How to Ace Your Dartmouth Secondaries

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Darthmouth building

How to Ace Your Dartmouth Secondaries

Welcome to our in-depth exploration of Dartmouth secondaries, a crucial step in the journey toward becoming a physician. Known for its rigorous curriculum, emphasis on holistic learning, and focus on individual wellness, Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine stands as an esteemed pillar within the realm of medical education. This post aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the nuances of the secondary application process, specifically for this Ivy League institution.

Your venture into the world of Dartmouth’s medical school secondary applications starts here. As you read on, we will discuss the necessary strategies to tackle the process successfully. With a deeper understanding of what Dartmouth seeks in its candidates, you’ll be better equipped to shine in your application and truly stand out as a potential medical professional of the future.

Understanding Dartmouth Secondaries

Before diving into tips for responding to secondaries, it’s crucial to understand what the secondary application represents and the role it plays in the admissions process. Secondary applications are a chance for applicants to provide additional information about themselves beyond what was included in their primary applications. Dartmouth Medical School’s secondary application typically includes several essay prompts that applicants must answer within a specific timeframe.

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Importance of Secondaries in the Admissions Process

While primary applications provide a broad overview of an applicant’s qualifications and experiences, secondaries allow admissions committees to learn more about applicants’ specific interests, personal qualities, and perspectives. These essays also allow applicants to demonstrate their writing skills and ability to think critically about their experiences.

Moreover, secondary applications are a way for admissions committees to gauge an applicant’s level of interest in their program. By taking the time to thoughtfully answer the essay prompts, applicants demonstrate their commitment to attending Dartmouth Medical School and their willingness to put in the effort required to succeed in the program.

Timeline for Submitting Secondaries

Once you receive the Dartmouth secondaries, it’s essential to plan out your timeline carefully. Pay attention to the deadline for submission and make sure you have ample time to craft thoughtful, well-written responses to each of the prompts. It’s also important to prioritize secondaries, as they can often be more time-consuming and require more introspection than primary applications.

Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that admissions committees review applications on a rolling basis, meaning that the sooner you submit your secondary application, the better your chances are of being accepted. Therefore, it’s crucial to start working on your secondary application as soon as possible to ensure that you have enough time to create a strong and compelling application.

Dartmouth Medical School’s Unique Approach

One unique feature of Dartmouth Medical School’s secondary application is that the prompts ask applicants to reflect on their personal qualities and values in addition to their academic achievements and experiences. This approach allows the admissions committee to get a better sense of how applicants will contribute to the school community and medicine as a whole.

Furthermore, Dartmouth Medical School values diversity and inclusivity, and their secondary application reflects this commitment. The essay prompts encourage applicants to share their unique perspectives and experiences, which can help create a more diverse and well-rounded student body.

Overall, the secondary application process is an essential part of the admissions process, and it’s crucial for applicants to take it seriously and put in the effort required to create a strong and compelling application. By following the tips outlined above and taking advantage of the unique approach of Dartmouth Medical School’s secondary application, applicants can increase their chances of being accepted into the program and starting their journey towards becoming a successful medical professional.

Tips for Writing Effective Secondary Essays

As a prospective medical student, crafting successful responses to the prompts in Dartmouth secondaries is crucial to your application’s success. Here are some tips to help you write effective secondary essays for Dartmouth Medical School:

Research Dartmouth Medical School’s Mission and Values

Before you start writing, take the time to research Dartmouth Medical School’s mission and values thoroughly. Doing so will help you understand the school’s philosophy and approach to medicine, and allow you to provide responses that align with their vision. This research will also help you tailor your responses to the specific prompts, highlighting your unique qualities and qualifications that are in line with the school’s mission.

Reflect on Your Experiences and Goals

When crafting responses to secondary essays, it’s essential to reflect on your experiences and goals and how they relate to the essay prompts. Take the time to think about how your experiences have shaped your perspective on medicine and how they align with Dartmouth’s mission. Reflecting on your goals will help you create thoughtful, well-crafted responses that demonstrate your unique attributes and qualifications.

For instance, you can reflect on how your volunteer work at a local clinic has inspired you to pursue a career in medicine, and how the values you have learned align with Dartmouth’s mission.

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Be Concise and Clear

When answering the prompts in your Dartmouth secondaries, it’s crucial to be clear and concise in your writing. Admissions committees read hundreds of applications, so clear, concise writing will make your responses stand out. Avoid using complex language or jargon and stick to simple, direct sentences that get straight to the point.

Remember, the admissions committee is looking for candidates who can communicate effectively, so your writing should be easy to read and understand.

Show, Don’t Tell

Show, don’t tell is a crucial principle to follow when writing secondary essays. Rather than just stating your qualities and attributes, provide specific examples from your life that demonstrate those qualities in action. This approach provides evidence of who you are and what you will bring to Dartmouth Medical School.

For example, instead of saying, “I am a compassionate person,” you can provide an example of a time when you demonstrated compassion towards a patient or a family member. This approach helps the admissions committee see how you will contribute to the school’s community and mission.

Overall, writing effective secondary essays for Dartmouth Medical School requires careful research, reflection, and clear communication. By following these tips, you can craft thoughtful, well-crafted responses that highlight your unique qualities and qualifications, and demonstrate your fit with the school’s mission and values.

Common Dartmouth Medical School Secondary Essay Prompts

Applying to medical school can be a daunting task, but familiarizing yourself with common essay prompts can help you prepare for the application process. Dartmouth Medical School is no exception, and while the specific prompts for secondary application essays may change from year to year, there are several prompts that are commonly used.

In this article, we will explore four of the most common essay prompts used by Dartmouth Medical School.

1. Diversity and Inclusion

The university values diversity and inclusion in its student body and faculty. The school believes that a diverse community of students and faculty enhances the educational experience and fosters a more inclusive learning environment.

If you are asked to respond to this essay prompt in your Dartmouth secondaries, take the time to reflect on your experiences and perspectives on diversity. Consider how your experiences have shaped your understanding of diversity and inclusion. Think about how you will contribute to a diverse medical community and what steps you will take to promote inclusion.

2. Overcoming Challenges

It is no secret that a career in medicine can be challenging. Medical professionals are often faced with difficult situations that require them to think critically and make tough decisions.

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If you are asked to respond to this essay prompt, discuss a significant challenge or setback you have faced and how you overcame it. Be honest and vulnerable in your response, and demonstrate how this experience has prepared you for a career in medicine.

3. Community Involvement

Dartmouth Medical School seeks applicants who are committed to serving their communities. The school believes that community involvement is an essential part of being a successful medical professional.

If you are asked to respond to this prompt, discuss your involvement in community service. Talk about the impact you have made in your community and how that has prepared you to serve diverse patient populations in the future. Consider how your experiences have shaped your understanding of the importance of community involvement in the medical field.

4. Research Interests

The university’s medical school is a research-oriented institution, and it values applicants with a strong interest in research. The school believes that research is essential to advancing the field of medicine and improving patient outcomes.

If you are asked to respond to this prompt in your Dartmouth secondaries, discuss your research interests and any previous research experience. Be specific about your long-term research goals and how those align with Dartmouth Medical School’s mission. Consider how your research interests will contribute to the advancement of the medical field and the improvement of patient outcomes.

Overall, responding to these essay prompts requires introspection and self-reflection. Take the time to consider your experiences, values, and goals before crafting your response. Remember to be honest, vulnerable, and specific in your answers. Good luck with your application!

Strategies for Tackling Specific Essay Prompts

It is important to strategize how you tackle specific essay prompts. Let’s discuss.

Addressing the “Why Dartmouth?” Question

When applying to Dartmouth Medical School, one of the most common essay prompts asks applicants to explain why they want to attend the school. This is your chance to showcase your knowledge of the school and explain why it is the perfect fit for you. To respond to this prompt, you should discuss specific aspects of the school that align with your career goals and academic interests. Mention any unique resources or opportunities the school offers, such as research opportunities, clinical rotations, or specialized programs.

For example, if you are interested in pursuing a career in pediatrics, you might discuss how Dartmouth’s Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) offers a unique opportunity to work with children in a clinical setting. You could also mention the school’s strong emphasis on community outreach and how this aligns with your desire to make a positive impact on the lives of children in your local community.

Discussing Your Unique Background and Perspective

Dartmouth Medical School values diversity and seeks applicants with a variety of backgrounds and experiences. To respond to this essay prompt, you should discuss your unique experiences and perspectives and how they have prepared you for a career in medicine. Be sure to highlight any experiences that have given you a unique perspective on medicine or healthcare.

For example, if you grew up in a low-income community and witnessed firsthand the impact of inadequate healthcare, you could discuss how this experience has motivated you to pursue a career in medicine and work towards providing better healthcare access to underserved communities.

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Alternatively, if you have a background in a non-medical field such as engineering or business, you could discuss how this unique perspective will allow you to approach healthcare challenges from a different angle.

Demonstrating Resilience and Adaptability

Responding to an essay prompt in Dartmouth secondaries about overcoming challenges provides an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your resilience and adaptability. When crafting your response, focus on how you demonstrated these qualities in the face of adversity. Highlight any lessons you learned or skills you gained through the experience.

For example, if you faced a personal health challenge that required you to take time off from school, you could discuss how this experience taught you the importance of self-care and time management. Alternatively, if you faced a difficult academic challenge such as failing a course, you could discuss how you used this experience as a learning opportunity to improve your study habits and seek out additional resources.

Highlighting Your Passion for Research

If you are passionate about research, responding to an essay prompt about research interests is your chance to showcase your knowledge and experience. To respond to this prompt, you should highlight your passion for research and how it aligns with Dartmouth Medical School’s mission. Discuss any research experience you may have and any long-term research goals you have set for yourself.

For example, if you have conducted research in the field of neuroscience, you could discuss how this experience has shaped your interest in pursuing a career in neurology. You could also mention Dartmouth’s strong emphasis on interdisciplinary research and how this aligns with your desire to collaborate with researchers from different fields to tackle complex healthcare challenges.


Answering your Dartmouth secondaries requires careful planning and preparation. By familiarizing yourself with the school’s mission and values, reflecting on your experiences and goals, and following the tips provided in this article, you can craft successful responses to the essay prompts.

Remember that the secondary application is your chance to demonstrate your unique attributes and qualifications and show how you will contribute to the Dartmouth Medical School community and medicine as a whole.

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