Most medical schools have moved to virtual classes, and it’s not a surprise that even the admissions interviews are virtual now. Many Caribbean medical schools traditionally did interviews via phone and Skype. Here are some tips on how to prepare for the virtual medical school interviews.
Getting selected for the interview itself is a big step forward. You were one among the thousands of applicants before, and now you may be one among few hundreds. Please keep in mind the school is interested in considering you as an applicant and are impressed with your initial application submission and your overall story. Now its time for you to do your part and get the best out of this opportunity. So treat it with the utmost respect. Treat your interview the same way you would treat an in-person interview.
The interview is an important step and allows for a more personal representation of your application. Some schools still do phone interviews, but most do interviews via video conferencing. As any normal interview, dress professionally for virtual interviews. Greet and say hello to the interviewers the same way you would during any face-to-face interview. Introduce with your full name and present yourself very confident. Smile and be pleasant during the interview time.
While we can discuss a lot about preparing interviews, this article focuses mainly on three core areas to perform well: research, environment, and confidence.
The most important advice for any prospective student is proper research. The more research you do, the more confident you will be in presenting yourself properly. Research your prospective school, school’s application process, study/practice interview questions, and answers, and browse through sample interviews.
Schools follow different interview formats; familiarize yourself with the structure followed by the prospective school. Some follow the Multiple Mini Interview format, and some follow the traditional school interview. A well-prepared interview will leave a lasting impression in the mind of interviewers and will have a positive impact on the outcome.
There are many online resources for medical school interview practice questions. Here are some sample questions for you to prepare for an interview from The Princeton Review and Shemmassian Academic Consulting.
It is also important for you to know the audience. If you know in advance who the interviewers are, do some research on their background. During the interview, you might come across instances where common interests can be discussed and utilize that opportunity.
Since the interview is via phone or computer, ensure that the environment is quiet and conducive for a proper conversation. Select a quiet room and ensure you have functional internet connectivity or phone signal. Try with a friend if you want to ensure everything works smoothly. Plan your meeting way in advance and be prepared at least 15 minutes before the interview. If you have roommates, alert them in advance and ask for privacy or find an alternative place. This is a very serious time and should not be affected by disruptive environments. The overall smooth experience will leave a good impression on the interviewers.
You are a unique individual; you bring your unique characteristics to the interview, and that uniqueness must get you noticed. Be concise and articulate: convey your ideas agreeably. The interviewer is interested in understanding you more. More often, you get noticed when you deviate from the normal, so feel free to bring any unique characteristics that might be helpful. Prepare by writing down your answers and seek the assistance of a friend to do multiple mock interviews. Be confident in your answers, but not arrogant. Convey a healthy self-understanding and demonstrate humility. You know what drives you in this career decision but avoids grandiose declarations. Interviews can bring the worst out of your character, so be very careful and be yourself. Try not to look around, focus on the questions, avoid thinking while questions are asked, and, most importantly, know your story well. As the interviewers only have information that you have provided and be prepared with proper answers for questions that may come from your story. Be ready to respond to different kinds of questions, and many might not be related to the field of medicine.
If you feel that you need more training or coaching, there are further resources available online. Spend some time researching for the right resources.
Lastly, please keep in mind interviewers do a lot of interviews and their time is valuable, so thank them for their time, and if possible, send them a thank you note.
With the three key elements of research, environment, and confidence, you are well-equipped to perform well in the interview. Admission awaits you, and go with confidence to the next step!