Quick introduction…my name is Robert, 30 years old, back in school to finish pre-med coursework after 7 years running a small travel agency. I have taken alot of great advice from these forums, thanks to everyone who has been kind enough to share their experiences. I figured it was time to give some back, for what it’s worth.
My genetics professor agreed to write a letter of recommendation for me and she even agreed to sit down and talk with me to get material for the letter. I did not prepare for this meeting at all as I thought it would be a casual converation about my resume and personal statement. When I got there I soon realized that she was interviewing me?!?!?! I don’t know why I that was such a suprise but it really was.
Suffice to say, I did not do well. I know things were going poorly when she started giving me advice on how to answer the questions.
Now, I’ve interviewed several new employees. But I have not been interviewed for many years. I was pretty confident in my interview skills but I was very, very wrong. I had an especially “fun” time with questions that I thought I would be easy to answer: “Why a career in medicine?”, “Why now at this point in my life?”, “What experiences have you had that would benefit a medical school’s program?”. My favorite question came up when I gave a little explanation about why my grades were not so hot the first time through. She very simply asked “what will keep you from losing focus this time around?”. I very eloquently responsed…“uh…well…uh”.
I am sure that many of you guys are more prepared than I was. For anyone that is applying but has not practiced interviewing: practice, practice alot. Then practice alot more. Get you friends, spouse, kids, mailman, anyone you can find to ask you questions. Sign up for any mock interviews that your school offers. Make your answers as natural as breathing.
I know from interviewing employees that chopped, clumsy response only give the impression that you are not confident in what you are saying. My professor was very kind about it, and she has given me a chance to come back and visit with her again. I am soooo glad that she set up the meeting as an interview. I don’t think the med schools give do-overs.
I learned that my reasons for wanting to become a doctor don’t matter one bit if I cannot communicate them well.
Good luck in everything.
Thanks so much for sharing this with everyone. There’s some valuable advice here.
Great advice! I just to add from my days competing in Miss America preliminary pageants, we were also told to practice the answer to difficult questions in the mirror. For me, the urge to scowl at questions I find ridiculous was someting I really had to work on.