Medical School Admissions: Stand Out in Your Interview

A crucial part of the application process to any medical school is the interview.  It’s your chance to express your personality and make a strong, personal case for your acceptance.  It can also be incredibly nerve wracking, meaning that many applicants don’t perform as well as they could have.  The best way to handle nervousness is by preparing thoroughly.  Below are several tips to keep in mind when preparing for your interview:

1) Focus on your strengths. Try to keep the conversation centered around your strong points—but don’t sound arrogant.  Aim for a mix of self-confidence and humility.  One strategy for doing this is to acknowledge certain weaknesses but explain what you’re doing to overcome those weaknesses and why it’s going to work. 

2) Don’t make things up. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so!  It’s much better to say “I don’t know” than to make up an answer.  Interviewers will be impressed by your honesty.  Conversely, if you try to make things up, the interviewer will know that you’re lying most of the time.  Be honest.

3) Be excited. Admissions counselors want to know that you’re excited about their school.  Even if it’s not your top choice, act like it is.  When asked why you hope to attend their school, have a list of several qualities ready.  Even if you’re applying to a school because you’re sure you’ll be accepted, don’t mention that as a reason!  Counselors want their incoming students to be enthusiastic. 

4) Ask questions. If you have questions about the school, ask them.  If you don’t, spend some time browsing their website and come up with several good questions.  Asking questions signals that you’re sincerely interested in the school, and demonstrates that you’re capable of critical thinking.

5) Practice out loud. Print out a list of likely questions and conduct a mock interview with a friend.  You may think you have your answers figured out, but until you’ve verbalized them, it’s hard to be truly comfortable.  Practicing aloud will help you deliver responses smoothly and confidently.

Medical school admissions interviews can be intimidating—but they don’t have to be.  Spend time preparing and practicing, and you’ll be able to walk into the interview with confidence.

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