University of Washington School of Medicine Secondary Essay Prompts

These are the secondary application essay prompts for University of Washington School of Medicine. To put your best foot forward and maximize your chance of an interview invitation, visit our secondary application editing page.

2018-2019

An autobiographical statement which should include (250 word limit)

  • the origin and development of your motivation to be a physician
  • your prior experiences in health care
  • steps taken to explore a career in medicine
  • your eventual goals as a physician
  • personal attributes that would make you a good physician

Please do not repeat what you wrote in your AMCAS Personal Comments (this will already be on file with our office). If you have already covered all of the above topics in your AMCAS application, use this space to let the Admissions Committee know who you are in addition to being someone who wants to be a physician.

This is one of the more unique secondary prompts and not an easy one to answer. It is always tough to write about yourself. The key here is to not repeat the personal statement or primary application. The prompt asks for specific components of your desire to become a physician. Expand on these as appropriate. If already thoroughly described in the primary application and personal statement, consider describing the major parts of your life from beginning until present time that have made you who you are today. What events truly influenced your character and development.

If having trouble answering this question, start with an outline. Focus on medically related experiences as well as non-medical significant events. Make it creative and true to yourself. Let your voice come out in the writing. In the end, if you can tie things together to create a theme as to why you are a good fit to become a doctor, that would be a great outcome. Remember not to repeat your primary application.

Four additional short essays (250 word limit each)

    • How have your experiences prepared you to be a physician?

This is a difficult question because the key is to answer effectively while not repeating what was stated in the primary application. Choose a few experiences you feel strongly about and then try to think about how you could explain their importance from a fresh angle. Perhaps there was a deeper or different lesson it taught you than what you previously described. Tie the experiences to a tangible skill you gained or lesson you learned which will help you impact the medical profession. How does that skill allow you to be an effective physician? Introspect about your true reasons for becoming a physician and be honest and genuine in your answer.

    • What perspectives or experiences do you bring that would enrich the class?

Start by brainstorming what is unique about your background. Is it your place of birth, your family, your culture, or your path to medicine? Also consider prior adversity you have had to overcome and how that has shaped your values. Consider 1-2 of these experiences and weave a story about them which show your unique characteristics. Specifically answer how this can contribute to your medical school class; consider the effect you might have on your peers, professors and patients.

    • What obstacles have you experienced and how have you overcome them?

Think back to scenarios when you had a personal struggle which you overcame. What were times in your life that you almost quit but did not? Which accomplishments required particular perseverance? Once you have chosen the experiences, make sure there is a lesson you learned that you can explain. Most important to the prompt, how did you grow as a person? Consider focusing on the following areas of growth: dedication, perseverance, discipline, interpersonal skills, leadership.

    • How have societal inequities in the U.S. affected you or patients you have worked with?

A good answer necessitates some introspection. What experiences have you had with social, economic, healthcare or other inequities? Were they personal experiences or those with peers, friends, or patients? How do these experiences inform your views of social equality and justice. What do you feel is the physician’s role in combating these issues? Consider these concepts when answering this question. Let your values shine in the question and show that you care about social equality in general and as it pertains to the practice of medicine.

For re-applicants: From your most recent application until now, how have you strengthened your application?

Focus on personal growth during the time since last application. Rather than avoiding the elephant in the room which is the failed application cycle, introspect on why you did not get accepted. Find something that is a weakness in your prior application which needed work, and then demonstrate how in your off year you were able to strengthen yourself in this regard. Examples include GPA (post bacc), research (additional research work or publications), clinical work (additional clinical hours).

If you applied and were not offered an interview.

2017-2018

1. Autobiographical Statement Addendum

Your AMCAS personal statement and experiences are already on file with our office.

If your primary AMCAS application hasn’t discussed the origin and development of your motivation to be a physician including insights you’ve gained from exploring a career in medicine, and how your personal attributes would make you a good physician, please discuss those here. (250 word count)

If you’ve already written about these items, don’t repeat what you wrote. Instead, use this autobiographical statement addendum to let us know more about who you are in addition to being someone who wants to be a physician. This is another opportunity for you to express what you want the Admissions Committee to know about you.

2. How do you see historical and structural inequities affecting the patients you have worked with and will work with, and how do you as a student and physician address these broader causes of health disparities? (250 word count)

3. How have your experiences prepared you to be a physician? (250 word count)

4. What perspectives or experiences do you bring that would enrich the class? (250 word count)

5. What obstacles have you experienced and how have you overcome them? (250 word count)

2016-2017

An autobiographical statement which should include:

the origin and development of your motivation to be a physician
your prior experiences in health care
steps taken to explore a career in medicine
your eventual goals as a physician
and other issues of importance
The Personal Comments section of the AMCAS application may be used to satisfy this requirement, or an additional autobiography may be submitted with your secondary materials. Your AMCAS personal statement will already be on file with our office. (250 words)

3 additional short essays (250 word limit each)

How have your experiences prepared you to be a physician?
How do your experiences match the mission and values of the University of Washington School of Medicine?
What perspectives or experiences do you bring that would enrich the class?
What obstacles to your goals have you experienced and how have you dealt with them?
For re-applicants: From your most recent application until now, how have you strengthened your application?

Disclaimer: The information on this page was shared by students and/or can be found on the medical school’s website. Med School Insiders does not guarantee the accuracy of the information on this page.

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