Congratulations on being invited to interview at a medical college! This section will cover the attire, attitude, and logistics of how to win your interviewers over by excelling at your interviewing skills.
It is both important and reassuring to realize that if you have been invited for an interview, you have passed that medical college’s coursework and grades requirements; they think you are smart enough to handle the rigor of medical school. Now they just want to see how you fit in with their college, goal, and interaction standards.
It is a worthwhile time investment to research any and everything you can about the medical college you are going to interview at. You must, whether asked directly or not, explain to your interviewers why you prefer their medical college as opposed to other schools. If you know they have a strong history in serving the poor and underserved, you could mention how and why you admire that. Knowing their mission statement should help you decide how much you adhere to their values. If you can correlate your experience or passion with their professional objectives, they will be able to see how you fit in well.
Your interview is the only chance you will get to “sell yourself” in person, as uncanny or unfamiliar as that may seem to you. Some schools will let you know if your interviewers have an open file on you, which means they have your primary and secondary applications and scores, but some schools might give the interviewers only part or even no previous information on you. In the latter case, you would do well to explain what activities you have been involved in and how you have incorporated your passions or hobbies into your service while in college. Explain how you have spent your time in college, what interests you have, and show them how you interact with people and future patients. Be confident, but do not expect not to be nervous; it is natural to be nervous. Medical schools recognize that and value humility, not arrogance.
Medical schools want to see you dress professionally and conservatively. Gentlemen, wear gray or black pants and jacket with a button-up solid or striped dress shirt and tie. Ladies, wear either a suit jacket with pants or a skirt (knee-length) with stockings and a button up solid or striped shirt. Do make sure to button your shirt high, and wear little to no jewelry and/or makeup. It is important that an interviewee’s fingernails are cut short and not polished, hair is back and kempt, little or no perfume/cologne is worn, and shoes should usually be closed-toe and black.
During the interview you should avoid nervous habits like twirling your hair or picking your nails. If your school has a career center where they offer mock interviews, I highly suggest holding at least 2 mock interviews. They can then tell you how you presented yourself. Some basic things you won’t want to forget are to give a firm handshake when you introduce yourself, to thank your interviewers for taking the time to interview you, and to ask appropriate questions that cannot be easily answered by reading that college’s brochures or website. Always follow up with a thank you card for each of your interviewers. Here is a list of actual and typical questions to be prepared for and good questions to ask your interviewers:
Medical School Interview Questions
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why do you want to be a doctor?
- What makes you different from any other medical school applicant?
- What do you want us to emphasize about you to our admissions committee?
- What was the last book you’ve read? What’s your favorite book/movie?
- How have your shadowing/traveling/research experiences shaped you?
- Why did you choose this medical school?
- What volunteer experience do you have outside/inside the medical field?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Tell us about a struggle you have overcome.
- What is your biggest fear?
- If you could look into a crystal ball and see yourself in 20 years, what would you see?
- What are your biggest goals in life?
- How would you fix or alter the healthcare system in America?
- What hobbies do you have?
- What do you do in your free time?
- Why is your GPA low?
- Why did you score badly in this class?
- What is your favorite subject and why?
- Who is your role model?
- What is your biggest regret?
- What are your plans for the next few months?
- Is your spouse supportive/does he or she realize how intense medical school is?
- How do you study?
- How will you handle the rigor of medical school?
- Why did you choose your research and what did you learn from it?
- Tell us about an ethical dilemma you’ve encountered and how you handled it.
- What was your most memorable experience with a patient?
Medical School Interviewee Questions
- What are the strengths/weaknesses of this medical school?
- What is the student body like? Are they very competitive or do they usually study together and share notes?
- What brought you to this school?
- What should I know about this school that isn’t in brochures or on their website?
- What clubs and activities do you have available for enrolled students?
- Do you offer counseling services for students and their families?
- How do your students score on the national boards (USMLE/COMLEX)?
- What percentage of students get the residency of their choice?