For those of you that have gone through an interview with a Post Bacc, I would be delighted to hear about the nitty gritty details of what your experiences were like…Lot’s of info out there about med school interviews. Very little about Post Bacc interviews. I have not gone through an interview to gain acceptance to a program since 1995…I need to know what is going on out there!!
Only can tell you for the UVA post-bac. Talked with them (after I had graduated) about what they were looking for in the interviews. They said.
- want to LOOK at the candidate - did they come inappropriately dressed (believe it or not, some did, VERY inappropriate). Also, can they speak? These are potential med school applicants. Anything that gives them a red flag that this person will not be able to be successful applying to med school is a “NO” vote.
- why do they want to be a doctor? Is there some evidence of a service mentality or do they have purely a “it’s a great, well-paying job” mentality. (ie - unrealistic)
- What evidence is there that the person can stick with an endeavor if there are difficulties/obstacles. Is there a work ethic and an overcoming attitude.
The questions may vary, but that is what this particular program is looking for.
Having an anecdote or two about a difficulty you overcame wouldn’t be amiss
I got the why medicine, why now, which I’m assuming you can expect at any interview. Also several started with the general “Tell me about yourself.” That’s actually one to think about because it’s easy to go off of the rails. And also “what do you think is the biggest factor in being a successful physician?”
I was asked about how and why I got into my volunteering gigs (I used that as a chance to talk about how I thought it would relate in the future). I was also asked about my study abroad experience because it was pretty extensive. And the other common one was what about the program/school that made me apply there.
My big advice is not to repeat exactly what’s in your application and to ask a lot of questions. There are things you’ll naturally want to know (MCAT average, link rate, grad rate), but I’d spend a lot of time on the program itself instead of stats.
What opportunities do you have for research, shadowing, international trips, mentoring, connections with med students, access to facilities, etc. Who teaches classes? How do most people pay for the program? What is the MCAT prep like? What is the biggest factor in being successful in the program (turn that earlier question around on them.)
And don’t be afraid to talk about how you’re preparing for any expected weaknesses (e.g. taking a refresher math class). As Kate said, they want to know you’re ready to meet and overcome these challenges.
Also, yes! Look professional - wear a suit. People who show up in anything less give the impression that they don’t take this seriously. The director of the medical school just said that to my class verbatim.
Interviewed at two unofficially which felt very official. I would look at the advice listed here as well as a current thread on having bombed a med school interview. I noted no difference between the advice given for med school and my experience. As elementary as it might seem schools really want someone to “look” the part. Being on the positive side of 40 it is hard to comprehend why things such as attire, grooming, appearance, and behavior are addressed but it will surprise and shock you what premeds, postbaccs, and trad med students think is appropriate. To give you an idea, it seems as though many assume what they wear to a club is appropriate. The leg up OPM’ers have during the interview process, for postbacc, med school, and residency is most of us have had jobs and been on interviews so we know what to wear. Our behavior isn’t a problem, the thing we have to work on is finding the fine line between being confident yet humble. Most OPM’ers I’ve heard about suffer from not projecting a confident demeanor.
The following is more human nature than just specifically school interviews. I know that one of the ism’s I have to deal with is weightism. In other words being in shape gives one a halo effect in that people assume if your body is in shape then the rest of you is good to go as well. Which also works in the negative, if you’re overweight then you must be sloppy, undisciplined, lazy… So my recommendation is to take control of those things which we can control. Namely getting into shape which serves us well as our future patients. We can’t do anything about the color of our skin but we can project the image of a middleaged folk in excellent shape, which thanks to the flaws in prejudice we can all use to our advantage.
Not posting any of this to discourage but as a heads-up. Dress for success during the interview. Speak with confidence, humility, and passion. If you’re physically able work on your physique.
I know that weight, body image, religion, politics, are very taboo subjects so please don’t be offended. I just had a long discussion about the halo effect as well as why a grown man should just about always wear a jacket and nice shoes with a couple classmates.
I went to a JOB FAIR with my husband this spring and my jaw dropped when I saw what people thought was “appropriate” dress for making a first impression on a job recruiter. There were about 35 booths there, and maybe 500 potential applicants. My husband was one of 5 men who wore a suit jacket and dressed appropriately. I only saw 2 women wearing business style attire. As you said, the remainder wore “club clothes” and seemed to think they would just get a job for showing up. I was, frankly, appalled…
I am not Tina Turner, Cher, or even Jamie Lee Curtis. I kinda doubt I will be stunningly “in shape” in the next two weeks. I am not morbidly obese, but I am 52 and a veteran of 9 abdominal surgeries, and 2 broken vertebrae, and a crushed shoulder. I realized a long time ago that I will NEVER have a flat stomach, ever, again. However, I do yoga, I swim, I ride horseback, my heartrate and blood pressure are excellent, and all my blood and urine chemistries are excellent. For a 52 year old broad…I only take ONE medicine - Premarin (S/P hysterectomy) and can proudly say at this point that I have NO chronic medical conditions. I am a size 16, and proud of it, and LOVE my curves…Shoot…Marilyn was a 14!!! “in shape” - NO. HEALTHY?? YES!!! I think I carry myself in a way that has style and panache’ for my age…and it shows…anyone who met me at the conference care to chime in?? If I need “work” in this area…I am open to constructive criticism.
I said that the halo effect section of my post had more to do with human nature than school interviews. Clearly two weeks isn’t going to be enough time if you were out of shape but the halo effect has more to do with just being in shape. If you’ve got it then use it, if not…get it. It reads as though you’ve got it but don’t forget…and I think it was you who posted…that we are masters as self-deception. Just messin’ with cha!
Now I was deceived, as most men are, that the guy in the mirror was the stud from 20 years ago…reading up on the halo effect and the types of reactions I’ve gotten over the past few years woke me up that I was having more like a devil effect on folk than halo. Older guys I was talking to were trying to tell me it had to do with “aging” but it was more to do with letting ourselves go and the prejudice we all inherently have when we see someone without knowing them. The more we control those things about us that we can control then the less we give the other people things to filter…even without speaking to them.
You’ve got curves…and know how to use them…then have at it. Dress yourself for success, get your “swag on,” and keep it moving. Take what you find useful in my post, if anything, and discard the rest.
We are something! Aren’t we??