interview questions

Hello everyone,
Ok the good news, I have an interview next week. Now the challenge, my past undergrad is a gpa nightmare. After 13 years I returned to school, first two summer classes gen chem A- and B grades. After that I took on too much, and plummeted to c’s, b’s, and two d’s. I took a semester off, attacked orgo chem and micro with straight a’s. Ok, I don’t want to speak to the harrasment from a corrupted chem dept. How should I approach, accept, responsibility for my poor grades on an interview.
Oh, this past semester I was physically assualted/ mugged. I missed class for a week. One prof, eventhough I have A in course work, gave a B indicating lack of initiative and should not allow an assualt to prevent me from attending class, and the other class was given an incomplet. How would you handle this?
I truly appreciate your assistance!

This is a bit of a tough situation for you I’m thinking. My undergraduate GPA was also a nightmare - but after coming back to school I’ve carried a 4.0. The grades you’ve earned recently are most certainly going to come up - and they may very well prevent you from getting an interview in the first place.
Do you have any interviews lined up right now?
If not, I’d concentrate on finishing my prereqs and getting into a Caribbean medical school (unless you are a “URM”) as recent C’s and D’s may prove to be a real problem for you.

I do have an interview, in a week. My current postbach (sci gpa) is 3.2 with all the C’s and a D. I have 10 yr’s medical experience, was an instructor for an allied heath school, and extensive voluntering. I’m at a loss for words on how to present this? I appreciate your time in my assistance.
Out of country schools are out, I have a family. thank you.

First off, don’t assume the grades will come up. Depending on where you are interviewing, the interviewer may not have access to your grades. I used to interview for my school, and I did have not have access to the candidate’s grades, the theory being the committee that invited them to interview already knew about the grades and would consider them as part of the package, but the interview was to get to know the person. I had access to their personal statement, volunteer and extracurricular activities, etcetera, but I did not have access to grades or MCAT score. And I, as an interviewer, did not care about the grades (for the reason above), and had other criteria by which I was to evaluate the candidate. That being said, you may want to find out what the interviewer will have access to. Had you interviewed with me, if you chose to bring up the grades, and sometimes people did, I might consider how you dealt with the challenges, but I wouldn’t have addressed the grades themselves on my evaluation. I MIGHT have put something like “can deal with challenges” or “takes responsiblity” or something to that effect, depending on what you told me but without mentioning what you told me about the grades. On the other hand, if you said something to me to indicate you were blaming others for your grades, then that might be considered as well. But not the grades themselves.
When I was interviewing to get in, I never brought up my grades unless the interviewer did. I figured they had invited me to interview knowing about my undergrad grades, so they wanted to know about me. At one school I interviewed at, however, an interviewer did bring up some poor grades in a challenging way. He even misquoted a grade. I simply politely corrected him and used the opportunity to point out where I had overcome the grades and how I had done very well in grad school.
So my recommendation is that you find out what they have access to, and make your decision on what to say, or not say, based on that. Not that you should try to hide grades, but if you have a limited time in an interview, don’t you want to emphasizing your strengths, and not broadcasting weakness?
If they DO bring up grades, I would recommend giving a simple, honest answer, but using that opportunity to point out strengths-- improved grades, persistance, etcetera. successfully, or find some other good out of the situation that you can bring up if the topic comes up.
You’ve got the interview-- make it a time to point out all you have to offer!

I would also suggest you officially appeal that B. If your papers were worth A’s and the professor actually said he downgraded you because you missed class after your assault, you may have a very good chance. Especially if the assault happened on campus, there may be resources for you to visit (advisors, support office, etc.) to back you up here. Please talk to your advisor and get suggestions on how to proceed.

Thank you!
I have discovered the interviews are open file, and grade questions often arise. I think I will just explain the more current C’s and D where the effect of over extending my time commitments, and point towards my year of straight A’s as an indicator of resolution.
The most current semester of a B and I due to my assualt I will just indicate as such. I was assaulted, convalescence took a week preventing my attendence to required seminars and tests producing a B and an I.
If anyone has any other input I would appreciate it. I am very nervous. What did you do to elleviate any nervousness. Hence, keeping the proverbial foot from one’s mouth. Thanks.
Oh, as per changing the grade. Yes, I earned an A in my effort, but challenging a prof who is a prof of this school’s med school is not worth the possible damage to my preceived charater or steel. Again, thanks…

Oh, he’s in the med school. Good call–you’ve got to pick your battles.


Oh, he’s in the med school. Good call–you’ve got to pick your battles.

Thanks for that shot of confidence!

sounds like you’ve got the right attitude. Explain, don’t apologize. What happened, happened, and you did your best to work through it and move on. I think you’ll do fine with a matter-of-fact and very BRIEF explanation of the circumstances. Good luck!

Again, thanks for the encouragment. I’ve been practicing a calm quick reply to this one. I just hope that my practice pays off. This school is truly my first choice. steve

Thanks for everyone’s support. I survived my interview! I guess it went well. It was a panel interview, mid stream we all were laughing, and the interviewers shared thier personal feelings on each question asked. Sometimes they would answer befor I did! I guess I did look a gift horse in the mouth. I became a bit unraveled and focused the discussion back on me…oops! I think I only dropped the ball on one quesiton, why DO vs MD. I have more experienc with DO and I think I answered it a bit weakly…Ok…well my fingers are crossed! I hope to have some good news for everyone in the next few weeks, months! henry