Interviewing for the Health Professions

A personal interview precedes health professional school admission. This interview is a social interaction as well as an evaluation of you and your preparation and suitability for the practice of medicine.

Important to admissions committees are motivation, maturity, empathy, enthusiasm, a realistic view of the profession, familiarity with current trends and controversies, and the changing nature of health practice. Do not go unprepared. Read publications such as the Science Times, found in the Tuesday edition of the New York Times, and other periodicals and newspapers. In other words, pay attention to articles about this field to which you intend to devote your life. It is not expected that you will have ready answers to difficult questions, but your interest will not seem deep if you are unaware of health and medical issues. Think carefully in advance about responses to questions you can anticipate.

Interviewers are faculty members, administrative staff and current students who may or may not be members of the admissions committees and who may or may not have seen your folder before your interview.  Be prepared to discuss current issues of health care and any information you provided in your application, including work you have done, your extracurricular activities, and perhaps an interest or hobby. Be aware that an interview may begin with “Tell me about yourself,” and end with “Do you have anything to add?”

Remember that the interview offers the occasion to discuss the interviewer’s profession, impressions of student-faculty relationships at the medical school, and so forth. With judicious and thoughtful questions of your own you can learn more about the medical school.

For MD/PhD interview preparation, in addition to the above, consider meeting with a faculty member or someone familiar with your research to discuss your projects or involvement in research activities. This will help you articulate your research to a fellow scientist as well as a layperson.

By Kristin McJunkins
Kristin McJunkins Director of Advanced Degree Applications & STEM Career Advising