Applying to Medical SchoolOsteopathic MedicineSecondary Application

You Submitted Your Primary Application; Now What?

Preparing your secondary applications to medical school

What should you do now that you finally completed and submitted your applications to AMCAS and/or AACOMAS?

First, congratulations! It was a lot of work, but you got it done.

After submitting, you should double check and make sure that everyone who said they are going to write a letter of recommendation for you has either sent them to AMCAS, AACOMAS, Interfolio, or any other “clearinghouse” that you may be using to store your letters.

Next, check with your registrar(s) at your undergraduate (and, if appropriate graduate schools) to make sure that your requests for transcripts have been received and your transcripts have been sent or are in the process of being sent.

Finally, use a strategy as you wait for your secondary applications to arrive. Hopefully, you will soon begin to receive a number of secondary applications. You should think about trying to complete and return the secondary applications in a reasonable amount of time-ideally within 10-14 days after receipt so that the schools know you are serious about applying to them!

Read More: Podcast Episode 9: Common Mistakes on the AMCAS Application

Although there is no guarantee that secondary application essay prompts will be the same year to year; they frequently do not change.

With that in mind, here is a possible strategy that you might want to consider:

  1. Identify the schools that you feel you are “most competitive” for
  2. Use your GPA and MCAT to make a rough guess for these schools
  3. Once these schools are identified, begin to look at the secondary essay prompts on prospective doctor
  4. Start to write rough drafts of essays to answer those prompts
  5. “Prepare” secondary essay prompts for ~ 5 of these schools
  6. Next, identify schools that are your “favorites”-your top choices
  7. Look at essay prompts for these schools
  8. Start to write/outline those essays for ~ 5 of these school
  9. Once you have written several prompts, you can start to modify these to send to other schools
  10. Submit these prepared essays (of course, check the prompts are the same!) once you receive the actual secondary invite!

Read More: Are you competitive enough to apply to California medical schools?

If you are able to use this time after submitting your primary application wisely, you will be ahead of the curve for secondary applications. Every aspect of applying to medical school takes planning and preparation, so strategize your ‘attack’ on the secondary applications and reap the benefits of early submission later!


Harvey Katzen MD

Dr. Katzen graduated from Georgetown University with a BS in Biology and earned his medical degree from The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. He continued his medical training internship and residency in Internal Medicine at GW, as well as completed a fellowship in Hematology/Oncology. Dr. Katzen is an oncologist and has served as the Chief of Oncology at both Greater Southeast Community and Southern Maryland Hospital as well as the president of Oncology-Hematology Associates in Maryland. He currently serves as an associate clinical professor at George Washington Hospital. He was an active member of the George Washington University School of Medicine admissions committee prior to joining MedSchoolCoach. He has been recognized as a Top Doctor by US News and World Report and Washingtonian Magazine. He is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Hematology and the Southern Association of Oncology. He joins MedSchoolCoach enthusiastic to help premedical students follow their dreams of becoming physicians.

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