Interviews are a valuable tool for admissions committees to assess you on subjective criteria that cannot be determined by the information on your application. They are trying to get to know you and see if you are a good fit for their program. They are also a useful opportunity for you to get to know the schools, their faculty, and their students better and to determine whether the school would be a right fit for you.
Interview formats vary from school to school. Some schools will set up a series of one-on-one interviews for you, while others organize panel interviews. Some school will focus interview questions on you and your experiences; some will include case scenarios. Most interview days will also include orientation and financial aid sessions, campus tours, and the opportunity to talk with current students.
Interview Advice from Students
UW-Madison students give advice about how to approach interviews:
Prior to the Interview
- Schedule a mock interview with our office!
- Research the school—know what makes it unique, and why you would be a good fit for that particular institution.
- Ask ahead of time what the format of the interview will be.
- Re-read all your application materials, and make sure you are able to talk meaningfully about any of the activities/experiences referenced in your application.
- Take a look at some sample questions. This is not a comprehensive list of possible interview questions, but it will give you some idea of what interviews may look like.
- Read magazines and newspapers to be informed about current issues in the health fields. Be ready to discuss ethical or hypothetical situations.
- Prepare questions to ask that are tailored to the specific program, which show that you’re genuinely interested and have done your homework.
- Look at feedback from students who have interviewed at the school previously on the Student Doctor Network. But remember, everyone’s interview experience is unique, so don’t plan for your interview entirely based off of others’ experiences.
- Try to group interviews by geographic area to save yourself time and money. Most schools are willing to work through scheduling issues with applicants.
- Another resource you may want to consult is the National Association of Advisors in the Health Professions’ brochure on interviewing. It is relatively inexpensive ($4), and can be ordered here.
Day of the Interview
- Interview days can be long and somewhat hectic, so plan ahead to make your experience as smooth as possible.
- Give yourself plenty of time to get there.
- Wear professional attire.
- Bring water, a snack, a notebook, and a pen.
- During the interview and orientation sessions, take notes on program information or responses to your questions.
During the Interview
- Greet everyone in the room individually. Wait to be asked to be seated before you sit down.
- Make sure to provide specific examples from your own experience. Examples show the interviewer how you know something, what your experiences are, and how you have changed.
- Think and, if necessary, pause before answering questions, especially if they catch you off guard.
- If questions have multiple parts, make sure you answer them all. Jot down notes about the questions if necessary.
- Think of each question as an opportunity to share a little more about yourself with your interviewer(s).
- Ask your own questions!
- After the interview, consider sending a thank you letter to the admissions committee.