspectives. I do believe in the training and expertise of Adcoms, and they have a tough job with so many applicants and limited spots. If they take the submission date in consideration they must have a good reason for it

Anyways, I appreciate everyone for hearing me out and taking the time to respond :)
 

Med Ed

5+ Year Member
Sep 13, 2015
3,255
11,460
Status
  1. Attending Physician
@Med Ed @KnightDoc

In my humble opinion they shouldn't look at the submission date because it really shouldn't mean anything?

Coming solely from my own experiences as an applicant, sure I picked schools within my GPA and MCAT range, but that's not the only reason I applied to them. There are many I didn't apply to because their program isn't what I was looking for. Furthermore there are many variables that can affect a submission/completion date. Primary Verification date, MCAT score release date, date secondary received, question similarity, or/and external circumstances. Hypothetically some applicants can submit their first secondary in September which could be later than some applicants' last secondary submission date. A date really doesn't tell you anything when you exclude assumptions about the applicant

What I am trying to say is, a reviewer's gauge of an applicant's interest in their school should stop at their level of engagement with the medical school, the fact that they used their own money to apply specifically to them and spent their time filling out their secondary. My hope is that Adcoms won't interview a qualified applicant because they think they are not really interested in their program because of their late submission.

But ultimately this is my opinion and I understand your perspectives. I do believe in the training and expertise of Adcoms, and they have a tough job with so many applicants and limited spots. If they take the submission date in consideration they must have a good reason for it

Anyways, I appreciate everyone for hearing me out and taking the time to respond :)

You're really making a mountain out of a molehill.
 
  • Love
  • Haha
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users
Mar 14, 2019
4,173
4,265
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
@Med Ed @KnightDoc

In my humble opinion they shouldn't look at the submission date because it really shouldn't mean anything?

Coming solely from my own experiences as an applicant, sure I picked schools within my GPA and MCAT range, but that's not the only reason I applied to them. There are many I didn't apply to because their program isn't what I was looking for. Furthermore there are many variables that can affect a submission/completion date. Primary Verification date, MCAT score release date, date secondary received, question similarity, or/and external circumstances. Hypothetically some applicants can submit their first secondary in September which could be later than some applicants' last secondary submission date. A date really doesn't tell you anything when you exclude assumptions about the applicant

What I am trying to say is, a reviewer's gauge of an applicant's interest in their school should stop at their level of engagement with the medical school, the fact that they used their own money to apply specifically to them and spent their time filling out their secondary. My hope is that Adcoms won't interview a qualified applicant because they think they are not really interested in their program because of their late submission.

But ultimately this is my opinion and I understand your perspectives. I do believe in the training and expertise of Adcoms, and they have a tough job with so many applicants and limited spots. If they take the submission date in consideration they must have a good reason for it

Anyways, I appreciate everyone for hearing me out and taking the time to respond :)
Actually, I don't think they have a good reason to do it, but some do it anyway! Rather than railing about how things should be, successful candidates figure out how things are and navigate the process accordingly.

I had a spirited debate with a poster last year who claimed to have done outside consulting work in a prior life for U Chicago, and he insisted that they used submission date as a proxy for level of interest in the school when choosing who to admit. I pointed out that was crazy, since submission date is much more an indication of how prepared and neurotic a candidate is than of interest in the school, since it is very clear, just from SDN posts, that people who apply early apply early EVERYWHERE, not just to their preferred schools. I also pointed out that Chicago had one of the lowest yields of all the top schools, so if they are admitting people based on likelihood to attend, the adcom actually sucks at its job.

Nevertheless, if the Chicago adcom uses submission date as a metric, it is to your benefit as a candidate to be aware of it and act accordingly, rather than argue about its bona fides. At the end of the day, med school admissions is not a sweepstakes, although it certainly feels like it sometimes. All entries received by the deadline do not have an equal chance of winning. Apps begin to be processed from the moment they are received, on a rolling basis at all schools, even if they do not announce decisions on a rolling basis.

Given that that is the process, earlier is better, even though it is true that all schools save IIs for people they really want to see who submit before the deadline. The further you are from having an application that is so compelling that they will stop what they are doing to invite you in to start recruiting you immediately, the better off you are putting yourself in a position to be reviewed while the vast majority of IIs have not yet gone out. JMHO and YMMV. :cool:
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

Goro

SDN Gold Donor
Gold Donor
10+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
63,701
95,894
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
  1. Non-Student
@Med Ed @KnightDoc

In my humble opinion they shouldn't look at the submission date because it really shouldn't mean anything?

Coming solely from my own experiences as an applicant, sure I picked schools within my GPA and MCAT range, but that's not the only reason I applied to them. There are many I didn't apply to because their program isn't what I was looking for. Furthermore there are many variables that can affect a submission/completion date. Primary Verification date, MCAT score release date, date secondary received, question similarity, or/and external circumstances. Hypothetically some applicants can submit their first secondary in September which could be later than some applicants' last secondary submission date. A date really doesn't tell you anything when you exclude assumptions about the applicant

What I am trying to say is, a reviewer's gauge of an applicant's interest in their school should stop at their level of engagement with the medical school, the fact that they used their own money to apply specifically to them and spent their time filling out their secondary. My hope is that Adcoms won't interview a qualified applicant because they think they are not really interested in their program because of their late submission.

But ultimately this is my opinion and I understand your perspectives. I do believe in the training and expertise of Adcoms, and they have a tough job with so many applicants and limited spots. If they take the submission date in consideration they must have a good reason for it

Anyways, I appreciate everyone for hearing me out and taking the time to respond :)
You completely missed Med Ed's point. It's not about how committed one is toward a program; this is like looking for a date to the prom. It's about people's ability to manage their time and set priorities.

What does it telegraph about people who wait until the last minute to do something important???
 
Jan 3, 2020
381
845
Seattle, WA
Status
  1. Non-Student
The University of Washington posts their secondary on the website. IMO, it's one of the best resources for applicants applying to any school for advice on your application (including activities to do as a pre-med), shadowing, interviewing, etc.
 

HappyThankfulDriven

2+ Year Member
Jun 8, 2016
40
21
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
You're really making a mountain out of a molehill.

You know, I after posting my last post I went to sleep thinking the same thing haha. This definitely wasn't my intention!

I am not arguing for the sake of arguing, or to validate anyone's excuse to submit late. It makes 100% sense that submitting early is the best strategy especially with rolling admissions. I just wanted to under understand the logic of using a submission date as a metric for an applicant's interest in a school. :)

You completely missed Med Ed's point. It's not about how committed one is toward a program; this is like looking for a date to the prom. It's about people's ability to manage their time and set priorities.

What does it telegraph about people who wait until the last minute to do something important???

I definitely understand how it looks and how it can lead to negative assumptions about the applicant, and for the most part I agree with it (Except for the kindness in me that wants to give everyone the benefit of the doubt haha).
 

Med Ed

5+ Year Member
Sep 13, 2015
3,255
11,460
Status
  1. Attending Physician
I just wanted to under understand the logic of using a submission date as a metric for an applicant's interest in a school. :)

Generally speaking I don't think it is, with the exception of that last minute bolus of applications right before the deadline. These apps are usually mediocre, so the most likely explanation is that the applicants panicked because they weren't getting interviews and decided to expand their horizons.

Otherwise you're right, the advantage of applying early has to do with the nature of rolling admissions much more than anything else.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.
About the Ads