Applying to medical school is really annoying, expensive, and hard for no reason. I’d like to share some wisdom I picked up along the interview trail.
Become an expert stalker. You have had plenty of practice stalking your friends on Facebook. Use those skills to find out everything you can about the school. Admissions officers tend to ask you why you would like to attend their institution. In order to give a genuine response, you need to be able to articulate exactly what prompted you to apply to the school. Generic answers show that you don’t know much about the school.
Find a student host. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but applying to medical school is expensive. Sometimes schools will invite you to stay overnight with a current student. I strongly encourage you follow up on this offer. Staying over night is not only cheaper than a hotel, but also a great opportunity to learn about student life. Admissions offices only distribute propaganda. You don’t know how great a school actually is until you spend time with students. Plus, staying over night will provide you with more speaking points during the interview! If the school does not have a formal hosting program– reach out to the interview coordinator and ask to be connected with a student.
Look fly. And by fly I mean dress as plainly and professionally as possible. Don’t distract the admissions officer with the optical illusion on your shirt or the awkward color of your suit. Conform and stick to the basics- navy, grey and black are always safe. The interview is not the place to express your diva style. You also do a lot of walking so– wear comfortable shoes!
Don’t be THAT KID. You know, the one that brags about how many interviews he’s had or how many acceptances she has piled up. Since AMCAS requires the submission of a horcrux, applying to medical school can be an emotionally stressful process. Don’t contribute to that stress by asking other interview candidates for their stats or where else they applied. It is awkward, invasive, and rude. Just enjoy your time at the school, you all made it this far– enjoy the experience.
Be Positive. While your MCAT may be a 12 and GPA a -1.566, if you made it to the interview it doesn’t matter! You may be asked about your academic performance but seriously don’t sweat it. You are more than numbers at this point. Be honest, highlight your strengths and keep it moving.
Know AMCAS. You should be 150% familiar with what you wrote in your applications. Most of my interview questions were focused on my experiences, so make sure you sure you are able to demonstrate enthusiasm about your extracurricuars.
Shadow. If your clinical experience is lacking, you should shadow a physician during the application cycle. Shadowing is not a huge commitment. While it may not be documented on your AMCAS, this new activity will give you something new to talk about during interviews. It will also show your interviewer that you are committed to developing your experience in the field, even after all your secondaries are submitted!
Good luck to all those applying.
Jennifer Adaeze Anyaegbunam is a medical student who blogs at her self-titled site, Jennifer Adaeze Anyaegbunam. She can be reached on Twitter @JenniferAdaeze.