If you have received a letter from a medical school admissions committee inviting you for an interview, you’re in luck. Congratulations! Your med school application was better than roughly 75% of applicants. That means that you met or exceeded the minimum qualifications.
You’re Awesome on Paper
Until now, your projected ability to succeed in medical school has been judged solely by written evidence. You did well on your MCAT. You made better grades than your peers. You were active in your community. You have sufficient exposure to health care and a desire to benefit others.
Now that you’ve made the first cut, you’ll be judged in a different light. An interview provides admissions committees with a more personal insight to “who you are”.
Be Awesome in Person
Now, you’re competing against the best. You’ll be grouped with other premeds that all have good MCAT scores and good GPAs. They all have stellar resumes. They are all just as, if not more than, qualified as you to become a medical student. The interview is where medical school adcoms separate the weak from the strong – the good from the great.
However, there’s a few key things you should do before your interview. That is, if you hope for an edge over the other applicants. Preparing for an interview will help you overcome issues encountered by others.
[Read more aboutMedical School Interview Formats.]
Know Your Application
If you’ve made an honest effort to ensure your AMCAS or AACOMAS application is pristine, it probably took you a long time to complete. Most interview questions begin with statements like “tell me about yourself” or “what brings you here”. Every other premed has rehearsed their response to these questions. Some will be sitting in the waiting area next to you, reciting it to themselves.
Dr. Sujay Kansagra, M.D., in his book Why Medicine?: And 500 Other Questions for the Medical School and Residency Interviews notes that premeds should be prepared to discuss the intricate details of their extracurricular activities. Also, interviewees should be able to vividly describe all aspects of their application, preferably in a positive light. If you spent 200+ hours studying for the MCAT, it probably won’t hurt to take a few extra hours to study your own application.
Know the Medical School
Every premed imagines of what it will be like one day to be a doctor. You’ve followed physicians around in a clinical setting and daydream about the day when you’ll be the one wearing the white coat. How many future medical students take the time to research the schools they want to attend? Fewer than you could imagine.
Knowing the medical school that you want to attend doesn’t mean to simply read what’s available on the school’s website. It doesn’t mean to study the recruitment pamphlet they sent you in the mail.
If you really want to know the medical school, there’s only one way – go there. Don’t just go for a few hours. Don’t just talk to one or two people. Create a relationship with the medical school and the people that are there. Ask students about how classes are conducted and how to get around the local community. Not only will this give you information to use in your interview, it will help you decide where you really want to go to medical school.
Know Your Bearing
The importance of knowing your environment cannot be understated. Knowing your environment isn’t just limited to knowing your physical location. Of course, if you know the medical school, you’ve probably already become familiar with the schools location. Knowing what you’re attending (the interview) and why you’re there is the most important aspect of preparing for your medical school interview.
What does it mean to know your bearing?
- Know where you are. The way you present yourself at your interview is the way admissions committees will see you when determining your acceptance or rejection. Wear a suit. And;
- Know when to be there. Don’t be the one to show up 30 minutes late because you were held up in traffic. If you’ve had trouble with timeliness, make this the day you break your habits.
- Know why you are there. Take the time to be sincere. Be passionate. Let your interview highlight your best characteristics and your desire to embark on a life-long journey of selfless dedication to the welfare of others.
Be an Awesome Applicant
Remember that your medical school interview is the last step before you get a letter. The interview will determine whether your letter is one of acceptance or one of rejection. So, when preparing for your interview, be sure you (1)know your application, (2)know the medical school, and (3) know your bearing.