Secondary Essay Prompts for the University of Kansas School of Medicine
Below are the secondary essay prompts for the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City, KS.
2019 – 2020
The 2019 – 2020 secondary essay prompts from this school are not currently available. Please check back at a later date.
2016 – 2017
- Describe your health care experiences that involved direct exposure to physicians’ clinical duties and how they have shaped your desire to apply to medical school.
- Describe examples of leadership experience in which you have significantly influenced others, helped resolve disputes, or contributed to group efforts over time.
- Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to address this challenge.
- Give an example of what you have done to make your community a better place to live.
- Describe how you relate to someone who is very different from you. Examples of differences may be cultural, racial, religious, economic, gender/sexual orientation, lifestyle.
- If you are not a Kansas resident, what is your specific interest in applying to the University of Kansas School of Medicine?
- If necessary, update the information contained in your AMCAS application. Indicate grades earned, alterations in your proposed course work or graduation time, additions to your extracurricular activities, or other pertinent information.
- If there are discrepancies in your application that have not been explained in your personal statement, use this space to clarify. Examples may include unexplained gaps in time, multiple undergraduate institutions attended, multiple course withdrawals, inconsistent academic performance, inconsistency between academic performance and MCAT scores.
- If you are currently enrolled, or plan to be enrolled during the next academic year, in a graduate or professional degree program, please describe your status within the program and your intention to complete the program. You must also request a letter from your graduate program advisor or from the dean of your professional school. This letter must include acknowledgement of your application to medical school and a description of your status in the program.
- If you are no longer a full-time student, briefly describe your current employment, community, medical, and/or educational activities.
- For Repeat Applicants Only: Since your last application, note any relevant academic experiences that enhance your ability to be a better physician.
- For Repeat Applicants Only: Since your last application, note any relevant employment and personal experiences that enhance your ability to be a better physician.
- For Combined MD/PhD Program Applicants: Do you also want to be considered as an “MD-only” applicant?
- Have you ever been convicted for violation of a regulation or law relating to controlled substances (answer YES or NO)? If yes, provide appropriate explanation(s), including the date(s) of conviction, case number(s), and the jurisdictional court(s) involved.
- Have you ever been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony (answer YES or NO)? If yes, provide appropriate explanation(s), including the date(s) of conviction, case number(s), and the jurisdictional court(s) involved.
University of Kansas School of Medicine
Topics covered in this presentation:
- When should I submit my secondary essays?
- Pay attention to the word/character limits.
- Can I recycle secondary essay prompts for multiple schools?
- Identify topics that you left out of your primary application.
- And, much more.
Below are the secondary essay prompts for the University of Kansas School of Medicine.
2017 – 2018
- The University of Kansas School of Medicine strives to ensure that its students become respectful physicians who embrace all dimensions of caring for the whole person. Please describe how your personal characteristics or life experiences will contribute to the University of Kansas School of Medicine community and bring educational benefits to our student body. (1000 characters)
- Is there any further information that you would like the Committee on Admissions to be aware of when reviewing your file that you were not able to notate in another section of this or the AMCAS Application? (1000 characters)
- Why have you chosen to apply to the University of Kansas School of Medicine and how do you think your education at University of Kansas School of Medicine will prepare you to become a physician for the future? (1 page, formatted at your discretion, upload as PDF)
Secondary Essay Prompts for Other Schools
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How To: Master the Med School Secondary Essay
After you submit your primary applications, medical schools will ask you to submit secondary applications (most automatically) the majority of which require you to write secondary essays of varying lengths. The topics will give you clues to the culture of the medical school. As you research each school to apply to, begin to make notes about what draws you to that school so you can use these thoughts in your secondary essays. You can prepare for these in advance by organizing notes in these areas: my accomplishments, obstacles I have overcome, challenges I have had and how I’ve handled these, why I want to attend this school, what kind of physician I want to be, what activities I’ve been most intimately involved with and what have I learned.
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Most Common Essay Prompts
Several common secondary essay topics that are listed below.
Greatest Challenge/Failure/Adversity Essay
Essays that ask about personal challenges, failures or adversities are seeking information about your ability to manage conflict and challenge. They also want to know how you cope with conflict and that you can be objective when things don’t go your way. Schools want to know that you are level headed, and that you won’t crumble when feeling vulnerable or faced with less than ideal situations. Students often immediately gravitate to academic or scholarly subjects for these essays, but, sometimes the most compelling topics are those that are personal. Why? These topics can often say much more about your character, values, ideals, and decision making. Ideally, you should also write about what you learned and how you grew or changed as a result of the challenge, failure, or adversity.
Students also consider writing about red flags for this topic such as a class failure, poor MCAT exam or institutional action. Generally speaking, we find that these topics are usually less interesting and don’t offer enough information about who you are as a person.
I had worked on my presentation for weeks. I knew it was so important, not only for me, but for my principal investigator (PI), that I present the work we had done succinctly and clearly since I would be speaking in front of the entire biochemistry department. Public speaking has never been a strength and I was very nervous. Before it was my time to speak, I could feel my heart racing and my palms sweating. When I got to the podium, I was literally unable to speak; I was shaking uncontrollably and had to sit down while my PI took over. It was the most humiliating experience of my life. I was able to calm down, and, rather than leaving the auditorium, I waited until the conference was over and apologized to my PI who was kind and forgiving. I then resolved to improve my public speaking skills. The the next day I signed up for a Toastmaster’s course and have taken every opportunity since this incident to speak in public. Although I still get nervous before I have to speak, I have learned to actually enjoy speaking in public.
I saw the Microsoft Word document on the screen of my roommate’s computer. It looked familiar. I realized that this essay my roommate had written on the works and life of Jane Austen contained the exact language I had seen elsewhere. Where had I seen it? Why was this so familiar? I also asked myself, “Do I have a right to be looking at this document?”
Then it dawned on me. When my roommate got this assignment for her literature class, we discussed it with our housemates from down the hall. One girl offered to give my roommate a paper she had written on this topic for an AP class in high school. She printed out the paper and gave it to me to give to my roommate. Curious about the topic, since I am a Jane Austen fan, I read it before handing it to my roommate. The document on the computer in front of me contained parts of this paper that were copied, verbatim.
The issues here were complicated. First of all, I was invading my roommate’s privacy. I should not have been looking at her computer even though we often shared our computers. But now that I was aware of what she had done, I felt an obligation to confront her.
That night, when my roommate returned home from studying, I first apologized for invading her privacy and explained that I had read the document on the screen. I then told her that I realized she had plagiarized and told her I thought this was wrong. She explained that she felt under tremendous pressure since she also had a big organic chemistry mid-term that week and it just seemed so easy to copy the paper even though she recognized it was not right to do so. With my urging, since she had not yet handed the paper in, she stayed up late into the night to compose an original essay and, in the end, she thanked me for noticing and for encouraging her to do the right thing. I realized that even confronting my roommate, which was uncomfortable and awkward for me, encouraged her to make a better choice and reinforced for me the importance of acting ethically even if these easier choice would have been to look away.
Medical schools have broadened their definitions of diversity and for essays like this you can write about your unique interests, talents, or experiences. Maybe you have a distinctive background, perspective, or outlook. Think outside the box when writing about diversity. Do you have a special hobby or accomplishment that sets you apart? Or, you can also choose to write about your own experiences with diverse or minority populations which most people think of as the more “traditional” approach to questions about diversity.
I grew up in a diverse community even though my undergraduate college was quite homogeneous. During college, I sought out experiences beyond campus to immerse myself in more diverse communities. I volunteered in a free clinic, tutored children in Africa, and traveled during my vacations, when possible. I gained insights into the challenges facing others and how their backgrounds and experiences influenced their perspectives and attitudes. On a medical mission abroad the summer after my junior year, I worked in medical clinics helping to care for Mexican families, which helped me understand that such challenges and unfair inequalities in education and health care also exist internationally.
Through my experiences, I came to realize that all patients, regardless of their background, fare better when their unique circumstances, cultures, and outlooks are considered. To improve my ability to communicate with some of these populations, I minored in Spanish and became more proficient in the language through my studies in Spain. I have learned the importance of listening and seeing situations through the eyes of those I help. Throughout such experiences, apart from realizing that I hope to work with these populations as a future physician, I was continually reminded of the pervasive societal inequalities and injustices both locally and internationally.
Whether playing a Beethoven or Brahms sonata, playing music has always been an outlet for me. Since the age of seven, I have emulated my mother, a professional cellist. In fact, even during college, my goal was to practice medicine while working as a professional pianist. While doing my premedical coursework and majoring in biology, I also minored in music and composed my own work. The year following college, while playing piano professionally, I realized this wasn’t what I wanted to pursue for my lifetime. However, my musical interests will always be more than a hobby and serve as my escape from the stresses of daily life.
Why XXXXX School Essay
Medical schools want to know that you have the qualities and characteristics they are seeking. Before writing these essays, read the medical school’s mission statement and review their student biographies (if offered) to get a sense of what the school values in applicants. The key in writing “Why our School Essays” is to offer as many specifics as possible. You want to show you will take advantage of the medical school’s opportunities and that you will make valuable contributions as a medical student. Do this by showcasing how your interests and experiences are aligned with opportunities at the medical school, that you can benefit from what the medical school offers and that you will contribute to the medical school community.
My interest in geriatrics and emergency medicine evolved as I worked clinically in these two departments last summer. Through my coursework in health policy, I also learned of the imminent need for geriatric specialized physicians to support the aging baby boomer generation. Through your hospital’s renowned telemedicine and information technology departments, I would be offered the unique opportunity to explore this interest further. I would also take advantage of the medical school’s summer research program to participate in research projects related to geriatrics or emergency medicine.
At the clinic where I worked, I gained first hand exposure to disease complications, which often were caused by lack of access to primary care. My travels and work in India have shown me how common these issues also are internationally. Your unique medical school program would allow me to continue my active community participation during my first year, while providing care to diverse populations who lack access to care. This endeavor also could be augmented through participation in research and study in South America, so I could pursue my interest in global health while caring for other underserved communities and improving my language skills.
Of supreme importance, the urban location and suburban hospitals affiliated with the medical school as well as the Level I trauma center would offer unparalleled exposure to novel academic and clinical opportunities. Apart from the school’s location in my favorite city of Great City, it is the superior curriculum, supportive medical educational environment, opportunity for community involvement, and team-oriented culture that would make your medical school a perfect fit for me.
What are you doing next year or what have you done since graduating from college?
Answer these questions in a straight forward fashion. Typically, medical schools require that only applicants who are not full-time students answer the question. In answering these questions, write about what you will be doing, but also include information about what you hope to learn and how this will prepare you for medical school.
For the upcoming academic year, I will continue my research on breast cancer at Outstanding Oncology Center, where I have been working for one year. Our findings last year have already provided evidence for the etiology of what receptor is involved in the development of tiny cell cancer, and we hope to build on these findings to continue our work. I have already become proficient in using the literature to design experiments, and I hope that this year I will learn how to analyze our findings. My hope is that our findings will be significant enough to lead to a publication on which I would be an author.
I will also shadow several doctors throughout the year to broaden my understanding of clinical medicine. Right now I have plans to shadow an internist, a surgeon, and an ophthalmologist.
My Saturday mornings will be spent volunteering at Inner City Clinic, where I will be promoted to the level of triage. I will be responsible for taking vital signs and basic intake histories on patients.
This year will be productive and, I hope, will provide the foundation I need to be an excellent medical student.
For each essay prompt you receive, pay attention to the character and word limits and use them as cues for how much information a medical school is seeking. A medical school that limits your responses to only 50 words, for example, is asking you for a simple, straightforward response. On the other hand, the school that allows 1,000 words per essay wants you to elaborate and go into some detail.
Secondary prompts vary, and I find that students can often recycle essays for multiple schools. But reading secondary prompts carefully is important. The most common mistake students make is providing a response that does not really address what is being asked. Even though writing secondary essays can get laborious, don’t try to make an essay you have already written “fit” for a prompt if it just doesn’t work. Remember, good secondary essays can help you earn a medical school interview.
Sometimes, especially if your primary application is comprehensive, responding to a secondary essay may force you to repeat information that is already in your primary application. That not only is okay but also suggests that you are in good shape; many schools determine prompts by identifying topics that applicants frequently leave out of primary applications.
I discourage applicants from writing a “one size fits all document” for various secondary essay themes. Since the character/word limit for secondary essays is so variable (50 – 3,000 words) it would be a waste of time to write an essay before knowing specific character limits for each prompt. Having an idea of what you would write about for each of the common themes is wise, however. Some schools’ secondary essay prompts do not vary from year to year, and you can often find these essay prompts and start working on them in advance. But, be warned, schools do change secondary essay prompts on occasion.
Above all, just as you did with your personal statement, write authentically and honestly and don’t try to spin your responses to tell admissions committees what you think they want to read.
A couple of additional tips:
- Never quote others; your essays should be about you!
- Optional secondary essays are truly optional. Don’t fill a space or recycle an essay unless you have a good reason to do so.
- Unless medical schools specify a secondary essay “due date,” there are no real turn around rules. Submit your essays when they are ready and ideally within two to three weeks after receiving the secondary application.
Secondary Essay Editing Services
MedEdits’ secondary essay review and editing services will ensure that your secondary essays address what is being asked by the prompt while ensuring you highlight what is necessary to distinguish your candidacy.
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Secondary Essay Prompts By School
California Northstate University School of Medicine, Elk Grove
Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda
Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford
University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, Sacramento
University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, Irvine
University of California, Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles
University of California, Riverside, School of Medicine, Riverside
University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla
University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, San Francisco
Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine–California (TUCOM-CA), Vallejo
Western University of Health Sciences/ College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (Western U/COMP), Pomona
Florida Atlantic University Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Boca Raton
Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Miami
Florida State University College of Medicine, Tallahassee
University of Central Florida College of Medicine, Orlando
University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville
University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, Miami
USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, Tampa
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine Bradenton Campus (LECOM Bradenton), Bradenton
Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine (NSU-KPCOM), Fort Lauderdale
Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science, North Chicago
Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood
Northwestern University The Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago
Rush Medical College of Rush University Medical Center, Chicago
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield
University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences The Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago
University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago
Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University (CCOM), Downers Grove
Central Michigan University College of Medicine, Mount Pleasant
Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, East Lansing
Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, Rochester
University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor
Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit
Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, Kalamazoo
Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM), East Lansing
Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis
University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine, Columbia
University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, Kansas City
Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, St. Louis
A.T. Still University–Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM), Kirksville
Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCU-COM), Kansas City
Albany Medical College, Albany
Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx
City University of New York School of Medicine, New York
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York
Hofstra North Shore – Northwell School of Medicine, Hempstead
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York
Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo
New York Medical College, Valhalla
New York University School of Medicine, New York
State University of New York Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine, Brooklyn
State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse
Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stony Brook
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester
Weill Cornell Medicine, New York
New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM), Old Westbury
Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine–New York (TouroCOM-NY), New York City
Duke University School of Medicine, Durham
The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Greenville
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, Chapel Hill
Wake Forest School of Medicine of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, WinstonSalem
Campbell University Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine (CUSOM), Lillington
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland
Northeast Ohio Medical University, Rootstown
Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus
The University of Toledo College of Medicine, Toledo
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati
Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, Dayton
Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM), Athens
Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia
Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, Philadelphia
Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey
Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia
The Commonwealth Medical College, Scranton
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), Erie
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), Philadelphia
East Tennessee State University James H. Quillen College of Medicine, Johnson City
Meharry Medical College, Nashville
University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine, Memphis
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville
Lincoln Memorial University–DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM), Harrogate
Baylor College of Medicine, Houston
Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, Bryan
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, El Paso
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine, Lubbock
The University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio, San Antonio
University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School, Austin
University of Texas Medical Branch School of Medicine, Galveston
University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Houston
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, Harlingen
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas Southwestern Medical
University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine (UIWSOM), San Antonio
University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth/Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC/TCOM), Ft. Worth
Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk
University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville
Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond
Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, Roanoke
Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM), Lynchburg
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine–Virginia Campus (VCOM-Virginia), Blacksburg
*Data collected from MSAR 2018-2019, 2018-2019 Osteopathic Medical College Information Book, and institution website.
Disclaimer: The information on this page was shared by students and/or can be found on each medical school’s website. MedEdits does not guarantee it’s accuracy or authenticity.