Don’t let the wrong body language cost you a seat in med school

November 12, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Scrubbed up and ready to observe a day in surgery You’ve worked hard right through college and now you’re finally a single step away from getting into medical school. Your application has given the admission committee a peek into your life and impressed with what they saw, they’ve invited you for an interview. It is where the interview committee will decide whether or not you are a good fit for their medical school.

Being accepted into medical school requires more than impeccable references and a well-crafted resume. It is equally important to be able to impress the interviewer face-to-face. This means honing your basic speaking skills, improving your communication skills and also watching for those numerous involuntary actions that you may not think about but will be noticed by the interviewer. Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to learn how to adjust your body language to make the best impression.

Here are five body language mistakes that you should take great pains to avoid so you do not sabotage your med school interview:  


When you walk in for the interview, the first impression will be based on the way you walk into the room and how you proceed to sit down. If you slouch, you will come across as someone who either lacks self-esteem or who cannot be bothered to expend the energy required to stay straight. Keeping your shoulders back, walking straight, sitting upright and leaning forward slightly towards the interviewer during the interview will help you exude an air of confidence, which is sure to impress.


A handshake that is too limp or too firm

Your handshake should never be too limp or too firm. A handshake that is too limp could indicate a lack of interest on your part whereas a handshake that is too firm could come off as being too aggressive. Neither of these will help create a good impression with the interviewers. This is a profession where confidence and humility are winning traits and the best way to convey these traits is with a quick, firm handshake.


Folded arms

Folding your arms across your chest can make you look inflexible and closed-minded. It indicates that you are not open to new experiences, you do not care much for the opinions of others and you are closed to the idea of learning anything new.  Considering you will be spending the next few years of your life learning a whole lot, it is absolutely crucial that you come across as open and receptive. During the interview, keep your hands on your lap. This will help limit the gestures that you make and it will also help you look calm and confident.


Too little or too much eye contact

No one likes to be stared at continuously, so don’t try to maintain continuous eye contact in the hope that it will make you look more confident. On the other hand, do not avoid eye contact completely. You do not want to come across as afraid and nervous. If there is more than one interviewer, look at the person who is asking you the question and who you are responding to. Let your eye movements be natural just as in any other situation.

Above all, don’t forget to smile and keep your tone upbeat. It will help reduce your anxiety and make the entire process move along more smoothly.