The personal interview is an extremely important step in the process of being admitted to a health profession school. The granting of an interview means that you have passed through the initial screening process, and the results of your interview will play a large part in whether or not you will be accepted.
The purpose of the interview is to exchange information between the candidate and the school and it is routine for the applicant to respond to a variety of questions. The interview also provides an opportunity for the candidate to ask questions, the answers to which are not readily available on schools’ websites. It is wise to have done some research and to have formulated good questions ahead of time regarding a school’s curriculum, special programs, or particular areas of emphasis. This type of information can be obtained by visiting a school’s website and by speaking to alumni or currently enrolled students.
While it is up to the individual health profession schools as to how they will conduct their admissions interviews during the current cycle, the Center for Disease Control continues to recommend limited travel and appropriate social distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19. It is therefore quite likely that most interviews will be conducted remotely. The Association of American Medical Colleges provides the following guidelines to prepare for the virtual interview.
Preparing For Your Interview
- Respond to questions in a sincere, articulate manner. Sincerity is a quality valued highly by admission committees.
- Be prepared to discuss why you have chosen a particular profession.
- You may be presented with questions regarding contemporary and/or controversial issues. You should be familiar with current social, legal, ethical, economic, and political aspects of your future profession and problems related to the delivery of health care. The point of view that you present, even if it differs from that of the interviewer, is generally less important than the manner in which you support your position.
- Be prepared to discuss any problems or inconsistencies in your application with your interviewer.
- Use logical thought, and if asked a question to which you do not have a good answer, stop and think a moment before answering.
- Show an active interest in the school by asking pertinent questions of the interviewer. Substance as well as manner of presentation is important when speaking with the interviewer.
- Never answer in a hostile, abrasive manner and do not hesitate to tell the interviewer that you do not have an answer to a particular question.
- Stress your positive qualities without being pretentious; discuss your achievements (for example, research, volunteer work, and leadership responsibilities) fully and accurately.
- Dress conservatively, be confident and calm, maintain poise, and answer questions to the best of your ability.
Basic Interviewing Etiquette
- Be aware of speaking too rapidly or too slowly, harshly, loudly, or in a garbled, high-pitched, or very soft manner.
- Try to avoid nervous gestures and other distracting mannerisms.
- Eye contact is important – look at your interviewer.
- Above all, try to maintain a relaxed attitude. Do not attempt a slick or contrived demeanor, since it is artificial and easily discernible. It is natural to be nervous on such an occasion; interviewers are aware of this and usually try to put you at ease.
The interview should confirm the applicant’s credentials to the admissions committee and should reflect the applicant’s overall experience, maturity and motivation, interpersonal skills, communication abilities, common sense, adaptability, sincerity, and intelligence.
The information on these websites is applicable to interviews for all of the health professions.
Preprofessional Advising Office
While we do not provide mock interviews, individuals who complete the Portfolio of Accomplishments and Reflections by the stated deadline are eligible for an Interview Workshop that is co-hosted by the Center for Career Development.
We have developed a list of interview practice questions to keep in mind as you prepare for your professional school interview. This list is not all inclusive.
Health Profession Interview Questions
Profession Specific Interview Questions
We also host “The Interview Panel” early in the fall to help prepare you (link to recording above). It includes a panel composed of recent Boston University alumni who are enrolled in health profession schools. They discuss their experiences in interviews with time allotted for a question-and-answer period.
The Center for Career Development
The Center for Career Development, at 100 Bay State Road, 6th Floor (617-353-3590), offers resources related to general interviewing skills such as “Big Interview,” an online mock interview system.
Instructions on how to access Pre-health mock interview questions through Big Interview
Association of American Medical Colleges
How to Prepare for Your Medical School Interview:
- Ask the Experts: Preparing for Medical School Interviews
- Preparing for Medical School Interviews
- Brainstorm questions to ask during your interview
- Selecting a Medical School: 35 Questions I Wish I Had Asked
MD/PhD Interview Resources:
American Dental Education Association
- ADEA AADSAS: Interview Tips from Seven U.S. Dental Schools (slides from Rutgers’ portion of the presentation: http://www.adea.org/Rutgers-Interview-Day.pptx)
- ADEA AADSAS Interview Tips from Seven More U.S. Dental Schools
- ADEA Interview Tips from More Dental School
- Virtual Dental Schools Interviews Dos and Don’ts
Multiple Mini Interview (MMI)
- What it’s Like to Participate in Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs)
- Columbia University Programs in Bioethics’ “Bioethics for Premed Students: The MMI and Beyond Panel Discussion”
Please note: MMI formats vary from school to school.