How to Ace Your UChicago Secondaries

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Medical students sitting and talking at the university

How to Ace Your UChicago Secondaries

When it comes to preparing your application for the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, understanding the requirements for the UChicago secondaries can make a significant difference in your acceptance prospects. This prestigious institution, renowned for its commitment to groundbreaking research, holistic education, and robust clinical training, employs secondary applications as a crucial component to select its diverse and driven cohort each year.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of crafting successful secondary essays and ultimately, how to ace your University of Chicago medical school secondaries.

Understanding The UChicago Medical School Secondary Application Process

Before we delve too far into the specifics of your secondary essays, let’s take a step back and understand the purpose and structure of the UChicago medical school secondary application.

The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine is a highly selective medical school that receives thousands of applications each year. After the initial screening process, a select group of applicants are invited to complete a secondary application.

Importance of Secondaries in The Admissions Process

Secondary applications are critical components of the admissions process for any medical school. They provide insight into your personality, values, and experiences beyond what is already included in your primary application. Therefore, they are an opportunity for you to showcase your fit with the UChicago medical school mission and demonstrate the unique perspective you bring to the table.

a medicine student wearing a blue scrub suit and looking at the camera

It is important to note that the UChicago medical school secondary application is not a formality. The admissions committee carefully reviews each application to determine whether the applicant is a good fit for the school’s mission and values.

Timeline for Submitting Your Secondaries

It is crucial to keep track of deadlines and make sure you submit your secondary application on time. The UChicago medical school’s secondary application is usually released in June or July each year, and the deadline to submit your application typically falls in November.

It is important to give yourself enough time to complete your secondary application thoroughly. Rushing through your responses may result in a subpar application that does not accurately represent you as an applicant.

Tips for Staying Organized

As you receive the prompts in UChicago secondaries, it is essential to keep track of them all in an organized fashion. With numerous prompts and rigorous deadlines to maintain, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Consider creating a spreadsheet or using an online tool to manage each school’s requirements and deadlines.

Additionally, it is important to read each prompt carefully and tailor your responses to the specific school. Avoid submitting generic responses that could apply to any medical school. Instead, focus on the unique aspects of the UChicago medical school and how your experiences align with their mission.

Remember, the secondary application is your chance to show the admissions committee why you are a good fit for the UChicago medical school. Take the time to craft thoughtful and compelling responses that accurately represent who you are as an applicant.

How to Approach UChicago Medical School’s Secondary Prompts

As you begin to tackle the UChicago medical school’s secondary prompts, it’s important to understand that this is your chance to make a lasting impression on the admissions committee. Your responses should be well thought out, polished, and tailored to UChicago’s unique values.

Analyzing the Prompts

One of the most critical steps in approaching the UChicago medical school’s secondary prompts is to analyze them carefully. Take the time to read through each prompt slowly and highlight any keywords or phrases that stand out to you. By doing so, you can gain a better understanding of what the prompt is requesting from you.

If your prompt contains multiple questions or prompts, it’s essential to break them down into individual sentences and analyze them separately. This will help you to ensure that you are answering each question or prompt thoroughly and accurately.

Tailoring Your Responses to UChicago’s Values

The university is known for its emphasis on interdisciplinary education, intellectual curiosity, and rigor. As such, your secondary essays should showcase how you embody these values through your experiences, interests, and background.

When crafting your UChicago secondaries, consider how your experiences align with UChicago’s values. For example, if you have a background in research, you could discuss how your interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving has helped you to make significant contributions to your field.

Demonstrating Your Unique Qualities

While it’s important to showcase how you embody UChicago’s values, it’s equally important to demonstrate what sets you apart as an applicant. The UChicago medical school wants to know what unique experiences and qualities you possess that would make you a valuable asset to the incoming medical school class.

medical students wearing scrubs, talking and laughing

Be sure to highlight what you bring to the table that sets you apart from other applicants in a concrete, specific way. For example, if you have experience working with underserved populations, you could discuss how this has helped you to develop a unique perspective on healthcare and how you plan to use this perspective to make a difference as a physician.

Remember, your responses should be well-crafted, polished, and tailored specifically to UChicago’s values and mission. By taking the time to analyze the prompts carefully and craft thoughtful responses, you can increase your chances of standing out from the crowd and securing a spot in UChicago’s prestigious medical program.

Tips for Writing Compelling Secondary Essays

The secondary essays are an essential part of the application process for the University of Chicago’s medical school. They offer an opportunity for you to showcase your personality, experiences, and achievements. The following sections will outline the key elements of well-formulated secondary essays.

Be Concise and Clear

Admissions committees often read hundreds, if not thousands, of UChicago secondaries in the application process. It’s essential to make sure your writing is clear, direct, and free of filler. Attempt to convey your ideas in as few words as possible, without sacrificing content. This rule applies to both sentences and paragraphs.

Being concise does not mean that you should leave out important details. Instead, it means that you should be selective in what you include and focus on the most critical aspects of your story. Use clear and straightforward language, and avoid using jargon or overly complex sentences that may confuse the reader.

Show, Don’t Tell

One of the most effective ways to make your essay compelling is to use concrete examples to illustrate your points. It’s critical that you back up any claims you make about yourself with evidence. Your essay should not be a list of qualities or accomplishments but a compelling story or illustration of those qualities.

For example, if you claim that you are a team player, don’t just say it. Instead, provide an example of a time when you worked collaboratively with others to achieve a common goal. Use anecdotes and specific details to paint a vivid picture of your experiences and achievements.

Addressing Weaknesses or Red Flags

If there is a weakness in your application, such as a low GPA or a gap in your academic or professional history, address it directly. Admissions committees appreciate honesty and transparency, and it will be to your benefit to proactively address any issues and demonstrate how you have learned from past challenges.

Don’t make excuses for your weaknesses or try to downplay them. Instead, take responsibility for your actions and explain how you have grown and developed as a result of your experiences. Use your essay as an opportunity to show your resilience, adaptability, and determination.

Proofreading and Editing Your Essays

Before you submit your UChicago secondaries, ensure that you have thoroughly proofread and edited your essays. It’s a good idea to have a trusted friend, family member, or pre-med advisor read your essays and offer you feedback. Proofreading your work for grammar, spelling, and syntax errors can mean the difference between getting an interview or hearing nothing from the University of Chicago.

Take the time to read your essay out loud to yourself, as this can help you identify awkward phrasing or unclear sentences. Consider using online tools, such as Grammarly, to help you catch any errors you may have missed.

A female med student looking into her laptop while 2 more med students are studying at the desks behind her

Remember, your secondary essays are an opportunity to showcase your personality, experiences, and achievements. Use them to tell your unique story and demonstrate why you are an excellent fit for the University of Chicago’s medical school.

Seeking Feedback and Support

The final section of our guide to ace your University of Chicago medical school secondaries offers some key approaches to seeking feedback and support. In this section, we will explore some additional ways to get the feedback and support you need for your medical school application.

Utilizing Your Pre-Med Advisor

Your pre-med advisor is a valuable resource in the application process. They have experience in helping students navigate secondary applications and can provide you with valuable feedback on your writing and overall application. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them for advice or guidance. You can schedule a one-on-one meeting with your advisor to discuss your application and get personalized feedback. Your advisor can also help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and suggest ways to improve your application.

Peer Review and Editing

Consider setting up a peer editing group with other pre-med students to help each other with UChicago secondaries. Peer feedback can be incredibly useful, as it allows you to see the essay from a different perspective and receive constructive criticism that can help strengthen your application. You can exchange essays with your peers and provide feedback on each other’s writing. This can help you identify areas that need improvement and get suggestions for how to make your essay stronger. You can also use online writing communities to get feedback from a wider audience.

It’s important to remember that peer review should be constructive and respectful. Make sure to provide specific feedback and suggestions for improvement, and be open to receiving feedback on your own writing.

Professional Editing Services

Finally, consider hiring a professional editing service to help you polish your essay. Professional editors can provide you with expert feedback on your writing style, structure, and grammar errors. Though it is an investment, it can be well worth it to get your application on the right track. Professional editing services can also help you identify areas that need improvement and provide suggestions for how to make your essay stand out.

When choosing a professional editing service, make sure to do your research and read reviews from other customers. Look for a service that has experience working with medical school applicants and can provide personalized feedback on your application.

In conclusion, seeking feedback and support is an important part of the medical school application process. Whether you utilize your pre-med advisor, set up a peer editing group, or hire a professional editing service, getting feedback on your application can help you identify areas that need improvement and strengthen your overall application.


To sum up, while the UChicago secondaries may seem daunting, it is a crucial part of the admissions process. By following the tips outlined in this article, you will be better equipped to ace your University of Chicago medical school secondaries. Keep in mind the university’s core values, strive to be unique, and back up your claims with specific examples. With careful attention to detail and a little bit of assistance from your support network, you’ll be on your way to acceptance into one of the nation’s most prestigious medical schools.

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group of medical students sitting and communing at a stair outside of a medical college

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