November 28, 2013
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
According to most admissions authorities, the sad reality is they turn down many students who are stars on paper simply because the candidates turn out to be less than impressive at the interview stage. No matter how qualified you are, the truth is the interview is the most crucial factor in medical school decisions. Whether it is your verbal and non-verbal communication skills or lack of skills, the content of your replies to various queries or your lack of a clear vision of how you fit into that particular med school, if you fail to impress the interviewers, your application will almost certainly be rejected.
Here are a few strategies for a successful med school interview:
You’ll hear it said over and over again and yet many candidates fail to understand the importance of being punctual for their med school interview. First impressions count. Walking into the interview room late will create a negative impression that you will find difficult to recover from no matter how well the interview progresses. To most interviewers, no matter how good a physician you turn out to be, if you cannot make it on time to save your patient, you’re no good at all.
Being sloppy about your appearance will give your interviewers the impression that you could be careless in other areas too and nobody likes a careless physician. A physician who takes care to dress well instils confidence in patients and that’s the image you want to portray to your interviewers.
You can be sure that one of the questions you will be asked is ‘Why did you choose our medical school?” Even if you have applied to other medical schools, this is not the time to mention it. Instead, before you leave home for the interviews, browse through the school’s website and check out the various programs and academic and non-academic facilities they offer their students. Talking about what interested you most about the various facilities and why you think you are a perfect fit, will tell the interviewers that you are really keen on being a part of their esteemed institution and that you are worthy of the honour.
The only way to stand out from the crowd is to be different. Don’t resort to stock replies like, “I like helping people”. After listening to this same reply from several other applicants, to the interviewers everybody starts to blend together with nothing remarkable to distinguish one student from another. Be different. Before going in to the interview, make it a point to spend time shadowing a doctor or doing a medical placement in a hospital abroad. These experiences will give you lots to talk about during your interview and demonstrate your true passion for medicine. For most interviewers, the true test of whether or not a candidate is truly passionate about helping others is not in the words they say but in what they have actually done towards realising their passion.