Applying to Medical School

How to Answer “Why are You Interested in Medicine” During an Interview

When applying to medical school, arguably one of the most asked interview questions is “Why are you interested in medicine?” Here’s how to answer to differentiate yourself, be memorable, and boost your chances of acceptance.

While most students interviewing for medical school expect to be asked a version of the “Why medicine” question, even interviewees who prepare for it still tend to give average answers at best.

Here are a few tips on how to convey your passion for medicine during your interview:

Reinforce Your Medical Passion from Your Primary and Secondary Applications

Given that you most likely addressed this question in your personal statement and secondary applications, review them again prior to your interview. While you don’t want to regurgitate what you wrote, there should be overlap between what you wrote before and what you say now. You were invited to the interview because they were impressed by your application essays. Therefore, reinforcing that content could be as successful during a conversation as it was in writing.

Introduce Something New During Your Interview that Renews Interest

If possible, build upon your personal statement and essays to share new details about a story you wrote about in your response. Or you may want to share a new story that helps illustrate what you wrote. For instance, if you wrote about your passion for pediatrics and you recently had a meaningful experience with a pediatric patient, share this story. Again, they liked your story enough to invite you to an interview, so share the next chapter in an exciting way with new details!

Discuss Why You Specifically Want to be a Physician – With Passion and Authenticity

Even if your medical school interviewer asks you “why are you interested in medicine,” part of your response should specifically address why you want to be a physician (versus some other type of healthcare provider). While this requires introspection on your part, it also requires tact. I have had clients who have said things like “I want to be a physician because physicians are the ones who lead (or problem-solve or analyze).” The problem with such responses is that it implies that other types of healthcare providers do not lead, problem-solve, or analyze. This is not only false, but can be offensive – especially if your interviewer or someone he or she knows is another type of healthcare provider.

One thing that often differentiates physicians from other types of healthcare providers is that for better or worse, the buck stops with them – particularly when it comes to patient care. This means that although a physician may get much of the credit for a patient’s success, that same physician will get the brunt of the blame for poor outcomes too. The way to integrate this observation into a response is with proof.

Consider discussing a time when you were ultimately responsible for an outcome. Or more specifically, you could talk about not only how you overcame a challenge and/or negative outcome during this experience, but also how you grew from it and even learned to embrace it.

Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to wowing your interviewers!

How Can I Get Help Preparing for My Medical School Interview?

If you are currently interviewing and need expertise help, MedSchoolCoach has a team of physician advisors who have interviewed actual medical school applicants and can help you with traditional/MMI interviews and VITA!

And if you need a skilled team of advisors to help you apply successfully, MedSchoolCoach has a team of physician advisors and writing advisors. Schedule a free consultation with a MedSchoolCoach enrollment advisor today!

Ziggy Yoediono MD

Dr. Yoediono was a Duke University pre-major advisor, and an adcom member for Duke University School of Medicine, the University of Rochester School of Medicine and the Harvard Longwood Psychiatry Residency Program. Today, he is an Associate Director of Advising at MedSchoolCoach.

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