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.

About University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine

Secondary Deadline: December 1, 2023
Secondary Fee: $100
FAP Waiver: Full Fee Waived
CASPer Required: No
Screens Applications: No
Accepts Application Updates: No

Mission 

We are dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals and society by promoting health, preventing and curing disease, advancing biomedical research and educating tomorrow’s physicians and scientists.

  • Groundbreaking discoveries in basic science clinical research
  • Excellence in educating the next generation of academic clinicians and basic scientists
  • Advanced university-level patient care with breakthroughs that fundamentally change the practice of medicine

Vision 

Our vision is to be the heart of the most influential medical center of the Pacific Rim, resulting in an extraordinary transformation in the ways we understand, treat and cure diseases, thus improving the quality of life for individuals and families. We invite you to support the school’s outstanding medical research, patient care programs and medical education. We greatly appreciate your support and partnership as we strive to realize this vision.

2023-2024

1. What is the most fun you’ve had lately? (65 word limit)

2. If you had to give yourself a nickname, what would it be? (65 word limit)

3. What are three things you don’t care about at all? (65 word limit)

4. Describe a situation in which you didn’t get something you felt you deserved. (65 word limit)

5. Are you a member of a group that is under-represented in medicine? (If yes) Which Group? How does under-representation affect your community? (200 word limit)

6. Have you previously applied to medical school (M.D. , D.O., international)? (If yes) Upon reflection, what do you think went wrong? (200 word limit)

7. (Optional): Is there anything else you would like us to know? If yes, please answer the question in 200 words or less.

2022-2023

1. What is the most fun you’ve had lately?

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

3. What are three things you don’t care about at all?

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

5. Are you a member of a group that is under-represented in medicine? (Y/N) IF yes, Which Group? How does under-representation affect your community?

6. Have you previously applied to medical school (M.D., D.O., international)? (Y/N) IF yes, Upon reflection, what do you think went wrong?

Essay Questions:
1. What do you see as the physician’s role in Public Health? Please answer the question in 150 words or less.

2. (Optional) Is there anything else you would like us to know? (Y/N) If yes, please answer the question in 200 words or less.

2021-2022

Answer the following prompts in 3-5 sentences:
• What is the most fun you’ve had lately?
• If you had to give yourself a nickname, what would it be?
• If you had enormous wealth, how would you allocate your charitable donations?
• Describe a situation in which you didn’t get something you felt you deserved.

Essays
• What do you see as the physician’s role in Public Health? Please answer the question in 150 words or less.

• Optional: Is there anything else you would like us to know? If yes, please answer the question in 200 words or less.

2020-2021

The secondary application essay prompts from this medical school application cycle are the same as above.

2019-2020

1. What does health equity mean to you? (150 words max)

2. Describe a situation in which you did not get something you felt you deserved. (3-5 sentences)

3. If you had enormous wealth, how would you allocate your charitable donations? (3-5 sentences)

4. If you had to give yourself a nickname, what would it be? (3-5 sentences)

5. What is the most fun you’ve had lately? (3-5 sentences)

2018-2019

Short-answer (3-5 sentences):

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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):

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

Another creative and challenging question. With this answer, be true to yourself and do not reach too far for the cliche. At the same time, try to choose something that is bigger than just yourself. Focus on a change that can add to the greater good, rather than just better you or your personal situation. Perhaps even choose something that would help a particular loved one of yours, as this is a real, genuine answer that shows selflessness and concern for those around you. You will have to be creative and choose something personal and genuine.

2017-2018

Short-answer (3-5 sentences):
1. What is the most fun you’ve had lately?

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 didn’t get something you felt you deserved.

Essay (200 words):
5. Write a sentence that is not true, then tell us why you wish it were.

2016-2017

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

2. 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.

3. 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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