Wrestling with the Georgetown secondary application? PDr has some tips for you!

There are certain medical schools whose prompts almost never change year to year. Georgetown is one of them. It consists of two questions with a third optional entry, and is unique in the sense that it essentially requires you to draft another personal-statement-length response. Much like UCSD’s long bioessay prompt, the Georgetown application can slow you down as you work your way through your secondary applications.

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Triage the writing for this secondary (and other longer and unique secondaries) to the front of the line. You should at least outline or begin writing for this prompt within a day of receiving it, that way you can let the longer essay cool down for a bit before returning to it later. This also allows you to break up the focus required to complete a long statement within the two week window, which can reduce your stress while filling out other secondaries. You don’t want to end up speeding through the smaller and more generic secondary prompts from other schools to then finally gaze upon a long essay awaiting you once you’ve been worn out a bit. Secondary application burnout most certainly occurs, and if you leave the more tedious secondaries towards the end, there is a higher chance that you will settle for a subpar entry.

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Here are the 2 required prompts:

1. The Georgetown University School of Medicine strives to ensure that its students become respectful physicians who embrace all dimensions of caring for the whole person. Please describe how your personal characteristics or life experiences will contribute to the Georgetown University School of Medicine community and bring educational benefits to our student body. (1000 characters)

The first question should be a topic that you become very familiar with throughout the secondary application process. Since the diversity topic comes up so often, many applicants generally already have some malleable diversity content that can be used for this question. For more on how to approach essays on diversity, see our article Diversity in Secondary Medical Applications.

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? (5,000 characters)

The Mission Statement: Cura Personalis. The second Georgetown prompt is the most time consuming, and is two-pronged. Make sure to not neglect one of the aspects of this question. For instance, don’t just focus on “why Georgetown” and forget to include “how your education at Georgetown will prepare you for your future as a physician.” In order to respond to this part of the application, you need to research the school’s curriculum, strengths and values to really understand how to most effectively package yourself to the admissions committee. I know that the thought of even more research may be daunting, but the more familiar you are with the school, the more natural your secondary application will sound.

||Read Should I Prewrite Secondaries||

The cura personalis mission statement focuses on the importance of holistic medicine. The important thing for you to remember is that your goal is not to necessarily discuss at length why you may agree with their mission statement, but to show how you demonstrate similar values. You may wonder how to go about jumping into a full length statement that ties into this theme, so I’ve mocked up a quick and example of how you could start off a statement that seeks to cater to their emphasis on cura personalis.

“My father is psychologist and my mother works as a community service coordinator at our local church. Because of this, I was raised with a holistic perspective that integrated concepts from science, nature, and spirituality. My parents’ influence made me receptive to the fluid nature of the world around me, an outlook that served as an important complement to my intensive scientific studies. During the course of my undergraduate career, I progressed from a gym assistant, to a fitness trainer, to a sports medicine intern before ultimately being hired as a sports trainer for an LA hockey team. Throughout that journey, I saw how the care of my parents ultimately affected the care of those that I worked with, and I developed a broad and dynamic understanding of wellness.

My continuous exposure to the spiritual and humanitarian efforts of my parents was in tension with the realities and protocols that I faced in my work, and as I matured I learned how to integrate the two concepts to the best of my ability. It is this very integration that I found so appealing about Georgetown’s medical program…”

From here you could proceed to discuss more about what draws you to the school, how your past experiences have shaped you for Georgetown, and how you may demonstrate cura personalis. Also don’t forget to include why attending Georgetown specifically will prepare you to become a future physician! Stay strong throughout the secondary season and don’t let lengthy secondaries such as Georgetown’s deter you from putting forth your best work. As always, best wishes to all of our prospective doctors!

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ProspectiveDoctor. 

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Evan Laveman

Evan Laveman is a writer for ProspectiveDoctor.com. He is currently an emergency medicine resident at Harbor/UCLA. He graduated from the David Geffen School of Medicine and is also a UCLA graduate from the department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics. He is originally from San Diego where he was a lifeguard and EMT. During his free time he enjoys cooking, hiking, and being in the water.

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