Secondary Database

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine Secondary Questions

Here are the secondary prompts for Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Medical College of Virginia Health Sciences Division.

Secondary Essay Editing


1. You are approached by a neighbor whom you are friendly with and who knows you are headed to medical school. The neighbor wants your opinion on whether she should have her healthy 3-year-old child vaccinated against COVID. The neighbor is well-researched and thoughtful, bringing up data that suggests limited long-term benefits of vaccination, while pointing to concerning, documented side effects. How would you respond to this dilemma? (Comments are limited to 2000 characters. Research on the topic is encouraged)

2. How do you define “grit”, and how have you demonstrated this in the past? (2000 character limit)

3. Please briefly explain any lapses in your undergraduate education that are not explained in your application.

4. Please briefly explain any low GPAs or poor grades.

5. If not addressed in your application, what are you currently doing now?


You are living in a world experiencing the ravages of the Coronavirus which has impacted millions of people since December 2019. Please discuss how the COVID 19 pandemic has affected you personally. What have you learned from your experiences? Please discuss what you perceive may have been some realities that others may have experienced. How has COVID 19 experience influenced your desire to become a physician? (2000 characters)

Please briefly explain any lapses in your undergraduate education; include any in enrollment during your undergraduate education and/or any gaps between undergraduate education and applying to medical school. (For example – poor grades, multiple withdraws, health reasons, etc.)


“Imagine that you are volunteering as a medical assistant in a pediatric clinic. Due to several walk-in urgent cases the clinic has fallen behind schedule about an hour. You are getting the intake information and vitals on a child when the parent becomes visibly angry and starts cursing about the amount of time they have waited to be seen. The parent demands that you get the pediatrician immediately but you know that she is currently doing a medical procedure in the next room. How would you handle this situation? (2000 characters)”


Medicine is a lifelong learning career where new understandings of diseases are constantly changing and new medications are continuously being added, yet motivating patients continues to be a stimulating challenge. Please discuss in 2000 characters or less ways physicians address this issue. You may use resources to answer this question, mention them but footnotes are not necessary


Imagine that you are a volunteer premed working in a free clinic that serves a large immigrant population. Your duties include taking the patients’ medical history. Today you are working with an elderly patient who does not speak English and the adult son is translating for his mother. You notice that he is answering many of the questions for her without translating. During the conversation, the son tells you that if his mother has cancer he does not want her to know because the news “will kill her”. He says that in his family he speaks for the elderly mother and does not want a translator. How will you approach this situation? (You may seek help to answer this question.)

There’s also a re-applicant essay (if applicable) and fmSTAT essays (if you want to do Family practice):

1. Describe the doctor you want to be and discuss how a career in family medicine will help you achieve that. (2500 characters)

2. Describe your concept of what Family Medicine is and tell us what specific influence led you to this understanding? (2500 characters)

Good luck to everyone applying!


Secondaries can make or break an application. With numerous essays, generic questions, and deadlines, secondary applications for medical school can be overwhelming.
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