- Medical School Secondary Essays
How to Ace "Why This Medical School?" Secondary Essay
When writing your medical school admissions essay, you will likely have to answer the “Why This Medical School?” secondary essays prompt. It’s important to know why schools are asking this essay prompt, and how to answer it! Among other tips you’ll come across when learning how to make your medical school application stand out , having a well written, concise essay that expresses your passion and interest in a specific program is key to getting asked for an interview.
>> Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here . <<
Article Contents 8 min read
The application process for medical schools can be daunting and stressful, especially if you're not sure about where to apply or what makes one school better than another. There are several components of each application, and in order to land yourself an interview at your top school(s), you’ll need to write enticing essays that follow the instructions of each prompt, and provide relevant details that will help you stand out among other applicants. One question that all applicants will get asked on their applications is, “why this medical school?” or, a similar variation of the question. This essay prompt can help you stand out from the crowd by showing that your interest in attending this school goes beyond just getting an education—you may have ties to the location and city, or researched their program extensively and find it to be the most unique and intriguing for you and your future goals. But what exactly should you include in your “why this medical school” essay in order to stand out? Read on to learn some tips for writing a strong response to this question, and view a few sample essays.
The "why this medical school?" essay is one of the most important parts of your medical school application. The prompt asks you to explain why you want to go to this particular school, and it lets the admissions committee get a deeper sense of who you are an if you’re a worthy of consideration for an interview. This essay allows them to learn more about your personality and interests, so that they can make an informed decision about whether or not they think you’d be a good fit for their program not simply because you wish to attend medical school, but because you’d fit in well, and are passionate about, their specific program.
In other words, if your goal is getting into your chosen medical school as quickly as possible (and what applicant doesn't want that?), then answering this essay well will dramatically improve your chances! This particular essay helps admissions committees weed out candidates who are impartial about which school they attend, and who may not align with their program’s values, culture and structure. Medical programs are competitive, and many are seeking the ‘best of the best’ applicants who demonstrate passion, intrinsic motivation, and determination to attend their program. That is why it’s crucial that you plan out your responses to your each of your prompts and medical school secondary essays throughout your application process. Taking your time, writing authentically, crafting several drafts, revising, asking a trusted individual or seeking medical school admissions consulting for support, and submitting your essays on time are all great ways to ensure your “why this medical school” essay is superb.
Are you applying to UCSD? Check out how to prepare your secondary for this competitive institution!
Your response to “why this medical school” must be genuine, personal, and most of all, convincing. You absolutely do not want to fabricate a response, as if you’re invited to interview, it will be clear that you weren’t honest and authentic in your essay, and this may result in a rejection. You must make your intentions and passion clear, and for eager future medical students, this should actually be quite easy to do!
Ask yourself: “Why do I want to attend this particular school? What do I like about the school and their program? What makes them better than another school with a similar program?” You can write down your thoughts first, or, even record yourself speaking as you share your thoughts with a family member or friend. This can be a good way of starting your writing process if you’re experiencing writers block. Additionally, preparing your essay responses aloud is a good way of indirectly preparing for other common medical school interview questions that will come your way if and when you get invited for an interview!
"Why This Medical School?" Sample #1, 500-750 words
“I recall the first time I knew, with confidence, that I would one day be a doctor. I knew I needed to be a doctor, in fact, because all I’ve ever wanted to do is learn, and help people. When I was seven years old, a child at the playground who had joined in on a game of tag with my friends and I plummeted from the top of the monkey bars and broke her arm. Many onlookers panicked and ran for help, but without hesitation, I ran to the aid of the injured child and comforted her. I knew, somehow innately, how to keep her calm, and the importance of keeping her injury still until help arrived. I felt excited and honored to help in that moment. For the months that followed, many parents complemented me on my composure and expressed how mature I was when all the other children cried and panicked. To me, it only felt natural to be a helper in my community, and to take charge of a situation, so that was when I realized not everybody felt so automatically inclined—or fascinated with—helping injured and ill people. I knew then what path I had to take, and began looking for opportunities to learn more about health care at my school, and in my community. My community is one that is historically underserved, and members of my community are underrepresented in the medical field, and after years of volunteering at various pop-up clinics and detox centers, I’m eager help to change that.
Attending X University Medical School, means I’ll be learning and getting clinical experience in my own community, and will be able to take part in community outreach programs, and eventually, propose my own ideas for outreach. I know first-hand the medical and mental health care support this community surrounding X University is lacking, and, I know the wonderful people who reside in it that make it the incredible place it is. I would be elated to be a part of a renowned learning environment where I could enhance and develop my technical skills, partake in initiatives throughout my program and beyond, and give back to my community by providing compassionate care.
Throughout my time in secondary and post-secondary, I immersed myself in life sciences and sociology—my other favorite subject, which I will receive a double-major in. I started volunteering in various groups and shadowing with other pre-med students in my second year of study, most notably, the local women’s health facility and shelter. There, I learned the importance of accessible care, and came to understand the systemic inequity that exists in healthcare, especially for women and minorities in underserved communities. I was also able to put my understanding of sociology and social systems to use as I helped women navigate next-step programs, whether they were escaping abusive partnerships or recovering from an addiction. As an eager and accomplished self-started, I feel I could bring forth my existing knowledge and passion to help people, and would excel in X University’s interdisciplinary, self-directed components of the medical program. I also look forward to learning alongside a team of likeminded professionals in your clinical, team-oriented experiences offered as both a part of the program, and as extracurricular opportunities. I feel that although there are many medical schools in the state, X University offers the most comprehensive, appealing program to professionals like myself who want to learn the from the best faculty, and apply what I’ve learned throughout my time in your program, and bring the best care to our budding and evolving community when I one day become an MD.”
"Why This Medical School?" Sample #2, 250-500 words
“Attending X University as a medical student means that I would be able to immerse myself into a community renowned for its supportive culture, research alongside incredible faculty, and attend one of the top programs in the country. Because I have a special interest, and experience working with patients with, XYZ, a notoriously under-researched and underfunded area of medicine, I know that X University will provide me with the opportunity to flourish as a future medical professional, and as a future clinical researcher. I have many ground-breaking ideas to explore, and because I’ve followed X University’s research for nearly a decade, I know I would be among like-minded individuals at your institution. Last year, my lab team was awarded the University of Newtown Award for Excellency in Biology and Life Sciences for our project that explored the relation and co-existence between celiac disease and sickle-cell anemia. I enjoyed this extensive research project, and partaking in it only affirmed my dedication and passion for this field of medicine.
My goal as a future medical student it to absorb all learning materials in every form, and take each moment of field experience as both a challenge and an opportunity to shine. Not only will I learn how to best provide care, but to also make the current system better for patients. Whether I do so through my combined passion and knowledge obtained through X University’s program, or through my future research on diseases like XYZ, I will strive to make a difference, and feel the inclusive, non-competitive, supportive learning community at X University is the best place for me access the tools and gain the experiences in order to do so. Because X University has a wonderful reputation for making breakthroughs in the field of medical research, specifically with auto-immune diseases, I am eager and prepared to relocate across the country and begin my professional journey as a member of a prestigious medical school community.”
It might sound like a basic question, but the “why this medical school” essay prompt carries a lot of significance and your response must be well thought out! This prompt is asking you to explain why you want to attend a particular institution, and your response will let the admissions committee understand you, your goals, and get a deeper sense of who you are. This essay will be used to help them assess whether or not you’re worthy of consideration based on your interests, passions, personality, and goals as they relate to the particular medical program you’re applying for.
It isn’t uncommon for students to apply to several medical schools. You likely have one or two ‘top’ choices, but in order to secure a chance of admission, you may apply to your ‘plan B’ schools as well. You should never communicate that a school is not your top choice, but rather, focus on what each school and program offers, what you’ll gain from the experience—should you be accepted and attend—and what makes them unique from other schools. Admissions teams know that many students apply to several schools, so be honest in your answer to the extent of why you want to attend the school, but never state that you are applying because a particular school is “close to home”, “is known for easy admittance”, or “because it’s an option”. Take the time to research and get excited about each school individually before you write each essay.
When drafting and writing your “why this medical school?” essay, and any secondary essay, it’s important that you:
- Stick to a legible, professional and consistent format and font (no colors or creative fonts)
- 1.5-2.0 spacing is always preferred
- Adhere to any specific instructions outlined on your application
- Ensure that you proofread and edit your essay several times to ensure it’s error-free
- This is a personal, professional essay. That means you should write in your own authentic voice, portray yourself as a professional, and include an introduction, body section with appropriate details, and a brief conclusion that reiterates and wraps up your response and prompts the admissions committee to—hopefully—proceed with next steps in your application process.
This can vary by school, and every application is different! In general, most admissions and secondary essays span anywhere from 250-1000 words. Always double check your application/essay instructions and stick as closely to the word count as you can.
Your essay should outline what personal experiences, goals and values you have that align with a particular aspect of the school’s program, culture, reputation, and/or curriculum. You should highlight specific aspects of the medical program that are appealing to you and unique to the school, and detail why this is important to you! This is a brief essay, so it’s best to research and decide on a few key points about the school that are relevant to your interest, and detail them, along with a bit about who you are as a prospective medical school student.
As noted above, this is a brief essay, and schools are trying to get a clear idea of who each applicant is, and why they are interested in their specific medical school program. Avoid detailing irrelevant events, as well as going in-depth about your experience, grades or GPA accomplishments, as a lot of this information was likely already reviewed in your initial application. Along with this, don’t simply regurgitate information from the school’s website! They already know what they offer, so if you’re opting to discuss a specific point, such as a unique curriculum, get specific and detail why it matters to you and aligns with your goals! Finally, it’s important to remember that the admissions team is looking to select candidates with a genuine interest and passion for medicine, and for their school. It’s crucial that your essay is written in your voice, and includes honest details about what entices you about the chosen school specifically.
You may benefit from seeking help from a medical school admissions tutor . The application process, as well as the interview process, for medical school can be extensive and overwhelming! BeMo Academic Consulting can help you prepare for various components of your medical school application by offering 1-on-1 preparatory consulting services to guide you through every step of the application process!
Not always! Although it’s a good sign that the admissions committee has reviewed your initial application and would like to learn more about you, some schools send secondary essay prompts to every applicant, and others opt to send them to applicants whom they have interest in. Because it varies by school, it’s important that you prepare and submit your secondary materials as soon as you can to show that you’re eager and interested in the school!
Want more free tips? Subscribe to our channels for more free and useful content!
Like our blog? Write for us ! >>
Have a question ask our admissions experts below and we'll answer your questions, get started now.
Talk to one of our admissions experts
FREE Training Webinar:
How to make your secondary essays stand out, (even if you think you don't have extraordinary experiences).
Time Sensitive. Limited Spots Available:
We guarantee you'll get accepted to med school or you don't pay.
Swipe up to see a great offer!
2 Med School Essays That Admissions Officers Loved
Here are tips on writing a medical school personal statement and examples of essays that stood out.
2 Great Med School Personal Statements
A compelling medical school admissions essay can address nearly any topic the applicant is interested in, as long as it conveys the applicant's personality. (Getty Images)
A personal statement is often a pivotal factor in medical school admissions decisions.
"The essay really can cause me to look more deeply at the entire application," Dr. Stephen Nicholas, former senior associate dean of admissions with the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons , told U.S. News in 2017. "So I do think it's pretty important."
A compelling medical school admissions essay can address nearly any topic the applicant is interested in, as long as it conveys the applicant's personality, according to Dr. Barbara Kazmierczak, director of the M.D.-Ph.D. Program and a professor of medicine and microbial pathogenesis with the Yale School of Medicine.
“The passion that the writer is bringing to this topic tells us about the individual rather than the topic that they’re describing, and the essay is the place for us to learn about the applicant – who they are and what experiences have brought them to this point of applying to medical school,” she told U.S. News in 2017.
Rachel Rudeen, former admissions coordinator for the University of Minnesota Medical School , says personal statements help medical schools determine whether applicants have the character necessary to excel as a doctor. "Grit is something we really look for," she says.
Evidence of humility and empathy , Rudeen adds, are also pluses.
Why Medical Schools Care About Personal Statements
The purpose of a personal statement is to report the events that inspired and prepared a premed to apply to medical school, admissions experts say. This personal essay helps admissions officers figure out whether a premed is ready for med school, and it also clarifies whether a premed has a compelling rationale for attending med school, these experts explain.
When written well, a medical school personal statement conveys a student's commitment to medicine and injects humanity into an admissions process that might otherwise feel cold and impersonal, according to admissions experts.
Glen Fogerty, associate dean of admissions and recruitment with the medical school at the University of Arizona—Phoenix , put it this way in an email: "To me, the strongest personal statements are the ones that share a personal connection. One where a candidate shares a specific moment, the spark that ignited their passion to become a physician or reaffirmed why they chose medicine as a career."
Dr. Viveta Lobo, an emergency medicine physician with the Stanford University School of Medicine in California who often mentors premeds, says the key thing to know about a personal statement is that it must indeed be personal, so it needs to reveal something meaningful. The essay should not be a dry piece of writing; it should make the reader feel for the author, says Lobo, director of academic conferences and continuing medical education with the emergency medicine department at Stanford.
A great personal statement has an emotional impact and "will 'do' something, not just 'say' something," Lobo wrote in an email. Admissions officers "read hundreds of essays – so before you begin, think of how yours will stand out, be unique and different," Lobo suggests.
How to Write a Personal Statement for Medical School
Lobo notes that an outstanding personal statement typically includes all of the following ingredients:
- An intriguing introduction that gets admissions officers' attention.
- Anecdotes that illustrate what kind of person the applicant is.
- Reflections about the meaning and impact of various life experiences .
- A convincing narrative about why medical school is the logical next step.
- A satisfying and optimistic conclusion.
"You should sound excited, and that passion should come through in your writing," Lobo explains.
A personal statement should tie together an applicant's past, present and future by explaining how previous experiences have led to this point and outlining long-term plans to contribute to the medical profession, Lobo said during a phone interview. Medical school admissions officers want to understand not only where an applicant has been but also the direction he or she is going, Lobo added.
When premeds articulate a vision of how they might assist others and improve society through the practice of medicine, it suggests that they aren't self-serving or simply interested in the field because of its prestige, Lobo says. It's ideal when premeds can eloquently describe a noble mission, she explains.
Elisabeth Fassas, author of "Making Pre-Med Count: Everything I Wish I'd Known Before Applying (Successfully) to Medical School," says premeds should think about the doctors they admire and reflect on why they admire them. Fassas, a first-year medical student at the University of Maryland , suggests pondering the following questions:
- "Why can you really only see yourself being a physician?"
- "What is it about being a doctor that has turned you on to this field?"
- "What kind of doctor do you imagine yourself being?"
- "Who do you want to be for your patients?"
- "What are you going to do specifically for your patients that only you can do?"
Fassas notes that many of the possible essay topics a med school hopeful can choose are subjects that other premeds can also discuss, such as a love of science. However, aspiring doctors can make their personal statements unique by articulating the lessons they learned from their life experiences, she suggests.
Prospective medical students need to clarify why medicine is a more suitable calling for them than other caring professions, health care fields and science careers, Fassas notes. They should demonstrate awareness of the challenges inherent in medicine and explain why they want to become doctors despite those difficulties, she says.
Tips on Crafting an Excellent Medical School Personal Statement
The first step toward creating an outstanding personal statement, Fassas says, is to create a list of significant memories. Premeds should think about which moments in their lives mattered the most and then identify the two or three stories that are definitely worth sharing.
Dr. Demicha Rankin, associate dean for admissions at the Ohio State University College of Medicine , notes that a personal statement should offer a compelling portrait of a person and should not be "a regurgitation of their CV."
The most outstanding personal statements are the ones that present a multifaceted perspective of the applicant by presenting various aspects of his or her identity, says Rankin, an associate professor of anesthesiology.
For example, a premed who was a swimmer might explain how the discipline necessary for swimming is analogous to the work ethic required to become a physician, Rankin says. Likewise, a pianist or another type of musician applying to medical school could convey how the listening skills and instrument-tuning techniques cultivated in music could be applicable in medicine, she adds.
Rankin notes that it's apparent when a premed has taken a meticulous approach to his or her personal statement to ensure that it flows nicely, and she says a fine essay is akin to a "well-woven fabric." One sign that a personal statement has been polished is when a theme that was explored at the beginning of the essay is also mentioned at the end, Rankin says, explaining that symmetry between an essay's introduction and conclusion makes the essay seem complete.
Rankin notes that the author of an essay might not see flaws in his or her writing that are obvious to others, so it's important for premeds to show their personal statement to trusted advisers and get honest feedback. That's one reason it's important to begin the writing process early enough to give yourself sufficient time to organize your thoughts, Rankin says, adding that a minimum of four weeks is typically necessary.
Mistakes to Avoid in a Medical School Personal Statement
One thing premeds should never do in an admissions essay is beg, experts say. Rankin says requests of any type – including a plea for an admissions interview – do not belong in a personal statement. Another pitfall to avoid, Rankin says, is ranting about controversial political subjects such as the death penalty or abortion.
If premeds fail to closely proofread their personal statement, the essay could end up being submitted with careless errors such as misspellings and grammar mistakes that could easily have been fixed, according to experts. Crafting a compelling personal statement typically necessitates multiple revisions, so premeds who skimp on revising might wind up with sloppy essays, some experts say.
However, when fine-tuning their personal statements, premeds should not automatically change their essays based on what others say, Fogerty warns.
"A common mistake on personal statements is having too many people review your statement, they make recommendations, you accept all of the changes and then – in the end – the statement is no longer your voice," Fogerty wrote in an email. It's essential that a personal statement sound like the applicant and represent who he or she is as a person, Fogerty says.
Dr. Nicholas Jones, a Georgia-based plastic and reconstructive surgeon, says the worst error that someone can make in the personal statement is to be inauthentic or deceptive.
"Do not lie. Do not fabricate," he warns.
Jones adds that premeds should not include a story in their personal statement that they are not comfortable discussing in-depth during a med school admissions interview . "If it's something too personal or you're very emotional and you don't want to talk about that, then don't put it in a statement."
Medical School Personal Statement Examples
Here are two medical school admissions essays that made a strong, positive impression on admissions officers. The first is from Columbia and the second is from the University of Minnesota. These personal statements are annotated with comments from admissions officers explaining what made these essays stand out.
Searching for a medical school? Get our complete rankings of Best Medical Schools.
Tags: medical school , education , students , graduate schools
The Short List: Colleges
Top Law Schools
Law Admissions Lowdown
You May Also Like
How to get into top medical schools.
Andrew Warner Sept. 28, 2023
Choosing a College Major for Law School
Sammy Allen Sept. 27, 2023
Advice on Choosing MBA Elective Courses
Jarek Rutz Sept. 26, 2023
Review Required Grad School Exams
Cole Claybourn Sept. 26, 2023
When to Take the LSAT to Apply in Fall
Gabriel Kuris Sept. 25, 2023
What Is a Doctorate?
Ilana Kowarski and Cole Claybourn Sept. 22, 2023
Med School Application Deficiencies
Renee Marinelli, M.D. Sept. 19, 2023
Law School Applicants and the Bar Exam
Gabriel Kuris Sept. 18, 2023
People Whose Degrees Were Revoked
Cole Claybourn Sept. 18, 2023
Emotional Intelligence and Med School
Zach Grimmett Sept. 14, 2023
How To Answer “Why Should We Accept You Into Our Medical School?” (Examples Included)
Like many other premed students, I found the question “Why should we accept you into our medical school?” Very difficult. How do you convince medical schools that they should take you over another student with similar qualifications?
The key is to be authentic. You want to express your experiences in a way that demonstrates to medical schools that you are one of a kind. You need to heavily examine yourself and tie these qualities that make you unique to the mission of the school.
I know that’s a lot easier said than done! But that is pretty much it in a nutshell.
It takes some work to really answer this common interview and essay question. But through years of experience interviewing people for my current job and previously getting into medical school, I can help you.
Keep reading for more in-depth explanations, tactics, and examples!
“Why Should We Accept You Into Our Medical School?” Secondary Essay Question
Most medical schools will have their own essay prompts on their secondary applications. Why should they accept you over another medical student with the same qualifications?
Once again, the key is to be authentic and demonstrate what makes you unique. Medical schools are looking for diverse students who will contribute to a more dynamic community. At the same time, you want to demonstrate who your values align with the school’s mission.
It can be difficult to figure out a medical school’s values without visiting it like you would during an interview. For your secondary essay, you will need to research it online.
Visit the medical school’s website first, they almost always have a mission statement. You can usually find this mission statement on the “about” page. That will give you a good idea of the kinds of students they are looking for.
For example, if you go to Texas A&M’s school of medicine about page , they will tell you exactly what their mission is:
- Serving the underserved in Texas with their “core values” of Texas A&M University. The core values are: excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalties, respect, selfless service.
- Rural and population health
- Military medicine
So if you are applying to Texas A&M’s medical school and writing an essay about why they should accept you, it would be important to include experiences and qualities that line up with these mission statements.
Are you a Texas resident or strongly inclined to move to Texas long-term? Are you passionate about helping those less fortunate in rural Texas? Were you in the military or had family in the military? Have you shown innovation by leading an organization at your university or perhaps in your community at home?
Also, you can think about what you contribute to your current friend group in college. Hone in on traits that make you unique.
Finally, I want to address something very important for secondary essays in general. There is a temptation to simply copy and paste secondaries for different schools but don’t fall into this trap.
You can use previous essays as a template and copy certain parts of it, but you want your answer to be unique to the medical school you are applying to!
Is it okay to use your diversity essay to answer this question?
Yes, it is, and here is why. When medical schools ask you why you think you would be a good fit for them, they are really looking to see what makes you unique and add to the overall diversification of the school.
It is a well-known fact that a more diverse group of individuals are more innovative and make an environment that challenges students to be better.
Yes, you need to make sure you align with the school’s core values, but being unique is equally important.
“Why Should We Accept You Into Our Medical School?” Essay Example
Here is an example of an essay I refurbished from my diversity essay to answer this question:
As a diverse individual, I can contribute important values to your medical student community. My diversity ironically stems from my similarity to my parents. Both my parents grew up in Poland while it was under Soviet Communism. They lacked basic necessities that we take for granted today, such as washing machines, refrigerators, more than one pair of shoes, and even an adequately stocked grocery store.
At the time, you could not simply just leave Poland. My father had to obtain a temporary tourist visa to Sweden, and from there he could cross the border to Germany as a political refugee. From Germany, it was a clear shot to the United States. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for them to uproot their lives. Not only did they have the fear of being put in prison if they were sent back, but they had to adapt to a foreign country with only a suitcase in tow.
Both my parents instilled a sense of self-reliance in me. It was through their example that I learned that despite life throwing problems in my direction, it was my job to come up with solutions. No situation was going to make them lower their expectations of me. Growing up, I always knew my dad had a particular eye for detail. In Poland when something of his broke, it was gone forever, so he put a particular amount of care into keeping things pristine. Although as a child I found this to be annoying, in retrospect I can see how this has impacted how I contribute to a team environment. During my master’s program, there was a strong emphasis on team-based learning, so your grade depended on how well you could cooperate with other team members to complete a project or solve a problem within a time frame. Diversity in a setting like this was highly beneficial, as every member of the team had their own approach to how we tackled a problem. It was through this kind of collaboration that we had the greatest chance of success. I found that my attention to detail has helped put a new perspective on the way we approached certain problems. When taking a group quiz, we frequently saw problems were multiple answers seemed correct, and in these cases it was the minute details that differentiated the best answer. Though I’ll never admit it to my dad, I know I’ll carry this meticulous approach with me throughout my career. Hopefully I can share this unique perspective with my future classmates and peers.
“Why Should We Choose You?” Medical School Interview Question
A medical school interview can be a nerve-racking event and there is a strong motivation to “say what the medical school wants to hear.” But this is NOT what you want to do, especially when it comes to the question, “Why should we choose you?”
You want to be yourself! Much like how it’s important to be authentic when writing your secondary essay answering this question, it’s important that you are authentic during the interview.
What are your strengths and do you have experiences to back those up? What makes you unique? Get introspective and figure those things out.
Again, you will want to align your talents and values with the school’s core values, but don’t focus so much on this that your answer comes across as rehearst.
It’s also important that you demonstrate your interest in the school. Figure out specifically what interests you about that particular school and convey that strong desire to be part of it. Don’t be vague but rather point out explicitly what interests you.
An interview is much like dating. If the “date” doesn’t think you are interested, chances are it’s not going to go well. If you are coming across as stiff and reciting an answer from an index card, it won’t go well.
Remember, you are convincing the medical school that they should accept you over the hundreds of other candidates they interview. Think of how you are going to add to the educational environment at that school.
What are you going to contribute to the community and how are you going to be a part of that community? What is it about the school that interests you and why do you want to be a part of it?
“Why Should We Choose You?” Medical School Interview Example
Here is an example of how I would answer the question “Why should we accept you into our medical school?”
I got married as a premed student. During my hardest semester, my wife and I had a baby. This experience of being a new father while still juggling and intense workload instilled in my some qualities which I believe will benefit your school’s community. I learned to prioritize my time and not get overwhelmed when life gets in the way. I have also grown to understand that communities are important and I know when it’s important to ask for help.”
I’m also a licensed private pilot and through this experience I developed some really important qualities that were necessary to keep me alive. I learned that being decisive is essential and indecision can be dangerous. I also became really appreciative of the importance of leading and knowing how to follow. When you are commanding an airplane, it’s important that you can use your crew resources available and use others to help accomplish the overall goal. Also, when flying as a co pilot it’s important to follow instructions but also be prepared to speak up if you notice something is wrong and he or she doesn’t”
From these two examples, having a baby during school and being a general aviation pilot, I demonstrated how I was unique and how the qualities I developed can benefit the school. Maybe you don’t have these particular experiences but I’m sure there is something that makes you stand out!
How Do I Sell Myself To A Medical School Interview?
Try not to think of it as selling yourself to a medical school interviewer. The concept of selling can have a negative connotation. You don’t want to sell yourself like a car salesman sells a car.
You need to be humble during a medical school interview. We all have our strengths and weaknesses that make us unique. You don’t want to be telling the interviewer what you think they want to hear but rather be down to earth and honest about your accomplishments.
Trust me, an interviewer, especially a medical school admission committee member , can see through any BS.
If you are honest about your skills and qualities going in, you will inadvertently “sell” yourself as a diverse individual capable of adding great value to the medical school.
Leave a Comment Cancel reply
Why this Medical School? Secondary Essay Example
- Cracking Med School Admissions Team
Medical schools want to recruit students who embody their institution’s values and would quickly thrive once accepted. One way to prove that you fit this criterion is by writing an outstanding “why this medical school” secondary essay. This prompt asks you to explain why you are applying to a specific medical school and how you would take advantage of unique opportunities at that school. Alternatively, you can think of this prompt as asking you “why would you attend our school over others if we accepted you?” Or, you can think about this prompt asking, “Why would you be a great fit for our medical school over the thousands of other applicants applying?” Need help? Contact us down below.
This “Why This Medical School?” blog post covers:
- How to answer why this medical school essay prompt, and how to answer it well
- Process of researching different medical schools
Why this medical school secondary essay example
- Essay analysis and success tips
Recognizing the “why this medical school” secondary essay
The “why this medical school” secondary essay can take many forms.
For example, consider the following secondary prompts, which can all be approached as a “why us” secondary:
- Stanford School of Medicine: How will you take advantage of the Stanford Medicine Discovery Curriculum and scholarly concentration requirement to achieve your personal career goals? (1000 characters)
- University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine: Please explain your reasons for applying to the Perelman School of Medicine and limit your response to 1,000 characters.
- Weill Cornell Medical College: Please write a brief statement giving your reasons for applying to Weill Cornell Medical College. (200 words)
- Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine: Given the distinctive educational philosophy and integrated curriculum at FSM, describe how your personal characteristics and learning style would fit the institution. (Limit your response to 200 words)
- University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine: Please write a short essay about why you are applying to the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. We suggest that you limit your essay to about 550 words.
Even an open-ended “is there anything else you would like us to know” prompt could be used to write a “why do you want to go to this medical school” secondary essay!
Getting started: do your research for each medical school
Questions to consider for each medical school:.
- Are there any programs or organizations unique to that school which you are interested in?
- Are there any faculty members with whom you hope to do research?
- How is the curriculum set up? How many years are pre-clinical versus clinical on clerkships? Is there early clinical exposure? Integration of research into the curriculum?
- Are there any electives or classes you may be interested in? Dual-degree options?
- How is the mentorship for medical students from faculty and the administration?
- What is the “culture” of the school and its student body? Are students known to be involved with research? Social justice? Community service?
- Do you have any personal connections to the school/area?
Where to look:
- Cracking Med School Admissions Pro Tip: Go deep into the school’s website. You should learn about the curriculum, but if there are any specific fields within medicine that you are interested in, look for professors and research opportunities in that field. Additionally, many medical schools are interdisciplinary. If you are interested in public health, then research the Public Health school for that university and other public health opportunities.
- Cracking Med School Admissions Pro Tip: Email faculty members who you have mutual interests with. When you email them, tell them about your previous experiences and why you are interested in their work.
Let’s take a look at a why this medical school secondary essay example for the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.
Prompt: Please write a short essay about why you are applying to the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. We suggest that you limit your essay to about 550 words.
A resident at our homeless shelter frequently spent nights studying while others slept. Concerned about his health, I asked about his sleeping schedule and how I could help. As I began assisting him with his classwork and professional goals during downtimes volunteering, I understood how, despite us both attending [SCHOOL], our life circumstances were worlds apart. To him, professional success was an escape and intense academic devotion was a way to avoid previously harmful habits. And unlike him, I never had to prioritize my livelihood over academics or extracurriculars like many others had at our shelter. Yet we also had much in common despite our differing circumstances. I recall many late-night conversations with him with topics ranging from healthcare and medicine to intense debates about our favorite NBA players.
Shaped by my experiences with these students, my values compel me to shape healthcare policies and conduct research to address problems that broadly affect others. At Pritzker, I will continue researching disease treatment and health policy through the Scholarship & Discovery program, learning from innovators like Dr. David Meltzer. His work about the cost effectiveness of prostate cancer treatments highlights waste in healthcare costs; my own research about shared decision making in prostate cancer patients also inspired me to expose these issues with research and encourage policy changes.
I am particularly interested in how changes in disease treatment inform wider care guidelines. Heading a trial that investigates early sepsis resuscitation, I appreciate how complexities in treating illness are intertwined with policy as standards of care and health policies have immediate impacts on patients and physicians. And when larger policies are misaligned with these individual needs, I believe it is my responsibility to correct them and bridge the gap. An institution which values medical student inquiry, Pritzker will provide me unique opportunities to disseminate my research through its Senior Scientific Session and numerous fellowships to fund presentations at national conferences. My teaching background will help me convey research results in context and connect them to policy implications and drive action from stakeholders.
Pritzker’s unique organizations also reflect the student body’s passion for helping the underserved, mirroring my own values as I aspire to create new programs for these patients. In the student shelter, I revamped our food training to account for variations in volunteers’ cooking experience to feed 10 homeless students. Hearing positive feedback from residents reaffirmed how my ideas could be translated into impactful practices by leading a group toward a shared mission. At Pritzker, I will continue working with underserved populations through student organizations like Chicago Street Medicine. Their work delivering healthcare to homeless patients particularly interests me as I have seen the unique challenges faced by this population in volunteering with homeless students. I want to continue exploring these issues and develop my leadership skills in Chicago Street Medicine. Student organizations at Pritzker will uniquely supplement my medical training with early, hands-on experience caring for these patients and applying my growing medical knowledge to benefit others.
Opportunities to conduct clinical/policy research with faculty leaders and unique student organizations align with my values, motivating me to pursue my medical training at Pritzker.”
Why this medical school secondary essay example: analysis and tips for success
#1. mention specific programs and organizations at the school.
One thing this essay does well is its specific inclusion of different programs and organizations at Pritzker. For example, the writer mentions the “Scholarship & Discovery program,” “Senior Scientific Session” event, and a student organization (“Chicago Street Medicine”) to substantiate their interests. This shows your reader that you have done your research on the school and will be able to take readily take advantage of any opportunities once you are accepted. It will always reflect well on you to do your research and “show off” your understanding of the program.
#2. Talk about faculty members you want to work with
Notice that the writer specifically mentions a faculty member by name, “Dr. David Meltzer,” and talks about why they find their research interesting as well as its relation to the writer’s own research goals. Once again, this shows your reader that you have done your research and that you are someone who takes the initiative to get the most out of opportunities. Think about mentioning specific faculty members, in addition to including specific programs and organizations, as analogous to “citations” in a research paper—they substantiate and strengthen your claims for “why this school.”
#3. Connect the school to your background and experiences
One mistake students frequently make in writing a “why this medical school” secondary essay is that they talk too much about the school without focusing on themselves. Remember, at the end of the day your reader still wants to know about you . Explicitly connect your former background and experiences to the different opportunities at the school and convince your reader that you would be a good fit. In this case, the writer connects their prior experiences working with homeless students and clinical research about disease treatment to service-oriented organizations at Pritzker (e.g. Chicago Street Medicine) and research opportunities (funded fellowships, specific programs/faculty). Seamlessly connecting your background/experiences with the school is an excellent strategy!
As with any secondary, it is extremely important to give anecdotes that naturally lead readers to a conclusion rather than stating the conclusion outright. In this case, the writer talks about their experiences with a specific resident at a homeless shelter they volunteered with. This allows reader to infer that the writer easily connects with individuals from different backgrounds, a conclusion that is more convincing when conveyed through a story rather than stated outright. Imagine if the writer had written “I am someone that easily connects with students from different backgrounds as shown by my previous experience working with homeless students.” This is far less convincing than telling a story.
#5. Dream big
Finally, this essay effectively showcases the writer’s ambitions numerous times throughout. Whether it is “to shape healthcare policies” by conducting research to “bridge the gap” between individuals and policies or “create new programs” for “underserved populations,” the writer strikes you as an individual with a clear idea of what they hope to accomplish in medical school and how they will specifically do so. Don’t be afraid to convey your ambitions and relate them to the school!
FREE Medical School Secondary Essay Examples and Brainstorm Tool [PLACEHOLDER]
Use this workbook to write STELLAR AMCAS descriptions. This section is as important as your personal statement.
" * " indicates required fields
More Excellent Secondary Essay Examples
While reading about how to write a secondary essay for medical school makes doing so seem easy, it is much harder to put this into practice. As such, we have compiled a list of personal statements and secondary essays. Each one of these essays were written by premeds who successfully got accepted to medical schools across the United States. We think these essays demonstrate successful models.
The best resource for example secondary essays is our Cracking Med School Admissions book! We have over 50 personal statements and secondary essay from successful medical school applicants, including essays from our authors! 🙂
Blog post written by Kevin Li and Dr. Rachel Rizal
Contact Us With Questions
We'll answer any and all your questions about medical school we typically respond within 1 business day. please provide us with a phone number if you prefer us to call you back..
- Your Name *
- Your Email *
- Phone (optional)
- Leave us a Message or Question! We will email and call you back. *
- Phone This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Start typing and press enter to search
- Text or Call Us 917-994-0765
Why Us Medical School Essay Example with Writing Tips
Our team of editors have put together a step by step process on how to approach the most common secondary essays . Below is a why us medical school essay example along with the steps to take when writing an effective “why us” response.
Writing Tips for the “Why Us” Essay
Why Us Essay Example Prompts
Why Us Medical School Essay Example
While one of the most common medical school secondary prompts, it is also one of the most important. This is your opportunity to convince admissions committees at the med schools of which you applied how or why your values align with theirs . As you can imagine, a well-written essay can potentially influence admissions committees to accept an applicant while a poorly written essay may persuade the reader otherwise. Here are a few tips in order to meticulously demonstrate your medical school candidacy:
Tip #1 Answer the Why Us Prompt
Not all “Why Our School” secondary prompts are created equal. Some prompts will ask how you will contribute to their school while others ask about qualities you have that would further their medical school’s mission. Similarly, while you may have prepared a response for the “Why Our School” question for another school, you must tailor it to what the school is asking specifically . If you do not do so, the school does not have answers to the question they are explicitly asking. Remember, they are asking the question for a specific reason! Also, a general response may lead admissions committees to assume you have one response you use for “Why Our School” secondary essays, forcing them to believe you are not as interested or knowledgeable about their med school.
Tip #2 Do Your Research and Brainstorming
It is one thing to know what interests you about this school but another to pinpoint the specifics of the school that make it unique . Doing so can show your genuine interest in that school and that you have correspondingly done your research. You may use their website but do some deep digging as well – use YouTube videos, alumni or medical student outreach, or research the geographic location/community for aspects that interest you. Consider the following questions when doing your own search:
- What aspects are important to you when considering a medical school?
- Is there a particular learning structure or curriculum that benefits your learning style? If so, why?
- Is this school near home or family? You might articulate how or why this is important to you and your future medical education.
- What unique aspects interest you about this school? Why?
- Why do you perceive an education at this school would be best for your training?
Tip #3 Be Specific
Commonly, students fall into the pitfall of discussing how the mission statement resonates with them . If the mission statement does, in fact, resonate with you, be sure to discuss why as well as show evidence or examples for how this is true . Often, it is important to be specific about what interests you about the school to demonstrate your enthusiasm and interest. Doing so will increase your likelihood of acceptance as admissions committees are interested in accepting students knowledgeable about the school and willing to represent their school enthusiastically. Is there a club or aspect of the curriculum that interests you? Talk about it!
Tip #4 Reference Aspects of The Medical School (but do not tell them about their own institution!)
There is certainly a difference between the following:
School X values underserved populations and commitment to community health.
Of particular interest, School X emphasizes underserved communities which has been a passion of mine, evidenced by my involvement in Healthcare for the Homeless.
As you can see, this latter example emphasizes what interests the student about the school while avoiding outright telling the admissions committee a fact about their school.
Takeaways Surrounding the “Why Our School” Medical School Secondary Prompt
Therefore, like any other written aspect of your application, it is important to demonstrate additional details about you as a candidate to paint a vivid picture of who you are. As a result, it is essential to marry what interests you about the school and your own personal qualities or characteristics as opposed to solely discussing one or the other. Here, we want to strive to have the best of both worlds. Be honest and genuine – this is the key. Allowing the reader insight into who you are will give them more information to make a decision about your candidacy for acceptance into medical school.
Need help with your secondary essays?
- View our Editors
- Click Here for Affordable Essay Editing
“Why Us” Secondary Essay Example Prompts
Example 1: “Why have you selected the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine for your medical education? Please be as specific as possible.” ( Miami Miller School of Medicine )
Example 2: “Why do you wish to attend Meharry Medical College, School of Medicine?” ( Meharry Medical College )
Example 3: “If you are not a Kansas resident, what is your specific interest in applying to the University of Kansas School of Medicine?” ( KU School of Medicine )
Example 4: “In 500 words or fewer, please explain your reasons for applying to the University at Buffalo’s Jacobs School of Medicine. Please be specific.” ( Jacobs School of Medicine )
Example 5: “Why have you chosen to apply to the Georgetown University School of Medicine and how do you think your education at Georgetown will prepare you to become a physician for the future? (1 page, formatted at your discretion)” ( Georgetown University School of Medicine )
Example 6: “ How will you contribute to the diversity of your medical school class and the University of Virginia School of Medicine?” (Virginia School of Medicine)
Example 7: “Why have you chosen to apply to CNUCOM? (250 words maximum)” ( California Northstate University )
Example 8: “Please write a s hort essay about why you are applying to the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. We suggest that you limit your essay to about 550 words.” ( Pritzker School of Medicine )
When I signed up for the trip, I never imagined that I would hold a human heart in my hands. My high school field trip to the Hackensack University Medical Center in 2013 was a unique experience to tour different departments in the hospital and ultimately learn about medicine. After setting foot in one of the best hospitals in the New Jersey / New York Metropolitan area, I knew this one-day visit was not enough, and I longed to continue learning here. Six years later, I found myself without a job after the scribe program was closed at Englewood Health by the end of August 2019. However, it was this initial disappointment that led to me finding my current job at Hackensack University Medical Center and returning to an excellent learning environment. By working as a scribe at Hackensack University Medical Center and rotating in the surgical ICU and surgical step-down unit, I was able to work with and learn from top-ranked physicians such as Dr. Sanjeev Kaul, Dr. Javier Martin Perez, and Dr. Saraswati Dayal. What draws me to the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine is the opportunity to learn at some of the best hospitals serving northern, central, and southern New Jersey and from one of the most diverse populations in the nation. By beginning my medical education through Hackensack Meridian Health, the largest healthcare network of the state, and being exposed to an extraordinary range of patients, disorders, and challenges, I believe I can develop the ability to serve and provide high-quality care to patients from different backgrounds and with a variety of needs.
In addition to the excellent clinical opportunities, I am also interested in the unique curriculum of the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine. During high school, I developed an interest in preventive health and became more mindful of aspects such as nutrition, posture, sleep hygiene, and physical activity. I want to train to be a physician who can effectively educate others to also take control of their own health. For this reason, I am especially interested in the Human Dimension course. Through building relationships and interacting with families in the community, I will better understand the social, socioeconomic, and environmental determinants of health and ultimately learn how to proactively improve others’ lives. I am also excited about the special 3+1 curriculum that will enable me to customize my fourth year with many possibilities, including research projects, additional clinical experience, early entry into residencies, community service initiatives, and several dual-degree options. Additionally, the smaller class size will cultivate a close-knit community and enhance my learning experience and training overall. I am fortunate that the school is only a 20-minute drive from home, which would enable me to remain close to my support network and thrive in a familiar environment while attending medical school.
Through this response, the student ties in personal experiences and interests initially within not only Hackensack University but the location. Needless to say, the student does not just include the experience or facts about the school without also making it personal to their journey. The student then progresses to discuss specific elements of the curriculum and class size as well as why it interests them. Therefore, from this response, it is immensely clear why this student is applying to this school specifically as well as what unique aspects interest them about this school.
View more Medical School “Why Us” Examples Here.
- [email protected]
- Essay Reviews
- Interview Prep
- Premed Advising
- CASPer Prep
- The PreMed App
- MCAT Vitals
- Free Personal Statement Workshop
- Meet Our Team
- Join the Team
© 2023 Motivate MD
Advisor Corner: Crafting Your Personal Statement
Being able to articulate an answer to the question “why medicine?” is critical for an applicant as they apply to medical school. One of the first opportunities for an applicant to convey this message to admissions officers is through their personal comments essay in the AMCAS application. We asked three pre-health advisors how they advise their students to put their best self forward when crafting their personal statements.
The personal statement is an unfamiliar genre for most students—you’ve practiced writing lab reports, analytical essays, maybe even creative fiction or poetry, but the personal statement is something between a reflective, analytical narrative, and an argumentative essay. You want to reveal something about yourself and your thoughts around your future in medicine while also making an argument that provides evidence supporting your readiness for your career. Well ahead of when you’re writing your personal statement, consider taking classes that require you to create and support arguments through writing, or those that ask you to reflect on your personal experiences to help you sharpen these skills.
As you draft your essay, you may want to include anecdotes from your experiences. It’s easiest to recall these anecdotes as they happen so it can be helpful to keep a journal where you can jot down stories, conversations, and insights that come to you. This could be recounting a meaningful conversation that you had with someone, venting after an especially challenging experience, or even writing about what keeps you going at times when you feel in danger of giving up. If it’s more comfortable, take audio notes by talking into your phone.
While reading sample personal statements can sometimes make a student feel limited to emulating pieces that already exist, I do think that reading others’ reflective writing can be inspirational. The Aspiring Docs Diaries blog written by premeds is one great place to look, as are publications like the Bellevue Literary Review and Pulse , which will deliver a story to your inbox every week. Check with your pre-health advisor to see if they have other examples that they recommend.
Rachel Tolen, Assistant Director and Premedical Advisor, Indiana University
I encourage students to think of the personal statement not just as a product. Instead, I encourage them to think of the process of writing the statement as embedded in the larger process of preparing themselves for the experience of medical school. Here are a few key tips that I share with students:
- Start writing early, even months before you begin your application cycle. Expect to revise many versions of your draft over time.
- Take some time to reflect on your life and goals. By the end of reading your statement, the reader should understand why you want to be a physician.
- When you consider what to write, think about the series of events in your life that have led up to the point where you are applying to medical school. How did you get here? What set you on the path toward medical school? What kept you coming back, even at times when it was challenging? On the day that you retire, what do you hope you’ll be able to say you’ve achieved through your work as a physician?
- Don’t waste too much time trying to think of a catchy opening or a theme designed just to set your essay apart. Applicants sometimes end up with an opening that comes across as phony and artificial because they are trying too hard to distinguish themselves from other applicants.
- Just start writing. Writing is a means for thinking and reflecting. Let the theme grow out of the process of writing itself. Some of the best personal statements focus on ordinary events that many other people may have experienced, but what makes the essay stand out are the writer’s unique insights and ability to reflect on these experiences.
Dana Lovold, MPH, Career Counselor at the University of Minnesota
Your personal statement can and should include more than what you’ve done to prepare for medical school. The personal statement is an opportunity to share something new about yourself that isn’t conveyed elsewhere in your application.
Advisors at the University of Minnesota employ a storytelling model to support students in finding and writing their unique personal statement. One critical aspect of storytelling is the concept of change. When a story lacks change, it becomes a recitation of facts and events, rather than a reflection of how you’ve learned and grown through your experiences. Many students express concern that their experiences are not unique and wonder how they can stand out. Focusing on change can help with this. Some questions you may want to consider when exploring ideas are:
- What did you learn from the experience?
- How did you change as a result of the experience?
- What insight did you gain?
By sharing your thoughts on these aspects of your preparation and motivation for medicine, the reader has a deeper understanding of who you are and what you value. Then, connect that insight to how it relates to your future in the profession. This will convey your unique insight and demonstrate how you will use that insight as a physician.
In exploring additional aspects of what to write about, we also encourage students to cover these four components in the essay:
- Motivation refers to a student’s ongoing preparation for the health profession and can include the initial inspiration.
- Fit is determined through self-assessment of relevant values and personal qualities as they relate to the profession.
- Capacity is demonstrated through holistically aligning with the competencies expected in the profession.
- Vision relates to the impact you wish to make in the field.
After you finish a working draft, go back through and see how you’ve covered each of these components. Ask people who are reading your draft if they can identify how you’ve covered these elements in your essay so that you know it’s clear to others.