Secondary Essay Prompts for the University of Massachusetts Medical School

Below are the secondary essay prompts for the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, MA.

2018 – 2019

  1. Please respond to four of the following seven prompts related to competencies that are important for a physician to possess. (150 words/item, 600 words/total; please use the text box below for your answer, separate each of your four responses by writing the competency above/before your response; example: Teamwork – All teams have their struggles but they can be overcome…)
    1. 1) Describe a time when you have made a decision that was not popular and how you handled this. (Leadership competency)
    2. 2) Describe a time when you were on a team that was dysfunctional in some regard. How did you address the situation? (Teamwork)
    3. 3) Describe a meaningful interaction you have had with a person whom you have helped at work, school or another activity. (Empathy/Compassion)
    4. 4) Have you ever been in the middle of a situation where there was poor communication? What did you do to improve it? (Communication)
    5. 5) Describe a time when you have “thought outside the box” to solve a problem. (Inquiry)
    6. 6) Describe a time when you suffered a setback. How did you respond to this challenge? (Persistence/Grit)
    7. 7) Describe a challenging time when you advocated for someone. (Advocacy/Cultural Competence)
  2. Please discuss any part of your application that you feel requires further explanation – for example, grades or MCAT scores that do not reflect your true ability, a gap in time that is not explained elsewhere in your application. If you are reapplying to UMass SOM, highlight how you have strengthened your application. (250 word limit)
  3. If you have participated in UMass SOM or UMass Memorial Health Care, or UMMS Baystate sponsored programs (SEP, Summer Research Program, Worcester Pipeline Collaborative, AHEC, BaccMD, HSPP, Academic Internships, BSEP, Summer Scholars) please describe how these programs helped you decide to apply to UMass SOM. (200 word limit)
  4. Why are you interested in UMass SOM? What will you bring to your class and the SOM community? (200 word limit)
  5. If you are currently taking a gap year, in what activities are you engaged? (200 word limit)

Below are the secondary essay prompts for the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

2017 – 2018

  • The University of Massachusetts Medical School 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 Massachusetts Medical School 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 Massachusetts Medical School and how do you think your education at University of Massachusetts Medical School will prepare you to become a physician for the future? (1 page, formatted at your discretion, upload as PDF)

2016 – 2017

1) If you are reapplying to UMMS, please describe how you have strengthened your credentials since your last application. Limit your response to 200 words.
2) Have you ever worked/volunteered or otherwise participated in any UMASS Medical School or UMASS Memorial Health Care sponsored activities/programs (Example: Area Health Education Center (AHEC), Pipeline Program, Summer Enrichment Program (SEP), Research) If Yes, please describe. A letter of recommendation from your program supervisor is strongly encouraged. Limit your response to 200 words.
3) What are your future medical career plans? Please describe your hopes for your chosen medical specialty, type of practice, and size/type of practice community. Limit your answer to 200 words.
4) Please explain any grades: Lower than a ‘B’ in any prerequisite or science course. Any semester where you feel your academic performance was not representative of your true abilities. Limit your response to 200 words.
5) How did you study for the MCAT exam? Limit your response to 200 words.
6) Please provide a description of a personal dilemma relating to ONE of the nine following personal compentencies that are important to success in medical education and physician practice. Limit your response to 500 words. Any additional information beyond one page will not be evaluated.

Please check the competency of your choice:

Integrity & Ethics Competency

  • Behaves in an honest and ethical manner; adheres to ethical principles and follows rules and procedures; resists peer pressure to engage in unethical behavior and encourages others to behave in honest and ethical ways.

Reliability & Dependability

  • Consistently fulfills obligations in a timely and satisfactory manner; takes responsibility for personal actions and performance.

Service Orientation

  • Demonstrates a desire to help others and sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings; demonstrates a desire to alleviate others’ distress.

Social & Interpersonal Skills

  • Demonstrates an awareness of others’ needs, goals, feelings, and the ways that social and behavioral cues affect peoples’ interactions and behaviors; adjusts behaviors appropriately in response to these cues; and treats others with respect.

Capacity for Improvement

  • Sets goals for continuous improvement and for learning new concepts and skills; engages in reflective practice for improvement; solicits and responds appropriately to feedback.

Resilience and Adaptability

  • Demonstrates tolerance of stressful or changing environments or situations and adapts effectively to them; is persistent, even under difficult situations; recovers from setbacks.

Cultural Competence

  • Demonstrates knowledge of social and cultural factors that affect interactions and behaviors; shows an appreciation and respect for multiple dimensions of diversity; recognizes and appropriately addresses bias in themselves and others; interacts effectively with people from diverse backgrounds.

Oral Communication

  • Effectively conveys information to others using spoken words and sentences listens effectively; recognizes potential communication barriers and adjust approach or clarifies information as needed.


  • Works collaboratively with others to achieve shared goals; shares information and knowledge with others and provides feedback; puts team goals ahead of individual goals.
    The information below provides instructions on how you should write your description.
    Step1: Review each competency Carefully read each competency definition to be sure you understand what is important. Carefully reflect on each competency and think about a dilemma you encountered in your activities, experiences, or accomplishments and relate that to it.
    Step 2: Choose what you will write about for ONE competency Choose one dilemma that best describes your demonstration of your chosen competency. The dilemma may be specific, such as a challenging person, situation or assignment. Alternately, it may be an example of a dilemma you witnessed, in which case your relay what your response would have been.
    Step 3: Provide a narrative description of the dilemma Carefully describe the dilemma you have selected. Your response should clearly reflect your individual experience or understanding of this dilemma related to that competency. Your description must reflect the quality of your understanding of the dilemma including how it relates to the specific competency and its scope and impact. Specifically, you should describe:
    a) the situation in which the activity, experience or accomplishment occured;
    b) actions you took and the resulting consequences of those actions;
    c) what you learned from the experience

Secondary essay webcast with Dr. Jessica Freedman, founder and president of MedEdits Medical Admissions.  Read more about Dr. Freedman.

University of Massachusetts Medical School Secondary Essay

University of Massachusetts Medical School

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.

University of Massachusetts Medical School Admissions Requirements

2017-2018 Accepted Student Data
Median GPA = 3.78
Median MCAT = 514
Applications = 3614
Interviewed = 774
Matriculated = 162

Learn more about this school:

University of Massachusetts
School of Medicine
55 Lake Ave., North
Worcester, MA 01655 USA
(508) 856-2323

Secondary Essay Prompts for Other Schools


Do you want to see secondary essay prompts for other medical schools?

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Medical School Admissions Guide

Dr. Jessica Freedman, a former Mount Sinai School of Medicine faculty member, offers concrete guidance to help applicants distinguish themselves in the medical school admissions process. Read full personal statements and applications by students who were accepted to medical school! This book includes examples of application entries, “most meaningful” experiences, personal statements, secondary essays, and letters of intent.

This is comprehensive and up to date guide offers realistic advice for applicants on many topics including:

  • Where to go to college if you are premed
  • When to take the MCAT
  • Whom to ask for letters of reference
  • How to write a personal statement
  • How to write application experience entries
  • How to write “most meaningful” experience application entries
  • What medical schools look for in applicants
  • Medical school admission requirements
  • What applicants can do to market themselves most effectively
  • How medical school admissions committees decide whom to interview
  • What to do if you are “waitlisted”
  • Deciding where to apply and attend

Medical School Secondary Application Help

*Data collected from MSAR 2017-2018, 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.


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