The flood gates have opened! Secondaries usually pour in quite quickly, and you’ll have to do your best to stay afloat. Here are some tips that enabled me to return most of my secondaries within 2-3 days.
- Stay organized: To keep track of my secondaries, I created an excel sheet that matched all the schools to which I applied (rows) with corresponding data (columns): secondary received (date), secondary submitted (date), and cost of secondary. Later on, I added columns for interview offer received, interview scheduled on, update sent, etc.
- Pre-write & prepare: Hopefully, you’ve taken some time to pre-write the secondaries. Some schools recycle prompts, while many tend to focus on common questions relating to diversity and why “____.” As you write secondaries, reflect on your pre-writes and incorporate them accordingly. For each of the schools to which I applied, I also kept a detailed bullet-point list of reasons detailing my choice to apply. These lists helped customize my secondaries to the school.
- Write: On each day I received a secondary, I read the prompts as soon as possible. Then, I reserved a few hours in the evening to write, and ensured I had time in the morning to review and make edits. Some secondaries will take you longer to write, so plan accordingly. Also, you may realize that you no longer want to continue your application to a specific school; before you spend time writing the secondary, take a moment to decide if you will commit.
- Edit: Your diligence with your grammar and diction in your statement should extend to your secondaries. I was lucky to have the support of a friend on standby who would look over my responses to catch any glaring issues regarding clarity or grammar. On my account, I reverse-outlined my answers to ensure clarity. I also had a short-term subscription to Grammarly, which gave me confidence in copyediting my responses.
- Submit: By submitting your secondary as soon as possible, you are both suggesting enthusiasm for the school but also efficacy. Further, your application will be likely reviewed sooner. However, please do not sacrifice quality. You’re likely still doling out some cash on this application, and you do not want to undermine the quality of your application. If you need more time to write good secondaries, I encourage you to do so.
Hope this helps! Good luck 🙂 and please remember to take a break and pursue your hobbies. No reason to burn yourself out; you’ll need your energy maintained for interview season.