Interview Preparation Tips
Medical school admission season is well underway. Many applicants are now beginning their medical school interview preparation. The medical school interview is usually the final step of the application process. If you perform well on your interview day, your chances of admission are very good. For this reason, it is very important to be prepared for your interview. Interviewing is a skill. Like most skills, it takes practice. Therefore, you should begin your interview preparation well in advance of your first interview.
Interview Preparation Tip 1: Read Your Application
The medical school interview is an opportunity for a school to ask specific questions about your application. Therefore, it is imperative that you know your application well. Review your AMCAS application well in advance of your interview. In addition, you should re-read your personal statement and secondary application essays for that school. Be prepared to explain any discrepancies in your application.
Interview Preparation Tip 2: Know Yourself
Your interviewer’s primary goal is to learn about who you are. Therefore, it is essential to know yourself. A very common opening medical school interview question is ‘tell me about yourself’. This can be a surprisingly difficult question to answer if you are not prepared. For this reason, you should prepare your answer to this question in advance. You should be sure to highlight your best qualities for your interviewer. Also, be sure to mention any significant accomplishments you have achieved.
Interview Preparation Tip 3: Dress Appropriately
The medical school interview is the last major hurdle before you are accepted into medical school. For this reason, it is important that you perform well. Your interviewers will question your commitment if you do not dress appropriately on interview day. Choose a well-fitting business suit in a neutral color. Keep in mind that your interview day will likely involve quite a bit of walking. Therefore, opt for comfortable dress shoes. You should avoid excessive jewelry or accessories. In addition, steer clear of heavily scented body products.
It is a good idea to carry a small briefcase or bag. This will allow you to keep some supplies with you during your interview day. Interview days can be quite long. Therefore, you will likely want to freshen up during one of your breaks. Consider packing the following:
- spare pair of pantyhose (ladies)
Interview Preparation Tip 4: Be Polite
Medical schools value students who will fit in well at their school. This means that you need to work well with the people who are already there. Therefore, it is important that you make a good impression on everybody you meet. You never know who is involved with making admissions decisions.
In addition, physicians are professionals who are expected to have a certain level of decorum. For this reason, it is also very important to mind your manners on interview day. This is especially true during lunch. Although most schools arrange a casual lunch hour for their interviewees, you should still be aware that you are being observed. Do not make a negative impression with your table manners. Opt for foods that you are able to eat neatly. Eat slowly and chew with your mouth closed. If you interview at a school that provides a more formal lunch, be aware of your silverware and use the appropriate utensil.
Interview Preparation Tip 5: Allow Plenty of Time for Travel
A simple but vital tip is to give yourself ample travel time. It is essential that you do not arrive late for your interview. Admissions officers will assume that you do not value their time and are not seriously interested in their program if you are tardy. In addition, if you are in a hurry to get to your interview, you will likely experience additional stress that will negatively affect your performance during the interview.
Therefore, give yourself ample time to get to your interview. If the interview is out of town, plan your travel arrangements carefully. Flights are often delayed or cancelled, so it is a good idea to plan to arrive in your destination city at least one day prior to your interview day. This will allow you time to make alternative arrangements should your travel plans unexpectedly change. In addition, arriving a day early will give you the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the city that you will be residing in for the next four years if you go to school there.
In addition, you should allot additional driving time from your hotel to the school on the day of your interview. You should also familiarize yourself with the campus of the school you will be visiting ahead of time. Although some medical schools provide applicants transportation to the interview, this is not common. In general, you will be responsible for finding your way from your hotel to the interview location. You can save yourself a lot of time and aggravation by planning your route in advance. If time permits, drive to your interview location the day prior. If you do so, you will be confident about where you are going on the day of your medical school interview.
Interview Preparation Tip 6: Bring Lots of Questions
Almost everybody you will meet during your interview day will ask if you have any questions. If you do not ask any thoughtful questions, you will appear disinterested in the program. Furthermore, if you ask the correct questions, it will help you decide if the school is a good fit for you. For these reasons, you must prepare questions in advance. Read about the medical school that you will be visiting so that you can ask specific questions about their program.
Interview Preparation Tip 7: Follow Up With Your Interviewers
After your interview, it is necessary to follow-up with a ‘thank you’ note to your interviewers. Although it is ok for you to use email, a handwritten note is more personal. The follow-up note is also an opportunity to reinforce the reasons that you would be an ideal student for the school.
The medical school interview can be an anxiety provoking experience. Fortunately, with some preparation, your interview day can run smoothly. Remember, if you have been invited for an interview, you have made it past the more rigorous screening processes. Your chances of admission are now 50%. If you perform well during your interview, you will likely be admitted. Therefore, keep these tips in mind and begin preparing for your big day.