How to Write About COVID-19 in Your Medical School Personal Statement

Many medical school applicants will write about how the pandemic has personally affected them. Here’s how to distinguish yourself with a show vs. tell approach, and how to make your personal statement stand out amongst the influx of COVID-19 content. 

Don’t Make Your Personal Statement All About COVID

COVID-centered personal statements are sure to inundate current and future admissions cycles. The pandemic has indelibly altered public health, virology studies, the forms and pace of medical education as well as life in general.

Since your medical school admissions readers are likely also physicians treating COVID-19 patients and guiding the community toward best practices for reducing transmission, there’s not a lot they haven’t already heard about the virus. They likely teach on campuses that suspended instruction or shifted it online last year and are well aware your MCATs were canceled or moved. They may even know first-hand how much more help is needed around the house back home, including consoling folks who are afraid of the vaccine for a variety of reasons.

That’s why it’s all the more important for your medical school essay to illustrate a life that centers on you.

Show Instead of Tell to Illustrate Your Story Personally

The applicant’s life should be the main idea of the personal statement, even though COVID can play the role of literary foil. COVID is an unfortunate part of your daily life, but you can still keep your personal statement about yourself, not the pandemic. This way, you allow your reader to feel the aggravation and doom of these moments while enabling you to emerge as the story’s main character. Don’t just “tell” your story. “Show” your story. See what I mean.

Telling – “COVID disrupted my MCAT.” 

Note: Can you write about this in a more personal way? 

Revised to Showing : “My phone vibrated with a notification that the MCAT was canceled. And here’s what I did to overcome that obstacle.”

Telling – “Among the public are vaccination skeptics.”

Note: Who from the public have you talked to and what was the history and context of their medical fear? 

Revised to Showing – “Grammy and I had a looooong conversation about her grandmother’s flu from the 1918 pandemic .”  Then compare and contrast the public’s reaction between then and now, and the importance of vaccinations.

Telling – “I’ve been taking care of my little brother and my father.”

Note: What was asked of you? How did you respond?

Revised to Showing – “From his basement lair, my dad hollered, ‘Test tomorrow! Place Values and Number Sense!’ I searched upstairs for my little brother who was hiding from Math under all the laundry. My dad’s in quarantine, the dairy’s in the snow. And Paris in springtime means I’m Mom now while blackouts are rolling through Texas.”

When you show the core competencies suggested by AAMC , you create a picture for your reader to visualize how you could be an excellent physician in a way that makes your personality shine through.

You: Resilient and adaptable at a push notification’s notice.

You: E thical and moral with the vulnerable.

You: Taking on extra responsibility. COVID is still prevalent, just decentered because yours is a story about teamwork. 

Set COVID-19 as the Supporting Character in Your Personal Statement 

Set the scene with the pandemic details that help you tell your story.

If your narrative anecdote is about ice hockey team practice, let it be that. Surely there are NHL COVID protocols the team has made and adjustments to uphold, whether it’s “minimize handshakes, high fives and fist bumps” or (courtesy of Highly Questionable on ESPN) “don’t lick opponents in the face.”

These are the details that should provide context and are important for illustrating life distinctly to ensure you haven’t stated the obvious or something that other applicants have already covered. Since it’s about you, personally. 

Another way to include COVID in your story is to consider how it relates to your work in STEM. For instance, Scientific American rendered COVID in 3D . Maybe you have similar accomplishments you’d like to showcase. In your personal statement, include some of the technical details of the project but focus on what it was like to work with your lab partners and perhaps highlight your own sense of reliability and dependability. 

A whopping topic like COVID-19 has the capacity to overshadow even the best pre-med if allowed to dominate an essay.

Customary topics and redundant statements will undercut what the Personal Comments Essay is designed by AAMC for you to be able to do. See their Application Guide to see how you can distinguish yourself from other applicants .

Make your essay all about you and write the daily life details that make your story personal. That will get you accepted, and hopefully, we can put the pandemic behind us.

If you’re still feeling stuck on your personal statement or want expert feedback on an existing personal statement, check out MedSchoolCoach. With MedSchoolCoach, you get the benefit of working with a professional writing advisor to help you develop your essays into a great application. 98% of students who used MedSchoolCoach last year to develop their personal statement received at least 1 interview invite.

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How to reflect pandemic experiences on medical school applications

Jul 1, 2021.

Every American has been significantly impacted by the pandemic. For medical school applicants acknowledging that and how it may have shaped your application is central to forming a well-rounded applicant portfolio.

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Supporting you today as a medical student. Protecting your future as a physician.

Ngozi F. Anachebe, MD is associate dean for admissions and student affairs at Morehouse School of Medicine, one of the 37 member schools in the AMA Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium . She offered her insight on how medical students should frame their pandemic experiences on their medical school application.

Each medical school application is going to include a personal statement—most will also include some sort of essay-type prompt on a secondary application . Dr. Anachebe recommends that you follow through on what the essay claims to be—personal—and speak to your unique experiences during the pandemic.

“Being able to articulate how COVID affected them is important for these classes [of applicants],” Dr. Anachebe said. “For some it may be that they didn’t have jobs or lacked access to wi-fi. Experience will vary, it’s not a one-size-fits all.”

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Shadowing and volunteer experiences were limited during the pandemic, and admissions offices are aware of that . Still, the baseline question of why you want to work as a physician will be at the center of your application and certainly will come up during the interview process.

“Some of them may not have set foot on any medical facility other than as a patient or as someone who accompanied a family member,” Dr. Anachebe said. “And that’s OK, but they need to be able to describe in their own words what they feel being a physician is like. That may be from second-hand experience.”

Almost every medical school has some sort of community service orientation expressed in its mission statement. Seeing how COVID-19 impacted certain communities, particularly those in marginalized population, may have influenced your decision to apply to medical school. Articulate what you witnessed and why it motivated you.

“Many people saw how their communities or families were impacted by the virus and they want to be part of the solution,” Dr. Anachebe said. “Especially applicants from underserved communities. You may have even lost loved ones or seen your surrounding community decimated.”

In addition to your personal experiences, understanding how systemic inequities contributed to the pandemic is also an important piece of knowledge to convey.

“So many of these people who were most affected worked blue-collar jobs and are on the front lines with the virus,” Dr. Anachebe said.

Medicine can be a career that is both challenging and highly rewarding but figuring out a medical school’s prerequisites and navigating the application process can be a challenge into itself. The  AMA premed glossary guide  has the answers to frequently asked questions about medical school, the application process, the MCAT and more.

Have peace of mind and get everything you need to  start med school off strong  with the AMA.

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Medical School Secondary Essays: The Complete Guide 2023 (Examples Included)

Proven strategies to write your diversity, challenge, “why us,” gap year, “anything else you’d like us to know,” leadership, and covid medical school secondary essays.

medical school covid essay examples

(Note: This article can also be found in our free, 102-page comprehensive guide to medical school applications, Get Into Medical School: 6 Practical Lessons to Stand Out and Earn Your White Coat . )

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: the medical school diversity essay, part 3: the medical school adversity essay, part 4: the medical school “why us” essay, part 5: the medical school gap year essay, part 6: the medical school leadership essay, part 7: the medical school “anything else you’d like us to know” essay, part 8: the medical school covid essay, appendix: frequently asked questions.

As a medical school applicant, you’ve worked hard on your submitting the best AMCAS application you can. You’ve written a compelling medical school personal statement , a detailed AMCAS Work and Activities section , and more. Now med schools are sending you school-specific secondary applications that require you to write additional essays?

Given that you’ll need to submit multiple essays for most med schools you’ve applied to, the secondary essay writing process can be incredibly grueling, even more so than completing your primary application.

While secondary essay prompts vary in length and topic, there are two pieces of good news:

Secondary essays are typically shorter than your personal statement.

Some topics come up over and over and over again.

You can use this second fact to your advantage by recycling certain “core essays” with a few modifications for multiple schools. Moreover, you can pre-write recurring essays using our medical school secondary essay prompts database .

( WARNING:  Make sure to always answer each school's specific prompt, especially when secondary application fatigue inevitably kicks in. In addition, double check that you've referred to the correct medical schools' names in your secondaries. For example, if you're writing an essay for Tufts, be careful not to mistakenly leave in “Emory” if you're recycling your Emory essay for Tufts.) 

In our nearly 20 years of experience working with medical school applicants, the following six essays—with varying prompts—come up most often:

Diversity essay

Challenge essay (e.g., “Describe a significant challenge you overcame and what you learned from it.”)

“Why us?” essay (e.g., “Why do you hope to attend [our school]?”)

Gap year essay

Leadership essay

“Anything else you’d like us to know?” essay

Rather than list a bunch of general tips on how to write your secondary application essays, in this guide we’ll provide some background for each essay topic before listing and challenging some common misconceptions that limit students’ thinking. Then we’ll offer fresh ways to write each one, as well as strong samples from students who got into prestigious medical schools.

Struggling to write your med school application essays?

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Part 2: The medical school diversity essay

Example diversity essay prompts.

Example 1:  “We seek to train physicians who can connect with diverse patient populations with whom they may not share a similar background. Tell us about an experience that has broadened your own worldview or enhanced your ability to understand those unlike yourself and what you learned from it.” ( Wake Forest School of Medicine )

Example 2: “ The Committee on Admissions regards the diversity (broadly defined) of an entering class as an important factor in serving the educational mission of the school. The Committee on Admissions strongly encourages you to share unique, personally important and/or challenging factors in your background which may include such discussions as the quality of your early education, gender, sexual orientation, any physical challenges, and life or work experiences. Please describe how these factors have influenced your goals and preparation for a career in medicine and may help you to uniquely contribute to the Stanford learning environment.” ( Stanford University School of Medicine )

Diversity essay background

Medical schools love  advertising the diversity of their student bodies through their class profile statistics, brochures, and pictures of smiling students from various backgrounds. Is this just for show?

Unlikely. Medicine—and other healthcare fields—are most effectively practiced when clinicians are able to understand and respect whomever is seeking service, regardless of their backgrounds. Thus, having a diverse student body creates a stimulating learning environment that incorporates multiple perspectives.

Before we get into misconceptions about the diversity essay, let’s clarify the meaning of “cultural competency” by first offering the NIH’s definition : “Deliver[ing] services that are respectful of and responsive to the health beliefs, practices and cultural and linguistic needs of diverse patients."

In other words, cultural competency refers to:

The awareness that patients have diverse health beliefs, practices, and needs

The effort and willingness to understand these differences

The effort and willingness to incorporate these differences to provide effective care that fits patients' contexts

On the other hand, cultural competency does not mean:

Believing you know everything about a particular group of people—including your own—and therefore knowing exactly how to treat them

Having to learn everything about a particular group of people before you are able to effectively treat them

Diversity essay misconception 1: “I don’t come from a minority background, so I have nothing to write about.”

Let’s clear this up right away: your diversity essay does not have to be about your or others’ ethnocultural or socioeconomic backgrounds. Moving past this notion will expand your thinking and options for choosing a compelling topic many fold.

Diversity can refer to anything that makes you unique or interesting, including:

Your great qualities (e.g., being a social connector)

Unique experiences (e.g., working as a certified scuba diving instructor)

A commitment to service

Visions and goals (e.g., using artificial intelligence to improve healthcare).

Think about why diversity is interesting in the first place: everyone is different. If all people came to medicine from a certain ethnic minority or low socioeconomic background, that wouldn’t be so interesting, would it?

If you do want to focus on ethnocultural and socioeconomic diversity, strong essay topics include:

Extracurricular activities , pursuits, or organizations committed to diversity and social justice issues

Health disparities

Demonstration of multicultural competence during patient interactions

Navigating your own bicultural identity

Diversity essay misconception 2: “I come from an ethnic minority background that’s already well represented in medicine, so I have nothing unique to share.”

We hear this most often from students of various Asian backgrounds who feel their demographic is so well represented in medicine that they cannot make a case for their uniqueness as a medical school applicant.

However, given Asia's many countries, and the races, cultures, subcultures, languages, religions, and philosophies across and within countries, there's probably a ton you could write about. Although you may feel your background is common in medicine, don’t sell yourself short.

Possible topics include:

(If you’re an immigrant) Your immigration and assimilation experience

(If you’re not an immigrant but your parents immigrated to the U.S.) A thoughtful account about the values/perspectives/goals your parents tried to instill in you, how they may have clashed with your values growing up in a bicultural environment, and how you resolved these differences

Different cultural views on healthcare and how both can be valuable for treating patients

Regardless of the topic you choose, as with all essays, make sure to link it back to your identity and experience by answering these questions:

How did you feel?

What qualities did you demonstrate?

What did you learn?

What do you have yet to learn?

How do you plan to apply these lessons throughout your education and career?

Diversity essay misconception 3: “The more I write the words ‘diversity,’ ‘cultural/multicultural,’ and ‘underserved,’ the more admissions committees will be impressed by my cultural sensitivity/awareness/competence.”

Quite the opposite. These terms, especially when used repeatedly or inappropriately, can be cliché and come off as dishonest. The best essays are those that are written honestly about who you are and your actual perspectives and interactions with diverse individuals.

Medical school diversity essay example

There are many things a girl could be self-conscious about growing up, such as facial hair, body odor, or weight gain. Growing up with a few extra pounds than my peers, I was usually chosen last for team sports and struggled to run a 10-minute mile during P.E. classes. As I started to despise school athletics, I turned towards other hobbies, such as cooking and Armenian dance, which helped me start anew with a healthier lifestyle. Since then, I have channeled my passions for nutrition and exercise into my volunteering activities, such as leading culinary workshops for low-income residents of Los Angeles, organizing community farmer’s markets, or conducting dance sessions with elderly patients. I appreciate not only being able to bring together a range of people, varying in age, socioeconomic status, and ethnicity, but also helping instill a sense of confidence and excitement that comes with making better lifestyle decisions. I have enjoyed encouraging kids in the inner city to combat similar issues of weight gain and low self-esteem through after-school gardening and physical activity lessons. Now, I hope to share my love for culinary nutrition and fitness with fellow medical students at UCLA. As students, we can become better physicians by passing on health and nutrition information to future patients, improving quality of life for ourselves and others.

Part 3: The medical school adversity essay

Example adversity essay prompts.

Example 1:  “Share with us a difficult or challenging situation you have encountered and how you dealt with it. In your response, identify both the coping skills you called upon to resolve the dilemma, and the support person(s) from whom you sought advice.” (University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine)

Example 2:  “Tell us about a challenging problem you faced and how you resolved it.” (University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine)  

Adversity essay background

Medical school admissions committees ask about adversity simply to understand how you respond to difficult situations. They want to see that you have the maturity, resilience, and capacity for growth to do well in med school.

In other words, medical schools are not  trying to start a competition to determine which students have experienced the greatest adversity in their lifetimes.

Rather, they want to know how you:

Manage stress

Attempt to resolve issues

Reflect on challenges

Apply learned lessons in your life

Adversity essay misconception 1: “Nothing really bad has ever happened to me. Neither my family members nor I have suffered a serious illness or death. I also did not overcome poverty or flee to America as a political refugee, etc.” 

Let’s say it again: this is not a competition, so it’s perfectly fine if you haven’t experienced an extreme challenge in your life. If you have, you’ll have an obvious topic to discuss, but a significant difficulty alone doesn’t make a great essay.

There are multiple ways to approach adversity essay prompts, including writing about:

Relatable life events (e.g., letting your best friend down, facing major criticism, making new friends after a big move)

Situations beyond your control (e.g., your parents’ divorce, a friend’s drug use).

Adversity essay misconception 2: “Fine. I was able to identify some challenges I’ve faced in life. It still doesn’t matter because none of them are significant enough!”

We get it. Medical school admission is a high stakes process, and you want to stand out in every part of your application.

Remember, however, that the best essays aren’t necessarily the ones with the greatest challenges or sob stories. It's your thoughtfulness and handling of those challenges that will set you apart.

To make this process easier, we ask students to create the following list of 3–4 challenges to help them choose a strong topic. Below we’ve also included a common topic as an example:

Challenge: Difficult academic adjustment from high school to college with corresponding drop in confidence and drive, as well as questioning fitness for medicine

Response: Acknowledged poor study habits and corrected them, humbly asked for help from faculty and classmates

Result: Sustained improvement in study habits and grades, developed mentorships with professors

Lesson: No shame in asking for guidance and help, better to strengthen weakness than rely on false confidence

Once you’ve listed some challenges and their aftermath, choose the one that demonstrates the greatest maturity, thoughtfulness, and growth. Transparency about your hardships and honesty about your growth help to write great essays. It’s also more than acceptable to discuss how you’re still a work in progress and mention the areas you’d like to continue improving on.

Medical school adversity essay example

I named my one-year-old beagle Fitch, after my favorite clothing store. That fact recurred through my mind as I shouted her name for hours at the break of dawn, wondering how I left the door open and where she could have gone. Was she attacked by roaming bands of coyotes? Killed in a hit-and-run? Lost in the desert mountains? I had raised and taken care of Fitch for years, and so I believed I was solely responsible for her loss and her safe return. Yet, my mother admonished me to not let guilt interfere with my judgments and to reach out for help. Therefore, I enlisted the support of the community, including friends, fellow dog owners, and neighbors, some of whom I had never met before, to find my pudgy, spotted beagle.

Over the next two days, this dedicated group helped me create flyers to post in nearby parks, organize teams for day and night searches, and send neighborhood-wide emails. It’s hard to be prepared for difficult situations like these, so between the sleepless nights and uneventful status updates, I found myself learning to be calm and patient like my neighbors, Bill and Susanna, encouraged me to be. Finally, on the third day, a biker found Fitch behind a dumpster, shivering beneath a pile of debris and branches. Although she was eventually safe, I would not be able to hold and feed her to this day had I not knocked on that first neighbor’s door, opening me up to both the physical and mental strength of the surrounding community.

Example “Why us?” essay prompts

Example 1:  “What makes LLUSM particularly attractive to you?” (Loma Linda University School of Medicine)

Example 2:  “Why have you chosen to apply to the Georgetown University School of Medicine and how do you think your education at Georgetown will prepare you to become a physician for the future?” ( Georgetown University School of Medicine )

“Why us?” essay background

These are everyone’s favorite prompts (we wish our sarcasm could jump through the screen).

The first step to writing an effective “Why us?” essay is to restrain yourself from writing about how great their medical school is or where it's located.

Glad that’s out of the way. Now consider why admissions committees want you to answer this question. After all, they know you’re applying to many other schools and that your GPA and MCAT scores are at least reasonably close to their admission averages.

(Suggested reading: How Many Medical Schools Should I Apply To? Which Ones? and Average GPA and MCAT Score for Every Medical School )

Admissions committees read thousands of essays annually and want to know that you’ve considered them for reasons beyond the obvious (location, prestige, average GPA and MCAT, etc.).

By integrating your qualities, experiences, and aspirations with their specific mission, programs, and resources, you will have a unique opportunity to demonstrate "fit" in your application. Don’t take this for granted!

“Why us?” essay misconception 1: “I should just read a school’s mission statement and research available resources on their website, and then rewrite the same information in essay form.”

The vast majority of students approach the “Why us?” essay this way, so it won’t make your response seem very special.

We basically see the expanded version of the following essay 90+ percent of the time:

I want to go to [School Name] because of their wonderful [program name] and incredible [resources]. {Program] cultivates [attribute] that helps their students become great physicians. In addition, [resources] provide support to help students reach their potential.

You should be able to see how this essay says nothing about why YOU want to go to their school.

Moreover, medical schools already know about all of the programs and resources they offer, so you wouldn’t be providing much value through writing solely about those offerings.

The better approach to this essay would be to look through schools’ websites to find programs and resources that actually interest you and to identify what each school keeps boasting about (e.g., perhaps they mention diversity or early clinical experience multiple times on their homepage). Then consider:

How YOUR experiences fit with their offerings

What YOU could contribute

How YOU would uniquely benefit from their program

For example, if a school focuses a lot on community service and you have similar experiences, mention that. In addition, let the school know how you want to further focus your skills while there. On the other hand, if you have a more research heavy background and are applying to the same school, you could either focus on research or discuss how community service will make you a more well-rounded physician. The more specific you can be, the better.

“Why us?” essay misconception 2: “There’s no other way to find out information about a medical school than by reading their site.”

Looking at a school’s website and demonstrating fit is certainly a tried-and-true approach to answering "Why us?" essay prompts, but it isn’t the only one.

To really impress admissions committees, you could integrate information from current students or recent alumni into your response. Ask these individuals whether they would be willing to share their experiences attending a particular school, and also whether you would be a good fit there given your background and goals.

How do you find these people? The easiest people to contact are those you know personally or through a mutual acquaintance. Otherwise, you could contact a school’s administrative staff and ask whether they could connect you to a current student. While this requires additional work, it will be well worth it for your top school preferences.

If you have to contact a stranger, use the following email template:

Dear [Student Name],

I hope this email finds you well. My name is [Your Name}, and I am currently completing my med school applications. I’m especially interested in attending [School Name] and am therefore hoping to get some more information about the program. [School Name]'s admissions committee gave me your email address as someone who could help me out.

I'd really appreciate it if you would spare 15-20 minutes to answer 3-5 quick questions in the upcoming days. If so, please let me know some days and times that are most convenient for you, your time zone, and the best number to reach you. I’ll do my best to accommodate.

Thanks for your time and consideration. Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

[Your Name]

Medical school “Why us?” essay example

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Throughout my undergrad years, I’ve found that working hard to involve myself with others and their unique perspectives is one of the most productive ways in which I can learn. For example, I used to believe that illnesses were just a set of tangible symptoms that resulted solely from maladaptive genes. However, after working closely with families in Boston's inner city, I have come to realize how racial, physical, and social factors, such as a lack of access to fresh produce or primary health services, can influence the likelihood of disease. As I obtained a broader understanding of the many factors that contribute to health, I find myself asking new questions and wanting to learn more. How can we properly assess a community’s needs and design appropriate solutions? How can an understanding of sociocultural factors be used to heal current patients and prevent new ones?

I believe that the answers to these questions and others will come from the Community Health Program at the University of Washington (UW). The year-round lecture series on topics, such as “Health Disparities: An Unequal World's Biggest Challenge,” will allow me to engage closely with faculty and students to work towards developing holistic community-based solutions. Furthermore, the UW PEERS clinic and Friends of UW provide an opportunity to work closely with urban Seattle neighborhoods similar to those I have worked with in Boston.

Having connected with a range of Boston families, varying in age, socioeconomic status, and ethnicity, I have improved my sense of self-awareness and cultural sensitivity, attributes I hope to continue developing with the surrounding Seattle community. I am confident that UW and the Community Health Program can further prepare me to be a physician who not only improves the lives of individual patients, but also addresses the needs of entire communities.

Example gap year essay prompts

Example 1:  If you are not attending college during the upcoming academic year, what are your plans? ( Weill Cornell Medical College )

Example 2:  If you have taken a gap year(s), please explain what you have been, or will be, doing since graduating from your undergrad institution. ( Baylor College of Medicine )

Gap year essay background

Essay prompts that ask about  gap years tend to be fairly straightforward. Given that the average age of med school matriculants is currently 24, these days, it’s more common than not for applicants to have taken one or more years off between undergrad and med school. 

If that describes you, here’s how to think about your gap year essay: medical schools simply want to know what you’ve been up to since graduation and how those activities have prepared you to succeed in med school and beyond.

To approach this essay, begin with the factual. Here are the questions you should try to address in your gap year essay:

What was your goal in taking a gap year?

What did you do during your gap year? Or, if you haven’t taken it yet, what are your plans? Be specific in regard to dates, durations, jobs worked, places traveled to, etc.

How did your gap year experiences enhance your preparedness for medical school, your future skill set as a physician, and enrich your point of view about the world and/or the healthcare field? In other words, what did you learn that you’ll carry with you into medicine?

Bonus points if you can also connect your gap year experience to a specific program or feature of the medical school you're applying to.

Gap year essay misconception 1: “My gap year was unrelated to medicine so I have nothing to write about.”

If you’ve spent your gap year engaged in something directly related to medicine—say you worked in a research lab or were employed as an EMT —it’s easy to argue that you’re better prepared for med school now than when you were right out of college. But what if you’ve spent your gap year doing something else? 

Even if your gap year experiences were non-medical in nature, you should still explain how they’ve helped you become a stronger med school candidate. 

For example, say your main goal in taking a gap year was to improve your MCAT score, and you spent the year studying for the test while supporting yourself through a bartending job. Not only would you want to talk about much you were able to improve your score, you’d also want to discuss the skills you gained from bartending that are relevant to being a physician, such as social skills, teamwork, and adaptability.

Gap year essay misconception 2: “Writing about how I took a gap year to become a better candidate will make me look bad.”

Sometimes applicants who took a gap year to improve their medical school application profile in some way (a better MCAT score, more clinical experience, completing prerequisites, etc.) worry that talking about this in their essays will make them come off as an underqualified candidate. 

This could not be further from the truth. In reality, so long as your time off has yielded meaningful results, medical schools will see your efforts as evidence that you’re resilient, mature, and working towards constant improvement. It doesn’t matter that you weren’t the ideal candidate straight out of college—what matters is that you’re ready for med school now. 

Medical school gap year essay example

After graduating from college in May, I moved to Mexico City in order to attend a Spanish language school full-time and volunteer on the weekends at a low-income women’s health clinic. My goals in taking a gap year have been to improve my Spanish language skills to fluency while gaining experience in an international health setting. 

I grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles and plan to return to the area after medical school. While I studied Spanish through the intermediate level in college, given that 45 percent of residents in the LA metropolitan area currently speak Spanish at home, I feel that advancing my Spanish skills beyond the conversational is critical to becoming the best healthcare provider that I can be to patients in LA.

Volunteering at the women’s clinic has also been illuminating. Not only has it accelerated my language acquisition, particularly in that it’s helped me pick up valuable Spanish medical vocabulary, it’s also opened my eyes to how many women do not have adequate access to prenatal care and routine preventative services like cervical cancer screenings. I know that these issues are not unique to Mexico; too many women face the same barriers in the United States. 

As the result of my gap year experiences, I am committed to providing compassionate care for all patients, especially those without financial resources or English fluency, and plan to work towards creating greater healthcare access for disadvantaged patients. I look forward to the opportunity to begin this work as a volunteer at Columbia’s student-run free clinics for vulnerable populations in New York City.

Over 90% of our students get into med school—the first time.

Example leadership essay prompts.

Example 1: “Describe your most unique leadership, entrepreneurial, or creative activity.” ( UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine )

Example 2: “The pillars of our curriculum are Leadership, Curiosity, and Commitment. Tell us about how you have embodied one or more of these attributes in your path to medicine thus far. In which of these areas do you see the most opportunity for personal growth and why?” (University of Colorado School of Medicine)

Example 3: Please describe your most meaningful leadership positions. ( Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons )

Leadership essay background

Medical schools are looking for students who are going to drive change in healthcare. They don’t want students who only want to be physicians; they want leaders, too. 

Why is leadership important in a medical context? There are several problems that plague the United States healthcare system today, including rising healthcare costs, inequities in access to care, racial discrimination in medicine, and more. Change begins with doctors—think of Paul Farmer, Vivek Murthy, and Atul Gawande. All of these doctors are leaders in their respective fields and have created structural change in specific areas of medicine, whether it was through research, writing, or policy. 

Medical schools want students who are going to make an effort to solve problems, like the aforementioned physicians. The leadership essay is an opportunity to show admissions committees that you have what it takes to make a difference by reflecting on your own experiences as a leader. 

Leadership essay misconception #1: “I haven’t had any experiences as a leader.”

One does not have to hold formal leadership positions to be considered a leader. For example, working as a teacher could be considered a leadership position even though a teacher might not have a formal title like “President” or “Treasurer.” Leadership could also entail taking care of a family elder or directing a group project. By reflecting on positions and scenarios in which you have made an impact and demonstrated initiative, you will likely find an example of your own leadership.

Of course, it is to your benefit if you have formal leadership positions—it means that someone thought you were worthy enough to be chosen for some sort of responsibility. But, if you don’t, that’s perfectly okay as well. The most important takeaway of this essay won’t necessarily be the status or level of the experience you describe—it’s what you learned and how you describe it.

Leadership essay misconception #2: “It is enough to just describe my leadership experiences and what I did in them.”

These essays are a place for you to reflect on your experiences as a leader and demonstrate what you’ve learned—simply describing your work isn’t going to cut it. 

The idea in this essay is to show growth. If you are applying to medical school, it goes without saying that you have a lot more to learn before you can become a practicing physician. This is true not only when it comes to medical and scientific knowledge, but also when it comes to the personal qualities necessary to be an effective doctor.

In this essay, you will want to discuss your past growth as a leader—highlighting this experience is how you can indicate to medical schools that you will continue to learn and develop as a leader on your road to becoming a physician. Therefore, your essay must be reflective: to discuss past growth, you must deeply analyze your own experiences.

Medical school leadership essay example

During my sophomore year of college, I was selected as the Executive Director of BerkeleyShelter, an undergraduate volunteer organization that operates a shelter for students experiencing houselessness. The next year, I founded HealthGroup, a nonprofit focused on increasing access to affordable medications for individuals with chronic conditions. From these activities, my understanding of what it means to be a leader has begun to change. At HealthGroup, we tried to drive change by drafting legislation, working with elected representatives, and launching campaigns to raise awareness about issues surrounding medication prices. As the founder, I took it upon myself to come up with a plan for other staff and members to follow. I thought it was my job as a leader to direct the organization’s work. But, initially, HealthGroup struggled to create any sort of tangible change in prescription medicine prices; there were too many obstacles generated by pre-existing problems within the American healthcare system. In fact, one year after HealthGroups’s conception, not much had changed. Of course, I wasn’t expecting to fix the healthcare system overnight, but I didn’t expect my efforts to have yielded so little. Before my senior year of college, I began to wonder how I could change HealthGroup: what could I do differently as the leader of the organization? I came to recognize that I hadn’t really given others an opportunity to share their own ideas—I had just assumed that I needed to run the group by myself. Maybe, as a leader, it wasn’t my job to single-handedly decide the organization’s direction but, rather, to create an environment where others could share their thoughts. Today, HealthGroup has written several bills that have created significant changes in prescription drug access—the results of a 40-person collaboration. 

Example “Anything else you’d like us to know?” essay prompts

Example 1:  Is there anything else you would like us to know? ( Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons )

Example 2:  Please share something about yourself that is not addressed elsewhere in your application that you feel might be helpful to our Admissions Committee. ( Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine )

“Anything else you’d like us to know?” essay background

The open-ended nature of “Anything else you’d like us to know?” essays tends to cause confusion for many applicants. Being invited to share anything you want can be intimidating!

The good news is that these types of essays allow you to highlight something about yourself that isn’t well represented elsewhere in your application, and you may even be able to use one of your pre-writes to do it.

There are two basic ways to approach “Anything else you’d like us to know?” essays:

You can submit one of the above pre-writes that hasn’t already been asked for. For example, say a medical school asks you for an “Anything else?” essay but not a “Why us?” essay. In that case, you could slot in your “Why us?” essay here. 

You can write a completely new essay— if time permits you to do it well. For applicants who choose this route, common topics include strengths that haven’t gotten much attention yet, such as:

Extensive volunteer work

A strong research background

Other impressive achievements or skills

If you decide to write a new essay, take care not to treat the space like a catch-all by simply listing a bunch of skills or experiences, which will make your response sound like a résumé rather than an essay. Instead, give your essay focus by first deciding what you want to communicate to adcoms (for instance, your research bona fides), and then choose a few related examples that can together create a through line towards medicine. Despite the vagueness of the “Anything else?” prompt, your essay should still make an argument.

Even if you choose to write about a strength that isn’t explicitly related to medicine, such as an artistic or athletic achievement, you’ll still want to draw a connection to how it has made you a better medical school candidate.

“Anything else you’d like us to know?” essay misconception 1: “I must answer this prompt even though it’s optional.”

“Anything else you’d like us to know?” essays are often optional, which leaves many applicants struggling to determine whether they should answer the question at all. Some applicants erroneously believe that they must answer it, no matter what.  

Our advice is to not force it. We generally consider these types of essays as falling somewhere between optional and required. 

If you have something to add that would help further differentiate you as an applicant, you should do so, and if you’re able to do this using a pre-write, even better. However, if submitting an essay here would seem completely forced, or if you aren’t able to use a pre-write and don’t have the time to commit to writing a new essay that’s high quality, it probably isn’t worth it. 

The bottom line is to always optimize for quality.

“Anything else you’d like us to know?” essay misconception 2: “Any unused pre-write will work here.”

In many cases, you will be able to take advantage of your unused pre-writes to answer “Anything else you’d like us to know?” prompts. However, before shuffling through your already-written essays, consider whether there indeed  is  something you want adcoms to know beyond what you've been able to communicate through AMCAS or secondaries. In other words, you should ask yourself if the pre-write you want to use adds anything meaningful to your candidacy. 

You also don't have to necessarily use your “best” secondary here. Instead, consider which of your answers will best  fit  with the remainder of your application to that school, based on what you've already written for them and what they're looking for in candidates.

Medical school “Anything else you’d like us to know?” essay example

On the first Sunday of every month, I leave the house at 5:30 AM, coffee in hand, so I can be among a group of 20 volunteers who greet a new group of “bully breed” dogs ready to find loving families. Despite being sensitive, loyal pets, these dogs face pervasive negative stereotypes of aggression that make them among the most vulnerable to abuse and euthanasia. Fortunately, the Paws Please rescue culls bully breeds from high-kill shelters in the greater Houston area to give them a second chance at adoption. 

I first became acquainted with Paws Please when my own family adopted an American Staffordshire Terrier, Mary, through them when I was 15. Mary quickly bounded her way into the center of our family, and as a teenager it deeply distressed me whenever I attempted to reconcile the joy she brought us with the fact that she’d come close to being put down. A year later, I decided that I would become a Paws Please volunteer in order to help save dogs like Mary. I began attending the monthly “homecoming day” when I was a junior in high school, and have continued this work through my four years at Rice. 

On homecoming day, every new dog receives grooming, vaccines, microchips, and more. For six years, it’s brought me immense gratification to provide these initial moments of care, sometimes for the first time in a dog’s life. While many dogs come from troubling situations and arrive frightened or in need of medical attention, being part of the experienced volunteer team has taught me a great deal about taking stressful or even upsetting moments in stride, not to mention making effective use of teamwork to “process” large numbers of dogs efficiently but with thoroughness and compassion. In fact, as I’ve completed shadowing hours, medical volunteer work, and other clinical experiences as a premed, I’ve frequently found myself leaning on skills that I first developed through Paws Please, and I believe that these experiences will help shape my competence as a physician. I’m grateful for what my work in animal rescue has taught me and for the chance to make a difference in these dogs’ lives.  

Example COVID essay prompts:

Example 1: “Describe how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted your pathway to medical school. Include any academic, personal, financial or professional barriers, as well as other relevant information.” ( UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine )

Example 2: “What have you done during the recent COVID-19 pandemic that will better prepare you to be a medical student and future physician?” (University of Miami Miller School of Medicine)

Example 3 : “More than a year after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, what do you believe are major needs in health care and how have your expectations for your role as a doctor changed?” (Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School)

COVID essay background

During the 2020–2021 application cycle, many medical schools added COVID secondary essay prompts—usually optional—that allowed applicants to discuss how the pandemic had impacted their applications.

Some med schools have continued to ask applicants to write about their pandemic experiences. However, a difference we’ve observed is that, compared with the 2020–2021 cycle, these essays were more frequently required during the 2021–2022 cycle. 

Most COVID essay prompts can be divided into the following categories, with some med schools asking for a combination of the two:

Prompts that ask you to explain how the pandemic has negatively affected your medical school applications. In these essays, you can discuss disruptions to your education, test taking, and extracurriculars, plus any relevant personal circumstances that prevented you from presenting your best self to adcoms.

Prompts in which you’re tasked with reflecting more broadly on the pandemic, whether that’s in the realm of personal challenges you’ve faced or medicine in general.

COVID essay misconception 1: “I should make excuses for everything that’s less than ideal about my application.” 

It’s likely that the pandemic has thrown plenty of obstacles in the way of your medical school applications, but that doesn’t mean they should all receive equal weight in your COVID essay.

Keep the following in mind, particularly when answering prompts that ask how COVID has affected your preparedness for medical school, and especially if those prompts are optional: the essays are meant to account for appreciable challenges to your application process, allowing you to be seen holistically. Med schools want to understand how you’ve been kept from putting your best foot forward.

“Appreciable challenges” will differ for everyone. For some applicants, they might include illness, the death of a loved one, or financial difficulties. For others, they might mean a lack of access to required extracurriculars, like shadowing or research, or fewer opportunities to take the MCAT.

Whatever circumstances affected you, we suggest trying not to lament relatively insignificant frustrations, like receiving a worse grade in a virtual class than you might have in person or having to complete an extracurricular online. If your essay reads like you’re looking for sympathy regarding something minor, you’ll risk seeming insensitive or out of touch.

That said, it’s fine to write that you found virtual learning challenging or that certain opportunities were unavailable to you. Pick the circumstances that affected you most, stick to the facts, and make sure to talk about how you adapted and what you learned, with the goal of showing that you’re still a strong applicant.

COVID essay misconception 2: “Nothing bad happened to me during the pandemic, so I have nothing to write.”

As we just mentioned, everyone’s pandemic experience has been different, and it’s certainly true that some people have been much more fortunate than others. Nevertheless, COVID has affected everyone, and to reiterate what we wrote in the adversity essay section earlier, it’s not a competition to see who’s suffered the most.

Even if you’ve been relatively fortunate during the pandemic, you can still write about your COVID experience if it’s required of you. Describe the ways that you were affected and what you did to meet those challenges. Again, the key is to remain factual rather than seem like you’re seeking pity for relatively minor inconveniences. It’s also okay to acknowledge that you’ve been fortunate.

Additionally, bear in mind that a COVID essay doesn’t inherently need to describe something difficult. If appropriate to the prompt, you can also discuss:

Unexpected events or silver linings of the pandemic

Ways you’ve changed, lessons you’ve learned, or perspectives you’ve gained

How the pandemic informed your views of medicine

COVID essay example

When my college campus closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19, just a few months before my graduation, the momentum I’d felt propelling me into the future was suddenly put on hold. Nevertheless, I recognized that I was fortunate in many ways, including as a student. Although transitioning to online classes was admittedly disorienting, I’d already completed the vast majority of my coursework in person, including all my premed requirements.

However, my post-graduation plans changed dramatically. I was set to take a gap year, during which time I’d planned to complete my medical school applications while working full-time in the genetics lab I’d been a part of for the past year. Because the lab shut down along with the rest of the university, my position was paused and then a few months later cancelled entirely. As a result of losing this additional research experience, I decided to delay applying to medical school for another year.

Looking for ways to stay busy and help others after graduating, I became a virtual volunteer with a domestic abuse crisis text hotline and an online MCAT tutor. After a few months of job searching, I also began working as an ER scribe in August 2020. Although an intense experience, it was deeply gratifying to work with patients during the pandemic, and my clinical knowledge increased rapidly.

In April 2021, I was invited to come back to the genetics lab, which had reopened months before with just a couple researchers. While I’m grateful that, improbably, I’m now able to complete the gap year I’d envisioned pre-pandemic, I also know that the unexpected experiences of the past 16 months have made me a better future physician and reinforced my certainty that medicine is a field I’m excited and proud to be a part of.

Final thoughts

Secondary applications will likely be one of the most time-consuming, stressful, and exhausting parts of your application process (the other is the medical school admission interview circuit if you’re fortunate to receive multiple invitations).

Nevertheless, you should give yourself some breaks to recharge so that you never rush submissions for the sake of rolling admissions and sacrifice quality.

Like every other piece of written material you submit, aim not only to answer the prompt, but also to give admissions committees deeper insights into what makes YOU so great for their school specifically.

medical school covid essay examples

About the Author

Dr. Shirag Shemmassian is the Founder of Shemmassian Academic Consulting and one of the world's foremost experts on medical school admissions. For nearly 20 years, he and his team have helped thousands of students get into medical school using his exclusive approach.

Enjoyed this article? Get the FREE, 102-page  guide we use to help over 90% of our students get into med school—the first time.

Get into medical school: 6 practical lessons to stand out and earn your white coat.

Below is a list of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) we receive about medical school secondary essays that are not answered in this guide.

We encourage you to ask any other questions you have about secondary essays in the comments section below. We’ll make sure to answer your questions within 24 hours and add some of them to this FAQ section to make it easier for other students to find this information.

When should I expect to receive secondary applications?

Once you certify and submit your primary application and AMCAS receives your official transcripts, they begin verifying your application. You will receive your secondary applications after AMCAS completes verification and releases your primary applications to medical schools.

Because the verification process can take several weeks, it's important to submit your primary application as soon as possible after AMCAS opens submission on June 1. Students who submit AMCAS in early June can expect to begin receiving their secondary applications in late June to early July, positioning themselves to take full advantage of rolling admissions.

Note: Some DO schools send out secondaries as early as mid- to late-June.

(Further reading: The Ideal Medical School Application Timeline )

Will all medical schools send me a secondary application?

The majority will. However, whereas most schools send secondary applications without screening your primary application, some competitive schools will screen. You may experience a slight delay in receiving secondary applications from schools that screen.

How soon after receiving a secondary application should I aim to submit it?

As soon as possible, without sacrificing quality. While you should aim to submit secondaries within two weeks after receiving them, this is not required and you should never forfeit essay quality to do so. Many students believe there is a two-week “rule,” but very few schools actually expect the secondary to come back within two weeks. Moreover, the schools that have this expectation will make this explicit. In the grand scheme, a few days to a week later won’t make a huge difference.

Is it really a good idea to pre-write secondary essays? What if a school changes their secondary prompts during my admissions cycle?

Yes, you should absolutely pre-write secondary essays whenever possible because medical schools rarely change their prompts. In the event that a medical school does  change their prompt, you'll likely be able to recycle your already-written essay for other schools.

Are “optional” essays really optional?

Yes. You should only answer an optional prompt when you have appropriate information to discuss. Forced responses will annoy admissions committees and can cast a negative light on the rest of your application.

Which secondaries should I work on first?

We recommend prioritizing your target schools, and specifically those that have the longest secondaries (so you can recycle more material for future applications) and those that you're most interested in attending. (so you can maximize the rolling admissions process at those institutions)

Enjoyed this article? Get the FREE  guide we use to help over 90% of our students get into med school—the first time.

Student Doctor Network

Addressing COVID-19 in Application Essays

Last Updated on June 22, 2022 by Laura Turner

This application cycle, many healthcare professional school applications have been affected by COVID-19. Many professions have dropped official transcript requirements, altered the interview process, and changed the requirements for prerequisite coursework. Notably, many future healthcare professionals are also being asked to respond to essay questions about the virus and how they have been impacted. For example,  pre-physical therapists and  pre-dental students  have a new, optional COVID-19 application essay asking how they’ve been affected personally, professionally, and educationally by the virus. Conspicuously, the AMCAS for  premedical students  does not ask such a question. Many schools are also including similar prompts in their supplementary application materials . 

As someone who reads a lot of application essays through my work as an editor, I encounter many applicants who are wondering how best to approach these questions, or if they should answer them at all. My thoughts are shaped, in part, by conversations I’ve had with some of my former physical therapy professors and other colleagues who teach. 

They mention students whose lives have been gravely affected by the virus: students who are caring for sick parents, vulnerable students who have been forced to abruptly live alone to avoid getting sick, students who can’t attend their online classes because they suddenly have to work to support family members who lost jobs during the pandemic. These professors clearly feel for their students and are doing as much as they can to ease their burdens while dealing with their own challenging situations due to the virus. 

I’ve also spoken to applicants who have had all of their shadowing hours cut, or couldn’t take the GRE at home due to unstable internet connections. After years of hard work, these students are wondering whether they’ll even be able to apply to graduate school this year.

It goes without saying that healthcare professionals all over the world have encountered other devastating effects of the virus personally and professionally. Therefore, it rubs me the wrong way when I read essays whose writers announce they miss seeing their friends during quarantine or found online courses annoying.

There’s no doubt that everyone has been affected in some aspect by the virus or quarantine, but we haven’t all been affected the same way. When an applicant complains about such trivial matters, it may come off as insensitive and ignorant. I suspect the admissions committees made up of professors dealing with students and colleagues in crisis will feel the same way. After all, there’s a large difference between saying, “I missed hanging out with my friends during my last semester of college” versus stating, “the isolation made my depression so bad I couldn’t get out of bed.”

How to address a COVID-19 application essay

So, what is my advice for tackling this new aspect of the application?

If you haven’t been significantly affected by the virus and aren’t required to complete one of the essays, don’t write it. 

If, however, the essay is obligatory, or you’re worried about being the only one not to answer the question, here are some things to keep in mind:

Obviously, this COVID-19 application essay is new for everyone, so no one has experience with it. Applicants haven’t had to answer these questions previously, and application committees have never had to read these essays. At the end of the day, you have to approach this part of the application doing what feels right to you. All healthcare professionals face hardships and deal with unknowns, and the good ones are the ones who figure out how best to deal with these challenges. 

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2 Med School Essays That Admissions Officers Loved

Here are tips on writing a medical school personal statement and examples of essays that stood out.

2 Great Med School Personal Statements

Medical student studies notes

A compelling medical school admissions essay can address nearly any topic the applicant is interested in, as long as it conveys the applicant's personality. (Getty Images)

A personal statement is often a pivotal factor in medical school admissions decisions.

"The essay really can cause me to look more deeply at the entire application," Dr. Stephen Nicholas, former senior associate dean of admissions with the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons , told U.S. News in 2017. "So I do think it's pretty important."

A compelling medical school admissions essay can address nearly any topic the applicant is interested in, as long as it conveys the applicant's personality, according to Dr. Barbara Kazmierczak, director of the M.D.-Ph.D. Program and a professor of medicine and microbial pathogenesis with the Yale School of Medicine.

“The passion that the writer is bringing to this topic tells us about the individual rather than the topic that they’re describing, and the essay is the place for us to learn about the applicant – who they are and what experiences have brought them to this point of applying to medical school,” she told U.S. News in 2017.

Rachel Rudeen, former admissions coordinator for the University of Minnesota Medical School , says personal statements help medical schools determine whether applicants have the character necessary to excel as a doctor. "Grit is something we really look for," she says.

Evidence of humility and empathy , Rudeen adds, are also pluses.

Why Medical Schools Care About Personal Statements

The purpose of a personal statement is to report the events that inspired and prepared a premed to apply to medical school, admissions experts say. This personal essay helps admissions officers figure out whether a premed is ready for med school, and it also clarifies whether a premed has a compelling rationale for attending med school, these experts explain.

When written well, a medical school personal statement conveys a student's commitment to medicine and injects humanity into an admissions process that might otherwise feel cold and impersonal, according to admissions experts.

Glen Fogerty, associate dean of admissions and recruitment with the medical school at the University of Arizona—Phoenix , put it this way in an email: "To me, the strongest personal statements are the ones that share a personal connection. One where a candidate shares a specific moment, the spark that ignited their passion to become a physician or reaffirmed why they chose medicine as a career."

Dr. Viveta Lobo, an emergency medicine physician with the Stanford University School of Medicine in California who often mentors premeds, says the key thing to know about a personal statement is that it must indeed be personal, so it needs to reveal something meaningful. The essay should not be a dry piece of writing; it should make the reader feel for the author, says Lobo, director of academic conferences and continuing medical education with the emergency medicine department at Stanford.

A great personal statement has an emotional impact and "will 'do' something, not just 'say' something," Lobo wrote in an email. Admissions officers "read hundreds of essays – so before you begin, think of how yours will stand out, be unique and different," Lobo suggests.

How to Write a Personal Statement for Medical School

Lobo notes that an outstanding personal statement typically includes all of the following ingredients:

"You should sound excited, and that passion should come through in your writing," Lobo explains.

A personal statement should tie together an applicant's past, present and future by explaining how previous experiences have led to this point and outlining long-term plans to contribute to the medical profession, Lobo said during a phone interview. Medical school admissions officers want to understand not only where an applicant has been but also the direction he or she is going, Lobo added.

When premeds articulate a vision of how they might assist others and improve society through the practice of medicine, it suggests that they aren't self-serving or simply interested in the field because of its prestige, Lobo says. It's ideal when premeds can eloquently describe a noble mission, she explains.

Elisabeth Fassas, author of "Making Pre-Med Count: Everything I Wish I'd Known Before Applying (Successfully) to Medical School," says premeds should think about the doctors they admire and reflect on why they admire them. Fassas, a first-year medical student at the University of Maryland , suggests pondering the following questions:

Fassas notes that many of the possible essay topics a med school hopeful can choose are subjects that other premeds can also discuss, such as a love of science. However, aspiring doctors can make their personal statements unique by articulating the lessons they learned from their life experiences, she suggests.

Prospective medical students need to clarify why medicine is a more suitable calling for them than other caring professions, health care fields and science careers, Fassas notes. They should demonstrate awareness of the challenges inherent in medicine and explain why they want to become doctors despite those difficulties, she says.

Tips on Crafting an Excellent Medical School Personal Statement

The first step toward creating an outstanding personal statement, Fassas says, is to create a list of significant memories. Premeds should think about which moments in their lives mattered the most and then identify the two or three stories that are definitely worth sharing.

Dr. Demicha Rankin, associate dean for admissions at the Ohio State University College of Medicine , notes that a personal statement should offer a compelling portrait of a person and should not be "a regurgitation of their CV."

The most outstanding personal statements are the ones that present a multifaceted perspective of the applicant by presenting various aspects of his or her identity, says Rankin, an associate professor of anesthesiology.

For example, a premed who was a swimmer might explain how the discipline necessary for swimming is analogous to the work ethic required to become a physician, Rankin says. Likewise, a pianist or another type of musician applying to medical school could convey how the listening skills and instrument-tuning techniques cultivated in music could be applicable in medicine, she adds.

Rankin notes that it's apparent when a premed has taken a meticulous approach to his or her personal statement to ensure that it flows nicely, and she says a fine essay is akin to a "well-woven fabric." One sign that a personal statement has been polished is when a theme that was explored at the beginning of the essay is also mentioned at the end, Rankin says, explaining that symmetry between an essay's introduction and conclusion makes the essay seem complete.

Rankin notes that the author of an essay might not see flaws in his or her writing that are obvious to others, so it's important for premeds to show their personal statement to trusted advisers and get honest feedback. That's one reason it's important to begin the writing process early enough to give yourself sufficient time to organize your thoughts, Rankin says, adding that a minimum of four weeks is typically necessary.

Mistakes to Avoid in a Medical School Personal Statement

One thing premeds should never do in an admissions essay is beg, experts say. Rankin says requests of any type – including a plea for an admissions interview – do not belong in a personal statement. Another pitfall to avoid, Rankin says, is ranting about controversial political subjects such as the death penalty or abortion.

If premeds fail to closely proofread their personal statement, the essay could end up being submitted with careless errors such as misspellings and grammar mistakes that could easily have been fixed, according to experts. Crafting a compelling personal statement typically necessitates multiple revisions, so premeds who skimp on revising might wind up with sloppy essays, some experts say.

However, when fine-tuning their personal statements, premeds should not automatically change their essays based on what others say, Fogerty warns.

"A common mistake on personal statements is having too many people review your statement, they make recommendations, you accept all of the changes and then – in the end – the statement is no longer your voice," Fogerty wrote in an email. It's essential that a personal statement sound like the applicant and represent who he or she is as a person, Fogerty says.

Dr. Nicholas Jones, a Georgia-based plastic and reconstructive surgeon, says the worst error that someone can make in the personal statement is to be inauthentic or deceptive.

"Do not lie. Do not fabricate," he warns.

Jones adds that premeds should not include a story in their personal statement that they are not comfortable discussing in-depth during a med school admissions interview . "If it's something too personal or you're very emotional and you don't want to talk about that, then don't put it in a statement."

Medical School Personal Statement Examples

Here are two medical school admissions essays that made a strong, positive impression on admissions officers. The first is from Columbia and the second is from the University of Minnesota. These personal statements are annotated with comments from admissions officers explaining what made these essays stand out.

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Writing about COVID-19 in a college admission essay

by: Venkates Swaminathan | Updated: September 14, 2020

Print article

Writing about COVID-19 in your college admission essay

For students applying to college using the CommonApp, there are several different places where students and counselors can address the pandemic’s impact. The different sections have differing goals. You must understand how to use each section for its appropriate use.

The CommonApp COVID-19 question

First, the CommonApp this year has an additional question specifically about COVID-19 :

Community disruptions such as COVID-19 and natural disasters can have deep and long-lasting impacts. If you need it, this space is yours to describe those impacts. Colleges care about the effects on your health and well-being, safety, family circumstances, future plans, and education, including access to reliable technology and quiet study spaces. Please use this space to describe how these events have impacted you.

This question seeks to understand the adversity that students may have had to face due to the pandemic, the move to online education, or the shelter-in-place rules. You don’t have to answer this question if the impact on you wasn’t particularly severe. Some examples of things students should discuss include:

Jeff Schiffman of the Tulane University admissions office has a blog about this section. He recommends students ask themselves several questions as they go about answering this section:

If you do answer this section, be brief and to-the-point.

Counselor recommendations and school profiles

Second, counselors will, in their counselor forms and school profiles on the CommonApp, address how the school handled the pandemic and how it might have affected students, specifically as it relates to:

Students don’t have to mention these matters in their application unless something unusual happened.

Writing about COVID-19 in your main essay

Write about your experiences during the pandemic in your main college essay if your experience is personal, relevant, and the most important thing to discuss in your college admission essay. That you had to stay home and study online isn’t sufficient, as millions of other students faced the same situation. But sometimes, it can be appropriate and helpful to write about something related to the pandemic in your essay. For example:

Experiences like this can be good topics for the CommonApp essay as long as they reflect something genuinely important about the student. For many students whose lives have been shaped by this pandemic, it can be a critical part of their college application.

Want more? Read 6 ways to improve a college essay , What the &%$! should I write about in my college essay , and Just how important is a college admissions essay? .

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Sample Medical School Essays

Applying to medical school is an exciting decision, but the application process is very competitive. This means when it comes to your application you need to ensure you’ve put your best foot forward and done everything you can to stand out from other applicants. One great way to provide additional information on why you have decided to pursue a career in medicine and why you’re qualified, is your medical school essay. Read these samples to get a good idea on how you can write your own top-notch essay.

This section contains five sample medical school essays

Medical School Essay One

When I was twelve years old, a drunk driver hit the car my mother was driving while I was in the backseat. I have very few memories of the accident, but I do faintly recall a serious but calming face as I was gently lifted out of the car. The paramedic held my hand as we traveled to the hospital. I was in the hospital for several weeks and that same paramedic came to visit me almost every day. During my stay, I also got to know the various doctors and nurses in the hospital on a personal level. I remember feeling anxiety about my condition, but not sadness or even fear. It seemed to me that those around me, particularly my family, were more fearful of what might happen to me than I was. I don’t believe it was innocence or ignorance, but rather a trust in the abilities of my doctors. It was as if my doctors and I had a silent bond. Now that I’m older I fear death and sickness in a more intense way than I remember experiencing it as a child. My experience as a child sparked a keen interest in how we approach pediatric care, especially as it relates to our psychological and emotional support of children facing serious medical conditions. It was here that I experienced first-hand the power and compassion of medicine, not only in healing but also in bringing unlikely individuals together, such as adults and children, in uncommon yet profound ways. And it was here that I began to take seriously the possibility of becoming a pediatric surgeon.

My interest was sparked even more when, as an undergraduate, I was asked to assist in a study one of my professors was conducting on how children experience and process fear and the prospect of death. This professor was not in the medical field; rather, her background is in cultural anthropology. I was very honored to be part of this project at such an early stage of my career. During the study, we discovered that children face death in extremely different ways than adults do. We found that children facing fatal illnesses are very aware of their condition, even when it hasn’t been fully explained to them, and on the whole were willing to fight their illnesses, but were also more accepting of their potential fate than many adults facing similar diagnoses. We concluded our study by asking whether and to what extent this discovery should impact the type of care given to children in contrast to adults. I am eager to continue this sort of research as I pursue my medical career. The intersection of medicine, psychology, and socialization or culture (in this case, the social variables differentiating adults from children) is quite fascinating and is a field that is in need of better research.

Although much headway has been made in this area in the past twenty or so years, I feel there is a still a tendency in medicine to treat diseases the same way no matter who the patient is. We are slowly learning that procedures and drugs are not always universally effective. Not only must we alter our care of patients depending upon these cultural and social factors, we may also need to alter our entire emotional and psychological approach to them as well.

It is for this reason that I’m applying to the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, as it has one of the top programs for pediatric surgery in the country, as well as several renowned researchers delving into the social, generational, and cultural questions in which I’m interested. My approach to medicine will be multidisciplinary, which is evidenced by the fact that I’m already double-majoring in early childhood psychology and pre-med, with a minor in cultural anthropology. This is the type of extraordinary care that I received as a child—care that seemed to approach my injuries with a much larger and deeper picture than that which pure medicine cannot offer—and it is this sort of care I want to provide my future patients. I turned what might have been a debilitating event in my life—a devastating car accident—into the inspiration that has shaped my life since. I am driven and passionate. And while I know that the pediatric surgery program at Johns Hopkins will likely be the second biggest challenge I will face in my life, I know that I am up for it. I am ready to be challenged and prove to myself what I’ve been telling myself since that fateful car accident: I will be a doctor.

Tips for a Successful Medical School Essay

Medical School Essay Two

If you had told me ten years ago that I would be writing this essay and planning for yet another ten years into the future, part of me would have been surprised. I am a planner and a maker of to-do lists, and it has always been my plan to follow in the steps of my father and become a physician. This plan was derailed when I was called to active duty to serve in Iraq as part of the War on Terror.

I joined the National Guard before graduating high school and continued my service when I began college. My goal was to receive training that would be valuable for my future medical career, as I was working in the field of emergency health care. It was also a way to help me pay for college. When I was called to active duty in Iraq for my first deployment, I was forced to withdraw from school, and my deployment was subsequently extended. I spent a total of 24 months deployed overseas, where I provided in-the-field medical support to our combat troops. While the experience was invaluable not only in terms of my future medical career but also in terms of developing leadership and creative thinking skills, it put my undergraduate studies on hold for over two years. Consequently, my carefully-planned journey towards medical school and a medical career was thrown off course. Thus, while ten-year plans are valuable, I have learned from experience how easily such plans can dissolve in situations that are beyond one’s control, as well as the value of perseverance and flexibility.

Eventually, I returned to school. Despite my best efforts to graduate within two years, it took me another three years, as I suffered greatly from post-traumatic stress disorder following my time in Iraq. I considered abandoning my dream of becoming a physician altogether, since I was several years behind my peers with whom I had taken biology and chemistry classes before my deployment. Thanks to the unceasing encouragement of my academic advisor, who even stayed in contact with me when I was overseas, I gathered my strength and courage and began studying for the MCAT. To my surprise, my score was beyond satisfactory and while I am several years behind my original ten-year plan, I am now applying to Brown University’s School of Medicine.

I can describe my new ten-year plan, but I will do so with both optimism and also caution, knowing that I will inevitably face unforeseen complications and will need to adapt appropriately. One of the many insights I gained as a member of the National Guard and by serving in war-time was the incredible creativity medical specialists in the Armed Forces employ to deliver health care services to our wounded soldiers on the ground. I was part of a team that was saving lives under incredibly difficult circumstances—sometimes while under heavy fire and with only the most basic of resources. I am now interested in how I can use these skills to deliver health care in similar circumstances where basic medical infrastructure is lacking. While there is seemingly little in common between the deserts of Fallujah and rural Wyoming, where I’m currently working as a volunteer first responder in a small town located more than 60 miles from the nearest hospital, I see a lot of potential uses for the skills that I gained as a National Guardsman. As I learned from my father, who worked with Doctors Without Borders for a number of years, there is quite a bit in common between my field of knowledge from the military and working in post-conflict zones. I feel I have a unique experience from which to draw as I embark on my medical school journey, experiences that can be applied both here and abroad.

In ten years’ time, I hope to be trained in the field of emergency medicine, which, surprisingly, is a specialization that is actually lacking here in the United States as compared to similarly developed countries. I hope to conduct research in the field of health care infrastructure and work with government agencies and legislators to find creative solutions to improving access to emergency facilities in currently underserved areas of the United States, with an aim towards providing comprehensive policy reports and recommendations on how the US can once again be the world leader in health outcomes. While the problems inherent in our health care system are not one-dimensional and require a dynamic approach, one of the solutions as I see it is to think less in terms of state-of-the-art facilities and more in terms of access to primary care. Much of the care that I provide as a first responder and volunteer is extremely effective and also relatively cheap. More money is always helpful when facing a complex social and political problem, but we must think of solutions above and beyond more money and more taxes. In ten years I want to be a key player in the health care debate in this country and offering innovative solutions to delivering high quality and cost-effective health care to all our nation’s citizens, especially to those in rural and otherwise underserved areas.

Of course, my policy interests do not replace my passion for helping others and delivering emergency medicine. As a doctor, I hope to continue serving in areas of the country that, for one reason or another, are lagging behind in basic health care infrastructure. Eventually, I would also like to take my knowledge and talents abroad and serve in the Peace Corps or Doctors Without Borders.

In short, I see the role of physicians in society as multifunctional: they are not only doctors who heal, they are also leaders, innovators, social scientists, and patriots. Although my path to medical school has not always been the most direct, my varied and circuitous journey has given me a set of skills and experiences that many otherwise qualified applicants lack. I have no doubt that the next ten years will be similarly unpredictable, but I can assure you that no matter what obstacles I face, my goal will remain the same. I sincerely hope to begin the next phase of my journey at Brown University. Thank you for your kind attention.

Additional Tips for a Successful Medical School Essay

Medical School Essay Three

The roots of my desire to become a physician are, thankfully, not around the bedside of a sick family member or in a hospital, but rather on a 10-acre plot of land outside of a small town in Northwest Arkansas. I loved raising and exhibiting cattle, so every morning before the bus arrived at 7 a.m. I was in the barn feeding, checking cattle for any health issues and washing the show heifers. These early mornings and my experiences on a farm not only taught me the value of hard work, but ignited my interest in the body, albeit bovine at the time. It was by a working chute that I learned the functions of reproductive hormones as we utilized them for assisted reproduction and artificial insemination; it was by giving vaccinations to prevent infection that I learned about bacteria and the germ theory of disease; it was beside a stillborn calf before the sun had risen that I was exposed to the frailty of life.

Facing the realities of disease and death daily from an early age, I developed a strong sense of pragmatism out of necessity. There is no place for abstractions or euphemisms about life and death when treating a calf’s pneumonia in the pouring rain during winter. Witnessing the sometimes harsh realities of life on a farm did not instill within me an attitude of jaded inevitability of death. Instead, it germinated a responsibility to protect life to the best of my abilities, cure what ailments I can and alleviate as much suffering as possible while recognizing that sometimes nothing can be done.

I first approached human health at the age of nine through beef nutrition and food safety. Learning the roles of nutrients such as zinc, iron, protein and B-vitamins in the human body as well as the dangers of food-borne illness through the Beef Ambassador program shifted my interest in the body to a new species. Talking with consumers about every facet of the origins of food, I realized that the topics that most interested me were those that pertained to human health. In college, while I connected with people over samples of beef and answered their questions, I also realized that it is not enough simply to have adequate knowledge. Ultimately knowledge is of little use if it is not digestible to those who receive it. So my goal as a future clinical physician is not only to illuminate the source of an affliction and provide treatment for patients, but take care to ensure the need for understanding by both patient and family is met.

I saw this combination of care and understanding while volunteering in an emergency room, where I was also exposed to other aspects and players in the medical field. While assisting a nurse perform a bladder scan and witnessing technicians carry out an echocardiogram or CT scan, I learned the important roles that other professionals who do not wear white coats have in today’s medical field. Medicine is a team sport, and coordinating the efforts of each of these players is crucial for the successful execution of patient care. It is my goal to serve as the leader of this healthcare unit and unify a team of professionals to provide the highest quality care for patients. Perhaps most importantly my time at the VA showed me the power a smile and an open ear can have with people. On the long walk to radiology, talking with patients about their military service and families always seemed to take their mind off the reason for their visit, if only for a few minutes. This served as a reminder that we are helping people with pasts and dreams, rather than simply remedying patients’ symptoms.

Growing up in a small town, I never held aspirations of world travel when I was young. But my time abroad revealed to me the state of healthcare in developing countries and fostered a previously unknown interest in global health. During my first trip abroad to Ghana, my roommate became ill with a severe case of traveler’s diarrhea. In the rural north of the country near the Sahara, the options for healthcare were limited; he told me how our professor was forced to bribe employees to bypass long lines and even recounted how doctors took a bag of saline off the line of another patient to give to him. During a service trip to a rural community in Nicaragua, I encountered patients with preventable and easily treatable diseases that, due to poverty and lack of access, were left untreated for months or years at a time. I was discouraged by the state of healthcare in these countries and wondered what could be done to help. I plan to continue to help provide access to healthcare in rural parts of developing countries, and hopefully as a physician with an agricultural background I can approach public health and food security issues in a multifaceted and holistic manner.

My time on a cattle farm taught me how to work hard to pursue my interests, but also fueled my appetite for knowledge about the body and instilled within me a firm sense of practicality. Whether in a clinic, operating room or pursuing public and global health projects, I plan to bring this work ethic and pragmatism to all of my endeavors. My agricultural upbringing has produced a foundation of skills and values that I am confident will readily transplant into my chosen career. Farming is my early passion, but medicine is my future.

Medical School Essay Four

I am a white, cisgender, and heterosexual female who has been afforded many privileges: I was raised by parents with significant financial resources, I have traveled the world, and I received top-quality high school and college educations. I do not wish to be addressed or recognized in any special way; all I ask is to be treated with respect.

As for my geographic origin, I was born and raised in the rural state of Maine. Since graduating from college, I have been living in my home state, working and giving back to the community that has given me so much. I could not be happier here; I love the down-to-earth people, the unhurried pace of life, and the easy access to the outdoors. While I am certainly excited to move elsewhere in the country for medical school and continue to explore new places, I will always self-identify as a Mainer as being from Maine is something I take great pride in. I am proud of my family ties to the state (which date back to the 1890’s), I am proud of the state’s commitment to preserving its natural beauty, and I am particularly proud of my slight Maine accent (we don’t pronounce our r’s). From the rocky coastline and rugged ski mountains to the locally-grown food and great restaurants, it is no wonder Maine is nicknamed, "Vacationland.” Yet, Maine is so much more than just a tourist destination. The state is dotted with wonderful communities in which to live, communities like the one where I grew up.

Perhaps not surprisingly, I plan to return to Maine after residency. I want to raise a family and establish my medical practice here. We certainly could use more doctors! Even though Maine is a terrific place to live, the state is facing a significant doctor shortage. Today, we are meeting less than half of our need for primary care providers. To make matters worse, many of our physicians are close to retirement age. Yet, according to the AAMC, only 53 Maine residents matriculated into medical school last year! Undoubtedly, Maine is in need of young doctors who are committed to working long term in underserved areas. As my primary career goal is to return to my much adored home state and do my part to help fill this need, I have a vested interest in learning more about rural medicine during medical school.

I was raised in Cumberland, Maine, a coastal town of 7,000 just north of Portland. With its single stoplight and general store (where it would be unusual to visit without running into someone you know), Cumberland is the epitome of a small New England town. It truly was the perfect place to grow up. According to the most recent census, nearly a third of the town’s population is under 18 and more than 75% of households contain children, two statistics which speak to the family-centric nature of Cumberland’s community. Recently rated Maine's safest town, Cumberland is the type of place where you allow your kindergartener to bike alone to school, leave your house unlocked while at work, and bring home-cooked food to your sick neighbors and their children. Growing up in such a safe, close-knit, and supportive community instilled in me the core values of compassion, trustworthiness, and citizenship. These three values guide me every day and will continue to guide me through medical school and my career in medicine.

As a medical student and eventual physician, my compassion will guide me to become a provider who cares for more than just the physical well-being of my patients. I will also commit myself to my patients’ emotional, spiritual, and social well-being and make it a priority to take into account the unique values and beliefs of each patient. By also demonstrating my trustworthiness during every encounter, I will develop strong interpersonal relationships with those whom I serve. As a doctor once wisely said, “A patient does not care how much you know until he knows how much you care.”

My citizenship will guide me to serve my community and to encourage my classmates and colleagues to do the same. We will be taught in medical school to be healers, scientists, and educators. I believe that, in addition, as students and as physicians, we have the responsibility to use our medical knowledge, research skills, and teaching abilities to benefit more than just our patients. We must also commit ourselves to improving the health and wellness of those living in our communities by participating in public events (i.e by donating our medical services), lobbying for better access to healthcare for the underprivileged, and promoting wellness campaigns. As a medical student and eventual physician, my compassion, trustworthiness, and citizenship will drive me to improve the lives of as many individuals as I can.

Cumberland instilled in me important core values and afforded me a wonderful childhood. However, I recognize that my hometown is not perfect. For one, the population is shockingly homogenous, at least as far as demographics go. As of the 2010 census, 97.2% of the residents of Cumberland were white. Only 4.1% of residents speak a language other than English at home and even fewer were born in another country. Essentially everybody who identified with a religion identified as some denomination of Christian. My family was one of maybe five Jewish families in the town. Additionally, nearly all the town’s residents graduated from high school (98.1%), are free of disability (93.8%), and live above the poverty line (95.8%). Efforts to attract diverse families to Cumberland is one improvement that I believe would make the community a better place in which to live. Diversity in background (and in thought) is desirable in any community as living, learning, and working alongside diverse individuals helps us develop new perspectives, enhances our social development, provides us with a larger frame of reference, and improves our understanding of our place in society.

Medical School Essay Five

“How many of you received the flu vaccine this year?” I asked my Bricks 4 Kidz class, where I volunteer to teach elementary students introductory science and math principles using Lego blocks. “What’s a flu vaccine?” they asked in confusion. Surprised, I briefly explained the influenza vaccine and its purpose for protection. My connection to children and their health extends to medical offices, clinics and communities where I have gained experience and insight into medicine, confirming my goal of becoming a physician.

My motivation to pursue a career in medicine developed when my mother, who was diagnosed with Lupus, underwent a kidney transplant surgery and suffered multiple complications. I recall the fear and anxiety I felt as a child because I misunderstood her chronic disease. This prompted me to learn more about the science of medicine. In high school, I observed patients plagued with acute and chronic kidney disease while briefly exploring various fields of medicine through a Mentorship in Medicine summer program at my local hospital. In addition to shadowing nephrologists in a hospital and clinical setting, I scrubbed into the operating room, viewed the radiology department, celebrated the miracle of birth in the delivery room, and quietly observed a partial autopsy in pathology. I saw many patients confused about their diagnoses. I was impressed by the compassion of the physicians and the time they took to reassure and educate their patients.

Further experiences in medicine throughout and after college shaped a desire to practice in underserved areas. While coloring and reading with children in the patient area at a Family Health Center, I witnessed family medicine physicians diligently serve patients from low-income communities. On a medical/dental mission trip to the Philippines, I partnered with local doctors to serve and distribute medical supplies to rural schools and communities. At one impoverished village, I held a malnourished two-year old boy suffering from cerebral palsy and cardiorespiratory disease. His family could not afford to take him to the nearest pediatrician, a few hours away by car, for treatment. Overwhelmed, I cried as we left the village. Many people were suffering through pain and disease due to limited access to medicine. But this is not rare; there are many people suffering due to inadequate access/accessibility around the world, even in my hometown. One physician may not be able to change the status of underserved communities, however, one can alleviate some of the suffering.

Dr. X, my mentor and supervisor, taught me that the practice of medicine is both a science and an art. As a medical assistant in a pediatric office, I am learning about the patient-physician relationship and the meaningful connection with people that medicine provides. I interact with patients and their families daily. Newborn twins were one of the first patients I helped, and I look forward to seeing their development at successive visits. A young boy who endured a major cardiac surgery was another patient I connected with, seeing his smiling face in the office often as he transitioned from the hospital to his home. I also helped many excited, college-bound teenagers with requests for medical records in order to matriculate. This is the art of medicine – the ability to build relationships with patients and have an important and influential role in their lives, from birth to adulthood and beyond.

In addition, medicine encompasses patient-centered care, such as considering and addressing concerns. While taking patient vitals, I grew discouraged when parents refused the influenza vaccine and could not understand their choices. With my experience in scientific research, I conducted an informal yet insightful study. Over one hundred families were surveyed about their specific reasons for refusing the flu vaccine. I sought feedback on patients’ level of understanding about vaccinations and its interactions with the human immune system. Through this project, I learned the importance of understanding patient’s concerns in order to reassure them through medicine. I also learned the value of communicating with patients, such as explaining the purpose of a recommended vaccine. I hope to further this by attending medical school to become a physician focused on patient-centered care, learning from and teaching my community.

Children have been a common thread in my pursuit of medicine, from perceiving medicine through child-like eyes to interacting daily with children in a medical office. My diverse experiences in patient interaction and the practice of medicine inspire me to become a physician, a path that requires perseverance and passion. Physicians are life-long learners and teachers, educating others whether it is on vaccinations or various diseases. This vocation also requires preparation, and I eagerly look forward to continually learning and growing in medical school and beyond.

To learn more about what to expect from the study of medicine, check out our Study Medicine in the US section.

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Why Us Medical School Essay Example with Writing Tips

Our team of editors have put together a step by step process on how to approach the most common secondary essays . Below is a why us medical school essay example along with the steps to take when writing an effective “why us” response. 

medical school covid essay examples

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Writing Tips for the “Why Us” Essay

Why Us Essay Example Prompts 

Why Us Medical School Essay Example

Introduction .

While one of the most common medical school secondary prompts, it is also one of the most important. This is your opportunity to convince admissions committees at the med schools of which you applied how or why your values align with theirs . As you can imagine, a well-written essay can potentially influence admissions committees to accept an applicant while a poorly written essay may persuade the reader otherwise. Here are a few tips in order to meticulously demonstrate your medical school candidacy:

Tip #1 Answer the Why Us Prompt

Not all “Why Our School” secondary prompts are created equal. Some prompts will ask how you will contribute to their school while others ask about qualities you have that would further their medical school’s mission. Similarly, while you may have prepared a response for the “Why Our School” question for another school, you must tailor it to what the school is asking specifically . If you do not do so, the school does not have answers to the question they are explicitly asking. Remember, they are asking the question for a specific reason! Also, a general response may lead admissions committees to assume you have one response you use for “Why Our School” secondary essays, forcing them to believe you are not as interested or knowledgeable about their med school.  

Tip #2 Do Your Research and Brainstorming

It is one thing to know what interests you about this school but another to pinpoint the specifics of the school that make it unique . Doing so can show your genuine interest in that school and that you have correspondingly done your research. You may use their website but do some deep digging as well – use YouTube videos, alumni or medical student outreach, or research the geographic location/community for aspects that interest you. Consider the following questions when doing your own search:

Tip #3 Be Specific 

Commonly, students fall into the pitfall of discussing  how the mission statement resonates with them . If the mission statement does, in fact, resonate with you, be sure to discuss why as well as show evidence or examples for how this is true . Often, it is important to be specific about what interests you about the school to demonstrate your enthusiasm and interest. Doing so will increase your likelihood of acceptance as admissions committees are interested in accepting students knowledgeable about the school and willing to represent their school enthusiastically. Is there a club or aspect of the curriculum that interests you? Talk about it! 

Tip #4 Reference Aspects of The Medical School (but do not tell them about their own institution!)

There is certainly a difference between the following:

School X values underserved populations and commitment to community health.

Of particular interest, School X emphasizes underserved communities which has been a passion of mine, evidenced by my involvement in Healthcare for the Homeless.

As you can see, this latter example emphasizes what interests the student about the school while avoiding outright telling the admissions committee a fact about their school.

Takeaways Surrounding the “Why Our School” Medical School Secondary Prompt

Therefore, like any other written aspect of your application, it is important to demonstrate additional details about you as a candidate to paint a vivid picture of who you are. As a result, it is essential to marry what interests you about the school and your own personal qualities or characteristics as opposed to solely discussing one or the other. Here, we want to strive to have the best of both worlds. Be honest and genuine – this is the key. Allowing the reader insight into who you are will give them more information to make a decision about your candidacy for acceptance into medical school. 


Need help with your secondary essays?

“Why Us” Secondary Essay Example Prompts

Example 1: “Why have you selected the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine for your medical education? Please be as specific as possible.” ( Miami Miller School of Medicine )

Example 2: “Why do you wish to attend Meharry Medical College, School of Medicine?” ( Meharry Medical College )

Example 3: “If you are not a Kansas resident, what is your specific interest in applying to the University of Kansas School of Medicine?” ( KU School of Medicine )

Example 4: “In 500 words or fewer, please explain your reasons for applying to the University at Buffalo’s Jacobs School of Medicine. Please be specific.” ( Jacobs School of Medicine )

Example 5: “Why have you chosen to apply to the Georgetown University School of Medicine and how do you think your education at Georgetown will prepare you to become a physician for the future? (1 page, formatted at your discretion)” ( Georgetown University School of Medicine )

Example 6: “ How will you contribute to the diversity of your medical school class and the University of Virginia School of Medicine?” (Virginia School of Medicine)

Example 7:  “Why have you chosen to apply to CNUCOM? (250 words maximum)” ( California Northstate University )

Example 8: “Please write a s hort essay about why you are applying to the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. We suggest that you limit your essay to about 550 words.” ( Pritzker School of Medicine )

When I signed up for the trip, I never imagined that I would hold a human heart in my hands. My high school field trip to the Hackensack University Medical Center in 2013 was a unique experience to tour different departments in the hospital and ultimately learn about medicine. After setting foot in one of the best hospitals in the New Jersey / New York Metropolitan area, I knew this one-day visit was not enough, and I longed to continue learning here. Six years later, I found myself without a job after the scribe program was closed at Englewood Health by the end of August 2019. However, it was this initial disappointment that led to me finding my current job at Hackensack University Medical Center and returning to an excellent learning environment. By working as a scribe at Hackensack University Medical Center and rotating in the surgical ICU and surgical step-down unit, I was able to work with and learn from top-ranked physicians such as Dr. Sanjeev Kaul, Dr. Javier Martin Perez, and Dr. Saraswati Dayal. What draws me to the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine is the opportunity to learn at some of the best hospitals serving northern, central, and southern New Jersey and from one of the most diverse populations in the nation. By beginning my medical education through Hackensack Meridian Health, the largest healthcare network of the state, and being exposed to an extraordinary range of patients, disorders, and challenges, I believe I can develop the ability to serve and provide high-quality care to patients from different backgrounds and with a variety of needs.

In addition to the excellent clinical opportunities, I am also interested in the unique curriculum of the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine. During high school, I developed an interest in preventive health and became more mindful of aspects such as nutrition, posture, sleep hygiene, and physical activity. I want to train to be a physician who can effectively educate others to also take control of their own health. For this reason, I am especially interested in the Human Dimension course. Through building relationships and interacting with families in the community, I will better understand the social, socioeconomic, and environmental determinants of health and ultimately learn how to proactively improve others’ lives.  I am also excited about the special 3+1 curriculum that will enable me to customize my fourth year with many possibilities, including research projects, additional clinical experience, early entry into residencies, community service initiatives, and several dual-degree options. Additionally, the smaller class size will cultivate a close-knit community and enhance my learning experience and training overall. I am fortunate that the school is only a 20-minute drive from home, which would enable me to remain close to my support network and thrive in a familiar environment while attending medical school.

Through this response, the student ties in personal experiences and interests initially within not only Hackensack University but the location. Needless to say, the student does not just include the experience or facts about the school without also making it personal to their journey. The student then progresses to discuss specific elements of the curriculum and class size as well as why it interests them. Therefore, from this response, it is immensely clear why this student is applying to this school specifically as well as what unique aspects interest them about this school.

View more Medical School “Why Us” Examples Here.

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medical school covid essay examples

Essay on COVID-19 Pandemic

As a result of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, daily life has been negatively affected, impacting the worldwide economy. Thousands of individuals have been sickened or died as a result of the outbreak of this disease. When you have the flu or a viral infection, the most common symptoms include fever, cold, coughing up bone fragments, and difficulty breathing, which may progress to pneumonia. It’s important to take major steps like keeping a strict cleaning routine, keeping social distance, and wearing masks, among other things. This virus’s geographic spread is accelerating (Daniel Pg 93). Governments restricted public meetings during the start of the pandemic to prevent the disease from spreading and breaking the exponential distribution curve. In order to avoid the damage caused by this extremely contagious disease, several countries quarantined their citizens. However, this scenario had drastically altered with the discovery of the vaccinations. The research aims to investigate the effect of the Covid-19 epidemic and its impact on the population’s well-being.

There is growing interest in the relationship between social determinants of health and health outcomes. Still, many health care providers and academics have been hesitant to recognize racism as a contributing factor to racial health disparities. Only a few research have examined the health effects of institutional racism, with the majority focusing on interpersonal racial and ethnic prejudice Ciotti et al., Pg 370. The latter comprises historically and culturally connected institutions that are interconnected. Prejudice is being practiced in a variety of contexts as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. In some ways, the outbreak has exposed pre-existing bias and inequity.

Thousands of businesses are in danger of failure. Around 2.3 billion of the world’s 3.3 billion employees are out of work. These workers are especially susceptible since they lack access to social security and adequate health care, and they’ve also given up ownership of productive assets, which makes them highly vulnerable. Many individuals lose their employment as a result of lockdowns, leaving them unable to support their families. People strapped for cash are often forced to reduce their caloric intake while also eating less nutritiously (Fraser et al, Pg 3). The epidemic has had an impact on the whole food chain, revealing vulnerabilities that were previously hidden. Border closures, trade restrictions, and confinement measures have limited farmer access to markets, while agricultural workers have not gathered crops. As a result, the local and global food supply chain has been disrupted, and people now have less access to healthy foods. As a consequence of the epidemic, many individuals have lost their employment, and millions more are now in danger. When breadwinners lose their jobs, become sick, or die, the food and nutrition of millions of people are endangered. Particularly severely hit are the world’s poorest small farmers and indigenous peoples.

Infectious illness outbreaks and epidemics have become worldwide threats due to globalization, urbanization, and environmental change. In developed countries like Europe and North America, surveillance and health systems monitor and manage the spread of infectious illnesses in real-time. Both low- and high-income countries need to improve their public health capacities (Omer et al., Pg 1767). These improvements should be financed using a mix of national and foreign donor money. In order to speed up research and reaction for new illnesses with pandemic potential, a global collaborative effort including governments and commercial companies has been proposed. When working on a vaccine-like COVID-19, cooperation is critical.

The epidemic has had an impact on the whole food chain, revealing vulnerabilities that were previously hidden. Border closures, trade restrictions, and confinement measures have limited farmer access to markets, while agricultural workers have been unable to gather crops. As a result, the local and global food supply chain has been disrupted, and people now have less access to healthy foods (Daniel et al.,Pg 95) . As a consequence of the epidemic, many individuals have lost their employment, and millions more are now in danger. When breadwinners lose their jobs, the food and nutrition of millions of people are endangered. Particularly severely hit are the world’s poorest small farmers and indigenous peoples.

While helping to feed the world’s population, millions of paid and unpaid agricultural laborers suffer from high levels of poverty, hunger, and bad health, as well as a lack of safety and labor safeguards, as well as other kinds of abuse at work. Poor people, who have no recourse to social assistance, must work longer and harder, sometimes in hazardous occupations, endangering their families in the process (Daniel Pg 96). When faced with a lack of income, people may turn to hazardous financial activities, including asset liquidation, predatory lending, or child labor, to make ends meet. Because of the dangers they encounter while traveling, working, and living abroad; migrant agricultural laborers are especially vulnerable. They also have a difficult time taking advantage of government assistance programs.

The pandemic also has a significant impact on education. Although many educational institutions across the globe have already made the switch to online learning, the extent to which technology is utilized to improve the quality of distance or online learning varies. This level is dependent on several variables, including the different parties engaged in the execution of this learning format and the incorporation of technology into educational institutions before the time of school closure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. For many years, researchers from all around the globe have worked to determine what variables contribute to effective technology integration in the classroom Ciotti et al., Pg 371. The amount of technology usage and the quality of learning when moving from a classroom to a distant or online format are presumed to be influenced by the same set of variables. Findings from previous research, which sought to determine what affects educational systems ability to integrate technology into teaching, suggest understanding how teachers, students, and technology interact positively in order to achieve positive results in the integration of teaching technology (Honey et al., 2000). Teachers’ views on teaching may affect the chances of successfully incorporating technology into the classroom and making it a part of the learning process.

In conclusion, indeed, Covid 19 pandemic have affected the well being of the people in a significant manner. The economy operation across the globe have been destabilized as most of the people have been rendered jobless while the job operation has been stopped. As most of the people have been rendered jobless the living conditions of the people have also been significantly affected. Besides, the education sector has also been affected as most of the learning institutions prefer the use of online learning which is not effective as compared to the traditional method. With the invention of the vaccines, most of the developed countries have been noted to stabilize slowly, while the developing countries have not been able to vaccinate most of its citizens. However, despite the challenge caused by the pandemic, organizations have been able to adapt the new mode of online trading to be promoted.

Ciotti, Marco, et al. “The COVID-19 pandemic.”  Critical reviews in clinical laboratory sciences  57.6 (2020): 365-388.

Daniel, John. “Education and the COVID-19 pandemic.”  Prospects  49.1 (2020): 91-96.

Fraser, Nicholas, et al. “Preprinting the COVID-19 pandemic.”  BioRxiv  (2021): 2020-05.

Omer, Saad B., Preeti Malani, and Carlos Del Rio. “The COVID-19 pandemic in the US: a clinical update.”  Jama  323.18 (2020): 1767-1768.

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News & Research

Covid-19 context clues, social medicine offers insight into pandemic’s path, roadmap to more resilient future.

A map of the world with countries resized to make the countries where most people died in epidemics bigger.

This article is part of Harvard Medical School’s  continuing coverage  of medicine, biomedical research, medical education and policy related to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and the disease COVID-19.

In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, markedly different scenarios played out in countries around the world. In northern Italy, the viral disease spread quickly and overwhelmed one of the world’s most developed health systems. In South Korea, where intensive contact tracing and isolation protocols were rapidly put in place after an initial surge, numbers of new cases dropped.

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The difference in these outcomes cannot be explained by the absence of a specific therapeutic or diagnostic tool in Italy, or by a difference in host or pathogen biology in South Korea, said Paul Farmer, head of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine in the Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Medical School and Kolokotrones University Professor.

The difference in outcomes, he said, is due to the social, political, cultural and historical factors that shaped responses to the contagion.

“We are not able to explain such dramatic variation from province to province or nation state to nation state by using any kind of essentialism about the host or the pathogen,” Farmer said in a recent HMS forum. “Case fatality rates have not declined or remained low because of specific preventives or therapies. It really has to do with the social responses to the disease.”

The most important thing to note about the variability in case fatality rates, Farmer noted, is that even in the absence of a specific vaccine or therapeutic to combat the novel coronavirus infection, there are effective social strategies that can be employed to protect health and slow down the spread of disease.

“There’s a lot of room for improvement,” Farmer said. “There’s a lot we can do to save lives.”

Farmer made the observations at a panel discussion of faculty members from the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine who gathered by teleconference March 26 to discuss the value of a social medicine perspective for responding to outbreaks. This panel was part of an ongoing seminar series on COVID-19 response hosted by the department . The sessions are being recorded and will be made available online. 

A map of the world and thumbnail portraits of two men and three women.

What can be done to save lives while the world waits for the development of specific therapies, and researchers and clinicians race to learn more about this new threat to human health?

Drawing on decades of experience working with outbreaks of disease under challenging circumstances in places like Haiti, Uganda, Peru and Siberia, the HMS faculty shared insights into what works when trying to develop effective strategies to respond to both communicable and noncommunicable diseases.

They said what’s needed most is a variety of interwoven strategies, such as integrated health systems that combine prevention and treatment, from the communities where people live to the most sophisticated hospitals available. They called for improved systems to deliver the latest diagnostic and therapeutic tools where they are needed most, and a recognition that social forces have a direct impact on the viability of any preventive or clinical measure. They also cited a collaborative way of working that strengthens local resources for research, education and care delivery. 

Social factors shape the curve

Megan Murray , the Ronda Stryker and William Johnston Professor of Global Health a nd director of the Global Health and Social Medicine research core, presented a history of the COVID-19 outbreak, including an outline of what is known about disease symptoms, progression and infectiousness and current approaches to treatment. She also described the challenges of modeling the trajectory of the outbreak and highlighting both the biological factors and the social factors that play a role in determining how the outbreak unfolds.

One of the difficulties in attempting to slow the spread of the disease is that people who are infected can transmit the virus before they develop symptoms, she said, which makes it hard to isolate individuals before they spread the disease.

In the absence of the ability to test and isolate people before they become infectious, broad programs of social distancing are necessary to slow the spread of the disease, buying time to improve diagnostics, find treatments, possibly develop vaccines and space out the need for ICUs, Murray said.

“But we can't social distance forever,” Murray said. “We have to really consider what happens when we relax social distancing measures.”

“You could relax measures for people who are immune, but only if you know who is immune,” she said, noting that as yet there are no reliable tests for immunity readily available.

Murray added that so far, most of what’s known about the COVID-19 outbreak comes from higher-income countries with well-developed health infrastructures. She said it will be difficult to predict what will happen when the virus spreads in low- and middle-income countries.

If COVID-19 behaves like most seasonal flus, and if it behaves as laboratory experiments suggest it will, the spread of the virus may slow in warmer, humid weather and in tropical regions, Murray said.  The age distribution in Africa, where 50 percent of the population is under 20, may also serve to reduce the impact of the disease there.

On the other hand, she noted, the flu pandemic of 1918, which was largely a cold weather illness elsewhere, had its worst outbreaks in West Africa in the heat of August. The social and clinical conditions in most low-income countries suggest that these countries may struggle with COVID-19 even in warm weather.

“We have to think about all of the other comorbidities,” Murray added, citing very high incidences of smoking and biomass fuel exposure in lower-income countries, which may worsen COVID-19 outcomes, and the largely unknown effect that living with TB, HIV, malaria and other infections will have on COVID-19 outcomes.

Health system capacity will also be a crucial factor in determining the course of the disease in low-resourced countries.

“Most of the countries we're thinking about in Africa and throughout the world have almost no capacity for ICU beds, ventilators, isolated spaces within ICUs, and staff to take care of patients,” Murray said. In low-resourced settings, she said, “the currently reported in-hospital ICU mortality rates of 50 percent to date will likely be closer to 100 percent because we really just don't have the ICU beds.”

Infectious outbreaks amplify inequality

Louise Ivers , executive director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Global Health and an associate professor of global health and social medicine at HMS, echoed many of Murray’s concerns as she spoke about how pandemics tend to mirror and amplify existing inequalities.

She also provided insights into where the pandemic will hit the hardest : among the poor, the already ill and those whose livelihoods are already precarious. Poverty will prevent people in these groups from complying with physical distancing protocols because if they don’t work on a given day they won’t eat. They are also unlikely to have access to clean water or soap to wash their hands, she said.

Ivers is an infectious disease physician and a special advisor for Partners In Health, where she pioneered efforts to administer a cholera vaccine in Haiti in the midst of an epidemic.

Even for diseases with known treatments, lower-income countries tend to do without, Ivers noted.

"Discovery and delivery have never just trickled down without a lot of advocacy and intervention," Ivers said. "We're going to have to be very proactive to make sure that those vaccines are available for all people who need them."

One of the great ironies of global health is that often where the burden of disease is greatest, the fewest care providers are available, Ivers said.

As an example, she cited research showing that in Haiti there are .2 doctors per 1,000 people and in Uganda less than .1 per 1,000, whereas in the U.S., the average is 2.56 physicians per 1,000.

Even within the U.S., Ivers said, there are great disparities between rural and urban regions, with 3.1 doctors per 1,000 on average in urban settings, versus an average of 1.3 doctors per 1,000 in rural settings. In metropolitan Boston, there are 16 doctors for every 1,000 people

These disparities will likely drive up the toll of the coronavirus outbreak in underresourced locations, both within the U.S. and around the world, Ivers said.

While the current outbreak presents a marked challenge, Ivers emphasized that she has seen many positive things happen already that had previously been deemed impossible.

“We need to believe in what it is possible to do,” Ivers said. “And we need to look not only at the fragilities of health systems around the world, but also at their strengths. The solution to so many of our problems is in the communities where the problems are being faced.”

Ivers listed a few components that she believes will be crucial for confronting coronavirus successfully in vulnerable populations:

“Talent is equally distributed, but resources are not,” she said.

She also emphasized that any successful intervention must also include support to provide food and shelter for economically vulnerable populations to make social distancing possible and slow the flood of new cases.

Building a solid foundation for health, resiliency, security

While insecurity, poverty, war and political instability make outbreaks worse, improving health care systems to fight epidemics can also improve security at the individual, community, national and global levels, said Vanessa Kerry , an HMS associate professor of medicine at Mass General and the director of the HMS Program in Global Public Policy and Social Change.

The sudden, intense global focus on stemming the coronavirus pandemic is also providing opportunities to make lasting improvements to health, security and prosperity, Kerry said.  By building more resilient health care systems that will be better prepared to respond to the next pandemic, more communities will be able to handle the chronic health care crises they routinely confront, such as the epidemics of premature mortality that plague mothers and infants around the world,

The best way to confront the new coronavirus is to invest in people and equipment, and to surface the local solutions that will come from people who are “living the data every day,” said Kerry. In this way, she said, countries can build foundations for resilient, integrated health care systems and “unlock and unleash that potential in a way that is enduring and holistic.”

“That way, we can identify COVID-19, we can isolate, we can manage people when they get sick with it, but we can also identify the woman with a ruptured uterus; we can identify the man with cerebral malaria; we can stop other outbreaks that occur,” Kerry said. “We have the ability to be transformative in a way that will far outlast this epidemic.”

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How to ace your covid-19 college essay.

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College essays over the past year have reflected the turbulence of these Covid-19 times . In response to Covid-19 and in preparation for 2021-2022 applications, the Common Application , the largest college application platform for prospective undergraduates, has replaced one of its prompts with the following: “Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?”

This new prompt is based on scientific research on  gratitude  and  kindness . In addition, the Common App continues to allow students to share additional information that’s Covid-19 related.

Common Application President & CEO Jenny Rickard shares in a press release about the new prompt, “Particularly at this challenging time, we can help students think about something positive and heartfelt in their lives. And we can do it explicitly.”

Given the Common App’s emphasis on this new prompt and its investment in related research, I highly recommend that students consider answering this question when choosing a topic for their personal statement. Here are some tips for how to respond:

First, when brainstorming, choose a few stories or specific events that made you grateful this past year. You will want to choose one of these events to focus on in your final essay. The event you choose should involve a time you faced a challenge, were resourceful about finding a solution, and learned from the outcome. When you discuss this event, remember that admissions offices want to see a positive outcome you have been able to achieve in a difficult situation. Be careful not to overemphasize the negative aspects of the event. This prompt is designed to give voice to that positivity that you’ve been able to experience or generate even in these challenging times.

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Another point that this prompt asks you to reflect on is something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. Happiness is subjective and subjectively experienced. If I were going to edit this prompt, I would take out the word “happy,” and I would just use the word “thankful.” “Gratitude” and “thankfulness” are synonyms.

Don’t focus too much on the word “happy” in this prompt because the word may divert you from finding the best story. You have experienced a lot of challenges in the past year. You may not have always been happy about changing your plans. But you have likely also experienced gratitude in unexpected ways. Maybe your story is similar to that of one of my students who was inspired to not only start but expand his journalism efforts globally to provide an inclusive platform for students to share their thoughts and feelings about current events. Or maybe you’re like another one of my students who fought the tragic California wildfires this past summer. While your life has been transformed by Covid-19, and you have likely experienced adversity, it is very possible that you have found purpose and meaning in these challenging times.

If you want to answer this prompt but you’re having trouble finding or expressing your gratitude, Here are a few exercises that may help you along the way:

Exercise 1   – Write a Gratitude Letter (Adapted from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley).

Call to mind someone who did something for you professionally for which you are exceptionally grateful. It may be most helpful to select a person or act that you haven’t thought about for awhile—something that isn’t always on your mind. Now, write an email to one of these people, guided by the following steps.

Exercise 2 – Keep a Gratitude Journal

In preparation for your essay, write down one thing that happened each day that you’re grateful for. For example, “this morning, when I woke up, my puppy greeted me with a big hug, and I felt loved.” You only need to spend one to five minutes a day on this. If you don’t think you’ll have time to write every day, make sure to note your gratitude on the days that are especially tough.

Exercise 3 – Pause and Take a Relaxing Sigh

When you find yourself particularly overwhelmed, step away from your desk (or just close your eyes for 30 seconds). Take a deep breath in through your nose and let it out through your mouth. Repeat a short mantra to yourself as you’re breathing in and out, like, “I wish good health, peace, and happiness for myself.” You can use any phrase that moves you.

Self-care is of paramount importance during Covid-19. Research has shown that expressing gratitude helps us heal and gives us strength when we need it most. It can help you get into college too.

Dr. Aviva Legatt


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‘When Normal Life Stopped’: College Essays Reflect a Turbulent Year

This year’s admissions essays became a platform for high school seniors to reflect on the pandemic, race and loss.

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medical school covid essay examples

By Anemona Hartocollis

This year perhaps more than ever before, the college essay has served as a canvas for high school seniors to reflect on a turbulent and, for many, sorrowful year. It has been a psychiatrist’s couch, a road map to a more hopeful future, a chance to pour out intimate feelings about loneliness and injustice.

In response to a request from The New York Times, more than 900 seniors submitted the personal essays they wrote for their college applications. Reading them is like a trip through two of the biggest news events of recent decades: the devastation wrought by the coronavirus, and the rise of a new civil rights movement.

In the wake of the high-profile deaths of Black people like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police officers, students shared how they had wrestled with racism in their own lives. Many dipped their feet into the politics of protest, finding themselves strengthened by their activism, yet sometimes conflicted.

And in the midst of the most far-reaching pandemic in a century, they described the isolation and loss that have pervaded every aspect of their lives since schools suddenly shut down a year ago. They sought to articulate how they have managed while cut off from friends and activities they had cultivated for years.

To some degree, the students were responding to prompts on the applications, with their essays taking on even more weight in a year when many colleges waived standardized test scores and when extracurricular activities were wiped out.

This year the Common App, the nation’s most-used application, added a question inviting students to write about the impact of Covid-19 on their lives and educations. And universities like Notre Dame and Lehigh invited applicants to write about their reactions to the death of George Floyd, and how that inspired them to make the world a better place.

The coronavirus was the most common theme in the essays submitted to The Times, appearing in 393 essays, more than 40 percent. Next was the value of family, coming up in 351 essays, but often in the context of other issues, like the pandemic and race. Racial justice and protest figured in 342 essays.

“We find with underrepresented populations, we have lots of people coming to us with a legitimate interest in seeing social justice established, and they are looking to see their college as their training ground for that,” said David A. Burge, vice president for enrollment management at George Mason University.

Family was not the only eternal verity to appear. Love came up in 286 essays; science in 128; art in 110; music in 109; and honor in 32. Personal tragedy also loomed large, with 30 essays about cancer alone.

Some students resisted the lure of current events, and wrote quirky essays about captaining a fishing boat on Cape Cod or hosting dinner parties. A few wrote poetry. Perhaps surprisingly, politics and the 2020 election were not of great interest.

Most students expect to hear where they were admitted by the end of March or beginning of April. Here are excerpts from a few of the essays, edited for length.

Nandini Likki

Nandini, a senior at the Seven Hills School in Cincinnati, took care of her father after he was hospitalized with Covid-19. It was a “harrowing” but also rewarding time, she writes.

When he came home, my sister and I had to take care of him during the day while my mom went to work. We cooked his food, washed his dishes, and excessively cleaned the house to make sure we didn’t get the disease as well.

medical school covid essay examples

It was an especially harrowing time in my life and my mental health suffered due to the amount of stress I was under.

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However, I think I grew emotionally and matured because of the experience. My sister and I became more responsible as we took on more adult roles in the family. I grew even closer to my dad and learned how to bond with him in different ways, like using Netflix Party to watch movies together. Although the experience isolated me from most of my friends who couldn’t relate to me, my dad’s illness taught me to treasure my family even more and cherish the time I spend with them.

Nandini has been accepted at Case Western and other schools.

Grace Sundstrom

Through her church in Des Moines, Grace, a senior at Roosevelt High School, began a correspondence with Alden, a man who was living in a nursing home and isolated by the pandemic.

As our letters flew back and forth, I decided to take a chance and share my disgust about the treatment of people of color at the hands of police officers. To my surprise, Alden responded with the same sentiments and shared his experience marching in the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

medical school covid essay examples

Here we were, two people generations apart, finding common ground around one of the most polarizing subjects in American history.

When I arrived at my first Black Lives Matter protest this summer, I was greeted by the voices of singing protesters. The singing made me think of a younger Alden, stepping off the train at Union Station in Washington, D.C., to attend the 1963 March on Washington.

Grace has been admitted to Trinity University in San Antonio and is waiting to hear from others.

Ahmed AlMehri

Ahmed, who attends the American School of Kuwait, wrote of growing stronger through the death of his revered grandfather from Covid-19.

Fareed Al-Othman was a poet, journalist and, most importantly, my grandfather. Sept. 8, 2020, he fell victim to Covid-19. To many, he’s just a statistic — one of the “inevitable” deaths. But to me, he was, and continues to be, an inspiration. I understand the frustration people have with the restrictions, curfews, lockdowns and all of the tertiary effects of these things.

medical school covid essay examples

But I, personally, would go through it all a hundred times over just to have my grandfather back.

For a long time, things felt as if they weren’t going to get better. Balancing the grief of his death, school and the upcoming college applications was a struggle; and my stress started to accumulate. Covid-19 has taken a lot from me, but it has forced me to grow stronger and persevere. I know my grandfather would be disappointed if I had let myself use his death as an excuse to slack off.

Ahmed has been accepted by the University of California, Irvine, and the University of Miami and is waiting to hear from others.

Mina Rowland

Mina, who lives in a shelter in San Joaquin County, Calif., wrote of becoming homeless in middle school.

Despite every day that I continue to face homelessness, I know that I have outlets for my pain and anguish.

medical school covid essay examples

Most things that I’ve had in life have been destroyed, stolen, lost, or taken, but art and poetry shall be with me forever.

The stars in “Starry Night” are my tenacity and my hope. Every time I am lucky enough to see the stars, I am reminded of how far I’ve come and how much farther I can go.

After taking a gap year, Mina and her twin sister, Mirabell, have been accepted at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and are waiting on others.

Christine Faith Cabusay

Christine, a senior at Stuyvesant High School in New York, decided to break the isolation of the pandemic by writing letters to her friends.

How often would my friends receive something in the mail that was not college mail, a bill, or something they ordered online? My goal was to make opening a letter an experience. I learned calligraphy and Spencerian script so it was as if an 18th-century maiden was writing to them from her parlor on a rainy day.

medical school covid essay examples

Washing lines in my yard held an ever-changing rainbow of hand-recycled paper.

With every letter came a painting of something that I knew they liked: fandoms, animals, music, etc. I sprayed my favorite perfume on my signature on every letter because I read somewhere that women sprayed perfume on letters overseas to their partners in World War II; it made writing letters way more romantic (even if it was just to my close friends).

Christine is still waiting to hear from schools.

Alexis Ihezue

Her father’s death from complications of diabetes last year caused Alexis, a student at the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology in Lawrenceville, Ga., to consider the meaning of love.

And in the midst of my grief swallowing me from the inside out, I asked myself when I loved him most, and when I knew he loved me. It’s nothing but brief flashes, like bits and pieces of a dream. I hear him singing “Fix You” by Coldplay on our way home, his hands across the table from me at our favorite wing spot that we went to weekly after school, him driving me home in the middle of a rainstorm, his last message to me congratulating me on making it to senior year.

medical school covid essay examples

It’s me finding a plastic spoon in the sink last week and remembering the obnoxious way he used to eat. I see him in bursts and flashes.

A myriad of colors and experiences. And I think to myself, ‘That’s what it is.’ It’s a second. It’s a minute. That’s what love is. It isn’t measured in years, but moments.

Alexis has been accepted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is waiting on others.

Ivy Wanjiku

She and her mother came to America “with nothing but each other and $100,” writes Ivy, who was born in Kenya and attends North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Ga.

I am a triple threat. Foreign, black, female. From the dirt roads and dust that covered the attire of my ancestors who worshiped the soil, I have sprouted new beginnings for generations.

medical school covid essay examples

But the question arises; will that generation live to see its day?

Melanin mistaken as a felon, my existence is now a hashtag that trends as often as my rights, a facade at best, a lie in truth. I now know more names of dead blacks than I do the amendments of the Constitution.

Ivy is going to Emory University in Atlanta on full scholarship and credits her essay with helping her get in.

Mary Clare Marshall

The isolation of the pandemic became worse when Mary Clare, a student at Sacred Heart Greenwich in Connecticut, realized that her mother had cancer.

My parents acted like everything was normal, but there were constant reminders of her diagnosis. After her first chemo appointment, I didn’t acknowledge the change. It became real when she came downstairs one day without hair.

medical school covid essay examples

No one said anything about the change. It just happened. And it hit me all over again. My mom has cancer.

Even after going to Catholic school for my whole life, I couldn’t help but be angry at God. I felt myself experiencing immense doubt in everything I believe in. Unable to escape my house for any small respite, I felt as though I faced the reality of my mom’s cancer totally alone.

Mary Clare has been admitted to the University of Virginia and is waiting on other schools.

Nora Frances Kohnhorst

Nora, a student at the High School of American Studies at Lehman College in New York, was always “a serial dabbler,” but found commitment in a common pandemic hobby.

In March, when normal life stopped, I took up breadmaking. This served a practical purpose. The pandemic hit my neighborhood in Queens especially hard, and my parents were afraid to go to the store. This forced my family to come up with ways to avoid shopping. I decided I would learn to make sourdough using recipes I found online. Initially, some loaves fell flat, others were too soft inside, and still more spread into strange blobs.

medical school covid essay examples

I reminded myself that the bread didn’t need to be perfect, just edible.

It didn’t matter what it looked like; there was no one to see or eat it besides my brother and parents. They depended on my new activity, and that dependency prevented me from repeating the cycle of trying a hobby, losing steam, and moving on to something new.

Nora has been admitted to SUNY Binghamton and the University of Vermont and is waiting to hear from others.

Gracie Yong Ying Silides

Gracie, a student at Greensboro Day School in North Carolina, recalls the “red thread” of a Chinese proverb and wonders where it will take her next.

Destiny has led me into a mysterious place these last nine months: isolation. At a time in my life when I am supposed to be branching out, the Covid pandemic seems to have trimmed those branches back to nubs. I have had to research colleges without setting foot on them. I’ve introduced myself to strangers through essays, videos, and test scores.

medical school covid essay examples

I would have fallen apart over this if it weren’t for my faith.

In Hebrews 11:1, Paul says that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” My life has shown me that the red thread of destiny guides me where I need to go. Though it might sound crazy, I trust that the red thread is guiding me to the next phase of my journey.

Gracie has been accepted to St. Olaf College, Ithaca College and others.

Levi, a student at Westerville Central High School in Ohio, wrestles with the conflict between her admiration for her father, a police officer, and the negative image of the police.

Since I was a small child I have watched my father put on his dark blue uniform to go to work protecting and serving others. He has always been my hero. As the African-American daughter of a police officer, I believe in what my father stands for, and I am so proud of him because he is not only my protector, but the protector of those I will likely never know. When I was young, I imagined him always being a hero to others, just as he was to me. How could anyone dislike him??? However, as I have gotten older and watched television and social media depict the brutalization of African-Americans, at the hands of police, I have come to a space that is uncomfortable.

medical school covid essay examples

I am certain there are others like me — African-Americans who love their police officer family members, yet who despise what the police are doing to African-Americans.

I know that I will not be able to rectify this problem alone, but I want to be a part of the solution where my paradox no longer exists.

Levi has been accepted to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and is waiting to hear from others.

Henry Thomas Egan

When Henry, a student at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, attended a protest after the death of George Floyd, it was the words of a Nina Simone song that stayed with him.

I had never been to a protest before; neither my school, nor my family, nor my city are known for being outspoken. Thousands lined the intersection in all four directions, chanting, “He couldn’t breathe! George Floyd couldn’t breathe!”

medical school covid essay examples

In my head, thoughts of hunger, injustice, and silence swirled around.

In my ears, I heard lyrics playing on a speaker nearby, a song by Nina Simone: “To be young, gifted, and Black!” The experience was exceptionally sad and affirming and disorienting at the same time, and when the police arrived and started firing tear gas, I left. A lot has happened in my life over these last four years. I am left not knowing how to sort all of this out and what paths I should follow.

Henry has not yet heard back from colleges.

Anna Valades

Anna, a student at Coronado High School in California, pondered how children learned racism from their parents.

“She said I wasn’t invited to her birthday party because I was black,” my sister had told my mom, devastated, after coming home from third grade as the only classmate who had not been invited to the party. Although my sister is not black, she is a dark-skinned Mexican, and brown-skinned people in Mexico are thought of as being a lower class and commonly referred to as “negros.” When my mom found out who had been discriminating against my sister, she later informed me that the girl’s mother had also bullied my mom about her skin tone when she was in elementary school in Mexico City.

medical school covid essay examples

Through this situation, I learned the impact people’s upbringing and the values they are taught at home have on their beliefs and, therefore, their actions.

Anna has been accepted at Northeastern University and is waiting to hear from others.

Research was contributed by Asmaa Elkeurti, Aidan Gardiner, Pierre-Antoine Louis and Jake Frankenfield.

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The COVID-19 Essay: How to Write a Strong Response to this New Prompt

AACOMAS, AADSAS, and OPTCOMCAS have all added a new prompt that asks you how your path to medical, dental, or optometry school has been impacted by COVID-19.

This workshop is specifically designed to assist applicants in writing a strong response to this essay that is authentic, compelling, and reflective. AMCAS has not added a specific new essay prompt about COVID-19 but there will be other places in your application where you will be able to inform medical schools about how your path to medical school was impacted by the pandemic.

This workshop is strongly recommended for 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 applicants to medical, dental, and optometry schools.

More information about this seminar…

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Open Access


Research Article

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on medical education: Medical students’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding electronic learning

Roles Conceptualization, Data curation, Writing – review & editing

Affiliation Faculty of Medicine, University of Tripoli, Tripoli, Libya

Roles Data curation, Investigation, Writing – review & editing

Roles Data curation, Methodology, Writing – review & editing

ORCID logo

Roles Data curation, Investigation, Visualization, Writing – review & editing

Affiliation Zliten Medical University, Zliten, Libya

Affiliation Faculty of Medical, University of Al-Zawia, Al-Zawia, Libya

Roles Data curation, Writing – review & editing

Affiliation Misurata Hospital, Misurata, Libya

Roles Investigation, Supervision, Writing – review & editing

Roles Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Investigation, Project administration, Supervision, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing

* E-mail: [email protected]


Fig 1

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused an unprecedented disruption in medical education and healthcare systems worldwide. The disease can cause life-threatening conditions and it presents challenges for medical education, as instructors must deliver lectures safely, while ensuring the integrity and continuity of the medical education process. It is therefore important to assess the usability of online learning methods, and to determine their feasibility and adequacy for medical students. We aimed to provide an overview of the situation experienced by medical students during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to determine the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of medical students regarding electronic medical education. A cross-sectional survey was conducted with medical students from more than 13 medical schools in Libya. A paper-based and online survey was conducted using email and social media. The survey requested demographic and socioeconomic information, as well as information related to medical online learning and electronic devices; medical education status during the COVID-19 pandemic; mental health assessments; and e-learning knowledge, attitudes, and practices. A total of 3,348 valid questionnaires were retrieved. Most respondents (64.7%) disagreed that e-learning could be implemented easily in Libya. While 54.1% of the respondents agreed that interactive discussion is achievable by means of e-learning. However, only 21.1% agreed that e-learning could be used for clinical aspects, as compared with 54.8% who disagreed with this statement and 24% who were neutral. Only 27.7% of the respondents had participated in online medical educational programs during the COVID-19 pandemic, while 65% reported using the internet for participating in study groups and discussions. There is no vaccine for COVID-19 yet. As such, the pandemic will undeniably continue to disrupt medical education and training. As we face the prospect of a second wave of virus transmission, we must take certain measures and make changes to minimize the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on medical education and on the progression of training. The time for change is now, and there should be support and enthusiasm for providing valid solutions to reduce this disruption, such as online training and virtual clinical experience. These measures could then be followed by hands-on experience that is provided in a safe environment.

Citation: Alsoufi A, Alsuyihili A, Msherghi A, Elhadi A, Atiyah H, Ashini A, et al. (2020) Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on medical education: Medical students’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding electronic learning. PLoS ONE 15(11): e0242905.

Editor: Yuka Kotozaki, Iwate Medical University, JAPAN

Received: July 23, 2020; Accepted: November 4, 2020; Published: November 25, 2020

Copyright: © 2020 Alsoufi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Data Availability: All relevant data are within the manuscript and its Supporting information files.

Funding: This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. Therefore, the funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


In December 2019, the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) was first reported in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. It is characterized by pneumonia-like symptoms. The virus spread exponentially, resulting in an outbreak throughout China and the world. Subsequently, on March 11, 2020, World Health Organization declared it as a worldwide pandemic [ 1 ]. As of October 2, 2020, there were more than 34.3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally and over 1,000,000 associated deaths in more than 180 countries [ 2 , 3 ].

COVID-19 has caused unprecedented disruption to the medical education process and to healthcare systems worldwide [ 4 ]. The highly contagious nature of the virus has made it difficult to continue lectures as usual, thus influencing the medical education process, which is based on lectures and patient-based education [ 5 ]. The COVID-19 pandemic puts people at risk of developing life-threatening conditions, presenting substantial challenges for medical education, as instructors must deliver lectures safely, while also ensuring the integrity and continuity of the medical education process. These challenges have resulted in limited patient care due to the focus on COVID-19 patients, which restricts the availability of bedside teaching opportunities for medical students. Consequently, they are unable to complete their clerkships [ 6 ]. Medical training through clinical rotations has been suspended [ 7 ]. Other challenges include a fear that medical students may contract the virus during their training and may transmit it to the community [ 8 ]. Additionally, students are required to stay at home and to abide by social distancing guidelines. Therefore, we must develop a medical education curriculum that provides students with opportunities for continuous learning, while also avoiding delays due to the pandemic [ 9 ].

Some of the most commonly proposed methods include scheduled live online video lectures with interactive discussions and the utilization of several different programs or self-study online recorded lectures made available online for medical students in each university [ 10 , 11 ]. However, educators must plan to continue to provide medical education and patient care during the pandemic, and these services should be conducted in accordance with ethical frameworks that are based on beneficence and the professional virtues of courage and self-sacrifice [ 12 ]. Virtual clinical experience was another method proposed in response to the suspension of clinical clerkship rotations. This would permit medical students to play the role of a healthcare professional by interviewing patients, working with attendants to plan treatments, helping with paperwork, and counseling patients about their illness and prognosis [ 13 ].

In Libya, most medical schools have been suspended during the pandemic, and as such, many students are staying at home. This has disrupted the medical education process and has increased the need to find alternatives. However, the civil war and financial crisis in Libya has affected the country’s infrastructure. Consequently, blackouts and poor internet connections may pose challenges for online learning platforms. However, as some departments have started providing online lectures for medical students, we must assess their feasibility and determine whether they are adequate in helping medical students continue their education. Therefore, in this study, we aimed to provide an overview of medical students’ circumstances during the pandemic, and to determine their knowledge, attitudes, and practices pertaining to digital medical education.

We conducted a cross-sectional survey from May to June, 2020. The survey involved a questionnaire that was distributed, in either a paper-based or online version by means of email and social media, to more than 13 medical schools in Libya, which have over 12,000 medical students. Students enrolled in these medical schools were selected as follows. In the online version, using Google Forms, a specific question related to medical students’ enrollment status and the name of the school that they attended was used to ensure appropriate selection without recording identifying data. A Google Form containing the study questionnaire was distributed among specific social media groups comprising medical students, or personal emails and messages were sent to them to ensure the appropriate selection of study participants. A friendly reminder was sent to potential respondents to ensure the highest possible response rate. The paper version was distributed among medical students through medical schools and peers. Completed paper questionnaires were collected in a predetermined place for each school by one of the authors to ensure confidentiality and to prevent any response bias. Unreturned questionnaires were recorded as missing. Participants were not aware of the study aim or outcomes to reduce the risk of any possible bias. The survey included only medical students who were enrolled in Libyan medical schools. The questionnaire was self-administered without intervention by the authors or any specific person, and it did not contain any identifying data of the participants to ensure confidentiality. Questionnaires with incomplete information or missing data were excluded from the analysis.

The questionnaire covered participants’ basic demographic data, such as their gender, age, and marital status, as well as general questions about their financial status, faculty, level of medical education, internal displacement, history of health problems, psychological illness, and learning disabilities, if present. The questionnaire also addressed their experience with medical tele-education, including questions related to electronic device usage proficiency, type and quality of internet used, medical school educational program status, type of electronic device ownership, availability of advanced technology, university’s educational program method, and experience with three-dimensional technology in medical education.

Additionally, the survey requested information about participants’ medical education status during the pandemic, such as their work status, types of educational activities conducted, how COVID-19 affected their career plan, ten items pertaining to their personal attitudes towards the pandemic, three items on their personal opinions about authorities’ response to the pandemic, and three items about their wellbeing. The survey also included a mental health assessment that measured levels of anxiety and depression. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the 2-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-2) that incorporates the DSM-IV criteria for depression [ 14 ]. This tool has been validated in a previous study [ 15 ]. A score of 3 indicates high sensitivity in the depressed individual [ 16 ]. PHQ-2 scale had a high level of internal consistency among our study participants, as determined by a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.8. For anxiety, we used the General Anxiety Disorder-7 Assessment (GAD-7) [ 17 ]. Scores ≥15 are considered to indicate a high probability of existence of symptoms associated with anxiety disorder [ 18 ]. GAD-7 scale had a high level of internal consistency among our study population, with a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.91.

Finally, the survey included several questions related to e-learning, a teaching method that uses electronic resources based on distance learning [ 19 , 20 ]. This teaching method has proven crucial during the pandemic, ensuring continuity in medical education. This part of the questionnaire was divided into the following three sections: six items on respondents’ knowledge about e-learning, 20 items on respondents’ attitudes towards e-learning, and 12 items on respondents’ views on the practice and applicability of e-learning for medical education.

We developed the questionnaire by conducting open-ended interviews with medical students. Items in the questionnaire were then modified and new items were added based on the qualitative data collected in these interviews [ 21 ]. We developed the questionnaire in English and tested its internal consistency in a pilot study comprising 30 students. We revised the questionnaire several times to ensure high internal consistency, which was determined by the Cronbach’s alpha. The sample from the pilot study was not included in the final analysis.

We provided the questionnaire in both Arabic and English to accommodate for respondents’ preferences, although the official language of instruction in Libyan medical schools is English. After designing the English version, two independent translators translated the questionnaire separately and compared the two versions to reach a consensus after consultation with a linguistic expert and three authors to ensure the same intended meaning. The “knowledge, attitudes, and practices” questionnaire had a high internal consistency, as evidenced by Cronbach’s alpha values of 0.879 and 0.83 for the English and Arabic versions, respectively ( S1 and S2 Files).

Statistical analysis

We used descriptive statistics to examine respondents’ characteristics and responses using frequencies and percentages. We described categorical variables as frequencies and percentages, and continuous variables as mean (standard deviation) or median (range) values, as appropriate. The Kolmogorov–Smirnov test revealed that the variables did not follow a normal distribution. We used the chi-square test to determine the association of variables based on gender groups or clinical and non-clinical years. We conducted the Mann-Whitney U-test to identify differences between two groups of continues variables. The Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient was used to explore the relationship between knowledge, attitudes, and practice scores in respect to e-learning, and the studied variables. We performed all statistical analyses using (IBM) SPSS version 25.0.

Ethical approval

Ethical approval was obtained from the Bioethics Committee at the Biotechnology Research Center of Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Libya. All participants provided written informed consent prior to participating in the study, without identifiable data.

Basic demographic characteristics

We collected 3,348 complete questionnaires completed by medical students from more than 13 medical schools in Libya. The estimated response rate was 74% based on 4,500 paper questionnaires and messages distributed. Participants were predominately female; the sample included 2,390 females (71.4%) and 958 (28.6%) males. The mean age was 21.87 (5.74) years, with a significant mean difference between male and female participants (p = 0.021). The University of Tripoli had the highest response rate with 1,199 completed questionnaires (35.8%), followed by the University of Benghazi (448 completed questionnaires, 35.8%). A summary of the distribution of responses among universities has been shown in Fig 1 and S1 Table .


Greater number of the respondents included fifth-year medical students (732; 21.9%), followed by fourth-year students (582; 17.4%). However, a significant difference was found in the educational level and several other characteristics of male and female respondents. Approximately 1,357 respondents (40.5%) reported that they had experienced financial difficulties during the pandemic, while 429 respondents (12.8%) reported that they had been internally displaced due to the civil war in Libya. With reference to history of illness, 463 respondents (13.8%) reported experiencing health-related issues, 511 (15.3%) reported having a psychological illness, and 69 (2.1%) reported having physical or learning disabilities. Approximately 1,048 respondents (31.3%) exhibited the PHQ-2 cutoff score with a high likelihood of depressive symptoms, while 353 (10.5%) reported anxiety symptoms based on the GAD-7. Table 1A summarizes the basic characteristics of participants, and the differences between male and female participants. Table 1B provides the difference observed between medical students in pre-clinical (preparatory, first, second, third year) and clinical years (fourth, fifth, and internship years).


(A) Basic characteristics of the study population (n = 3348). (B). Basic characteristics of the study population with comparisons based on students in pre-clinical or clinical years (n = 3348).

On comparing clinical and pre-clinical years medical students, we found statistically significant differences in age, marital status, gender, health, psychological, physical or learning disability/illness, difference in source of COVID-19 news, and presence/absence of anxiety and depressive symptoms (p < 0.05). Interestingly, health related issues, anxiety symptoms, and depressive symptoms were higher among pre-clinical students as compared to clinical years students.

Assessment of technology availability and usability among study participants

Larger part of participants (1,589; 47.5%) reported that they were very good or proficient (637; 19%) in using electronic devices. Majority of them (2,102; 62.8%) reported that they had access to a fourth-generation internet connection. However, only 1,174 (35.1%) and 970 participants (29%) reported that they had a good or very good internet connection, respectively, as compared with about one-third of the participants who had a weak internet connection. Most participants (3,117; 93.1%) reported owning a smartphone, while only 2,536 (75.7%) reported that they owned a computer. Majority of the participants (2,237; 66.8%) were dependent on self-study and various educational sources. Additionally, 3,039 (90.8%) and 2,603 participants (77.7%) reported that they used the internet for social media and medical education purposes, respectively. Tables 2 and 3 summarize the findings of the technological status of medical students during the pandemic.



Impact of COVID-19 on medical education

Medical schools have suspended the educational process due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, when students asked about their current enrollment status and whether they suspended or paused their education due to any other causes, we found that most students did not suspend their education and were enrolled officially at the beginning of the pandemic (3,050; 91.1%), while 8.9% suspended their education for several reasons. However, 3,251 (97.1%) participants reported suspended lectures and educational programs due to the COVID-19 outbreak, while 2,879 (86%) reported that their medical school had suspended clinical training and laboratory skills training. Only 162 (4.8%) participants reported that they were in training, and 274 (8.2%) had volunteered as healthcare allied forces during COVID-19.

Medical students’ attitudes toward COVID-19

Majority of the students (59%) agreed to help in hospitals during the pandemic. Moreover, majority of them (75%) felt that they were wasting their study potential due to the pandemic and resultant school closure. 53.4% agreed that the pandemic had affected their personal wellbeing, and 51.8% were worried about being exposed to COVID-19 during their clinical training. However, 45.4% of the respondents reported that COVID-19 had no impact on their career and future specialty training. 40.3% of the students believed that their medical faculty had provided guidance for students during the pandemic. Furthermore, the majority of the respondents (69.6%) reported that the pandemic had affected the timeline of the training program, while many agreed that COVID-19 had affected their physical (41.3%), social (53.4%), and mental wellbeing (72.2%) as well as their intellectual ability to learn (53.8%). Table 4 shows the responses of students to each question regarding their attitudes toward the COVID-19 pandemic.


Assessment of medical students’ understanding of e-learning

Table 5 shows the respondents’ understanding of e-leaning. Among the respondents, 75.6% had some idea about e-learning, while 71.6% were aware of the services provided through e-learning. Most of the respondents (82.3%) considered e-learning as being part of tele-education. For further analyses, each response of “true,” “false,” or “I do not know” Was scored quantitatively. A score of 1 was assigned to “true,”, and a score of 0 was assigned to a “false” or “I do not know” response. Scores ranged from 6 (maximum) to 0 (minimum). A cutoff score of ≥5 was considered to indicate an adequate understanding, while <5 was considered to indicate a poor understanding. Among 3,348 participants, the mean (SD) score was 3.6 (1.4), with a variance of 1.9, while 813 (24.3%) had an adequate understanding and 2,535 (75.7%) had a poor understanding of e-learning.


Assessment of medical students’ attitudes toward e-learning

Attitudes were assessed through questions that focused on the applicability and usability of e-learning in medical schools. Each response was scored using a Likert-type scale (strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, and strongly agree). Attitudes toward e-learning were assessed using 20 questions, as shown in Table 6 . Respondents’ attitudes toward e-learning were relatively good. Interestingly, none of the participants disagreed regarding the applicability of e-learning to private lessons. Majority of the respondents (64.7%) disagreed that e-learning could be applied easily in Libya. Only 56.3% agreed that downloadable video lectures are better than live lectures. While 54.1% agreed that interactive discussions are achievable by means of e-learning. Only 21.1% agreed that e-learning could be used for clinical aspects, as compared with 54.8% who disagreed with this statement and 24% who were neutral. While 49.7% of the respondents agreed that e-learning can cover practical lessons. Approximately 38.2% agreed that e-learning can replace traditional teaching methods, although 73.6% disagreed and they believed that the quality of the local internet was not good enough to facilitate e-learning platforms. Further, 66.5% believed that conflicts in Libya could pose challenges for e-learning. Moreover, 78.3% found it difficult to participate in e-learning due to financial costs, as local medical education is public and free in Libya. On the other hand, 20.2% believed that medical schools can implement e-learning throughout the pandemic. Finally, 60.2% agreed that an electronic certificate must be acknowledged.


Assessment of medical students’ e-learning practices

Table 7 describes the participants’ responses to e-learning practices. Most participants (70.7%) did not take any online courses; only 27.7% had participated in online medical educational programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, 86.1% reported that they used the internet for medical education purposes. Specifically, 55.3% had shared medical educational materials with their friends or colleagues, while 65% reported using the internet for participating in study groups and discussions. Moreover, 67.3% used computers for learning purposes, while 66.5% reported buying online e-learning products instead of paper products. In addition, 54.6% had purchased electronic devices to access e-learning materials. For further analyses, each “true” or “false” Response was scored as 1 or 0, respectively. Scores ranged from 12 (maximum) to 0 (minimum). A cutoff score of ≥8 was considered to indicate an adequate level of practice, while <8 was considered to indicate an inadequate level. Among 3,348 participants, 1,438 (42.9%) exhibited an adequate level of practice, whereas 1,910 (57.1%) fell in the inadequate practice range.


This study aimed to assess medical students’ circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to evaluate their knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding e-learning, which was proposed as a platform for providing medical education during the outbreak. The study focused on approximately 13 university medical schools and the sample included 3,348 medical students from all years. The results revealed an acceptable level of knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding e-learning, which evidences the usability of e-learning during the COVID-19 outbreak. The findings also highlight its potential to reach medical students and transform medical training. However, a substantial percentage of respondents actually reported experiencing financial or technical difficulties when using e-learning platforms. Additionally, they were concerned about how e-learning could be applied to provide clinical experience, especially in the final year of medical school, which depends heavily on bedside teaching.

Medical students in Libya are facing several challenges; 40.5% reported that they experienced financial difficulties and 12.8% reported that they had been internally displaced from their homes because of the local conflict that has affected several cities. Additionally, approximately 13% of the respondents reported experiencing health issues, while 15.3% reported psychological illnesses. These issues are major concerns, and governmental intervention may be required to mitigate them, while also ensuring that urgent support is provided for medical students during this difficult time.

A high level of anxiety and depression was found among medical students, of whom 31.3% exhibited a high likelihood of experiencing depressive symptoms, and 10.5% may have anxiety symptoms. A previous study performed among Libyan medical students during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, found that 11% of medical students have anxiety symptoms, 21.6% have anxiety symptoms, and 22.7% have suicidal ideation, which is similar to our current findings [ 22 ]. Among Chinese college students, 0.9% suffered from severe anxiety and 2.7% experienced moderate anxiety symptoms during the COVID-19 outbreak [ 23 ]. A meta-analysis of anxiety research studies on 69 medical students showed that 33.8% of them experienced anxiety symptoms when the results were pooled [ 24 ]. Possible reasons for this higher prevalence of psychological illness include the COVID-19 outbreak, the lockdown, and the civil war, which have had a psychosocial impact on medical students in Libya. Further, our study showed a statistically significant difference in depression and anxiety levels among males and females, with the latter exhibiting more depressive and anxiety symptoms. However, the use of social media was proposed as a means of motivating junior medical students who could be mentored by trained senior students to mitigate the anxiety and stress that they endured during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, students could share their thoughts and experiences under the supervision of faculty members, which would support junior medical students during this difficult time, thereby safeguarding their mental health [ 25 ]. The large discrepancy between the number of females and males participating in the study might be due to the fact that most of the medical students in Libya are female, without official figures or numbers. A second reason is that female students are more likely to participate in research and volunteering activities than are male students [ 26 ].

A considerable number of participants (40%) experienced financial difficulties, while 12.8% reported that they had been internally displaced due to the civil war in Libya. In terms of the e-learning platform, these issues posed challenges for medical students as financial and social factors may be barriers for the development and effective implementation of online learning programs [ 27 ]. Therefore, local governments should provide support for the Libyan population who experience these threats, by providing temporary residence while trying to support their return to their original homes and by increasing security measures in Libya to fight organized crime and activate law enforcement.

Furthermore, medical students reported high levels of computer and information technology proficiency; about 90% of the respondents reported that they had good, very good, or proficient skill levels. Most reported that they had access to fourth-generation internet services with an acceptable or good internet connection. These findings may support the feasibility of implementation of e-learning programs for medical students. Further, about 93% of the students reported that they owned a smartphone, while 75% had personal computers. These results support the need for smartphone applications that provide access to online learning and medical education lectures. The findings also highlight the need to provide interactive sessions through optimized tools on smartphones, as most participants use their phones more than their computers. Indeed, many students reported the availability of several advanced technological device supports, such as augmented reality and fourth-generation internet support. However, we found that 66.5% thought that conflicts in Libya could pose challenges for e-learning. While 78.3% of the study participants thought that it would be difficult to participate in e-learning due to financial costs, especially due to the civil war and financial crisis in Libya. These challenges made it difficult for medical students to acquire stable online access, with possible difficulties in using advanced technologies that might be needed in e-learning. These tools and services may be expensive for medical students in Libya, especially considering that medical education is free. Therefore, it is vital to address these issues by providing support to medical students through internet companies by providing a stable and reliable internet service, and by reducing costs for medical students. Faculties and medical schools could support students by providing lectures as downloadable and easy-to-access resources. Further, local governments should facilitate the educational process by providing financial support for students and their family, and by trying to mitigate the negative consequences of the civil war. Additionally, considering the financial implications of the civil war in Libya that would influence all of the above interventions, governments should provide specific financial and information technology support for students to enable them to access low cost and easy-to-use e-learning platforms.

Majority of the participants (66.8%) reported that they studied alone and utilized different educational sources, while 56.8% reported that they depended on courses provided by private educational institutions. Interestingly, about one-third of the students depended on university lectures. Student absenteeism at lectures and reliance on private lessons are major concerns for many universities worldwide. These issues can be explained by reasons such as a lack of interest among students and the teaching style, especially the traditional mode of teaching, which requires students listen to monotonous lectures that lack visual stimulation and provides little opportunity for students to engage in discussions. This mode of teaching creates a sense of boredom during lectures and causes students to feel less motivated to attend future lessons [ 28 ]. Other reasons include transportation issues faced by students who may be living in another city, and access to multiple tutors in private institutes might be an easier method for leaning.

Despite the difficulties experienced by students during the COVID-19 pandemic and the civil war in Libya, 91.1% of them had not suspended their enrollment in the respective medical school, though others suspended their education due to financial, social, or relocation factors. However, 97.1% reported that their medical schools had suspended the education process, with only 2.9% continuing their medical education officially through online learning lectures or private lessons. This suspension in major medical schools in Libya, without attempts to identify an alternative solution, is a major concern. The need to find alternative solutions, such as e-learning and video lectures, to support medical students during this difficult time and to ensure that their education and graduation are not postponed for several months (March to July, 2020), is widely acknowledged, particularly as major medical schools remain closed and no alternatives have been proposed [ 29 , 30 ]. This is in spite of the fact that most medical students have been able to continue to access lectures, especially those with downloadable options. Therefore, there is strong need to develop a curriculum to improve the teaching–learning process during the COVID-19 pandemic [ 9 ]. Medical educators should respond by mitigating the impact of the pandemic so that medical students can cope with these changes and be in a position to utilize their time and continue the educational process [ 12 ]. Academic coaching programs may represent one possible solution. Strategies could be implemented to engage students in continued online learning. However, these initiatives require institutional support and interactive learning, as medical students may be poorly motivated to engage in online learning, and some students may encounter communication challenges [ 31 ].

Due to the lockdown and closure of medical schools, several students have been engaged in multiple activities. However, we observed that only about 52% continued their learning through self-study, while about 19.5% carried out research activities, and 70.5% chose to relax and rest. However, 18.7% of the medical students participated in volunteer activities. Medical students should lead volunteering efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, by helping with patient education services, contact tracing, mental health assessments, and supporting their community during this difficult time [ 32 ]. Obviously, we must promote better collaboration and leadership skills to prepare students for successful patient care and interprofessional multidisciplinary practice. Additionally, we have a responsibility to provide assistance to medical students to help them improve their analytical abilities. Volunteering activities and a philosophy of lifelong learning should be encouraged, and efforts should be made to enhance leadership skills, all of which are essential to respond to the pandemic [ 33 ].

Most students (approximately 59%) agreed that they could help in hospitals during the pandemic. However, the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Liaison Committee on Medical Education recommended suspending medical school rotations, as continued involvement of medical students can pose a risk of infection transmission, which may have a profound effect on patient care, especially given the shortage of personal protective equipment [ 34 ]. Many students (51.8%) were worried about being exposed to SARS-CoV-2 during their clinical training, while 59.1% were worried about viral transmission in the community. Therefore, most medical schools suspended medical rotations for medical students in an effort to decrease the risk of infection transmission among medical students from COVID-19-positive patients [ 35 ]. Accordingly, several schools transitioned away from providing ordinary classes towards adopting an e-learning platform that is suitable for both students and staff [ 36 ]. The teachers were involved in developing plans to achieve the educational objectives of the teaching courses. However, there is a critical need for academic coaching programs that will help students engage in continued learning with supervision and follow-up by their teachers, as this will prevent students from becoming less motivated, and will increase communication skills between learners and educators [ 31 ].

The implication for policy and practice

One of the proposed solutions pertained to interactive online discussions about cases. In this method, students are initially granted a weekly series of immersive online cases to model a clinical role. They then use an online platform to present a review of the patient’s history, findings from the physical examination, results of investigations, and proposed management plans. Next, the topic is addressed during an online webinar with a teaching physician, and students can pose questions using a specific online platform. This visual interface will simulate bedside teaching [ 37 ].

Another proposed method to tackle the challenges pertaining to medical education is the use of telemedicine, which has been around for several decades. In contrast to an in-person clinical visit, telemedicine involves a virtual visit, and it can play a major role in teaching medical students and helping them to acquire clinical experience by interacting with real patients, under the supervision of attending physicians [ 4 ]. Virtual clinical experience may offer advantages for patients, as it is provided with ease and allows for connectivity without the risk of infection transmission. It would be beneficial if clinicians had the opportunity to treat to people with severe and chronic conditions, and if the workload of physicians could be reduced, especially during an outbreak [ 38 ]. In a recent study conducted in the area of emergency medicine clerkships, students’ provided positive feedback regarding a virtual clinical experience that involved direct participation in patient care under the clinicians’ supervision [ 13 ]. However, this approach requires further evaluation, and more support is needed for its official implementation in medical schools; only 21.1% of the participants in our study supported the use of e-learning for clinical aspects, while 54.8% disagreed about the use of this approach. However, these proposed learning approaches should follow a systematic curriculum that is developed by experts, and which includes the establishments of goals, educational strategies, implementation methods, and evaluation processes to ensure that the intended learning goals are met. Further, as students at different levels of learning have different needs and objectives, such programs should address students’ needs and goals, as well as they university’s objectives.

Another challenge for the medical education process is examinations. Some schools, such as the Imperial College in London, started to implement an online examination platform during the COVID-19 pandemic for final-year medical students to prevent any further disruption and postponement of student graduations [ 39 , 40 ]. This form of online examination and assessment was proposed to meet the requirement for board and fellowship examinations [ 41 ]. However, it poses several technical issues, such as the availability of specific technical requirements including cameras, microphones, and speakers with specific features, so as to prevent any disruption and bias. It also poses ethical challenges, and several difficulties are encountered in terms of its implementation. For example, there might be risks such as leaked questions, which would prevent an accurate in-person assessment.

Although several studies focused on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on medical students, our study aimed to evaluate several outcomes that would be helpful in assessing their current situation, and to examine how the pandemic has affected them. Our study provided an overview of medical students’ status throughout the pandemic as well as during the civil war in Libya. These factors have resulted in the internal displacement of many students, who also reported that they experienced financial difficulties. Despite this, medical students demonstrated their versatility and showed acceptable levels of knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding e-learning. COVID-19 required us to dig into every area of our medical education system. This is an opportunity for prospective doctors to review the curriculum, and in particular, to align themselves with the knowledge and abilities that they would use throughout their professions.


In this study, we observed that most medical students had access to electronic devices and were able to use them. We also found that medical students displayed variable levels of knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding e-learning. However, our study was performed in a single country with specific settings. Therefore, the results may not be generalized to other countries, and they must be validated by further studies in different countries and centers to obtain an overview of the utility of the online learning platform as a mode of teaching. Such replication studies in multiple contexts could help determine whether e-learning can replace traditional medical lectures and provide solutions for the disruption of clinical training. Another limitation is the cross-sectional nature of the study design, which limited our ability to derive causal associations. This reveals the need for conducting longitudinal studies in different countries. Another limitation of the study, given the specific circumstances of Libyan medical students in terms of the effect of the ongoing civil war, internal displacement, socioeconomical issues, and health-related issues, it would be difficult to separate the isolated effects of COVID-19 on the study variables. These variables may have had a confounding effect on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Libyan medical students.

Our findings indicated that the knowledge, attitudes, and practice levels of e-learning were adequate. This evidences the usability of this teaching method in a country with limited resources despite the technical and socioeconomic challenges faced. Extensive educational support should be provided to medical students, especially during the pandemic. We recommend adapting interactive online learning lectures by using highly sophisticated technologies along with virtual clinical experience to combine clinical scenarios with similar bedside teaching based on discussions of medical cases. Such measures would help students adapt to this way of medical teaching. Additionally, the situation should be assessed further to examine whether online examinations can help avoid postponing student graduations and medical training. The COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing and will continue to disrupt medical education and training. COVID-19 has overloaded the healthcare system and has affected the ability of healthcare providers to provide adequate healthcare services. As we face a second wave of this outbreak, we must undertake several measures and make changes to minimize the impact on medical education and the progression of training. Valid solutions are needed to reduce this disruption, and such measures may take the form of online training and virtual clinical experience, followed by hands-on experience in a safe environment, although the latter may take time considering the continued spread of COVID-19. Our results could be used in future studies to examine medical students’ status and the usability of electronic learning as an alternative to the typical medical education process to facilitate the future education of medical students. Empowering medical students by providing them with a comprehensive medical education and sufficient clinical experience for their career can help prevent major disruption and delays in clinical training.

Supporting information

S1 table. distribution of medical students according to medical schools..

S1 File. English version of the questionnaire.

S2 File. Arabic version of the questionnaire.

S1 Raw data.


We would like to thank the students who participated in the study.

Advisor Corner: Crafting Your Personal Statement

New section.

Being able to articulate an answer to the question “why medicine?” is critical for an applicant as they apply to medical school. One of the first opportunities for an applicant to convey this message to admissions officers is through their personal comments essay in the AMCAS application. We asked three pre-health advisors how they advise their students to put their best self forward when crafting their personal statements.

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The personal statement is an unfamiliar genre for most students—you’ve practiced writing lab reports, analytical essays, maybe even creative fiction or poetry, but the personal statement is something between a reflective, analytical narrative, and an argumentative essay. You want to reveal something about yourself and your thoughts around your future in medicine while also making an argument that provides evidence supporting your readiness for your career. Well ahead of when you’re writing your personal statement, consider taking classes that require you to create and support arguments through writing, or those that ask you to reflect on your personal experiences to help you sharpen these skills.

As you draft your essay, you may want to include anecdotes from your experiences. It’s easiest to recall these anecdotes as they happen so it can be helpful to keep a journal where you can jot down stories, conversations, and insights that come to you. This could be recounting a meaningful conversation that you had with someone, venting after an especially challenging experience, or even writing about what keeps you going at times when you feel in danger of giving up. If it’s more comfortable, take audio notes by talking into your phone.

While reading sample personal statements can sometimes make a student feel limited to emulating pieces that already exist, I do think that reading others’ reflective writing can be inspirational. The Aspiring Docs Diaries blog written by premeds is one great place to look, as are publications like the Bellevue Literary Review and Pulse , which will deliver a story to your inbox every week. Check with your pre-health advisor to see if they have other examples that they recommend.

Rachel Tolen, Assistant Director and Premedical Advisor, Indiana University

I encourage students to think of the personal statement not just as a product. Instead, I encourage them to think of the process of writing the statement as embedded in the larger process of preparing themselves for the experience of medical school. Here are a few key tips that I share with students:

Dana Lovold, MPH, Career Counselor at the University of Minnesota

Your personal statement can and should include more than what you’ve done to prepare for medical school. The personal statement is an opportunity to share something new about yourself that isn’t conveyed elsewhere in your application.

Advisors at the University of Minnesota employ a storytelling model to support students in finding and writing their unique personal statement. One critical aspect of storytelling is the concept of change. When a story lacks change, it becomes a recitation of facts and events, rather than a reflection of how you’ve learned and grown through your experiences. Many students express concern that their experiences are not unique and wonder how they can stand out. Focusing on change can help with this. Some questions you may want to consider when exploring ideas are:

By sharing your thoughts on these aspects of your preparation and motivation for medicine, the reader has a deeper understanding of who you are and what you value. Then, connect that insight to how it relates to your future in the profession. This will convey your unique insight and demonstrate how you will use that insight as a physician.  

In exploring additional aspects of what to write about, we also encourage students to cover these four components in the essay:


After you finish a working draft, go back through and see how you’ve covered each of these components. Ask people who are reading your draft if they can identify how you’ve covered these elements in your essay so that you know it’s clear to others.

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How To: Master the Med School Secondary Essay (with examples) 2022

After you submit your primary applications , medical schools will ask you to submit secondary applications (most automatically) the majority of which require you to write secondary essays of varying lengths.

The essay prompts should serve as clues to the culture of the medical school and indicate what kind of information is important for them to know about applicants. As you research each school to apply to, begin to make notes about what draws you to that school so you can use these thoughts in your secondary essays.

You can prepare for these in advance by organizing notes in these areas: my accomplishments, obstacles I have overcome, challenges I have had and how I’ve handled these, why I want to attend this school, what kind of physician I want to be, what activities I’ve been most intimately involved with and what have I learned.

Secondary Essay Basic Guidelines

Most Common Essay Prompts

Several common secondary essay topics that are listed below.

Greatest Challenge/Failure/Adversity Essay

Essays that ask about personal challenges, failures or adversities are seeking information about your ability to manage conflict and challenge. They also want to know how you cope with conflict and that you can be objective when things don’t go your way.

Medical schools want to know that you are level headed, and that you won’t crumble when feeling vulnerable or faced with less than ideal situations. Students often immediately gravitate to academic or scholarly subjects for these essays, but, sometimes the most compelling topics are those that are personal. Why? These topics can often say much more about your character, values, ideals, and decision making. Ideally, you should also write about what you learned and how you grew or changed as a result of the challenge, failure, or adversity. 

Students also consider writing about red flags for this topic such as a class failure, poor MCAT exam or institutional action. Generally speaking, we find that these topics are usually less interesting and don’t offer enough information about who you are as a person.

Essay Example:

I had worked on my presentation for weeks. I knew it was so important, not only for me, but for my principal investigator (PI), that I present the work we had done succinctly and clearly since I would be speaking in front of the entire biochemistry department. Public speaking has never been a strength and I was very nervous. Before it was my time to speak, I could feel my heart racing and my palms sweating. When I got to the podium, I was literally unable to speak; I was shaking uncontrollably and had to sit down while my PI took over. It was the most humiliating experience of my life. I was able to calm down, and, rather than leaving the auditorium, I waited until the conference was over and apologized to my PI who was kind and forgiving. I then resolved to improve my public speaking skills. The the next day I signed up for a Toastmaster’s course and have taken every opportunity since this incident to speak in public. Although I still get nervous before I have to speak, I have learned to actually enjoy speaking in public.

I saw the Microsoft Word document on the screen of my roommate’s computer. It looked familiar. I realized that this essay my roommate had written on the works and life of Jane Austen contained the exact language I had seen elsewhere. Where had I seen it? Why was this so familiar? I also asked myself, “Do I have a right to be looking at  this document?”

Then it dawned on me. When my roommate got this assignment for her literature class, we discussed it with our housemates from down the hall.  One girl offered to give my roommate a paper she had written on this topic for an AP class in high school. She printed out the paper and gave it to me to give to my roommate. Curious about the topic, since I am a Jane Austen fan, I read it before handing it to my roommate. The document on the computer in front of me contained parts of this paper that were copied, verbatim.

The issues here were complicated. First of all, I was invading my roommate’s privacy. I should not have been looking at her computer even though we often shared our computers. But now that I was aware of what she had done, I felt an obligation to confront her.

That night, when my roommate returned home from studying, I first apologized for invading her privacy and explained that I had read the document on the screen. I then told her that I realized she had plagiarized and told her I thought this was wrong. She explained that she felt under tremendous pressure since she also had a big organic chemistry mid-term that week and it just seemed so easy to copy the paper even though she recognized it was not right to do so. With my urging, since she had not yet handed the paper in, she stayed up late into the night to compose an original essay and, in the end, she thanked me for noticing and for encouraging her to do the right thing. I realized that even confronting my roommate, which was uncomfortable and awkward for me, encouraged her to make a better choice and reinforced for me the importance of acting ethically even if these easier choice would have been to look away.

Diversity Essay

Medical schools have broadened their definitions of diversity and for essays like this you can write about your unique interests, talents, or experiences. Maybe you have a distinctive background, perspective, or outlook. Think outside the box when writing about diversity. Do you have a special hobby or accomplishment that sets you apart?

Or, you can also choose to write about your own experiences with diverse or minority populations to illustrate your cultural competence which most people think of as the more “traditional” approach to questions about diversity. We find that most applicants do not currently write about these more traditional topics. Sometimes it can be more impressive to write about topics that are more distinctive to you and your background.

I grew up in a diverse community even though my undergraduate college was quite homogeneous. During college, I sought out  experiences beyond campus to immerse myself in more diverse communities. I volunteered in a free clinic, tutored children in Africa, and traveled during my vacations, when possible. I gained insights into the challenges facing  others and how their backgrounds and experiences influenced their perspectives and attitudes. On a medical mission abroad the summer after my junior year, I worked in medical clinics helping to care for Mexican families, which helped me understand that such challenges and unfair inequalities in education and health care also exist internationally.

Through my experiences, I came to realize that all patients, regardless of their background, fare better when their unique circumstances, cultures, and outlooks are considered. To improve my ability to communicate with some of these populations, I minored in Spanish and became more proficient in  the language through my studies in Spain. I have learned the importance of listening and seeing situations through the eyes of those I help. Throughout such experiences, apart from realizing that I hope to work with these populations as a future physician, I was continually reminded of the pervasive societal inequalities and injustices both locally and internationally.

Another Example:

Whether playing a Beethoven or Brahms sonata, playing music has always been an outlet for me. Since the age of seven, I have emulated my mother, a professional cellist. In fact, even during college, my goal was to practice medicine while working as a professional pianist. While doing my premedical coursework and majoring in biology, I also minored in music and composed my own work. The year following college, while playing piano professionally, I realized this wasn’t what I wanted to pursue for my lifetime. However, my musical interests will always be more than a hobby and serve as my escape from the stresses of daily life.

Why XXXXX School Essay

Medical schools want to know that you have the qualities and characteristics they are seeking. Before writing these essays, read the medical school’s mission statement and review their student biographies (if offered) to get a sense of what the school values in applicants.

The key in writing “Why our School Essays” is to offer as many specifics as possible. You want to show you will take advantage of the medical school’s opportunities and that you will make valuable contributions as a medical student. Do this by showcasing how your interests and experiences are aligned with opportunities at the medical school, that you can benefit from what the medical school offers and that you will contribute to the medical school community.

Also, many students fail to look beyond the first and second year curriculums when writing about why there are interested in a medical school. What you do during your third and fourth years of medical school, in clinical settings, is just as important. Show that you understand this!

Example Essay:

My interest in geriatrics and emergency medicine evolved as I worked clinically in these two departments last summer. Through my coursework in health policy, I also learned of the imminent need for geriatric specialized physicians to support the aging baby boomer generation. Through your hospital’s renowned telemedicine and information technology departments, I would be offered the unique opportunity to explore this interest further. I would also take advantage of the medical school’s summer research program to participate in research projects related to geriatrics or  emergency medicine.

At the clinic where I worked, I gained first hand exposure to disease complications, which often were  caused by lack of access to primary care. My travels and work in India have shown me how common these issues also are internationally. Your unique medical school program would allow me to continue my active community participation during my first year, while providing care to diverse populations who lack access to care. This endeavor also could be augmented through participation in research and study in South America, so I could pursue my interest in global health while caring for other underserved communities and  improving my language skills.

Of supreme importance, the urban location and suburban hospitals affiliated with the medical school as well as the Level I trauma center would offer unparalleled exposure to novel academic and clinical opportunities. Apart from the school’s location in my favorite city of Great City, it is the superior curriculum, supportive medical educational environment, opportunity for community involvement, and team-oriented culture that would make your medical school a perfect fit for me.

What are you doing next year or what have you done since graduating from college?

Answer these questions in a straight forward fashion. Typically, medical schools require that only applicants who are not full-time students answer the question. In answering these questions, write about what you will be doing, but also include information about what you hope to learn and how this will prepare you for medical school.

For the upcoming academic year, I will continue my research on breast cancer at Outstanding Oncology Center, where I have been working for one year. Our findings last year have already provided evidence for the etiology of what receptor is involved in  the development of tiny cell cancer, and we hope to build on these findings to continue our work. I have already become proficient in using the literature to design experiments, and I hope that this year I will learn how to analyze our findings. My hope is that our findings will be significant enough to lead to a publication on which I would be an author.

I  will also shadow several doctors throughout the year to broaden my understanding of clinical medicine. Right now I have plans to shadow an internist, a surgeon, and an ophthalmologist.

My Saturday mornings will be spent volunteering at Inner City Clinic, where I will be promoted to the level of triage. I will be responsible for taking vital signs and basic intake histories on patients.

This year will be productive and, I hope, will provide the foundation I need to be an excellent medical student.

Secondary Essay Writing Tips

For each essay prompt you receive, pay attention to the character and word limits and use them as cues for how much information a medical school is seeking. A medical school that limits your responses to only 50 words, for example, is asking you for a simple, straightforward response. On the other hand, the school that allows 1,000 words per essay wants you to elaborate and go into some detail.

Secondary prompts vary, and I find that students can often recycle essays for multiple schools. But reading secondary prompts carefully is important. The most common mistake students make is providing a response that does not really address what is being asked. Even though writing secondary essays can get laborious, don’t try to make an essay you have already written “fit” for a prompt if it just doesn’t work. Remember, good secondary essays can help you earn a  medical school interview.

Sometimes, especially if your primary application is comprehensive, responding to a secondary essay may force you to repeat information that is already in your primary application. That not only is  okay but also suggests that you are in good shape; many schools determine prompts by identifying topics that applicants frequently leave out of primary applications.

I discourage  applicants from  writing a “one size  fits all document” for various secondary essay themes. Since the character/word limit for secondary essays is so variable (50 – 3,000 words) it would be a waste of time to write an essay before knowing specific character limits for each prompt. Having an idea of what you would write about for  each of the common themes is wise, however. Some schools’ secondary essay prompts do not vary from year to year, and you can often find these essay prompts and start working on them in advance. But, be warned, schools do change secondary essay prompts on occasion.

Above all, just as you did with your personal statement, write authentically and honestly and don’t try to spin your responses to tell admissions committees what you think they want to read. 

A couple of additional tips: 

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Secondary Essay Prompts By School

University of Arizona College of Medicine (Tucson) University of Arizona College of Medicine (Phoenix) A.T. Still University–School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA), Mesa Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University (AZCOM), Glendale

University of Alabama School of Medicine, Birmingham University of South Alabama College of Medicine, Mobile Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM), Dothan Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine–Auburn Campus (VCOM-Auburn), Auburn

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine, Little Rock Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (ARCOM), Fort Smith

California Northstate University School of Medicine, Elk Grove Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, Sacramento University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, Irvine University of California, Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles University of California, Riverside, School of Medicine, Riverside University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, San Francisco Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine–California (TUCOM-CA), Vallejo Western University of Health Sciences/ College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (Western U/COMP), Pomona

University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine (RVUCOM), Parker


Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University, Hamden University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington Yale School of Medicine, New Haven

DC, Washington

Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington Howard University College of Medicine, Washington

Florida Atlantic University Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Boca Raton Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Miami Florida State University College of Medicine, Tallahassee University of Central Florida College of Medicine, Orlando University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, Miami USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, Tampa Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine Bradenton Campus (LECOM Bradenton), Bradenton Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine (NSU-KPCOM), Fort Lauderdale

Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University, Augusta Mercer University School of Medicine, Macon Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta Georgia Campus–Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (GA-PCOM), Suwanee

University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine, Honolulu

Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine (DMU-COM), Des Moines

Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM), Meridian

Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science, North Chicago Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood Northwestern University The Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago Rush Medical College of Rush University Medical Center, Chicago Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences The Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University (CCOM), Downers Grove

Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MU-COM), Indianapolis

University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City

University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville University of Pikeville–Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (UP-KYCOM), Pikeville

Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans, New Orleans Louisiana State University School of Medicine in Shreveport, Shreveport Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans

University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNECOM), Biddeford

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine, Bethesda University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore


Boston University School of Medicine, Boston Harvard Medical School, Boston Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester

Central Michigan University College of Medicine, Mount Pleasant Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, East Lansing Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, Rochester University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, Kalamazoo Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM), East Lansing

Mayo Medical School, Rochester University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis


University of Mississippi School of Medicine, Jackson William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine (WCUCOM), Hattiesburg

Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine, Columbia University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, Kansas City Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, St. Louis A.T. Still University–Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM), Kirksville Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCU-COM), Kansas City

Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha University of Nebraska College of Medicine, Omaha

University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine (TUNCOM), Henderson

New Hampshire

Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover

Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, Camden Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (RowanSOM), Stratford

University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine (BCOM), Las Cruces

Albany Medical College, Albany Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx City University of New York School of Medicine, New York Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York Hofstra North Shore – Northwell School of Medicine, Hempstead Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo New York Medical College, Valhalla New York University School of Medicine, New York State University of New York Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine, Brooklyn State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stony Brook University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester Weill Cornell Medicine, New York New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM), Old Westbury Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine–New York (TouroCOM-NY), New York City

North Carolina

Duke University School of Medicine, Durham The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Greenville University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, Chapel Hill Wake Forest School of Medicine of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, WinstonSalem Campbell University Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine (CUSOM), Lillington

North Dakota

University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Grand Forks

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland Northeast Ohio Medical University, Rootstown Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus The University of Toledo College of Medicine, Toledo University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, Dayton Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM), Athens

University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, Oklahoma City Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine (OSU-COM), Tulsa

Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine, Portland


Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, Philadelphia Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia The Commonwealth Medical College, Scranton University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), Erie Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), Philadelphia

Puerto Rico

Ponce Health Sciences University School of Medicine, Ponce San Juan Bautista School of Medicine, Caguas Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine, Bayamon University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, San Juan

Rhode Island

The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence

South Carolina

Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine, Charleston University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia University of South Carolina School of Medicine – Greenville, Greenville Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine–Carolinas Campus (VCOM-Carolinas), Spartanburg

South Dakota

Sanford School of Medicine The University of South Dakota, Vermillion

East Tennessee State University James H. Quillen College of Medicine, Johnson City Meharry Medical College, Nashville University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine, Memphis Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville Lincoln Memorial University–DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM), Harrogate

Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, Bryan Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, El Paso Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine, Lubbock The University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio, San Antonio University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School, Austin University of Texas Medical Branch School of Medicine, Galveston University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Houston University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, Harlingen University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas Southwestern Medical University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine (UIWSOM), San Antonio University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth/Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC/TCOM), Ft. Worth

University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City

University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington

Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, Roanoke Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM), Lynchburg Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine–Virginia Campus (VCOM-Virginia), Blacksburg

University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine (PNWU-COM), Yakima

West Virginia

Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Huntington West Virginia University School of Medicine, Morgantown West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM), Lewisburg

Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison

*Data collected from MSAR 2022-2023, 2022 Osteopathic Medical College Information Book, and institution website.

Disclaimer: The information on this page was shared by students and/or can be found on each medical school’s website. MedEdits does not guarantee it’s accuracy or authenticity.


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Medical School Papers

Free Medical School Essays Examples and List of Topics

Medicine is not a part of a school program, and writing becomes more complicated in college. That is why you should start learning how to write different types of papers for the medical program in high school. If you have a passion for helping people or animals, you should think about joining the field of healthcare today. It is full of promising jobs with high salaries and attractive social benefits. However, entering the medical school and surviving your university years is not that easy – get ready to face many challenging, time-consuming assignments.

We would like to share one of the medical assistant essay examples in this post. We will also discuss how to pick topics for such type of papers wisely. You will also find some great topic ideas for your project.

How to Choose Medical Essay Topics 

The primary step to success in academic writing is knowing how to select the most appropriate ideas for your paper. First of all, check the prompt of your teacher carefully. Does it provide any specific topic or just say, “Writer’s Choice?” If the second one is correct, think about a good topic to cover. You should start with brainstorming. You can either call your friends or do it with your family members. Discuss the topics that could be interesting to them.

Then, you should search for ideas online. Be in trend – check out the latest news and social media platforms to learn what people are talking about related to healthcare and medicine. Also, highlight the sources you could later use in your work and for your work. Make sure the specific topic has enough information available online. Do not pick topics that you have little awareness of – you should always make sure you can access relevant, credible, and up-to-date info to defend your ideas.

Never select a broad topic or too narrow one. A broad topic will force you to cover many different subjects briefly, and the tutors are interested in the in-depth analysis of the specific idea. As for the rather narrow topics, it is better to avoid them too as it might be challenging or impossible to find enough information to support your arguments.

Observe other medical school essays examples online to find out what other students discuss. Finally, choose the topic you more-or-less know and can share examples of it from your personal experience. Once you are done, ask the teacher to confirm your choice or recommend another topic.

Medical School Essays Example for Your Successful Admission

The hardest part is to write application essays. That why we have picked one of the medical school admission essay examples to share with you!

“My story begins at the age of 15. I am dressed in a tiny nurse suit for our Halloween school night. It is one of the most common ideas for Halloween, but, this time, it did not appear so. Most of the classmates were dressed as Marvel characters or something traditional like witches and vampires. That was the first time I felt myself special. When one of the guys felt down all of a sudden, I managed to provide first aid and save him.

While many people choose jobs in such fields as information technologies and e-commerce, I prefer something more traditional. That night when we stayed all alone without our teachers and parents made me understand that I was the only one to diagnose what happened to the boy and treated him with the proper medicine, so nothing worse happened. I cannot imagine what would happen! Death of a human being is much scarier to me than any Halloween nightmare.

My older sister was a registered nurse, and she taught me all the basics. Even though at school I was more kind of humanitarian kid, I started to express more interest in precise sciences and natural sciences like biology. I am especially interested in child health as well as treating animals. In fact, I would love to help both humans and pets if it is even possible to combine.

I believe that your medical school is the best option for me. Thanks to the 2-year internship in the local vet Clinique, I have mastered such necessary skills as time management, organization, leadership, medical and technical writing, first aid, research, and more. I believe all of these factors are critical for the job of a nurse. I have been serving the pets of our neighbors when their dog had difficult times with the broken leg, and their cat was running out of important medicine to support a proper metabolism.

After reading about all the peculiarities of your nursing program, I decided that we would complement each other if I join your school. I am ready to contribute to your community by…”

You have just read a good medical school application essay sample. The point is it is equally important to show how you care about society and further development of medicine. You should not focus only on your skills and experience; explain why you believe helping patients is important, and how the target school can benefit from picking you out of the pool of other candidates.

25 Medical School Essay Topics That Might Work 

We will start with the controversial medical topics for essays. Those are the topics that initiate many debates around them. There are always two sides of the coin. You can come up with an argumentative essay on one of those topics or a persuasive one. Your goal is then to prove that your position is the most correct to your target audience. So, the examples of such ideas would be:

A popular assignment in medical colleges is an argumentative essay. The author has to express their opinion towards the specific healthcare problem and offer specific solutions or forecasts for the future. Here are the medical argumentative essay topics you may choose from:

While in argumentative writing it is enough to provide reasons for supporting the specific position, when it comes to medical persuasive essay topics, a writer should think about convincing the audience of his or her truth. The idea is to make others take the same position as you. Think about which position would you take in the following discussions and how you would persuade your readers before choosing one.

Also, students are often asked to write medical papers of cause and effect type. In such pieces, they should list the reasons for something to happen and name and interpret the possible outcomes. It is a popular type of essay in medical schools as it is perfect for describing specific disorders. The medical essay examples of cause and effect topics could be:

You should also be ready to write plenty of research papers for your medical school or program. It is the most popular genre of academic writing in healthcare programs. Here are some of the top medical research essay topics for you:

Medical Essay Examples of Outline

We have talked about personal statement medical school sample essays and topics for your papers. However, we have not yet discussed the structure of the most popular medical scientific and academic works – research papers. Once you understand it, you will never fall off the topic. Here is an outline for you to follow:

These chapters are the integral parts of research papers, term papers, and dissertations. As you can see, medical papers usually have a structure different from the rest of the essays.

Do you need more than a free sample medical school essays? You can get cheap online help with your academic papers at any time. Just visit our website full of writing services, and let our team know what you need. We guarantee custom essays of the top quality written on time!

Examples List of Medical School papers


  1. Journal Entry · COVID-19 MKE

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  1. How to Write About COVID-19 in Your Medical School Personal Statement

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  2. How to reflect pandemic experiences on medical school applications

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  5. Addressing COVID-19 in Application Essays

    For example, pre-physical therapists and pre-dental students have a new, optional COVID-19 application essay asking how they've been affected personally, professionally, and educationally by the virus. Conspicuously, the AMCAS for premedical students does not ask such a question.

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  7. Writing about COVID-19 in a college admission essay

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  9. Medical School Essay Samples

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  10. Why Us Medical School Essay Example with Writing Tips

    Introduction While one of the most common medical school secondary prompts, it is also one of the most important. This is your opportunity to convince admissions committees at the med schools of which you applied how or why your values align with theirs.As you can imagine, a well-written essay can potentially influence admissions committees to accept an applicant while a poorly written essay ...

  11. Section 8 of the AMCAS® Application: Essays

    Send us a message. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. ET Closed Wednesday, 3-5 p.m. ET. 202-828-0600. 2023 AMCAS ® Application. The 2023 AMCAS application is now open. If you wish to start medical school in Fall 2023, please complete and submit the 2023 AMCAS application. As of February 27 AMCAS is:

  12. Essay on COVID-19 Pandemic

    Essay on COVID-19 Pandemic Published: 2021/11/08 Number of words: 1220 As a result of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, daily life has been negatively affected, impacting the worldwide economy. Thousands of individuals have been sickened or died as a result of the outbreak of this disease.

  13. COVID-19 Essay Examples Essays & Research Papers

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    As a result of the emergency response to the pandemic of Covid-19, this has increased and worsened the rate and severity of domestic abuse. Social Workers are likely to be affected by this and how they operate in practice when on duty to visit vulnerable individuals whether it's children or adults.

  15. Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic as a Medical Student

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  16. COVID-19 Context Clues

    This article is part of Harvard Medical School's continuing coverage of medicine, biomedical research, medical education and policy related to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and the disease COVID-19. In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, markedly different scenarios played out in countries around the world. In northern Italy, the viral ...

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  19. The COVID-19 Essay: How to Write a Strong Response to this New Prompt

    AMCAS has not added a specific new essay prompt about COVID-19 but there will be other places in your application where you will be able to inform medical schools about how your path to medical school was impacted by the pandemic. This workshop is strongly recommended for 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 applicants to medical, dental, and optometry schools.

  20. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on medical education: Medical ...

    The study focused on approximately 13 university medical schools and the sample included 3,348 medical students from all years. The results revealed an acceptable level of knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding e-learning, which evidences the usability of e-learning during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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  22. How To Master The Med School Secondary Essay 2022

    Secondary Essay Writing Tips. For each essay prompt you receive, pay attention to the character and word limits and use them as cues for how much information a medical school is seeking. A medical school that limits your responses to only 50 words, for example, is asking you for a simple, straightforward response.

  23. Free Medical School Essays Examples and List of Topics

    The medical essay examples of cause and effect topics could be: The causes and effects of marijuana consumption on the human organism. The causes and effects of anorexia nervosa in young girls. The causes and effects of taking placebo. The reasons for people to start smoking and its impact on health.