When do I interview for graduate school?

The interview is the last step in the application process. Once primary applications are submitted, students are invited to complete the secondary application. Admissions offices use both applications to decide who is invited to campus for an interview. Programs want to see a student “make it on paper” before they are invited to the interview. If you are invited, that means they like what they see and want to meet you face-to-face to determine your fit with the school.

How are interviews done?

There are many different set-up’s for graduate health professions interviews. They can include:

  1. Panel interviews – There will be more than one person asking the questions of you and there is usually a prescribed set of questions for every candidate.
  2. Free-for-all interviews – There could be more than one asking questions and there won’t be any prescribed questions. Everything is fair game and it can feel more like a conversation than an interview.
  3. Partial blind – There may be two interviewers and only one has seen your entire application packet or only one interview and they have seen part of your application packet, not the complete packet.
  4. Blind – The interviewer will not have seen any of your application packet and knows nothing about you.
  5. Multiple mini – A series of interviews with points awarded by each interviewer.
Why do the medical/veterinary/dental/etc schools do interviews?

A career in the health professions is a serious commitment. These interviews are used to determine if:

  1. You know what the program demands and know what you are getting into
  2. You have the strength, intelligence and commitment to make it in this field
  3. You have an understanding of the field
How do I prepare for the interview?

Practice, practice, practice! A good interview takes practice. Career Services is a great resource to see yourself in action. They will tape a mock interview for you to see how you handle questions and interacting with the interviewer. Prepare for the interview by evaluating yourself: what are my interests, my skills, my weaknesses? What are my values and how do they relate to the field of medicine? Review your resume and personal statement to refresh your accomplishments over the past four years.

What kinds of questions will they ask me?

While this list is not exhaustive, here are some good starting points to think about what could be asked during your interview:

  • Why do you want to be a doctor/vet/dentist/etc?
  • What do you do in your spare time?
  • What are your specific goals in this field?
  • What stimulated your interest in the field?
  • What do you think about a nationalized healthcare plan?
  • What schools have you applied to?
  • What do you intend to gain from this education?
  • Why do you think so many people want to be doctors?
  • Do you think a physician should tell a patient s/he has eight months to live?
  • There are 1000 applicants as qualified as you. Why should we pick you?
  • What steps have you taken to acquaint yourself with what a physician does?
  • What do you think is the most pressing issue in health care today?
  • What will you do if you don’t get into med school?
  • What are your positive qualities and what are your shortcomings?
  • How do you think your role as a physician fits in with your role as a member of the community?
  • Describe your personality.
  • What do you have to offer our school?
  • What are the best and worst things that have ever happened to you?
  • What do you see yourself doing in 10-15 years?
  • Is medicine a rewarding experience? Why?
  • Would you practice in the inner city? Do you think it would change the way you practice?
  • What aspects of your life’s experience do you think make you a good candidate for medical school?
  • If your best friends were asked to describe you, what would they say?
  • How do you plan to finance your medical education?
  • What do you think about [current event]?
  • Discuss a book you have recently read for pleasure. Why does this book interest you?

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