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8 Mistakes to Avoid During a Medical School Interview

UserMark time03 September,2015

In an age of intense competition, getting selected for admission interview round is itself regarded as a significant accomplishment. You can definitely take some time out to celebrate your success. But don’t forget that you do need to get ready for the crucial medical board interview too. Medical college interview is an important part of the admission process. It decides the fate of the students, even of those with ex-cellent academic credentials. If you perform poorly in the interview, you may miss out on getting selected, at least for that year.

8 Mistakes to Avoid During a Medical School Interview

Interview Procedure

Different medical schools follow different procedures to conduct these personal interviews. You may face multiple interviewers or it may be a one-to-one interaction. Sometimes, the students may need to appear for multiple mini interviews depending on the circumstances. The admission officers are generally experienced faculty of the respective institution. However, sometimes they can appoint senior students and alumni to conduct the personal interviews of the prospective medical students.

There is no definite route to success when you appear for the face-to-face interaction with the admission officers. Institutions like Harvard, Yale, Standard and other eminent medical schools have different requirements. The respective admission officers too have their own set of specifications which determine the performance results. But each one of them agrees that there are a set of common mistakes that the students usually commit and it decreases their chances to succeed.

So, while appearing for the interview, you need to assure yourself that you don’t make the following mistakes. If not sure, go through this article – 5 Sure Shot Tips to Crack Any Interview

8 Common Mistakes that lead to Medical School Rejection

1. Inability to Demonstrate an Articulate Career Plan

It is very necessary for all the students to exhibit their commitment and firm dedication to the admission officers. As a physician, you are open to choose many options. You can pursue any medical specialty of your choice (like cardiology, surgery, oncology etc). In the interview, you need to convince the admission officers that you are competent and dedicated to reach your goal. Many students do not have a transparent idea about their future plans and give a vague answer when asked. This decreases their credibility in front of the interviewers.

How to avoid this mistake:

Before appearing for the interview, clearly fetch a plan for your future. When asked, show them your intent by providing a precise plan of your aim and ambition. A clear plan will demonstrate your knowledge and mature understanding about your objective to become a successful medical practitioner.

2. Incompetence to Survive Hardships of Medical Studies

In a recent survey, it was found that the rate of dropouts in medical colleges is about 20 percent in a country like USA. It is an alarming statistic which shows that many students, in spite of getting admission to medical schools, do not have the competence to pursue the course. When a student opts out of the medical studies, the whole system suffers. They may have already killed someone’s dreams to get that seat and now they are themselves leaving out mid-way. Moreover, all the medical colleges spend a large amount of money on each of the students. Even the wealthiest institution cannot afford too many dropouts as it will affect the healthcare system in the long run. So, these days the admission officers have become more stringent and can discard the application even in the slightest sense that the student will not be able to survive the academic life of medical studies.

How to Avoid this Mistake:

One of the most customary questions asked in the interview is, “Why do you want to become a doctor?” Answers like “I want to serve people” are clichéd. Responses like “My parents are doctors” also do not impress the admission officers. If you are asked the same question, think of an answer that would be unique and suite your personality. Always remember that answers with ‘how you are going to help people’ will score more. Specific and thoughtful answers will impress the officers and accentuate the chances of getting selected. You can also share a short and intriguing anecdote if it supports your stand.

A Study on America’s College Dropout Epidemic – Causes and Prevention

3. Poor Excuses and Explanations about Academic Life

The admission officers always try to judge the candidates from all the sides, even the aspects they want to hide from the experienced interviewers. The officers need to make certain that the aspiring student knows what it takes to complete the medical schooling. Sometimes, to check their dedication, the interviewers de-motivate the students by figuring the worst parts of the medicine profession. The students may also have certain shortcomings in their academic life specially when they are studying abroad. Interviewers can raise these issues to see how the students can deal with them. Giving blunt excuses without properly addressing them will give the students poor ratings from the experts.

How to avoid this mistake:

If the interviewer tries to discourage you by telling about the hardships of the medical student’s life, take the opportunity to share with them such an incident where you succeeded in a challenging environment. Obviously, the story should be authentic without any manipulations. You can also mention the positive aspects (which are many) of being a medical student and in the course of time a successful medical practitioner. You may have faced failure in life. You have weakness in certain subjects. But do not feel precarious when asked about them. Other than giving excuses, try to share your experience and how you have become a better person today by facing those challenges. Inform them, if given a chance, about your achievements in the extracurricular activities too.

4. A Nervous and Frivolous Attitude

It is an admission interview. Definitely even the thought of it causes certain amount of anxiety in the students. But being too scared and appearing for the interview magnifies the chances of rejection. From the resume, the admission officers know the results, test scores and the performances of the student before they come and sit in front of them. The main objective of the personal interview is to know the actual person behind those marks. A frivolous and a nervous attitude can ruin this objective. When the admission officers do not find anything impressive in the character, it dramatically reduces the chances of getting into the final merit list.

How to avoid this mistake:

One of the most important traits of human character is compassion and amicability. Make sure that you exhibit these two traits in front of the admission officers. You are going to practice medicine in future which is impossible without compassion. You may be nervous (a little nervousness is always good!) but you also need to maintain a decent attitude throughout the interview process. Try to leave such an impression that the officers might have to think twice before rejecting your application. When the interview ends, take a moment to offer your gratitude to the officers. It will exhibit your decency and values.

5. Overconfidence Seeing a Student Interviewer

Sometimes the interview is conducted by senior students or the alumni of the concerned institution. Some students breathe a sigh of relief when they see that they are going to be interviewed by them. They take a casual approach and answer the questions waywardly. However, there is no reason to be delighted. The student interviewers are going to perform the same job as the experienced admission officers. They will show the same professionalism which is expected from the admission officers.

How to avoid this mistake:

Sometimes these student interviewers display more aggressiveness and inquisitiveness to show their proficiency. But as a student, you should show and exhibit the same diligence and professionalism which is expected in these admission interviews. Do not take it as a social interaction; rather answer the questions concisely and firmly. Your composure will determine your result and any form of unprofessionalism will disqualify you.

6. Arriving without Thoughtful Questions

All the medical college admission interviews end with a most common question from the admission officers. They ask the interviewee if they have any question or queries and majority of the students answer negatively. It is regarded as one of the most common blunders that the student makes by answering ‘no’ which show their lack of enthusiasm and interest. It leads the admission officer to think that the student is still not ready and reject the application from further consideration. Some of the students ask too wayward and irrelevant questions, which may further irritate the officers and again decrease their chances of selection.

How to avoid this mistake:

You should appear for the interview with a set of thoughtful questions but ask them when given a chance. You can ask them about the course, research opportunities or a future prospect. It will show your eagerness and knowledge. It is better to have the questions tailored for the specific medical school which will help to impress the admission officers as they will be delighted to hear something good about their campus!

7. Unable to Recall the Application Letter

The admission officers evaluate every application individually. It is obvious that the students would receive several questions from their application only. They would be asked on the different aspects according to the information provided in the application letter. If the answers of the students do not match with what they say in the interview, it will decrease the credibility substantially. The students also make mistakes in the application form that results in the disqualification of the candidature. Surprisingly, it is very often among medical students.

How to avoid this mistake:

When you are filling the application form, memorize what you write. Take time to fill it so that you don’t make any mistakes. Always attach all the supporting documents asked with the application form. Don’t be dishonest with the information and always provide authentic facts. When you know what you have written and they are true, you can answer them promptly and confidently. So, before you go for the interview, recall your application form at least once.

8. Unaware of Individual Weaknesses

All the students have their own shortcomings and weaknesses of their own. But most of them remain completely oblivious about their deficiencies. Many a times the admission officers ask the students about their weakness and they receive a vague reply for them. These indistinct answers do not help the admission process. Sometimes they answer that their main weakness is that they get easily frustrated or angry which in turn makes the situation worse. Many admission officers also opine that the students do not come with a proper strategy of their own which can assist them to make a substantial impression of their mind.

How to avoid this mistake:

Always be honest with your weakness if you know about it. But do not mention anything which would make you appear foolish or give the impression that you are a criminal in the society! Rather than showing your immaturity by stating wrong weaknesses, tell them that your biggest weakness is the lack of experience which you will gain by studying in this medical school. You can also state anything with which you struggled a lot, but didn’t give up trying. Always end it with a positive note.

These common mistakes may deprive all the students a secured seat in the medical school where they wish to pursue their education. But all these mistakes come with solutions. They are not too tough and can be achieved with a little more effort, endeavor and commitment. Following the strategies will help all the students to avoid the common mistakes and reach their goal. The admission officers always want to see honesty, integrity and competence among the students. Though the medical school interview is a long and tedious process, it is the final hurdle before you step in the institution to fulfill your dream. So, follow the strategies and the solutions to achieve your dream.

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