University Of Washington Medical School Admissions
Medical School Secondary Application Questions
The University of Washington School of Medicine is
committed to excellence in biomedical education, research,
and health care.
The School is especially focused on the importance of primary
care, specifically to underserved populations. It serves as the
only medical school for Washington, Wyoming, Alaska,
Montana, and Idaho and is particularly focused on meeting
the medical needs of rural populations.
As a public research institution, UWSOM is also focused on
advancing knowledge and assuming leadership in the
biomedical sciences and in academic medicine.
Diversity, inclusion, and equity are highly valued and seen as the means to best advance the School’s
goals in serving the public, advancing medical science, and training and educating medical professionals.
Important Note: The AMCAS applications from outside the WWAMI region, are reviewed by admissions committee members to see if they fit the criteria that UWSOM is looking for in “out of region” candidates.
The criteria are:
1) a demonstrated interest in helping underserved and/or disadvantaged populations or
2) an applicant who comes from a disadvantaged background. These terms are not defined concretely for committee members. They use their discretion. MCAT scores and grades are not factored in to this screening process. It should be noted that very few applicants from outside of the WWAMI region are sent a secondary application.
All applicants from WA, AK, MT, ID and WY (WWAMI) are sent secondary applications, except for those with very low grades and/or MCAT scores. Those applications are pre-screened before a secondary application is sent.
The following are required in the UW Medical School Secondary Application:
An autobiographical statement which should include (250 word limit)
the origin and development of your motivation to be a physician
your prior experiences in health care
steps taken to explore a career in medicine
your eventual goals as a physician
and other issues of importance
While the Personal Comments section of the AMCAS application may be used to satisfy this requirement, you should definitely take the opportunity to submit an additional autobiography with the secondary materials. Both essays will be read. This additional autobiography provides you with an opportunity to expand or directly address things you want the UWSOM committee to know.
Do not repeat/reiterate what was written in your AMCAS personal statement. For example, highlighting recent activity, experience, or way you’ve explored a career in medicine is a good option. It should be something that has occurred after submitting the AMCAS application or at least not highlighted in the AMCAS application essay. It is also a good opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and interest in UWSOM.
4 additional short essays
How do your experiences match the mission and values of the University of Washington School of Medicine? (250 word limit)
UWSOM Mission and Values
The University of Washington School of Medicine is dedicated to improving the general health and well-being of the public. In pursuit of its goals, the School is committed to excellence in biomedical education, research, and health care. The School is also dedicated to ethical conduct in all its activities. As the pre-eminent academic medical center in our region and as a national leader in biomedical research, we place special emphasis on educating and training physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals dedicated to two distinct goals: Meeting the health care needs of our region, especially by recognizing the importance of primary care and providing service to underserved populations; advancing knowledge and assuming leadership in the biomedical sciences and in academic medicine.
The School works with public and private agencies to improve health care and advance knowledge in medicine and related fields of inquiry. It acknowledges a special responsibility to the people in the states of Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho, who have joined with it in a unique regional partnership. The School is committed to building and sustaining a diverse academic community of faculty, staff, fellows, residents, and students and to assuring that access to education and training is open to learners from all segments of society, acknowledging a particular responsibility to the diverse populations within our region.
The School values diversity and inclusion and is committed to building and sustaining an academic community in which teachers, researchers and learners achieve the knowledge, skills and attitudes that value and embrace inclusiveness, equity and awareness as a way to unleash creativity and innovation.
In this essay, you should highlight your interest and/or experience with rural, underserved or disadvantaged populations, if you have it. Restating these “buzz” words without more depth or examples of your experiences is not helpful. Do not try to rework your experiences to seem like they fit. While you might not have specific experiences with these populations, highlighting how your medical/health field experiences show your dedication to helping the public and/or describing your experience with research or academic medicine would be appropriate here.
How have your experiences prepared you to be a physician? (250-word limit)
UWSOM recommends that you have at least 40 hours of shadowing, specifically observing physician-patient interactions. These hours do not have to be consecutive or with the same physician. This is not the same as volunteering in a hospital setting or a doctor’s office.
The Admissions Committee expects you to demonstrate that you understand the complexities, challenges, and nuances of being a practicing physician. This should be from first-hand observation. This essay is your opportunity to convey your confidence that a career in medicine is the best fit for you and that your experiences have confirmed this.
For example, describing a specific interaction you observed and how it gave you insight into the realities of practicing medicine. Be sure to convey how you know this career is right for you.
What perspectives or experiences do you bring that would enrich the class? (250-word limit)
UWSOM is interested in admitting students with a variety of talents, skills, and interests from different backgrounds. Consider what life experiences you’ve had that make you make unique – places where you’ve lived, gone to school, worked, languages you speak, leadership experiences you’ve had, interests/hobbies you have, community service you’ve done, artistic talents you have, social hardships you’ve faced (discrimination, economic hardship, personal/family adversity, etc.).
Given the word limit, it is best to focus on one or two things that you would like to highlight. You might be tempted to include too much. Again, the committee can see everything you’ve listed in the AMCAS application about your activities and achievements.
This is a place to highlight and provide more detail to one of those experiences or to focus on something that isn’t in your AMCAS application. It also allows for you to speak directly to what unique qualities you will bring to the class.
What obstacles have you experienced and how have you overcome them? (250-word limit)
The admissions committee is interested in admitting applicants whom they think will be successful at UWSOM. It is important to highlight not only what you experienced, but what you did to succeed. This does not have to be an academic obstacle or challenge.
The focus should be on explaining how you react when things are difficult. It should demonstrate your resilience and self-awareness.
University of Washington Medical School Timeline
AMCAS Application submission deadline: October 15, 2020
Secondary Application submission deadline: December 1, 2020
Rolling Admissions Decisions Released: October 1 2020 - End of March 2021
Additional Admissions Information:
For more information about the UW medical school application process,