Bringing Notes to an Interview

Hello all,

Does anyone consider it unprofessional to bring a written list of reasons why you’d like to attend/questions about the school to a med school interview? I’ve found that my top choices exhibit several characteristics that draw me to them, and I don’t want to miss relating any of them to the interview committees, if I’m granted an interview. Thank you for your thoughts!

At least the interviews I went to, the vibe was relatively informal, business-casual type conversation. The notes might be good review for talking points before you walk in and shut the door, but I think having notes in front of you will drastically take away from the feel they’re going for. That being said, if it really is just very brief notes and not a script, you might be able to glance down while still being personable and engaged with the person/people across from you. This might be different at different schools though, I guess.

Part of the game is doing the research about the programs and compartmentalizing them in your head to bring up when the time is right. They expect you to have thought about stuff ahead of time, but I don’t think they’re expecting Division I debate team level preparation since you don’t even know what they’re going to ask.

Keep in mind that your interviewer can be anyone from a current medical student to an upper level professional, and you probably won’t know until right before the time comes.

Almost every interview will be more of a conversation, not so formal, and looking down at notes might come off as stiff, unprepared (the opposite of what you’re doing for) and odd.

The day before all of my interviews, I used the padfolio I brought to jot down all of the reasons I wanted to attend the school. Things about the curriculum, extracurriculars, things about the mission, etc. I read it over a few times and added things during the interview day as they came up. By the time the actual interview came, I had several things in my head to talk about. I didn’t refer to the list and didn’t need to. One or two interviews, I did add to my thank you notes to the interviewers by mentioning something I really liked about the school.

This is where interview practice is absolutely vital. You should practice your answers out loud alone or with someone. You’ll see patterns of pausing, verbal tics, uncertainty, strengths, good/bad phrasing, etc. and have time to work on them before your actual interview. One of the questions you practice should be “why this school?”

i prepared questions prior to each interview and wrote them down. i asked if it was ok if i were to open my notebook with the questions and never had someone say no. it shows that you prepared for the interview and took it seriously, in my opinion.

Never had someone say it was ok or never had someone say not to do it?

I think having questions to ask the interviewer is good. I’m referring to having pre written answers to their questions because, in my opinion, most people will use it as a crutch and destroy the conversational vibe. Nothing worse than having a conversation with someone who is talking back to a piece of paper.

never had someone have a problem with it.