Case Western Reserve Essay

Secondary Essay Prompts for the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Below are the secondary essay prompts for the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, OH.

2017 – 2018

  • Required Essay: Greatest Challenge
    • The admissions committee is interested in gaining more insight into you as a person. Please describe a significant personal challenge you have faced, one which you feel has helped to shape you as a person. Examples may include a moral or ethical dilemma, a situation of personal adversity, or a hurdle in your life that you worked hard to overcome. Please include how you got through the experience and what you learned about yourself as a result.
    • Please limit your response to 1 page (about 3,500 characters), and leave a blank line between paragraphs. If the 3,500 character recommendation is exceeded, your essay WILL still be saved in its entirety.
  • Required Essay: Research
    • Please describe the hypothesis of your research, why the methods were selected to answer that hypothesis, your results and interpretation of your results with respect to future findings. If you have not participated in research or scholarly work, please indicate so in the text area below.
    • Please limit your response to 1 page (about 3,500 characters), and leave a blank line between paragraphs. If the 3,500 character recommendation is exceeded, your essay WILL still be saved in its entirety.
  • Required Essay: Small Group Essay
    • If you were working on a small group project and you thought that another student wasn’t carrying his/her load, how would you handle it?Please limit your response to 300-1000 characters, and leave a blank line between paragraphs. If the 1000 character recommendation is exceeded your essay WILL still be saved in its entirety.

Optional: Additional Information Essay (University Program Only)

  • Is there any further information that you wish to share with the Admissions Committee? This optional response will only be considered by the University Program.

2016 – 2017

MedEdits advises against using outdated prompts for the current season.

  • The admissions committee is interested in gaining more insight into you as a person. Please describe a significant personal challenge you have faced, one which you feel has helped to shape you as a person. Examples may include a moral or ethical dilemma, a situation of personal adversity, or a hurdle in your life that you worked hard to overcome. Please include how you got through the experience and what you may have learned about yourself as a result. Please limit your response to 3500 characters.
  • One of the four pillars of the Western Reserve Curriculum is Research and Scholarship. Although research is not a pre-requisite requirement for the University Program, if you have participated in research or in another scholarly project please tell us about it. Describe your experience, including the question you pursued and how you approached it, your results and interpretation of the results, and most importantly, any thoughts about what this experience meant to you. Remember that the definition of research is broadly-based and can include such projects as a senior capstone or a thesis, and can include both medically and non-medically-related investigations. This essay is optional Please limit your response to 3500 characters.
  • If you were working on a small group project and you thought that another student wasn’t carrying his/her load, how would you handle it?  Please limit your response to 400 to 1000 characters.
  • Is there any further information that you wish to share with the Admissions Committee? This optional response will only be considered by the University Program. This response is optional.

 

In recent years, guaranteed-admission medical programs have exploded in popularity. These programs allow students to apply for a guaranteed place in medical school right out of high school. Often, these programs will include compressed undergraduate degree timelines that reduce the total time requirement by one to two years, leading to so-called seven- and eight-year medical programs. These programs have grown increasingly competitive, and acceptance rates are often lower than undergraduate acceptance rates at Ivy League schools.

 

In addition to the Common App essays (for the latest info, check out our blog post How to Write the Common Application Essays 2017-2018), these specialized programs often require applicants to write separate essays specific to the medical program. The majority of these essays can be grouped into one of two categories.

 

Either they ask the applicant why he or she wants to be a doctor, or they ask the applicant to address why he or she wants to attend the undergraduate and medical school in the program in addition to detailing the reasons behind their desire to be a doctor. The essays for Case Western’s Pre-Professional Scholars Program (in medicine), as well as for Rutgers Newark’s BA/MD program are presented below as representative archetypes for each style of essay.

 

We spoke with CollegeVine co-founder and essay specialist Vinay Bhaskara, who was accepted into seven-year medical programs last year about how he would approach these essays.

 

Case Western Essay Prompt

 

By applying to the Pre-Professional Scholars Program, you are applying to gain admission to professional school earlier than students who apply in the traditional way. Please indicate why you’re interested in your chosen profession. How do you see yourself being particularly suited to this field? What events and/or experiences have led you to your choice? This essay should be between 250 and 500 words in length.

 

Rutgers Essay Prompts

 

Part I. Discuss why you are interested in pursuing a career in medicine. (150 words)

Part II. Describe your health-related volunteer experiences and the time devoted to them. (150 words) Provide supporting documentation in your portfolio from a supervisor, coordinator, etc.


Part III. Discuss what has attracted you to apply to Rutgers University-Newark College of Arts & Sciences, apart from the BA/MD program. (150 words)


Part IV. Discuss why you are specifically interested in attending Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) over other medical schools. (150 words)

 










Addressing ‘Why Medicine’ in Medical Program Essays

Vinay: The critical thing to remember here is that success in medicine is the synthesis of two equally important factors: a passion for science and a passion for serving humanity. Medical care is not just about being able to recognize symptoms, make a diagnosis, and prescribe the correct course of treatment, it’s also about the second word in that phrase — being able to care for patients and make sure that their emotional state improves alongside the physical healing. These are the core themes that you must communicate with your essay.

 

The science side of the ledger is relatively easy to describe. You can approach it from the pure science aspect of a passion for biology or biochemistry. If you choose to highlight biology, be sure to research the various biological subfields, such as genetics, neuroscience, et al. and pick the one for which you feel the most affinity.

 

This approach can also be enhanced by descriptions of your work in a non-class lab environment if you have it. Such experience is advisable for applicants to seven-year programs, though not absolutely essential. Another approach to discussing the academic aspects of medicine is to talk about your passion for the analytic problem-solving that medicine necessitates.

 

On the passion-for-serving-humanity side, the best approach is to refer to a patient care experience (typically either volunteering at a hospital, nursing home, or clinic, shadowing a physician, or [ideally] both), and relate a specific anecdote from that experience that stuck with you. Using that anecdote as a base, you would then transition into a discussion of how that has inspired you to pursue medicine and heal people.

 

If you lack patient care experience, the next option is to draw on volunteer or charity exposure (outside of medicine) and follow the same pattern of an anecdote or reflection.

 

If you don’t have any of these experiences either, a third possibility is to draw on experiences with a family member or friend who dealt with severe health problems and discuss how that experience affected and inspired you. If you don’t have any strong examples of any of these three cases, you can still discuss and analyze a passion for the non-academic aspects of medicine, but it will not have as much substance backing it.

 

Justifying the Undergraduate and Medical Schools

These parts of the essay are not as important relatively speaking, but you still must make sure that you meet the requirements for these. For the justification of the undergraduate schools, it is the same process as general “Why school XYZ?” essays, which we will cover in a later blog post.

 

The general guidelines here are to make sure that you discuss things specific about that school, not generic descriptions that could apply to several different schools. You should discuss both academics, and social aspects of the school, paying special attention to unique academic programs as well as specific social philosophies espoused by each school.

 

With regards to the medical school, you should discuss the specific strengths of that medical school and the things that it can teach you. For example, a major trauma center will expose you to one whole set of patient pathologies, while a hospital in a run down and culturally diverse area of town will expose you to an entirely different set of patient pathologies and interactions.

 

Similarly, hospitals specializing in oncology or neurology will provide a unique experience that you can highlight in the essay. One good point to always mention is that if the medical school is in a city, it will expose you to a diverse and varied set of patient pathologies and patient interactions, which will enhance your skills as a doctor.

 

Addressing Why Accelerated Programs

This is usually the hardest part of the essay to write. The answer for most students is simply because it saves them time, but schools do not like to hear this. A better way to approach it is to state that you are certain about your desire to become a physician, and say that the additional academic rigor presented by the program (a science — heavy curriculum, GPA requirements, working through summers, et al.) strongly appeal to you.

 

If you’re thinking about a BS/MD program, but you’re unsure if it’s the right fit or you don’t know where to begin, consider the CollegeVine BS/MD Apps Assistance Program. Here, you’ll be paired one-on-one with a specialist from one of the top combined undergraduate and medical school programs in the country, who will help to prepare your application, guide your essay choices, and coach you through the interview process.

 

Zack Perkins

Zack was an economics major at Harvard before going on indefinite leave to pursue CollegeVine full-time as a founder. In his spare time, he enjoys closely following politics and binge-watching horror movies. To see Zack's full bio, visit the Team page.

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