Top 10 Medical School Interview Tips
In addition to applying to medical school and making the “cut” academically, you will also be asked to visit the school for a personal interview. Obviously, your academic record and your MCAT score weigh heavily in the process of being accepted to medical school; still, the interview proves very important also (In some cases, the interview carries one-third of the weight in the final admission decision.). Some top programs in the country will not even admit a student to their medical program without completing this personal interview step.
Aren’t my GPA and MCAT Score Enough?
It is understandable that a student who meets medical school standards on paper would ask this question. Most likely, you worked very hard and disciplined yourself well to gain the best possible chance towards entering the medical field. Consider this however: when you visit a doctor, bedside manner matters to you, yes? To most patients, personality does matter, people skills matter, and first impressions matter. Also, flip the table long enough to realize that you stand to gain from a personal interview.
Nothing can replace a visit to the college. By visiting and interviewing, you too will be influenced during the process; similar to a college visit for an undergraduate degree—you will gain a “feel” for the medical program, its faculty, and its culture. Sometimes remote visits within your region are available, which can be much more convenient. But, consider traveling to the school for your interview a priority if possible. It truly is a great opportunity for you to gain a clear picture of the school and its program.
You Are Competing . . . Still
As you enter the personal interview phase of your admissions process, keep in mind that you are now mixed in with all of the other candidates who qualify exceedingly well on paper. It is your turn to prove that you can not only handle the academic side of the program, but that you also possess unique qualities that make you one of the best applicants overall. How? Prepare yourself for the questions and the interview process in general just as you would another exam. By doing so, you can enter the interview with confidence and a sense of peace about its outcome.
Prepare for Your Interview.
You know how to prepare yourself for exams, finals, and projects for class; prepare for your interview in a similar manner. A myth exists that an invitation for an interview means that you are guaranteed admission to the medical program. This simply is not true. Applicants who look great on paper and then “botch” their interview do not make the cut. After working so hard on your GPA and your MCAT, muster the energy to do this part well, also. You will not regret the time you spend in preparing.
Do relax a little. These interviews differ from job interviews in several ways. They tend to be less stressful for all those involved than interviews for jobs in finance, business, journalism, and other fields. Perhaps the familiarity of academia removes some of the pressure for all those involved. Still, interviewing for a place in a medical program holds its own challenges; relax a little, but prepare well so that you come through the interview with excellence.
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