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Medical School Interview

  1. What is an interview? An interview consists of you traveling to the medical school and speaking (15-45 min.) with doctors of the medical school. You should expect this to be an all-day event.
  2. Who gets interviews? All medical schools are extremely selective in terms of who gets an interview. Generally, 5-10% of the applicant pool gets an interview.
  3. What kind of questions do they ask at interviews? Interviews are either open (the interviewer has seen your application/personal statement) or closed (the interviewer has not seen any of your application materials). The type of interview will greatly influence the types of questions asked (you will not know before-hand which type of interview you will get, so be prepared for both). Typical questions in an open interview are: (a) So tell me more about this-or-that on your application, (b) I noticed you volunteered for such-and-such, how did your experiences influence your decision to apply to medical school, (c) Tell me more about your family/your relationship with them, (d) Why did you pick Stonehill College as an undergraduate school? Most people consider closed interviews to be more difficult because the questions are less personal and broader. Typical closed interview questions are: (a) I haven't seen your file, so tell me about yourself, (b) What do you think of the Patients' Bill of Rights (or some other national legislation), (c) What do you think about fee-for-service medicine/HMOs/PPOs (or some other type of medical practice). Most interviews are a bit of both types, so be prepared for all sorts of topics. In my experience, the infamous question “Why do you want to be a doctor” is present in almost all interviews; be prepared to answer this question in a succinct and well-thought manner (i.e., responding “because I want to heal people” will certainly not suffice and will make you look like a fool). A note on ethics: Controversial ethical topics (abortion, euthanasia, etc.) are not normally discussed in an interview, but be very prepared for them because there's nothing worse than being blatantly ignorant of medical issues that you will most likely face as a doctor.
  4. How do I prepare for an interview? First, you must read, read, and read. Read current events in magazines, newspapers, and books. Second, think of some common interview questions and review your answers to them. Lastly, if you get a chance, do a mock interview with a friends/family/faculty, etc.
  5. What do I do on the interview day? Before the interview. Show up 30 min. early and treat the staff courteously. During the interview. Be polite, don't fidget. As long as you don't throw up on the interviewer or insult him/her, you should be fine. Think before you respond to a question; interviewers don't mind if you take a few seconds to think before answering them. After the interview. Medical schools often have lunch/tours after the interview—stay for these. Also, send a thank you letter to each of your interviewers; this is polite and has the added benefit of showing your interest in the school.
  6. How much time/money do interviews cost? An interview at a medical school close to your current residence will cost you very little money and only one-day's worth of time. Interviews at distant medical schools will cost you airfare/hotel/restaurant money (expect to pay $300-1000 dollars per distant interview), and will cost you at least two days worth of time (one day to get there, another to do the interview and come back). Remember this when making decisions regarding the schools to which you want to apply. To make the point more vivid: if you apply to 10 geographically distant schools, and get interviews to all of them, expect to miss 20 days of school and spend $3000-10,000 dollars.
  7. How many interviewees are accepted to medical school? Usually between 10-25% of interviewees (of a particular medical school) gain admission to that school.

More: Medical School Admissions Interview

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