The following piece was written by Dr. Sahil Mehta and Brian Wu. Sahil and Brian are advisors for MedSchoolCoach, a medical school admissions consulting company. Sahil has been featured in our Admissions Expert series and is a former admissions interviewer for Columbia University.
The medical school interview is an essential step toward gaining a medical school acceptance. We wanted to share with you some of the things that make a great medical school interview!
A Great Personality Combined with Great Stories
You want your personality to shine during the interview. It is best to show off your best traits during your answers by showing enthusiasm, sincerity, and well-thought out answers. When you are describing stories that relate to the questions, you want to show that you really were passionate about those events. Furthermore, you should be able to answer any follow-up questions because you were being sincere about the story to begin with. Lastly, the answers that are well prepared and thought out are often the ones that can demonstrate this style the best.
Of course any of your stories will need to have been a personal experience that you could provide all the details for. Furthermore, you want your answer to be directly related to the question and to be a powerful and convincing answer. Again, the interview should be focused on you and why you are a great candidate for their school.
A Great Introduction
One of the major differences between interviews and the personal statement is how much your first impression will count toward the interview. In this regard, you want to be professional both in dress and demeanor. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you have a firm handshake and to smile when meeting the interviewer.
A Great Finale
At the end of the interview, you will often get asked “Do you have any other questions?” This is your chance to have the school sell themselves to you. If you have done your job and sold yourself, it will only be even more convincing for the school to feel like they have to have you select their school over all the others you applied to. Your question should be designed to address a specific aspect about the school that you like and would want more information on. It could range from how students interact together, how small groups function in the setting of learning, what students feel could be improved about the school, etc. You want to show you are well researched in the school and that they need to prove to you that they are the school for you (even if you knew that already).
Furthermore, at the end of the interview, you want your interviewer to be an advocate for you. They will be playing an important role in your admission and you want them to have a favorable impression of you. If you feel comfortable, ask for a business card or contact information so you can send a hand-written thank you card. If that is not feasible, an email works also. Do your best to keep in touch with them because they can help notify you of where you may be on the wait list or what you can do to improve your chances of getting in the school.
Check out MedSchoolCoach for more information.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.