The Admissions Interview
To be invited for an interview at a medical school is a significant achievement on the part of the applicant. Generally speaking, the applicant has passed a rigorous examination of his/her academic credentials and now has the opportunity to showcase other skills, traits and characteristics that may be attractive to osteopathic medical colleges. The specific logistics of an interview will vary by college. However, each college uses the interview process to gather as much information about each applicant as possible in order to identify students who are academically qualified and who have backgrounds, experiences, and personal philosophies that are consistent with osteopathic medical education (OME).
Medical school interviews are particularly important. Osteopathic medicine has a rich history of producing passionate, empathetic, considerate, altruistic, well-balanced physicians. These are individuals who not only demonstrate academic excellence, but also are dedicated to the humane delivery of medical care under the auspices of the osteopathic medical philosophy. Osteopathic medical colleges take great pride in seeking future physicians who have developed listening skills, communication skills, a high level of ethics, and a strong sense of social responsibility. Osteopathic medical schools actively seek those students who are committed to medicine as a career and a lifestyle. The admission interview can be very helpful in identifying these attributes.
For a full list of interview styles for each medical college, visit their school specific page in the Student Guide to Osteopathic Medical Colleges.
- Confirm the day, date, and time of your scheduled interview. If for any reason, you must cancel, reschedule, or withdraw from an interview, contact the school promptly, courteously, and honestly. If you decide to cancel, the college will use the opportunity to invite another candidate, and proper communication is a positive reflection on you and your professional demeanor.
- Arrive 10-15 minutes early for your scheduled appointment.
- Be neatly and appropriately dressed in professional business attire.
- Be polite and courteous to all members of the college community you are visiting. Not only will your interviewers provide feedback, but admissions office staff and current students may be asked to comment on your personal conduct while on campus.
- Understand and articulate your genuine interest in osteopathic medicine and the osteopathic medical philosophy.
- Prepare thorough, intensive research specific to the college you are visiting by reading its catalog, website, and admissions material and, if possible, by talking in advance with current students.
- Be prepared to clearly articulate your interest in the college by asking college-specific questions, understanding any unique programs of the college, and discussing the relationship between your background and the college’s mission.
- Tell your interviewer what you can bring to the college’s medical school community.
- Thoroughly review your application, essay, personal statement, and academic record prior to your interview day. Interviewers are likely to inquire about your background and accomplishments. Be certain of what you have written.
- Answer questions honestly, thoroughly, and sincerely. If you do not know the answer to a question, indicate this and move on.
- Have one or two questions for your interviewer that make a connection between your credentials and the medical school.
- Follow up with the medical college by writing a hand written thank you for the interview highlighting anything that stood out to you on the interview.
- Lie about any of your credentials or experiences.
- Display a lack of tact or diplomacy.
- Display insincerity during any portion of your interview.
- Try to guess what the interviewer wants to hear.
- Be afraid to discuss your successes and most positive traits.
- Disparage or condemn your past experiences.
- Give overly vague or general experiences.
- Make excuses for past difficulties or challenges.
- Act with a negative attitude or use a negative tone in your responses.
- Underestimate the effort and determination you have demonstrated to this point.
- Arrive under-prepared or unprepared for this discussion.
Health Professions Advisors at Your College
Many advisors belong to organizations such as the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions (NAAHP), which is primarily focused on providing support, resources, and current information on the many health professions. Depending on the type of institution, the health professions advisor may be a faculty member (usually in the science department) or a staff member in the career center or academic advising center.
Health professions advisors have watched hundreds of students go through the medical school application and interview process. Do not hesitate to ask for their advice, tips, and words of wisdom prior to your own interview. Many of these offices maintain files, notes, and other material to help you learn about the schools of greatest interest to you. In some instances, these offices will conduct mock interviews. These can be helpful as you learn to manage the nervousness and anxiety that are a natural part of this process.
Finding a Pre-Health Advisor
Students who find it difficult to locate an advisor on their campus, or who have been away from school, may contact NAAHP for volunteer advisors. NAAHP also offers publications to help students prepare for medical school. More information is provided on the Find an Advisor section of the NAAHP website.
Current Medical Students
Current medical students are wonderful sources of information. While everyone will have slightly different perspectives, it may be helpful for you to talk to current students about their interview experiences. Most medical colleges provide opportunities for you to learn about admission processes through forums, open houses, student panels, or campus tours. Contact those colleges that interest you and ask them what opportunities they provide for you to interact with current students.