Secondary Applications

Upon receiving your AMCAS application, a medical school will have an additional application often known as a secondary or in some cases supplementary application. Deciding who is invited to complete a secondary application varies among medical schools. Some medical schools offer automatic invitations while others screen applications based mainly on the combination of GPA and MCAT scores. You will only submit secondary application material to a medical school at their request.

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What are secondaries?

Secondaries are supplemental essay questions that generally have character or word limits for the questions. There is a payment required upon submitting the secondary. You can see previous secondary questions for schools at this site.

When will I receive secondaries?

Secondaries are sent by schools that don't screen applicants as soon as they receive the applicant's verified application from AMCAS. For schools that screen applicants, secondaries may be received at a later date or not at all.

When should I submit secondaries?

The format of the secondary application varies from one school to another but in general, many medical schools ask additional essay questions. Some questions might focus on the same topic(s) that were discussed in an applicant’s personal statement while others center on diversity. Still others may have a long list of questions that need a separate response for each question.

Whatever the format, it is important that you answer all of the questions. Do not leave the answer blank or leave an answer "Refer to my AMCAS application." This will not give a positive impression of you to a medical school.

You should put time and effort into answering the questions on a secondary application because this is the application for that particular medical school.

Some schools might have a statement such as, “We encourage applicants to submit their secondary application within two weeks of this notification.” Do your best to follow the advice of the medical school. This statement does not mean that the deadline date to submit the secondary application is two weeks later but more accurately, the medical school is letting you know that there are many applicants to their school and the sooner that you can have a completed application, the better. The longer it takes you to submit your secondary application and have all other application material sent to that medical school, the farther back you will fall in the admissions queue.

What is the cost of submitting secondaries? Is there assistance to help with the cost?

Each medical school processes its secondary application very differently. 

Fees for the secondary application vary from school to school. 

Many medical schools will waive their secondary application fee if you have been granted a financial waiver through AMCAS.

What if I am asked to submit a Dean's Appraisal?

Some medical schools will ask you to submit a letter from a Dean indicating that you were or are a student in good standing. This letter may be referred to as a Dean's Certification, Dean's Appraisal, Dean's Recommendation or Letter In Good Standing.

The UC Berkeley Registrar's Office provides these Dean's appraisal letters. To request one or more, go to the Registrar's Office Forms website and select "Request for Dean's Appraisal or Letter of Good Standing." Follow the Registrar's Office instructions and contact them directly if you have any questions.