Interviews and Inner Views: Q & A Session


Dear Applicant,
The road towards medicine may be relatively difficult, but know that you are courageous for taking the first step and applying. This blog post is inspired by my own personal journey, and designed to give you insight. If you feel as though your questions were not answered, please comment below and I will follow up as best as I can! Please update, and let me know where you all are with the application cycle as well!
Congrats on taking the first step! ❤


Q & A Section


I’ve been invited for an interview, now what?

This is such a pertinent question! It’s as if you can almost see the finish line, yet are unsure of how to navigate the course in order to reach it. My first piece of advice is: embrace the fact that you were selected! Sometimes you simply have to take a win, as a win. Out of the thousands of applicants, this particular school has developed an interest in you. They want to get to know more about your journey, values, and perspective. Additionally, they’d like to see if you would be a good “fit” at their institution. Remember, the name of the game is FIT.

Preparing for the Interview:

Can you offer any tips to consider when preparing for interview day? 

One tip that I highly recommend is: Re-read your primary and secondary application prior to prepping for an interview. You want to have a working memory of the anecdotes, and examples you used. Additionally, it may have been awhile since you last reviewed said applications. 

Another I did was a bit extra, but really helped me to solidify reasons for wanting to attend a certain school. Prior to my interview, I would take a sheet of paper, and create a mind map for each school I interviewed at. The mind map included categories such as: mission, special tracks (e.g., underserved, rural), population served, extracurriculars, community-based initiatives and/or research. Other categories would include current student perspectives, as well as what my perspective of the school was, and why I would like to attend. The goal was not for me to have a robotic response, rather to have talking points as to why I thought that I would be a good fit at a particular school. Additionally, I highly recommend you do a mock interview; preferably with someone who is familiar with medical school admissions. They’ll be able to tell you whether you’re actually answering the questions, and if your responses seem genuine.

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Any advice for group interviews (i.e. actually listening to others responses, creating dialogue with other interviewees during the interview, etc)?

Absolutely, the main advice I can give is to be present. What does that look like? Make sure you listen to what your group mates are saying, so that you can provide responses that are relevant. Additionally, if you have a perspective or an idea, then respectfully share it. It shows that you are participating and that you are aware. Group interviews may be intimidating, but if everyone is respectful it can be an encouraging experience. 

What tips can you give in terms of prepping for an MMI? 
First, there is NO PERFECT WAY TO PREPARE FOR AN MMI! No matter what others may tell you. In my opinion, the goal of an MMI is to:
  1. Understand the interviewees perspective
  2. Understand the reasoning behind said perspective (therefore, one should include an anecdote/example to support said stance.)
  3. Gauge whether the interviewee can understand a perspective that he/she may not have themselves. This one is important. 
Do you have any tips for the actual interview day? 
Your interview begins the moment you set foot on-campus. Heck, it begins the moment you leave your home. Always be watchful of the way you carry yourself, how you interact with other interviewees, as well as what you say in regards to the school you are interviewing at. Why? Because you never know who will be your interviewer, or the level of impact an individual may have on your admissions decision.
I’ll share an clear-cut example:

Here in Los Angeles, there is a RIDICULOUS amount of traffic. So much traffic that you would assume that all Angelenos have been genetically predisposed to road rage. Imagine you were driving to your interview, and someone cuts you off. You proceed to honk, and yell expletives as this individual. Few minutes later, you have calmed down, and begin to prepare mentally for your interview. As you pull into the parking lot, you notice the familiarity of the car next you. It was the individual who cut you off. You walk into the admissions office, and you are faced with the same person you yelled expletives at. What do you do? 

Pray! I know, I know that was an extreme example, but I shared it to say that the moment you leave your home/hotel/host, you need to be in interview mode. Additionally, be kind to the faculty that you meet. The most important tip I can give for the actual day is to be yourselfI know that isn’t what many would like to hear, but it’s the truth. You want the school who’s interviewing you to accept you, for you. Are you a passionate person? Do you enjoy serving others? In what ways? Allow your uniqueness to shine through.

Any hard questions concerning healthcare policy or other topics one would be in trouble if you knew absolutely nothing ? 

I think you should be aware of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as the trickle down effects of it. If you are interested in primary care, have a good understanding of the benefits of Medicaid expansion, and how that impacts FQHCs, as well as other community health centers. I think Zika is a pertinent topic at this time as well, so I would glance over the current understanding in this particular field. My advice is subjective of course, so take it with a grain of salt.

For more information on Zika: Zika Virus. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website.

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What do you wish you knew prior to the interview season? 
  1. How emotional I would be during the application cycle. There were days when I was filled with absolute joy, and others where all I could do was lie in a ball and cry. And I do mean cry. 

Dear applicant: Have something that you can do to take your mind off of the application cycle, and the accompanying anxiety. It will help.

  1. I wish I understood that the name of the game was “fit,” and to not take it personal if I was rejected from a school.

Dear applicant: A rejection does not necessarily mean that there is something wrong with you. Try not to take it personal if you are rejected. If possible, ask for advice in terms of strengthening your interview skills, and overall application.

  1. How important it is to focus solely on your cycle, and to avoid becoming distracted by another applicant’s cycle.

Dear applicant: Just because Mr/Mrs. MCAT All Day had 200 interview invites, it does not mean that there is something wrong with you. Stay focused on the finish line, so that you can be better equipped to overcome the hurdles in your lane. Rooting for you lovelies! ❤ ❤


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