The medical school interview process

Before you go to your interview, research the school's materials and web pages. Get a feel for what is important to the school. Know what is important to you, and how your values mesh with the school's. This is not only them getting to know you, but you getting to know them. You are on a market research project just like they are. Get as much information as possible!

Do mock interviews! Lots of them.

Make your travel plans early. Know exactly where you are going.

Remember Murphy's Law - if travel plans can get fouled up, they will (rain, snow, hurricanes, earthquakes, airline strikes, etc.). Be flexible and flow with it. A sense of humor can overcome much adversity.

If you run into travel problems, let the admissions office know as soon as possible. If you need to cancel, tell them! Don't just "not show up." You don't want to burn any bridges. Admissions people meet at regional and national conferences at least twice a year, and they may discuss applicants. Starting in April, all schools know everywhere you have been accepted. If you are arrogant and rude to a school, you just don't know how that news may travel to other admissions offices. I've seen it happen.

Ask if the school has hosting for interviewees. If so, this is a good way to get to know students and the "culture."

Take advantage of EVERY opportunity to get to know students, faculty, the school.

Plan to dress appropriately - you are expected to "show respect for the interview process" - even if your interviewers are in their Birks and cutoffs. Whatever you wear, make sure you have worn it at least once before so you are comfortable in it.

Of course, be on time for your appointments.

Be prepared to talk about EVERYTHING that you have put on your AMCAS application and secondary. All of it is fair game. Review what you wrote. (Mock interviews will bring up any weaknesses in your memory.)

Have questions ready to ask; questions which show that you know something about the school.

Be enthusiastic. Be yourself.

Talk to as many people as possible! Students, faculty, staff. Hang out in the student lounge (you will be very obvious in your "interview suit" but that's fine you will have lots of company).

If you are having a meal (e.g. lunch), be careful of your table manners. It does matter.

Relax, and have fun!

(You might also want to check for comments about the interview process at a variety of med schools. The information may be accurate, or it may not be. Buyer beware.)

Author profile: Judy Colwell

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