Updated: May 11, 2021
Preparing for medical school interviews can be a daunting experience, especially when students who are competing with you also have perfect GPAs, strong MCAT scores and have engaged in research, strong extracurriculars, and have excellent intellectual vitality.
Our Article Will Discuss The Following:
All things held constant, while a student’s GPA and testing profile might drive the admissibility of their file, the aspect that can really make or break a student’s admissions chances go far beyond grades or testing.
It is about those things as a baseline to your admissions, but colleges want to admit a well-rounded class, not necessarily a class of well-rounded individuals.
When To Expect An Interview For Medical School
Medical School Advisor
One of the best first steps in preparing for what to expect in terms of a medical school interview can be gleaned from a variety of resources at your current undergraduate institution.
Typically, schools have advisors that specialize in academic advising for pre-health and pre-medical students.
During the course of your undergraduate academic career, it is essential that you build a sustained and strong relationship with your academic advisor or faculty advisor who can help you navigate the medical school admissions process as well as assist you in securing resources and insight from academic departments and college and career guidance centers at your school.
Getting Preparation Assistance
Two of the most valuable resources that are at a student’s disposal while in college are the availability of clubs dedicated to medical school admissions as well as mentors, both faculty and graduate students, who can provide you necessary insight into what it really takes to ace your medical school applications.
Suppose you are lucky enough to be at an undergraduate institution that also has a medical school on campus. In that case, this is your opportunity to take every chance you get to ask current medical students for advice, volunteer for internships or research with faculty in the medical school, or ask as a current medical school faculty member if you can attend a class.
A good way to secure these types of opportunities is through club memberships at the college, which can act as a neutral gate to otherwise closed doors to access the medical school world. Medical schools are eager to support the local pre-med society or club.
They are not always as welcoming to an individual student who approaches the school or med school faculty individually. If your school does not have a pre-med club or society, this would be an excellent opportunity for you to start one!
Medical School Consultants
One of the most important parts of putting together a strong application for medical school is to put theory into practice.
When students first ask us how a medical school application consultant can assist them in preparing for the admissions process, I say that this medical school admissions advisor can help you secure unique and compelling experiences in the specialty you are interested in pursuing.
One way to gain valuable experience in a medical setting is to take the time to shadow a doctor, which I discussed in a previous blog post.
The key here is not just to have great grades, but also to be able to share how you took that knowledge and parlayed it into a valuable learning experience. This is not about merely following a doctor around, but showing as well as telling what it meant to have a deep, nuanced experience that provides a learning outcome that makes you stand out.
If you simply volunteer in the ER or at a doctor’s office, this is not especially unique. When considering where to volunteer, the best options are experiences in rural medicine, Native American reservations, anything that provides a unique experience that is demographically, geographically, and experientially diverse.
This also allows you to translate your potential bedside manner, articulate your human side as a future doctor, and demonstrates that you haven’t just had your head in the books for the last four years.
Translating Theory Into Practice
Remember those long nights studying for microbiology or spending the entire summer preparing for the MCAT? While this rote memorization was important for the preparation for achieving an “A” in a class or a top score on the MCAT, it will be the way in which you take theory and put it into practice, such as translating that knowledge and how you used it in an internship or work experience setting, that will truly set you apart in the interview.
The devil is in the details; when asked why you decided to become a doctor, illustrate your passion for helping others and healing people by describing how you conducted an environmental scan of your opportunities in your city, state, or region.
Discuss the painstaking research you did to understand your community and connect with the organizations, businesses, medical offices, and hospitals in your area. Articulate how you built a strong network of passionate health care professionals and were mentored by physicians and medical administrators in an area in a specialty you are interested in studying.
If you had an inspiring interaction with your own family physician, this is a great opportunity to discuss what that relationship has meant.
Moreover, if you have had significant health issues that have required a specialist or surgery for you or a member of your family, you have a natural connection to articulating your reasons for pursuing medicine and the type of impact you want to make in your community.
Practice sharing the insight you have had by completing internships and work experiences in college.
Of course, you will want to share your unique experiences shadowing a doctor and how that helped you identify the specialization pathway once you are admitted to a medical school.
Practice Makes Perfect
Take the time to work closely with an experienced admissions consultant that can practice a mock medical school interview with you over zoom. Using their expertise and sample interview questions, go through the process of having a mock medical school interview as if you are really having an interview.
One suggestion is to also conduct your mock interview in the clothes you plan to wear, in the exact spot and with the technology you plan to use. It’s important to note that due to COVID-19, it might be a very different interview setting that we have typically had in years past, some of which might take place socially distanced in a larger room or with the interviews taking place over zoom.
If you are practicing your interview with a consultant, ask them to record the zoom session so that you can review in detail and note any changes you want to make or any non-verbal actions that you want to change about the way you are using your body language to tell a story.
Once you are prepared, have practiced, have your notecards in place with key points you wish to make, just take a deep breath and visualize yourself getting admitted.
Contact Our Medical Admissions Consultants
Contact our experienced Solomon Admissions Consultants to arrange a discussion about how to put your best foot forward in the medical school admissions process. Our team of experts, including MDs who have been admitted to top colleges, know what it takes to shine once you have been invited to interview.