As a pre-med student, completing your medical school application is only the beginning of the admission process. The next step is to prepare for campus visits to schools that invite you for an interview.
The interview is often the most difficult part for students. A good interview can be the deciding factor between you receiving acceptance over another student with the same credentials.
An interview can also be intimidating for students who have not had prior interview experience. Remember, if you were selected for an interview, you are qualified to attend that school. The purpose is to show you are ready to face the challenges and pressures of medical school in order to achieve your goals.
These tips will help you feel comfortable and confident heading into your medical school interviews.
Looking over potential questions and formulating answers in your head is a good place to start, but practicing one-on-one will better prepare you. It is important to hear your answers aloud. You might realize you need to make improvements once you hear them.
Look for mock interview opportunities at your school. Many companies visit college campuses to conduct these interviews. Even if it’s not directly related to medical school, a mock interview can still be beneficial.
You can also ask any contacts you have in the health care field to help you prepare for an interview. They may have insight into questions that are typical of a medical school interview.
Be able to talk about yourself
It is almost guaranteed that your first question will be, “Tell me about yourself.” With this question, the interviewer wants to know who you are and how you stand out from other applicants. This is your opportunity to be authentic. Make sure you explain why you are interested in medicine and why you want to attend that school. If this is an area you need to improve upon, focus on nailing this question during your mock interviews.
Also be prepared to explain your strengths and weaknesses. You may be asked about a bad grade sophomore year, but be honest. Explain how your failures have helped you learn and grow.
Know your application
Studying your application before an interview is like looking over a study guide before an exam. You should know the material. If the interviewer mentions something you wrote in your personal statement or on your résumé, you should know exactly what he or she is referring to.
Prepare your own questions
This doesn’t apply to just medical school, but any interview. The interviewer may conclude by saying, “Do you have any questions for me?” Make sure you have some prepared.
If an opportunity presents itself for you to ask a question during the interview, go for it. The more you can make the interview feel like a conversation, the more you will feel at ease.
The interview isn’t just for the school; it is for you too. Ask questions you can’t find the answers to online or in a brochure. The more thoughtful your questions are, the easier it will be for you to compare schools.
As previously mentioned, the interview is a chance to demonstrate that you are committed to a career in medicine. Be personable and friendly. You are more than just the numbers on your transcript.
You are not going to have a prepared answer for every question you are asked during a medical school interview. The key is to be able to think on your feet, just like you will have to throughout your career.