How to Avoid Interview Mistakes
The medical school interview is perhaps the most important part of the application process. Medical schools admit applicants who perform well during their interview. Conversely, if you make interview mistakes and give a poor performance, you are not likely to receive an acceptance letter. Therefore, it is worthwhile for you to become familiar with common medical school interview mistakes so that you can avoid them.
Mistake #1: Not Knowing What is in Your AMCAS Application
Many interviewers will use the interview as an opportunity to clarify information from the AMCAS application. Therefore, it is imperative that you know what you wrote in your initial application. Be prepared to discuss anything that you mentioned on your application- especially the personal statement. Many applicants make interview mistakes because they assume that the interviewer will not ask about the details of their activities. For example, if you participated in research, you should be able to discuss the aims of the study, the findings, and your role in the project. In addition, if your application has any irregularities, you should be able to speak about them.
Mistake #2: Assuming Your Interviewer Knows Your Application
Although nearly every interviewer reviews an applicant’s initial application, they may not remember all the details at the time of your interview. Therefore, if there are items in your initial application that are relevant to the conversation, you should mention them. Many applicants fear sounding redundant if they mention experiences or achievements that are documented in their initial application. However, it is your job to show what a great candidate you are. Therefore, do not be afraid to mention your achievements, even if they are already in your application.
Mistake #3: Underestimating the Student Interview
Many medical schools give applicants the opportunity to speak with a current student as part of the interview day. Many applicants make the mistake of thinking that this meeting has minimal bearing on their application. This is one of the more dangerous interview mistakes. Do not assume that a student interviewer can not influence admissions decisions- they can. Therefore, treat student interviewers with the same respect as you would their more senior counterparts. In addition, maintain professional decorum even if the student initiates casual conversation. Although it is perfectly acceptable to discuss the extracurricular activities available at or around the school, avoid regaling your interviewer with any stories of drunken antics any other unprofessional behavior. Certainly, do not mention any illegal activities! The student interviewer will report their impression you to the admissions committee so make sure they only have positive things to say.
Mistake #4: Avoiding Self-Promotion
The purpose of the medical school interview is for you to prove why you should be admitted to the school. Therefore, do not be afraid to promote yourself. Point out all the reasons that the school should offer you admission. You might feel uncomfortable pointing out all your skills, however, remember this is what the interview is for. The interviewer expects for you to provide a convincing argument as to why they should recommend you for admission.
Mistake #5: Not Writing a Follow-Up Letter
It is essential for applicants to write a follow-up letter after their interview day. The follow-up letter serves several purposes. First, it shows that you have good manners and know how to conduct yourself professionally. Second, you demonstrate to the admissions committee that you are interested in their school when you write a follow-up letter. Finally, the follow-up letter gives you the opportunity to give a final pitch to the admissions committee as to why they should admit you.
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