University of Southern California (USC) Secondary Essay Prompts

These are the secondary application essay prompts for University of Southern California Keck 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

Short-answer (3-5 sentences):

What is the most fun you’ve had lately?

Choose wisely, focusing on something that does not compromise your professionalism. Consider something like a group activity or team sport which shows that your a great team member. Also consider a triumph over a challenge, which shows perseverance and personal growth.

If you had to give yourself a nickname, what would it be?

This is a difficult question to answer. You will have to be creative. Perhaps you already have a good nickname which works. Make sure it does not reflect poorly on you in any way or compromise your professionalism. Consider what your friends might say are your strongest attributes and see if this can lead to a nickname. What might your closest friends call you? At the same time, be humble.

If you had enormous wealth, how would you allocate your charitable donations?

This is an important question to think about closely. Consider what your morals and values are. Which populations do you feel strongest about serving – children, homeless, medically-ill are a few communities to consider. You could look at what has been done by famous philanthropists (Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, etc.) as a model, but try to be original.

Describe a situation in which you didn’t get something you felt you deserved.

Tread softly when answering this question. Be careful not to sound entitled. Think of a time when you worked very hard to overcome adversity, but perhaps you failed for some reason. This may be the best way to point out that your efforts were not rewarded, but also state possible reasons why and what lessons you learned.

Essay (150 words):

If you had the power to change anything, what would it be?

 

2017-2018

Short-answer (3-5 sentences):

What is the most fun you’ve had lately?

Choose wisely, focusing on something that does not compromise your professionalism. Consider something like a group activity or team sport which shows that your a great team member. Also consider a triumph over a challenge, which shows perseverance and personal growth.

If you had to give yourself a nickname, what would it be?

This is a difficult question to answer. You will have to be creative. Perhaps you already have a good nickname which works. Make sure it does not reflect poorly on you in any way or compromise your professionalism. Consider what your friends might say are your strongest attributes and see if this can lead to a nickname. What might your closest friends call you? At the same time, be humble.

If you had enormous wealth, how would you allocate your charitable donations?

This is an important question to think about closely. Consider what your morals and values are. Which populations do you feel strongest about serving – children, homeless, medically-ill are a few communities to consider. You could look at what has been done by famous philanthropists (Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, etc.) as a model, but try to be original.

Describe a situation in which you didn’t get something you felt you deserved.

Tread softly when answering this question. Be careful not to sound entitled. Think of a time when you worked very hard to overcome adversity, but perhaps you failed for some reason. This may be the best way to point out that your efforts were not rewarded, but also state possible reasons why and what lessons you learned.

Essay (200 words):

Write a sentence that is not true, then tell us why you wish it were.

USC’s secondary is creative, as you can see. This is a very personal question and inherently your answer will be unique. Consider writing about a personal loss or something which you did not have control over. Make sure to not sound like a victim, and to focus on the lesson learned and strength gained. Another approach is to look at a global issue such as famine, or a medical issue such as lack of medical care in rural issues. Then explain why this means something to you and how or why you might work toward changing it.

2016-2017

Do you believe that you are a member of a group that is under-represented in medicine? (Yes/No)

Have you ever previously applied to any medical school ( M.D. , D.O., international)? (Yes/No)

Write a sentence that is not true, then tell us why you wish it were true.
Please answer the question in 200 words or less.

All the following questions should be answered in 3-5 sentences:

1. What’s the most fun you’ve had recently?
2. If you had to give yourself a nickname, what would it be?
3. If you had enormous wealth, how would you allocate your charitable donations?
4. Describe a situation in which you feel you didn’t get something you deserved.

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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