Interview Advice? How to make it count with a weak application?

Happy Lundi Gras!

I’m a 30-year-old, ex-professional dancer, rehabilitative movement teacher, EC21 applicant. I grew up in New Orleans, lost my home in Hurricane Katrina, moved to Florida for high school, obtained my BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography at the University of Southern Mississippi, moved to New York to dance professionally, stopped dancing to work with PT patients as a Pilates teacher, and obtained my Pre-Med certificate from Columbia last May.

Like it goes for a lot of people, I had to work full-time while going back to school (and I wanted to!). I chose to pursue medicine after working as a rehabilitative movement teacher for PT patients, and this work fueled me while going to school. While it’s not traditional clinical experience (and wasn’t listed that way on my common application), it is ultimately the experience that taught me to handle crises, hone my bedside manner, and care for patients who put their trust in me to create a safe space for them.

The pre-med committee at Columbia did not offer me a letter of support, as I had not completed the required amount of traditional clinical hours by the allotted date. I spent the summer shadowing physicians at two hospitals and submitted my common application late in the game (August 8th), as I wanted to include a traditional medical/clinical experience in my application.

My application itself isn’t particularly impressive–my work and experiences section is chock-full of a variety of jobs, artistic endeavors, and hobbies, which have little to do with medicine in the traditional sense, and while I think that my personal statement is a strong point, my BCPM GPA is low (2.97, with an upward trend–I got a D in Human A&P as a college freshman and it really brought down my average). My overall GPA is a 3.57.

I applied to LSU as my top choice, even though it’s out of state, because of my deep love for and roots in New Orleans, and because of my love for the program (which my dad attended as a 35-year-old, when I was a kid. His life and resilience was my first inspiration for pursuing medicine). I just got my first (and possibly only) interview at LSU, which is scheduled for early April.

Since the onset of the pandemic, I’ve volunteered at a dermatology office and an ophthalmology office as a medical and administrative assistant, though these were obviously not in my application. I sent a Letter of Interest to LSU and included these updates, but I’m really feeling the weakness of my application and some definite imposter syndrome revolving around my sense that I was only granted an interview because my dad is an Alumnus.

Basically, how do I really make this interview count, knowing that my application has definite pitfalls without ‘selling myself’ or coming off as desperate? I’m a serial listener to Dr. Grey’s podcasts and YouTube channel, and I’d be so grateful for any advice whatsoever.

All my best,