Originally published 11 January 2007
“Doubt is not a pleasant condition…” Voltaire (1694 – 1778)
If you are concerned about your grades (GPA, MCAT, etc.), you are not alone. As an advisor and interviewer, it’s one of the most common issues I encounter. Nobody thinks they have perfect scores. It’s the equivalent of looking in the mirror and being a little displeased with that sag or roll. We all wish something was different. Applicants view their grades the same way. The good news is that changing your scores doesn’t involve a nip or tuck.
The topic of grades is a big one. There are several key concepts that need to be addressed and are paramount to your success. It’s too large and important to adequately cover in one column. That is why the next two articles will be dedicated to this subject.
Most residency applicants have not found themselves in the interviewee seat since they applied to medical school. Well, the residency interview is somewhat different from the medical school interview. Because you have now nearly graduated from medical school (for the traditional applicant), no one is trying to assess your commitment to medicine; rather, they are specifically evaluating your commitment to the specialty to which you are applying. They also are evaluating your ability to perform well as a resident and if you will be a good fit for their program. This article will provide some tips to help you succeed, whether you are applying to residency this interview season or in the future.
For most residency applicants, the arrival of November marks the beginning of the interview season. This often brings back memories of the medical school admission interview, with the ubiquitous “Why do you want to be a doctor?” question.
Four years later, you find yourself in a similar situation – this time, hoping to land a position in the specialty and residency program of your choice. “Why do you want to be a doctor?” is now replaced with “Why do you want to go into [this specialty]?” and “Why are you interested in our residency program?” While the questions will differ to some extent, you may be experiencing the same gamut of emotions – uncertainty, nervousness, and perhaps even fear.
As the current residency application cycle is winding down, the next wave of applicants is getting ready to apply for the 2009/2010 season. As you begin thinking about your residency application, you should consider who will be writing your letters of recommendation (LORs), how you will talk about your path to residency at your interview, and how you should contact programs and follow up with them (and if this really makes a difference in outcome).
This article serves as a follow-up to the article, “Getting Into Residency: Part 1,” which was published on the Student Doctor Network in October 2008.
Another summer is upon us. As you enjoy the warm days and break from classes, let’s consider another commonly encountered interview question. This one is almost certain to pop up during your interview conversation.
What would you do if you couldn’t be a doctor?
I’ve seen this question take many an applicant aback. When asked this question during my interviews I recall being confused and wondering whether there was a hidden meaning. Here’s what would go through my mind: “Why do they want to know what I’d do if I wasn’t able to be a doctor? Are they somehow trying to see if I’m really serious about my career choice? Is it appropriate to say there is no other option and that becoming a physician is the only reality for me?”
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