Advice from 20+ interviews: Part 2

Don’t miss Part I of this article, which covered how to prepare before the interview and general interview advice.
COMMON INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Tell me about yourself
You should have prepared for this! Like I said, have your key bullets/road map ready. Try to keep it around 5 minutes too. This question usually comes up on closed file interviews (where they don’t look at your file beforehand). You may want to cover a bit of question 2 (below) if you have time, since it may not get asked separately. I think it’s always best to include things beyond the typical premed experiences. Talk about your cultural background, travels, cool hobbies, non-medically related endeavors, odd jobs… They’ve always loved those things most. Mention the relevant premed stuff too, but don’t forget about what I mentioned in the previous sentence. Stand out as a person, not a premed machine!

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Advice from 20+ interviews: Part 1

interviews

I did 21 interviews. Don’t ask how much it cost because I don’t enjoy thinking about it! Basically, it was roughly the “Top 25” schools if you listen to US News. Since I gained a lot of experience, figured out what works, and had quite a bit of success (with the interviews themselves, not just decisions), I thought I would share what I learned with all of you who want to prepare for interviews.

The Key: Many applicants view interviews the wrong way, in my opinion. To me, it was my time to take control of the conversation and put out exactly the impression that I wanted them to get. You have the spotlight and power to present yourself and your achievements/activities in whatever light you choose. Your confidence and charisma are your greatest assets, and you can use them to make almost anything seem incredible. You shouldn’t be scared – you should be excited, since this is one of the few times you really get to control this process!

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A Comprehensive Guide To Medical Career Interviews

Interviews are often  stressful—even for those who have gone on countless interviews. The best way to reduce the stress is to be prepared. These tips will help you through the entire interviewing process and ensure that you not only impress your interviewer but also know if the facility is the right place for you.

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Five Mistakes to Avoid in Medical School Interviews

medical school interviews

We all know medical school interviews are important. But did you know, according to a survey of medical school admissions committees conducted by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), interviews are the most important factor used to decide which applicants gain acceptance (Dunleavy DM, et al. Medical School Admissions: More than Grades and Test Scores. AIB. 11 (6), 2011)? The most important factor! Fortunately, interview techniques can be learned and, when practiced, improved. This article addresses the five biggest mistakes I have seen pre-meds make regarding interviews during my over 10+ years as a Harvard pre-med tutor and admissions consultant.

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How to Prepare Answers to These Tricky Medical School Interview Questions

While medical school interviews can be quite conversational, thinking in advance about the questions you will face can help you articulate your unique story more effectively. Most interviews revolve around the interviewer getting to know you better, but there will likely be a number of questions that give the ill-prepared applicant pause. Below are several strategies to help you prepare answers to these tricky questions:
“Why do you want to study medicine?”
This question will be asked at almost every medical school interview that you attend, but it can be difficult to answer unless you have reflected on your goals ahead of time. Clearly explaining why you wish to become a physician—without being cliché—is paramount to distinguishing yourself. To prepare for this question, review your personal statement for inspiration. Aim to incorporate details that are not mentioned in your personal statement, but that are related to experiences or endeavors that you have described in your essay or in the remainder of your application. This can add depth to your admissions portfolio outside of what you have already explained on paper. In addition, truly attempt to define the type of medical career that you want (i.e. community medical practice, medical education, research, etc.). Weave in your career aspirations when you answer this question to connect your pursuit of medical school to your ultimate goals.

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The Medical School Interview: They Aren’t All The Same!

“What kind of interview will it be?”
This is not a question applicants ever asked 10 or 15 years ago but often do now. Every year, more medical schools now conduct Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) while most still conduct “traditional” one-on-one interviews. A few medical schools also conduct group interviews with either groups of students who are interviewed together or several faculty who interview one student together. Therefore, when thinking about the medical school interview process, it’s important to be aware of what you might encounter on the interview trail.

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Mistakes to Avoid During Your Medical School Admissions Interview

Earning a medical school admissions interview is a significant accomplishment. Many programs adhere to rigorous academic, extracurricular, and research requirements when selecting candidates for in-person meetings. Though you should view this as an opportunity to communicate to admissions interviewers why you are a perfect candidate for the school’s incoming class, be aware that a poor showing can harm applicants. Below are several blunders to avoid during your medical school interview:
1. Failing to articulate your career plans

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3 Tools to Help You Prepare for Interviews

Strong interview preparation allows you to give meaningful thought to what qualities you bring to the table and why you might be a good fit for a particular school.

5 Steps to Preparing for Your Medical School Interviews

After obsessively checking your email every five minutes for weeks, the appearance of your first interview offer brings with it a flood of relief and excitement. All that studying, volunteering, and writing of countless secondary applications has earned you a coveted interview slot. Yet coming on the tail of such excitement is that sense of panic. What now?

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The Value of Social Media for Medical Students

In an increasingly digital world in which patients and physicians turn to the web for personal and professional reasons, it is to a medical student, and premedical student’s advantage to make themselves as visible as possible.
There is a tremendous amount of hesitation among pre-professional and professional students of all kinds when it comes to their presence on social media, primarily because we’re afraid of it costing us a future opportunity. You don’t have to look far on the internet to hear stories of stupid mistakes costing people big time opportunities.
Without a doubt, you should take your activity seriously and do your best to not be any less careless with your words on the web as you are in real life. They’re still you’re words and you’re still responsible for them. Words can be used to heal or hurt, so be careful where you point them.

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Getting Into Medical School and Residency: Wish I Knew It Before I Blew It

We’ve all known or heard of medical school or residency applicants with great credentials who should have had their choice of programs. They had the marks, the winsome personality, and the composure that made their success seem inevitable. But something happened on the way to derail their plans, and, sadly, they never realized their full potential. What happened?
Being a former Harvard Assistant Residency Director and a professional medical admissions counselor has afforded me the opportunity to witness firsthand many cautionary tales of candidates who, inadvertently, were their own worst enemies. Drawing on the wisdom of those who went before, you can mitigate the liability of personal inexperience.

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What You Should Know Before Your First Interview

This article is reprinted with permission from the American Student Dental Association. It originally appeared in the February 2014 issue of ASDA News.
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Interviewing is a stressful experience. Knowing some typical interview formats and the expectations of your interviewer can help put your mind at ease while pursuing acceptance into dental school.

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The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Medical Students

Congratulations! You’ve made it through O Chem, survived your MCAT, traipsed around the country to every interview you could fit in your budget, and received that elusive acceptance email. Once you take a moment to celebrate, you will realize that the real challenge lies ahead. Medical school serves as the launch pad to your career and excelling there can open the door to opportunities. Whether you want a career in academics or private practice, psychiatry or radiology or orthopedic surgery, doing well in medical school is critical to getting into the residency that will get you there. But how do you “do well”? “Study hard and do well in your clinical years” was advice I heard a lot, but hardly pointed the way to success. Now, as a fourth year medical student, I realize there are certain key habits of the successful medical student. I wish I could claim all the habits for myself – rather, they are an amalgam of what I’ve learned and what I’ve observed in others. They can help lay the foundation to your successful future.

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5 Tips for Your Medical School Interview: Advice from a Recent Admit

Think of the medical school interview as a giant, modern dating ritual. Your AMCAS application and secondary essay were the first two online dates, and now you have agreed to meet each other in person. The admissions committee already has a rough skeleton of the greatest hits of your adult life, and they have decided that they really like you. However, before they will extend a proposal, they need to meet you in person, and they are willing to spend enormous amounts of their time and your money to arrange this meeting. What your interviewer writes about you for the admissions committee will either make your application come alive, remain flat on the paper, or tragically fail.

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Medical School Interviews: 6 Common Mistakes That Admissions Officers Hate

Medical school interviews come in all different shapes and sizes. Some schools interview one-on-one, some have multiple interviewers, some have multiple-mini-interviews (MMI). Some schools use students, others use faculty, and some use alumni.

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Interview Advice: What to Wear, What to Wear

“I base most of my fashion sense on what doesn’t itch.” Gilda Radner
Let’s face it, we live in a much less formal era than those preceding. The anomaly of casual Friday has become the norm in American culture. Many people work from home, conquering the world through a computer while wearing a comfy pair of sweatpants. This new trend can lead one astray when it comes to the medical school interview. The increase in informality is compounded by the fact that many of those being interviewed may never have had the opportunity to wear a suit for a formal event.
Often times, an applicant is left with an awful feeling shortly before an interview when they realize they may not be in compliance with the “dress code.” It can be distressing when you discover there are rules to the game but no one gave you a copy. Not to worry.

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Interview Advice: Grades?! Part 2

Originally published 26 February 2007.
“A wise man can see more from the bottom of a well than a fool can from a mountain top.” Unknown
So you’re not happy with your grades. Are they at the bottom of a well? Do you feel that the GPA and MCAT scores on your application don’t reflect the true brain power you possess? This firmly plants you in the majority of applicants. So what can be done to help this common situation? Here are some tips to help you be the “wise man” and make the most of your grades.
Overview of Problem Areas
During the course of the medical school interview, it is important to proactively bring up weak areas of your application. I liken this to telling your parents you’ve done something wrong before they find out about it. Although I rarely practiced this philosophy as I was growing up, the times I did usually resulted in less trouble. I think the same is true for admissions committees. Students who can assess their own weaknesses gain credibility. Those who come to the committee with an honest assessment and plan (not excuses) to address weaknesses look much stronger than those who ignore or try to hide their shortcomings.

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