The medical school interview is the last big hurdle between you and an acceptance to medical school. You already survived your premed classes. You suffered through primary and secondary applications. You emptied your bank account on an MCAT prep course, applications, and traveling to your interview day. The last thing you want to do is head into your interviews stressed out.
These four tips will help ensure that you are nice and relaxed and ready to impress on your interview day:
Tip 1 Know the Location
Simple right? Unfortunately, every day students roll up to the interview late because they got lost, didn’t know where to park, or forgot or misplaced the information about the meeting location.
If your travel schedule allows for it, do a drive by of the campus. Find the parking lot, walk around and find the office where you are supposed to be going to. My campus at New York Medical College was pretty locked down, so it was hard to walk around a lot, but you could still get a general idea of where you are going. If the instructions that the school sends out don’t include parking information, it would be in your best interest to find out that info before your interview day.
Tip 2 Arrive Early
Another simple one. But again, you’d be surprised how hard it is for students to show up early to the interview, even though it is one of the most important days as a premed student.
Did you catch how I said arrive early? Not on time. Early. In the military we say “early is on time, on time is late, and late is not acceptable.” You need to plan for problems. Any good physician plans for the unexpected. This is your chance to start acting like a doctor. Plan to arrive 20-30 minutes before your interview. Once you do get there, don’t go rushing into the office where they instructed you to go. The staff is likely still getting everything ready.
Hang out in your car, or take a stroll around the campus. This is the perfect time to see if you can come up with a great question to ask the interviewer. See if you can talk to any medical students before you go in. Work it out so that you get to the office about 5 minutes prior to the start of your interview day.
Tip 3 Get Sleep
Can you see this trend here? This one can be tricky depending on if you are traveling to the interview from out of the state. If you are flying in, schedule your flight for earlier in the day, to give yourself time to drive around the campus. An earlier flight also gives you the ability to reschedule a flight if you need to.
Getting in early lets you get settled and ready for bed at a good hour as well. If you are flying from west to east, you’ll need to get some extra sleep because you’ll be waking up extra early based on your body’s internal clock.
The last thing you want to do is sleep through your alarm because you went to bed a little late and planned on waking up at 3am “your time.”
Tip 4 Do some mock interviews
Just like when you took practice exams with your MCAT prep, you need to do practice interviews for your interview day. These practice interviews are known as mock interviews. You can do them with your premed advising office, another physician or through services like the ones I offer. Wherever you end up doing them, you just need to do them!
Take out your phone, set it up on the table and press record. You’ll want to see how you look when you are going through a mock interview. You’ll want to hear how you sound under pressure.
Going through the recording and getting feedback from the person doing the mock interview with you is the only way to start improving your interview skills.
These simple tips will make a big difference between a prepared and relaxed student and a stressed student scrambling at the last minute to make it to their interview only to be unprepared. Your interview is one of the most important aspects of your acceptance to medical school. Make sure that you are fully prepared before interview day. Check out my new book: The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Interview: Be Prepared, Perform Well, Get Accepted.