When the trickle of secondaries becomes a deluge, it’s time to do some triaging. Since most medical schools send secondaries to all applicants, you may find yourself receiving five secondaries in a week, or even in a day. While some of these consist of little more than sending the school a check, others require lengthy responses to multiple questions. With rolling admissions, an early application will put you at an advantage, so what you need is a strategy for managing the secondaries.
First, get organized. Make a list of the schools you have received secondaries from, along with the school’s deadline. Next, complete the brief secondaries and those with rapidly approaching deadlines. Schools typically give applicants two weeks or longer to complete the secondary, but some schools require that the secondary be submitted in as little as a week. If you were out of town or are about to miss a deadline for another reason, contact the school. They may grant you an extension. Try to avoid this situation by advance planning, but if there is a risk that you could miss the deadline, be proactive and try for an extension.
Once you have taken care of the short secondaries and those with looming deadlines, rank the rest of the secondaries according to your interest in the school. Complete the applications for your high priority schools first. That way, you will retain the advantage of submitting early for the schools that are most important to you. Then, work your way through the rest of the list, bumping up a school if their deadline is approaching. Once you’ve completed four to five secondaries, you will have a bank of essays that you can modify in order to answer questions from other schools. Many questions, such as “Describe an obstacle that you have overcome” are found in some form on secondaries for multiple schools.
Stay organized, prioritize and be aware of deadlines. Before you know it, the stack will shrink and you’ll be hearing back about interviews.
Need help with secondaries? Contact Dr. Eaton at (626) 768-2154 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a free 20 minute phone consultation and to obtain expert assistance with your application.