INTERVIEWING AT PROFESSIONAL SCHOOLS
school interviews serve two major functions. First, they improve the
professional schools' understanding of you as an individual. It adds a
third dimension to the two-dimensional applicant who exists only in a
file, prior to the interview itself. Second, it gives you an opportunity
to learn about the philosophies and personalities of the professional
schools from their faculties, staffs, and students. You should not
underestimate the importance of the interview; interviewers' comments may
tip the balance in admissions committee deliberations.
have various formats for interviews. Most have two or more interviews in
which one applicant meets with a single faculty member, upper class
student or other selected interviewers. At other institutions interviews
take place between several interviewers and applicants simultaneously.
Still other institutions use a combination of the two formats. The
interview process may last one or two days, depending on the institution.
Remain aware that the
evaluation continues during the entire interview period. More than one
candidate has erred by being rude to a secretary, behaving inappropriately
at lunch, or becoming intoxicated at a social gathering!
The importance of the
interview process naturally leads to anxiety in most students. A certain
amount of anxiety is expected and understood by most interviewers. Indeed,
the student who appears overconfident to the point of boredom and
disinterest is suspect to some interviewers. Excessive anxiety can be
reduced by planning for the interview. Good planning for an admissions
interview is largely a matter of common sense. The tips listed below may
help you in this regard:
In case of an
unresolvable conflict; e.g., two interview invitations for the same day,
you should telephone the professional school to discuss rescheduling and
confirm in writing any agreements made in the telephone conversation.
3. Dress. Men
generally wear coats and ties; women wear skirts, dresses or well-tailored
pantsuits. Overdressing is as inappropriate as under-dressing (jeans,
T-shirts, tennis shoes, etc.).
4. Punctuality. Arriving
for interviews on time is important. Applicants should allow time for the
unexpected; e.g., inclement weather, heavy traffic, or no available
parking. In the event of an unavoidable delay, telephone the admissions
office at the first opportunity.
Candidates should not try to "second guess" or patronize the
interviewer(s) by responding with answers they think are wanted. Some
interviewers play the "devil's advocate." When "I don't
know" is the honest reply, it should be used.
Conversation is difficult if the candidate's responses are limited to
"yes" and "no." Many questions are chosen
intentionally to initiate dialogue.
7. Standard Questions.
It is unlikely that an applicant will leave an interview without having
been asked, directly or indirectly, "Why do you want to become a
'__________' (physician, dentist, etc.)?" or "What will you do
if you are not accepted to professional school?" Applicants should
also expect questions about current health-care issues such as socialized
medicine, distribution of health-care specialists, abortion, euthanasia,
animal rights, etc.
8. Finances. Be
aware of professional school costs and how you might pay for it.
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