You’ve done the hard work, busted your butt in those classes, taken the MCAT, completed the application and jumped through all the hoops. Now the day of reckoning is coming…it’s interview season. But I don’t want you to get nervous. I want you to get excited. You are one step closer to your dream of becoming a doctor! With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you stand out in those interviews.
- Review your own resume and personal statement beforehand.
You’ve done a lot of great stuff in these past few years and you may not remember all the details. Look over it again. Remind yourself why you’re awesome. Your interviewer may ask you about some research you did during freshman year. Be ready to talk about anything in your application or personal statement.
2. If you have any grades or test scores that aren’t stellar, be ready to explain them.
If your dog died or you had your gallbladder out and failed Organic Chemistry on the first go round, they need to know that. Briefly tell what happened and what you learned from it. Spin it into a positive.
3. Try to get a friend or professor to mock interview you so you can get used to talking about yourself.
This way you can practice making eye contact, smiling and making the person sit across from you feel warm and fuzzy before your actual interview. You’ll get used to telling your story and answering tough questions so that it won’t be so nerve-wracking on the big day.
4. Limit yourself to one alcoholic drink if there is a pre-interview dinner or luncheon.
You want to make a good impression. If you can’t speak clearly or think logically after drinking one drink (raises hand) then don’t have any. Stick with the Sprite.
5. Dress conservatively.
What do I mean by conservative? Blue or black suit, neat hairstyle, minimal makeup. You can do one pop of color (in a handkerchief or a necklace, for example) and that’s it. Now is not the time to debut your fashion choices. There will be plenty of time for that after you get in. You don’t want them to look at your clothes and wonder if you can be a serious student.
6. Arrive early.
There will likely be a group of students being interviewed at the same time as you. You don’t want to be the last person in the room, or even find out that they started the tour first without you. Call ahead to confirm the time and place where you should arrive and get the phone number of a contact person in case you get lost.
7. Relax your mind.
You’ll interview better if you’re not stressed out. Pray, meditate, do whatever you do to relax yourself. Think about taking some earbuds to play some relaxing music or motivational speaking before you go in. I love this motivational speech mashup: https://youtu.be/AFGWnqNf6t0 .
8. Ask questions.
They’re not just interviewing you, you are interviewing them. You may be spending the next four years there, so you need to find out if you like the place. Read through the website of the school where you’re interviewing and write down any questions you have. If you can find out beforehand who is interviewing you, look up their profile and academic interests on the website. Find out as much as you can before you go and use the interview day to fill in the blanks.
9. Hang out with some students.
Some schools will have students interview you or take you on a tour of the school. You can ask them questions, or pull aside random people and ask them how they like it there. Try to hand around a little after your interview and observe the students in their natural environment. Peek into classes, the library, computer lab, common areas. Do the students look generally happy? Can you see yourself hanging out and studying with these people?
10. Make contact after the interview.
Make sure you get your interviewer’s email or “snail” mail so that you can send them a thank you note or email. It’s a common courtesy that goes a long way. It also gives them one more positive impression to help them remember you as they discuss you with the admissions board.
If you need more info, go here https://www.amazon.com/Concise-Mastering-Medical-School-Interview/dp/0692442375 to check out “A Concise Guide to the Medical School Interview” by one of my colleagues Dr. Regina Bailey. Also, feel free to contact me on social media (details below). As always, good luck and God bless!