Applying to Medical School

What Should You Do On Interview Day?

What should you do on interview day besides the actually interview? How should you prepare and what kind of questions should you ask? This articles covers all the practical things interviewees should do during the day of their interview.

For most medical school interviews, you will spend a full day at the medical school. This does not mean, however, that you will be interviewing for the entire 8 hours. In fact, the actual interview(s) account for only a small portion of the day. So what will you be doing besides the actual interview? For the rest of stay, you must be actively engaged with the current students, staff and faculty, asking them numerous questions. The members of the school will teach you as much as they can about their school through various seminars, information sessions, tours, etc. but you must do your own job by inquiring about anything they did not cover. Although you will most likely be pre-occupied with mentally preparing for your actual interview, you must make sure you do the following before your interview day is over.

Learn about the curriculum

What kind of curriculum does the school have? Although medical students learn pretty much the same thing nationwide, schools differ in the way they teach the material. Some schools emphasize problem-based learning while others may promote a small group centered curriculum. The variations are plenty and it’s difficult to understand the different curriculums just by looking at the schools’ websites.  It is much easier and more efficient to learn about the differing curriculums in person.

Understand the logistics of attending

Going to school is much more than simply attending class. You have to factor in the cost of attendance (in-state vs out-of-state tuition), housing, location, parking, etc. If you are attending an out-of-state public school, will you be able to become a state resident so you can start paying in-state tuition? Where do the students live and how much does it cost? Are the neighborhoods safe? Think of any important logistical factor that might come into play when deciding what medical school to attend. Small details matter in tiebreakers.

Evaluate the staff, medical students, and faculty

The interview is not only a chance for the school to get to know more about you, but also a chance for you to get to learn more about the school. Take notice of how friendly and helpful the staff is. Are the medical students happy? Or are they just taking you on a tour because they are obligated? How welcoming are the faculty members? Do they promote an open door policy in which you can ask them for their help whenever needed? The people make the school. So you must see if you like the people there.

Ask yourself, “Can I see myself coming here?”

At the end of the day, this is the most important question. Is the school you are interviewing at a place you want to be? Do you think you will thrive and be happy here? If the interview day leaves a bad impression in your mouth, you might be better off choosing another school (unless you have no other choice).

As a potential “buyer”, it is your job to ask as many questions as you need during interview day. Going to medical school is a huge investment. Therefore, there is no better time to talk to staff, current medical students, and faculty before you actually make a final decision. The more you learn about the school, the more you may get excited about attending that school. If you are having a difficult time answering “Why do you want to attend X school?”, the interview day is a good time to fall in love and develop reasons. All in all, you must take full advantage of your time there; leave and gain the best impression.

Edward Chang

Edward Chang is the Co-founder and Director of Operations of He graduated from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and is currently a urology resident at the University of Washington. He also attended UCLA as an undergraduate, graduating with a major in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology. If you are interested in contributing to, please contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @EdwardChangMD and Prospective Doctor @ProspectiveDr.

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