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Summary: Diversity secondary essays are increasingly common in medical school (and other disciplines). "Diversity" doesn't refer only to marginalized or underrepresented groups; we all have qualities that differentiate us from others. Asking students to write about their experiences with diversity isn't meant to exclude those who are traditionally well-represented in higher education, and thinking about diversity "broadly defined" offers opportunities to reflect on your own unique traits, experiences, and identity.
There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to the diversity secondary essay – a now-common essay prompt for medical schools and professional programs of all sorts. In particular, some critics assume that “diversity” is some kind of politically correct code word, and – stemming from a similar misunderstanding – some assume that if they are part of a “majority” (whether this means ethnic majority, linguistic majority, or even a majority within a discipline), then that means they can’t be “diverse”. These are both incredibly unfortunate and carry a wealth of assumptions that need to be addressed before discussing how to write a great secondary essay on the topic of diversity.
First, “diversity” here does not necessarily (or exclusively) refer to those of religious, ethnic, cultural, or linguistic minorities. Yes, such applicants would indeed be diverse and would contribute to the diversity of a school or program, and advocating for traditionally-underrepresented or marginalized peoples in academia is a worthwhile task pursued by many institutions. However, there are any number of other identities and designators you might apply to yourself that act as distinguishing features. If you’re a returning student, a parent, or a non-traditional applicant, those are “diverse” attributes on a university campus. If you’ve served in the military, that is a “diverse” attribute in relation to the majority of students. If you are someone with a disability or unique health challenges, if you are the first person in your family to pursue higher education, if you come from a lower socioeconomic background, if you’re from a rural area, if you’re multilingual (either by choice or by necessity), these are all features that would be considered “diverse” in the context of the traditional university campus or professional program.
In short, “diversity” isn’t just some kind of PC code word Read more…
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Can you add letters of recommendation after submitting AMCAS?
The short answer: Generally, yes, you can add letters of recommendation after submitting your AMCAS application; in fact, this is one of only 3 sections in the AMCAS application that can be modifiedafter submission. However, this doesn't mean that you can or should wait until the last minute to secure letters of recommendation. Writing such evaluations is a lot of time-consuming work, so be sure to get started early, contacting potential referees and making your intentions known!
The long answer: This is a very common question, as letters of recommendation are a critical part of the medical school application. However, securing such letters prior to the initial AMCAS application due date can be difficult. The good news is that the letters of recommendation section of the AMCAS application is one of the few sections that can be Read more…
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AMCAS "Most Meaningful Experiences"
In completing the AMCAS Work and Activities section of the AMCAS application (required for all medical school applications in the US, except Texas), you are asked to provide up to 15 “significant” experiences from your employment, research, volunteer, and extracurricular activities, which will be reviewed in considering your application. We discuss the fundamentals of the AMCAS entrieselsewhere, so here, we’re going to pay special attention to what the AMCAS application refers to as “most meaningful experiences”. While all of the entries here are significant in the overall evaluation of your application, the most important aspect of the Work and Activities section are these “most meaningful experiences”.
Up to three of your AMCAS entries can be isolated as “most meaningful experiences” – experiences that had a particular impact on your growth, development, professionalization, or that were particularly transformative or impactful. While each entry is given 700 characters (including spaces), these “most meaningful experiences” are allotted an additional 1325 characters (again, including spaces). This is not intended to be used as a space to simply describe more details of the position or activity; rather, this is meant to be a more reflective, contemplative narrative that highlights the ways in which these experiences enriched your life, the lives of others, and your overall perspective toward your journey to becoming a doctor. This isn’t the place for an expanded CV; it’s a place to demonstrate the key qualities you’ve developed and the ways in which these have contributed to your suitability for the profession.
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The following is a comprehensive list of medical school secondary essays. Click on each school name to review the secondary essay prompts for each school.
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Note: while we take care to update the list regularly, you are responsible for your own results. That includes checking with the official admissions office to make sure you have the most up to date med school secondary essay prompts. Read more…
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