Interviews

What to Do Before an Interview

  • Be sure that you’ve researched the school

    • Go over your secondary application essays again and remind yourself what got you excited about this school​

  • Look over typical interviewing questions and think about how you will answer them

    • Don't memorize paragraph-long answers, as this will sound rehearsed. Instead, memorize bullet points and practice improvising an answer around them​

  • Be on time; plan to arrive 10-15 minutes early 

  • Ask ahead to know the interviewer or interviewers names and how to pronounce them

  • Bring extra copies of your resume

  • Bring a portfolio and pen and paper for jotting down information during and after the interview

  • Dress appropriately and professionally; a business suit is appropriate for most interviews. Make sure your hair and nails are neat and clean. Polish your shoes. Go easy on the perfume/cologne and jewelry

  • Do a mock interview on campus to practice!

What to Do During an Interview

  • Pay attention to your posture, eye contact, and other non-verbals (watch out for those pesky “ums” and “ahs”)

  • Think “inward” not “outward”. If you think “inward” you are concentrating on your qualifications, what you can ofer the company, and what makes you qualified. If you think “outward” you are concentrating more on how you look or how nervous you are

  • Talk about the experiences and knowledge you have

    • Emphasize the positive and use examples to back up your statements

    • Emphasize what you can uniquely bring to the school

  • Never slight a former employer, teacher, or institution. If there were problems with previous experiences, try to make your answers positive

  • If you catch yourself making an error, correct it. Don’t try to cover up

  • Be yourself. You don’t want to get in on the basis of something you are not or, worse, miss out on a great opportunity by being seen as inauthentic

What to Do After an Interview

  • Take a few moments to jot down notes about the meeting and how things went. Jot down things like deadlines, tricky questions, or points that you made that seemed to make an impact

  • Within 48 hours, send a thank you note or thank you email to those you have contact info from. Personalize the messages as best as you can based on things you said to them during your interview

    • If you promised additional information, be sure to follow through with it as soon as possible.

  • If you receive news that you were not selected, follow-up with a call and ask for input that may help you to succeed in the next application cycle(s)

    • Continue your medical journey until you have an acceptance letter.

  • Inform any person who has been helpful to you in your application process that you have been accepted and thank them for their support

Personal Experience Stories

ToddDylan 2023.jpg

I think most people interview with 3 science faculty with normal medical school stuff. I think most applicants need to be able to: critically reason through an interviewers hypothetical scenario, talk about there research in a formal and engaging way, be able to justify "why combined program" and "what are you bringing to the program personally"

Dylan

Carver COM

M.D./Ph.D., 2023

Kayla 2023.jpeg

Know why you want to go to medical school and why you want to go to whatever school you're applying to. Look up commonly asked questions and practice answering them while recording yourself. You'll pick up on weird tendencies you do and ways you can improve, but don't have a script in your head of your answers - it'll be obvious. Just be yourself - the interview is to see whether you're a good human and not a robot. 

Kayla

Carver COM

M.D., 2023

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Arman

Carver COM

M.D., 2024

The medical school interview is largely geared at getting a glimpse of who you are in real life – make sure to relax and just be yourself. Be prepared to discuss why you are interested in joining the field of medicine and why you want to attend the school you are interviewing at. Doing a mock interview with a friend/mentor can be helpful to build your confidence and identify areas where you can improve.  

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Kyra

DMU

D.O. 2023

During my interviews with DO schools, the questions often focused on interviewees' inter- and intrapersonal skills, inquiring about our resilience, empathy, leadership, and ability to work on a team. They wanted to ascertain if we would be supportive future colleagues. They also definitely wanted to know why I chose DO and if I understood what being a DO meant. Be sure to shadow a DO or two and ask them about their experiences specifically as a DO if you are considering DO school! Overall, DO school has provided me with a great sense of community and extensive, integrative training that will prepare me for any specialty I take interest in!

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Jasmeet

DMU

D.O. 2023

I think the most important piece of the interview is being yourself. It is normal to feel nervous before interviews, but in my experience all of the interviewers were very friendly and conversational, so try not to be intimidated. I would advise that you prepare, but not rehearse. I tried my best to make my answers flow and not sound scripted. In general, I would recommend that you be able to verbalize why you chose to go into medicine, why you want to attend that school specifically, and know what you would like to highlight about yourself if you were asked the infamous, “tell us about yourself?” question.

This was probably one of the more daunting aspects of applying but lucky for me I had a few under my belt by the time I applied to Iowa.  You have to keep in mind that you'll be applying for both MD and PhD programs so there will be interviews for both.  The biggest thing I have to stress is PRACTICE (not the actual game, I'm talking about practice)!!!  That's what my friend (Omar Shaban) and I did, and we did a lot of it.  I also practiced with a lot of other friends, we'd ask ourselves the big questions "Why medicine?", "Why this school?", "What is the weight of the sun?".  You have to practice, grab a friend and really try to answer those typical MD interview questions.  For the PhD interview, it will be more about your research than anything, at least that's what it was for me.

Hassan 2025.jpg

Hassan

Carver COM

M.D./Ph.D., 2025