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Diversity Essays For Medical School

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As a potential medical student, I will strive to be a tremendous asset to The Chicago Medical School by devoting all my time and life to becoming an excellent physician. I believe that I am obligated to use my talents in a constructive manner, in a manner that benefits society. The medical career gives me the unique opportunity to express my many talents while benefiting human life.

B. Berston M.D. once said: " ... a funny thing happens to medical students on their way to becoming physicians: they forget how to hold a conversation." I believe that my ability to communicate makes me well suited to pursue a medical career. While I possess the strong science background necessary for success in the profession, I also consider myself a ' people' person. As a waiter and bartender, I dramatically improved and expanded my communication skills since I was constantly meeting new people and discussing different topics. Because people constantly disclosed their personal issues to me as a bartender, I learned to become not only a good conversationalist, but also an excellent listener.

In medical school, I also plan to pursue side work educating students and serving as a resource to the public. One of my most rewarding experiences has been tutoring high school students in math, physics, and biology, and helping people in my choir learn Byzantine music. Always able to develop a good rapport with students, I believe I possess a talent for teaching others in a friendly manner and in a manner that helps them to grasp difficult concepts easily. As part of my medical career, I will aim to continue teaching and to provide information to the public on the prevention and treatment of ailments and diseases.

Undoubtedly my cultural diversity will be a great contribution to The Chicago Medical School. Being raised in a Greek family in Canada, visiting different countries, and now living in the United States, I have experienced the similarities and differences among many diverse cultural groups and geographical areas. This allowed me to relate to different types of people by understanding their ways and beliefs, a quality that will help me work well with other medical students and help me serve my patients better in the future.

Highly motivated to succeed, I dramatically improved my grades following a time of confusion and immaturity in 1990 and 1991,which was brought on by family illness and turmoil. Once I realized what goal I wanted to pursue in life, I worked hard to succeed, and my remaining five years of schooling are truly indicative of my intellectual capacity and motivation for success. My strength as a candidate to The Chicago Medical School lies mostly in the objectives that I plan to fulfill upon becoming a physician. They are, in no particular order of importance, as follows:

1) To provide excellence in comprehensive care by using my acquired skills as both a competent professional and also as a compassionate human being.

2) To cultivate my leadership role both in the community of my practice and in the nation to formulate and maintain health care principles and advancements.

3) To employ the latest knowledge and techniques in detection and prevention of disease, and the restoration of health.

4) To develop and employ methods to take care of an aging population.

5) To show reverence for human beings by giving excellent care to all

6) To forever expand my knowledge through experience, continuing education courses, and research.

I have been diligent in my pursuit of medicine as a career because I am convinced that medicine offers me the opportunity to live a fulfilling, rewarding life dedicated to helping others. I will enter medicine eager to learn and thirsting for the knowledge to help my fellow human beings. Attending The Chicago Medical School would be one of the greatest rewards for my motivation and persistence for success. I swear to uphold and exceed all that is expected of a future physician while promoting the progress of medicine and humanity.

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Part 4: The “Why Us?” Secondary Essay

Example "Why Us?" Essay Prompts

Example 1: “What makes LLUSM particularly attractive to you?” (Loma Linda University School of Medicine)

Example 2: “How will becoming a Creighton educated physician enable you to achieve your lifetime goals and/or aspirations?” (Creighton University School of Medicine)

"Why Us?" Essay Background

These are everyone’s favorite prompts (I wish my sarcasm could jump through the screen).

The first step to writing an effective “Why us?” essay is to restrain yourself from writing about how great their medical school is or where it's located.

Glad that’s out of the way.

Consider why admissions committees want you to answer this question. After all, they know you’re applying to many other schools and that your GPA and MCAT scores are at least reasonably close to their admission averages (learn Where to Apply to Medical School to Maximize Admissions Odds).

Admissions committees read thousands of essays annually and want to know that you’ve considered them for reasons beyond the obvious (location, prestige, average GPA and MCAT, etc.).

By integrating your qualities, experiences, and aspirations with their specific mission, programs, and resources, you will have a unique opportunity to demonstrate "fit" in your application. Don’t take this for granted!

"Why Us?" Essay Misconception 1: “I should just read a school’s mission statement and research available resources on their website, and then rewrite the same information in essay form.”

The vast majority of students approach the “Why us?” essay this way, so it won’t make your response seem very special.

I basically see the expanded version of the following essay 90+% of the time:

“I want to go to [School Name] because of their wonderful [program name] and incredible [resources]. {Program] cultivates [attribute] that helps their students become great physicians. In addition, [resources] provide support to help students reach their potential.”

You should be able to see how this essay says nothing about why YOU want to go to their school.

Moreover, medical schools already know about all of the programs and resources they offer, so you wouldn’t be providing much value through your writing.

The better approach to this essay would be to look through schools’ websites to find programs and resources that actually interest you and to identify what each school keeps boasting about (e.g., perhaps they mention diversity or early clinical experience multiple times on their homepage). Then, consider:

  • How YOUR experiences fit with their offerings
  • What YOU could contribute
  • How YOU would uniquely benefit from their program

For example, if a school focuses a lot on community service and you have similar experiences, mention that. In addition, let the school know how you want to further focus your skills while there. On the other hand, if you have a more research heavy background and are applying to the same school, you could either focus on research or discuss how community service will make you a more well-rounded physician. The more specific you can be, the better.

"Why Us?" Essay Misconception 2: “There’s no other way to find out information about a medical school than by reading their site.”

Looking at a school’s website and demonstrating fit is certainly a tried-and-true approach to answering "Why us?" essay prompts, but it isn’t the only one.

To really impress admissions committees, you could integrate information from current students or recent alumni into your response. Ask these individuals whether they would be willing to share their experiences attending a particular school, and also whether you would be a good fit there given your background and goals.

How do you find these people? The easiest people to contact are those you know personally or through a mutual acquaintance. Otherwise, you could contact a school’s administrative staff and ask whether they could connect you to a current student. While this requires additional work, it will be well worth it for your top school preferences.

If you have to contact a stranger, use the following email template:

“Dear [Student Name],

I hope this email finds you well. My name is [Your Name}, and I am currently completing my med school applications. I’m especially interested in attending [School Name] and am therefore hoping to get some more information about the program. [School Name]'s admissions committee gave me your email address as someone who could help me out.

I'd really appreciate it if you would spare 15-20 minutes to answer 3-5 quick questions in the upcoming days. If so, please let me know some days and times that are most convenient for you, your time zone, and the best number to reach you. I’ll do my best to accommodate.

Thanks for your time and consideration. Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

Best,

[Your Name]

Sample "Why Us?" Essay

(Note: All identifying details have been changed.)

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Throughout my undergrad years, I’ve found that working hard to involve myself with others and their unique perspectives is one of the most productive ways in which I can learn. For example, I used to believe that illnesses were just a set of tangible symptoms that resulted solely from maladaptive genes. However, after working closely with families in Boston's inner city, I have come to realize how racial, physical, and social factors, such as a lack of access to fresh produce or primary health services, can influence the likelihood of disease. As I obtained a broader understanding of the many factors that contribute to health, I find myself asking new questions and wanting to learn more. How can we properly assess a community’s needs and design appropriate solutions? How can an understanding of sociocultural factors be used to heal current patients and prevent new ones? I believe that the answers to these questions and others will come from the Community Health Program at the University of Washington (UW). The year-round lecture series on topics, such as “Health Disparities: An Unequal World's Biggest Challenge,” will allow me to engage closely with faculty and students to work towards developing holistic community-based solutions. Furthermore, the UW PEERS clinic and Friends of UW provide an opportunity to work closely with urban Seattle neighborhoods similar to those I have worked with in Boston. Having connected with a range of Boston families, varying in age, socioeconomic status, and ethnicity, I have improved my sense of self-awareness and cultural sensitivity, attributes I hope to continue developing with the surrounding Seattle community. I am confident that UW and the Community Health Program can further prepare me to be a physician who not only improves the lives of individual patients, but also addresses the needs of entire communities.

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Final Thoughts

Secondary applications will likely be one of the most time-consuming, stressful, and exhausting parts of your application process (the other is the medical school admission interview circuit if you’re fortunate to receive multiple invitations).

Nevertheless, you should give yourself some breaks to recharge so that you never rush submissions for the sake of rolling admissions and sacrifice quality.

Like every other piece of written material you submit, aim not only to answer the prompt, but also to give admissions committees deeper insights into what makes YOU so great for their school specifically.

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