Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Admission Counselors

A Guide to the Rutgers Medical Admissions Process - Essays, Interviews & Deadlines

Robert Wood Johnson Mission Statement

Robert Wood Johnson Medical School is dedicated to transforming health care for New Jersey and the nation through innovation and excellence in education, research, patient- and family-centered care, and addressing the health of our diverse community.

Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Admissions Counselor

RWJMS Vision

Robert Wood Johnson Medical School will become the academic engine driving a new healthcare paradigm in New Jersey; the state’s first and largest academic high-value health care system.

Comments: As you can see from both the Mission and Vision Statements, RWJ focuses on improving health care for residents within NJ.

Like most, if not all, state schools, if you are considering applying to RWJ, it is highly recommended that you have a strong connection to the state of NJ.

When considering whether your ties are strong enough to a state school, first think about direct relationships. If you are a resident of the state spent a significant time living there, or have relatives living within the state, those are strong connections that the admissions team likes to see.

If you have a significant other from the state or have other ties, make sure to make a compelling argument about your desire to contribute to and become part of that community. If you have no connections to the state in any way, it is going to be much more difficult to gain an interview or admission.

RWJMS Secondary Application Questions

If applicable, please comment on any science grade(s) listed on your application for which you received grades lower than a B. If applicable, please comment if there is a downward trend in your science and/or total grade point average (GPA).

If there are significant fluctuations in the record, there must be a reason. Sometimes there are understandable reasons such as a significant illness or major family emergencies. If that is the case, then the description should be detailed to explain the impact on performance. You should do more than state reasons but add context to the description of the situation.

For example, if you had a parent that was diagnosed with a terminal disease, that could help explain a drop in performance but there could be an even greater impact on your life if the parent does not have a spouse or any other children to support them. In such a case, there is more information available to help explain the impact.

It is important to include and be clear about the context that influences your particular situation. This isn’t an opportunity to justify the fluctuation but it can be helpful to provide more background for the reader to better understand and appreciate the challenges and distractions you faced at the time. If there is a fluctuation in grades for reasons that are less “explainable” such as irresponsible or immature behavior then you should describe how you have changed and emphasize the actions taken to support that statement.

In either case, it is important to demonstrate additional coping skills or resources to minimize the potential for distractions that may negatively impact your performance in the future.

If you have taken time off during your undergraduate training or if you have already graduated, please provide information to explain this time by providing a line-by-line description of activities or explanation delineated by month/year to month/year.

This information is already indicated on the AMCAS application so the response needn’t include too much about what the activity is and more on why you chose it. Ideally, the experiences are intended to improve your preparation and qualifications for the pursuit of a career in medicine.

Overall, experiences will not always fit neatly into the categories of medical education, research, or patient care, but all experiences have an opportunity to demonstrate leadership, innovation, or commitment. Your description should include your reasons and the level of impact you have made.

If you applied as a non-resident (i.e., your legal residency is a state other than NJ), please let us know if you grew up in NJ, attended school in NJ, have parents who reside in NJ, work in NJ, etc.

As previously mentioned, RWJ is looking for candidates who have a strong connection to NJ and who are interested in providing health care to the NJ community. When evaluating candidates, the admissions committee is going to give the highest priority to applicants with NJ residency.

For this reason, as a non-resident, this question may be the most important secondary question you answer in determining whether you get an interview. If you are not a NJ resident, it is highly recommended that you have a connection to NJ in one way or another.

The prompt above suggests the other kinds of connections to NJ that the admissions committee is looking for: did you grow up here? Did you attend school here? Did you work here? Do you have parents or relatives who live here? Do you have a significant other from here?

If you are a non-resident and completing this question, it is important that you get across three major ideas in your answer.

First, you must stress the significance of your NJ connections and your desire to come to NJ. You must elaborate on the NJ connection and prove to the committee that your connection to NJ is compelling enough to make them think you would like to live there for the next 4 years.

Second, you must discuss your desire to be part of and contribute to the NJ community. Both the Mission and Vision Statements focus on this idea, and therefore you must incorporate it in your answer. Finally, because you are a non-resident, you have to discuss why you specifically are interested in attending RWJ.

  • Is it their curriculum?
  • Their connection with the community?
  • Their wealth of clinical sites?

You must convince the committee that you have done your research on the school and are committed to coming to NJ. Although there are always a small amount of students who matriculate each year with relatively weak connections to NJ, if you are a non-resident with no connections to NJ, it will be more difficult to get into RWJ.

Please let us know how you prepared for your most recent MCAT. If you have taken the MCAT more than once let us know if you prepared differently for prior tests.

This question is rather straightforward and is here for the committee to assess your studying approach and strategies. The best approach to this question is to be candid. Whether you used a personal tutor, a program like Kaplan, studied with a group of colleagues, or just studied on your own, these are all acceptable answers.

If you are an applicant who has taken the MCAT more than once, this is your opportunity to explain what happened the first time you took it, how you changed your studying approach/strategy, and what lessons you learned from the experience that you will bring with you to medical school.

If you only took the MCAT once and did below average, this is also your opportunity to explain what happened, how you will change your studying approach/strategy in the future, and what lessons you learned from the experience that you will bring with you to medical school.

It is important to note that unless there was a significant life event that affected your score, you should not be making any excuses, but more so explaining what you learned from the experience.

Were you, or are you, employed during the school year? If so please let us know the type of work, hours worked, etc. In addition, please indicate if you and/or your parents are/were employed by RWJMS.

This is similar to question 2 above. This information is already indicated on the AMCAS application so the response needn’t include too much about what the activity is and more on why you chose it.  Many applicants’ work experiences are intended to improve their preparation and qualifications for the pursuit of a career in medicine.

If you are not one of those applicants who worked in a science, medical, or education-focused field that is ok. In fact, admissions committees often like to see unique and fun-sounding jobs as they can give them inside information to your other passions in life. If that is the case for you, make sure to elaborate on why you decided to do that specific job.

Overall, experiences will not always fit neatly into the categories of medical education, research, or patient care, but all experiences have an opportunity to demonstrate leadership, innovation, or commitment.  Your description should include your reasons and the level of impact you have made in your career if applicable.

Is there anything you would like to share to clarify your application?

This is your final opportunity to discuss anything else that you think has not been mentioned or addressed in your application thus far. Often this is your chance to explain a bad grade or a low MCAT score, but you have already been prompted to answer those questions above.

Instead, try to use this prompt to focus on your strength as an applicant and your desire to attend RWJ. Why do you specifically want to come to RWJ? Why do you think you make a good fit at RWJ? What can you bring to the RWJ community? If you are a non-resident, this is another opportunity to stress your connection to NJ and desire to contribute to the NJ community.

If there any other significant weaknesses or concerns you have with your application such as lack of research, clinical experience, or any personal issues that have come up in other parts of your application, this is your opportunity to clarify them. It must be noted, that it is not a good idea to address a weakness that has not been acknowledged anywhere on the application. If you are to use this answer to clarify an issue, it must be an issue that is clearly visible on your application.

Overall it is best to focus more on the positives of your application for this prompt.

Part 2:

Take CASPer or in the next series of prompts, you will reflect upon experiences, activities or accomplishments that demonstrate each of the indicated pre-professional competencies. Your response should be limited to one paragraph and include: ​

-The situation where you demonstrated the competency,
-Your actions and the resulting consequence, and
-What you learned as a result of your experience(s).
Pre-professional Competencies:
1. Integrity and Ethics
2. Reliability and
3. Dependability
4. Desire to Learn
5. Commitment to serving others/volunteering
6. Social Interpersonal and Teamwork Skills
7. Cultural Competence
8. Resilience and Adaptability

The CASPer test is a standardized online screening tool designed to evaluate key personal and professional characteristics that make for successful students and graduates. It is taken online and involves 12 sections that are either video-based or prompt-based scenarios.

Basically, these questions and scenarios involve a moral/ethical situation and you will have to answer them appropriately. Questions often include: What should you do? Have you ever had a similar experience? They will also ask you more universal questions about the morals and ethics of the situation.

Fortunately, there are many CASPer practice exams online to acquaint yourself with the formatting and style of the test. The scenarios are also similar to the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) questions that RWJ does for their interviews so reviewing MMI prompts is also a helpful way to prepare for this section.

When it comes to providing the answer to each prompt, understand that there is a difference between the real life answer, and the correct CASPer answer.  Practicing the tests and practicing scenarios with others is a good way to understand the difference. When deciding what the correct answer would be, always take the most altruistic and morally sound solution.

Themes include beneficence, respect of patient autonomy, justice, and non-maleficence. Whether it is taking responsibility for a mistake, pulling someone aside in private to tell them you disagree with them or what they did, or providing someone with the help they require, do what you think the best version of yourself would do.

It is recommended that you do several practice CASPer exams and practice some scenarios prior to doing the actual exam. Because it is a standardized online test, your results will be sent to the schools that request it.

Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Application Timeline

AMCAS Application Submission: December 1, 2023

All AMCAS applicants will receive an email to complete a secondary application upon receipt of the AMCAS application.

Additional Application Information:


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