Interviews during medical school admissions are a tough nut to crack, a tough cookie to chew and a phase difficult to get through. This is where admissions committees decide whether to take the student into the school, or not.
This is now the time when medical school interviews start up, again. At the moment, schools (including a top Caribbean medical University) are seeing interviewees on campuses quite frequently. At times, they join the existing students in orientation classes but most of the time, the interviewees get to talk to students during lunch or dinner.
WHy do students to be interviewed get to meet students in medical school? It is because they can get an overview of what medical school is like and how they can possibly survive it and even thrive there too.
What lessons can medical students learn from interviews?
A lot of students have met interviewees at medical schools which reminded them of how it feels like, though they went through it a long time ago. It reminded many students when they went through the same process.
At times, getting interviewed (and conducting interviews) at different places and travelling across different cities and countries a lot of times in a week or in a month is a long and difficult process.
An ALabama based physician who graduated from one of the best Caribbean medical schools in the late 2000s reveals how difficult the process was and after looking back, she revealed that some lessons she learnt back then, she now wants to share them with prospective medical students about how they can go through the process:
This one probably will go without saying but it is really important for prospective students to be both ready and feel mentally ready on the interview day. They should pack carefully, set out everything they need the night before that day, and must try to get enough rest.
They should also be sure that they have ample time for breakfast in the morning and be able to find the school’s location. They should do the same even for overseas medical schools, and regardless of whichever medical school students will study in, they shuld arrive at the school feeling collected and ready to go.
Before the interview, it is helpful for students to examine their application again and remind themselves of the key points they want to talk about. For each medical school, having a general understanding of the program being offered can help students have a conversation with the interviewer and get questions answered about the school.
Treating the interview day as a learning experience of a lifetime
While the experience might feel intimidating, scary and daunting from the interviewee’s position, view and place; the interview day is not just for the medical school to learn more about the students but also for students to get a sense of whether they would be excited and happy to attend that very medical school.
Students should take advantage of their chances when they get to talk to people. They should explore the campus if they get the chance to, have a look at what their life would be like there and how they would feel about it if they were there after a certain period of time.
Finding out what makes each place different
The physician sharing these tips further explained that after attending numerous interviews, she realized that a lot of those interview days are now a blurred memory in her head. She can hardly remember what she had done or what they had seen in workshops. Though she does remember what laboratories at medical school looked like.
She found it helpful to try and write down what stood out to her at each place. At the end of the day, most schools will offer similar educational opportunities, and each medical school has classes, anatomy labs, clinical experiences for clinical lessons, research labs and centers, and vice versa.
Most students must learn what differentiates one school from the other. They should ask during interviews what does this school offer that other places do not offer? How good are the mentors and faculty? How can they guide and care for students? How do students engage with their communities outside of the classroom, and how can students find projects and chances for further exploration.