While each school sets its own policy, screening of applicants often occur at several stages in the application process, including:
- after they receive your AMCAS application forms prior to mailing secondary applications,
- after reviewing secondary applications prior to inviting candidates for interviews, and
- following the interview when your file is complete.
Thus, the interview plays an important role in your application. Generally the style of these interviews is conversational, rather than confrontational, to enable the admission committee to assess qualities that are not evident on paper including poise, maturity, sincerity, a caring nature, knowledge of the field, and clarity of goals. Interviewers may inquire about any blemishes in your record, whether academic or disciplinary, to see how you have grown or learned since that time. Following the interview, you will be given a rating which will be factored in when each committee member assigns you an overall composite score.
Preparing for Interviews
Health school interviews, the majority of which are held from August to February or March, are typically about 30 minutes in length. To prepare for your interview, review the university catalog and med school web sites to get an overview of the professional school organization, curricula, and application materials. Identify 3-5 points you would like to communicate such as your greatest strengths, a formative experience you have had, your goals within the field, and your reasons for choosing it as a career. It is critical that you research current trends and events in healthcare, and brush up on current news around the world at the same time. Practice answering typical questions (you can find these at studentdoctor.net) and schedule a videotaped mock interview with the Career Center. Prepare several questions you would like to ask the interviewer as well (see the AAMC's Medical School Interviews for some ideas to get started).
Both men and women should wear a formal dark suit with a light color shirt or blouse to the interview. Men should wear socks that match their suits; women should wear slacks or skirts with neutrally-toned hose. Wear only conservative jewelry and avoid cologne or perfume.