Have you received a med school interview invite? Nice job winning the attention of the adcom by writing persuasive essays! But you’re far from done…now you have a whole new set of challenges to prepare for in order to receive that golden acceptance. To help you prepare for your interview, I will dispel some of the most common myths.
Myth #1: The Interviewer is Omnipotent
You may be worried that the interviewer will know everything about you and your application. This is not the case. Often the interviewer will not have time to read your application in detail before meeting you. It’s best to approach each interview as if it is “blind,” meaning that they do not know anything about you. You should introduce yourself and discuss your activities clearly and with careful explanation so that they can easily understand the nature of your experiences and the timeline of events. If you leave out information or skip details because you assume that they already know this about you, you may be hurting yourself. Start at the beginning and don’t assume anything.
Myth #2: Clothes Make the (Wo)Man
While this medieval adage holds true in most circumstances, it’s best to avoid overdressing or under-dressing for your interview. There has been a lot of research on the psychology of clothing. What you wear matters but be careful not to overdo it. Wearing Gucci sunglasses or carrying a Brahman bag will not win you any extra points! In fact, if you make these accessories the focus of your interview, it will provide insight on what you consider important. While you may talk about how much you enjoyed volunteering that summer in Guatemala, your designer style make contradict your statements. Dress simply and professionally. YOU should be the focus of the interview, not your clothes.
Myth #3: You Are Powerless
Most people believe that the interviewer is the person in charge in an interview. However, you are the one who will decide what you share about yourself and what the interviewer should take away from the experience. You are the most powerful person in the room. Ultimately, the way you present yourself and the information you choose to focus on will determine whether you are offered an acceptance or not.
In dispelling the common myths about interviews, I hope that you are able to see how much power you actually have in the medical school interview process. Your preparation will be critical to your success. It’s necessary for you to practice taking on this level of responsibility in representing yourself. While it is tempting to give your power away by believing that the interviewer has all the answers and control, you now know this isn’t the case. Hopefully this information will empower you to focus all of your energy on your preparation. Start preparing by scheduling a mock interview!
Alicia McNease Nimonkar is an Accepted advisor and editor specializing in healthcare admissions. Prior to joining Accepted, Alicia worked for five years as Student Advisor at UC Davis’ postbac program where she both evaluated applications and advised students applying successfully to med school and related programs. Want Alicia to help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!