After all the other hoops you have to jump through to get into medical school some medical school secondary applications are now requiring applicants attach photos. These medical school application photos have become a source of stress for applicants. It does not have to be this way. Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about medical school application photos.

Do I need a professional photo taken by a professional photographer?

No. You do not need a professional Hollywood quality headshot. In fact if you send in a glamorous professional glossy you might look a little frivolous and desperate (unless your last career was acting.).  You want a photo in which you look nice, friendly and put together. Nothing more. This is not a beauty contest. They just want to remember and recognize you. Speaking of which if you look nothing like the photo you send in it’s going to look suspicious and will annoy people in the admissions office and your interviewers who are trying to pick you from a crowd with that photo.

What size should my photo be?

Each school will give you specifications but in general, the size of a passport photo.

Should I smile?


If they don’t ask for a photo with my medical school secondary application does that mean I am off the hook?

Nope! Some schools will ask you to bring a photo with to your medical school interview, so don’t get rid of them after sending in your last secondary.

I am a re-applicant. Do I need to take a new photo?

Not unless you have significantly changed in appearance since your last photo (change of hair color would be a good reason to send in a new photo) or your last photo had bad lighting and made you look terrible.

Can I send in a full length photo?

No. The photo should be a headshot. Do not send in a photo in which your head is tiny and not easily seen.

Have a question about medical school application photos that is not answered here? Post it below!

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