2023-2024 In-person interview prep advice (flying)

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

Mr.Smile12

Admissions advisor
Staff member
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2011
Messages
21,510
Reaction score
15,965
Since it seems so many more dental schools are going to in-person compared to medical schools, I am reviving travel tips I would give to candidates going to interviews by plane:

My tips if traveling by plane to interviews:

Many of you may not have taken advantage of the following tips, but this is a good time to line these things up.
1) Sturdy carry-on bags. You don't want lost checked bags. Find a TSA-compliant bag that can fit your interview outfit and be placed in an overhead bin. Your laptop bag or personal purse should fit under the seat. (Also, learn to put those bags in correctly... the wheels go in first so that when you leave, you grab the TOP handle and leave.) Gate-checking delays you as well.
1a) Develop a packing checklist and make sure you don't overpack. Depending on your schedule, you may wear your interview outfit, but don't drink coffee to spill on your white shirt. Anticipate bringing one set of comfortable walking shoes, and pick black or another dark color... not the shoes you want to wear on the way home).
1b) You really need just one maybe two clothes changes, depending on the schedule. Here's a generic checklist for vacations: Travel Packing Checklist | For Your Holiday Or Business Trip (not an endorsement).

2) Get TSA Pre-Check or similar express check-in subscriptions (Clear) to speed you through security. (Seriously, if you don't have it, you need to start processing it now!)

3) Check good credit card offers, and research points bonuses. If you wind up going to that school and fly back and forth, figure out how much it is to accrue points. If you attend and save all your points to spend after you graduate, you should have enough for a few round-trips to a desired vacation location.
3a) Book Aisle seats or emergency row seats!
3b) If you can, book early morning flights. Delays happen. Plan enough time so you don't panic on the same day as your interview.
3c) See if you can stay with students. Usually student admissions ambassadors should help with arrangements with student club officers. SNMA, LMSA, or other affinity groups if you are a minority or low-income.

4) Bluetooth noise-canceling earbuds and headphones, and keep/ask for some wired headphones. Planes are converting to using Bluetooth on flights to connect you to their satellite system.

5) From suggestions compiled by Google Bard: Use a private browser window when searching for flights. Airlines can track your search history and use this information to increase the prices of flights you're interested in. By using a private browser window, you can prevent the airline from tracking your search history. (I keep forgetting to do that. This also means don't use your personal phone app for the airline to search flights.)

6) See if the admissions office has a discount code for rideshare services. Use it for Uber or Lyft.
6a) If you have to book a hotel, ask for the university discount code.
6b) Plan $50 per day for meals. If you're really good, try to stick to $40/day.

7) AirBnB or other housing-share services... be wary and do your due diligence about security and trustworthiness. Don't take the absolute cheapest option. Find it on a map and see where it is located relative to the dental school.

Any more suggestions?

Members don't see this ad.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users
I’d maybe add a couple things to the list

Having a watch looks a lot more professional and you can check the time during an interview quickly or while on a tour without having to take your phone out or scan to look for a clock. I liked having it since I could see how fast/slow I was answering questions to make sure I was on pace to finish and get everything said that I wanted to say.

I also brought a little notebook/journal to jot down questions during my tours or having some questions written down that I could ask. I also added in my immediate thoughts about the school in the journal which I used to help make my decision when I got my acceptances. It helped me remember the feel of the school and what I liked/disliked.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
I’d maybe add a couple things to the list

Having a watch looks a lot more professional and you can check the time during an interview quickly or while on a tour without having to take your phone out or scan to look for a clock. I liked having it since I could see how fast/slow I was answering questions to make sure I was on pace to finish and get everything said that I wanted to say.

I also brought a little notebook/journal to jot down questions during my tours or having some questions written down that I could ask. I also added in my immediate thoughts about the school in the journal which I used to help make my decision when I got my acceptances. It helped me remember the feel of the school and what I liked/disliked.
one tip i always think about is be nice to everyone starting from the start of your trip
smile and talk to people, it puts you in a good mentality

treat everyone on campus as they are interviewing you and observing you

relax and be yourself...
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Members don't see this ad :)
I'll add some more to the list:
  • Wear comfortable shoes! Ladies, I know it's tempting to wear some cute heels to your interview, but trust me, you'll be walking around all day. Upstairs, downstairs, across the entire schools campus, and you'll definitely be tired when wearing uncomfortable footwear. If you do choose to wear a heel, maybe pack a pair of flats or loafers to change into after your interview so you can walk more comfortably throughout your entire day.
  • Treat everyone with respect. As @macsak has mentioned, everyone on campus will have their eyes on you. All your interactions with your interviewers, professors, admissions officers, and your fellow peers will be taken into account when they're interviewing you. Make sure you are acting in a professional manner because you never know how your actions will impact your chances of getting an acceptance!
  • Get contact info! If you have questions or concerns regarding the program, I was recommended to ask for my interviewers contact card or email address. I was able to keep in contact with the people who had interviewed me, as well as a couple of the admissions officers and upperclassmen who gave me invaluable advice about their schools program.
  • Have a fun fact ready. Oh my goodness, y'all have no idea how many times I was asked to tell a fun fact about myself during my interviews lol. And every time I would freeze up or say something silly, that now looking back on it makes me cringe! Have a handful of fun facts about yourself/experiences you've encountered ready incase you start off the interview with an icebreaker.
  • Plan accordingly and check twice. Timing is everything! What time is your interview starting? How's the traffic in the area that the school is located? Where are you staying in location to the school? Please take all these things into consideration BEFORE you arrive to the school for your interview. If you're interviewing in a big city and your hotel/airbnb is just outside of the city, make sure you check commuting times for that morning. Are you taking an uber/lyft/cab or is someone you know picking you up? It is always better to be early to your interview than late!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
I'll add some more to the list:
  • Have a fun fact ready. Oh my goodness, y'all have no idea how many times I was asked to tell a fun fact about myself during my interviews lol. And every time I would freeze up or say something silly, that now looking back on it makes me cringe! Have a handful of fun facts about yourself/experiences you've encountered ready incase you start off the interview with an icebreaker.
time for someone to bring back the "brony" post...
 
I'll add some more to the list:
  • Plan accordingly and check twice. Timing is everything! What time is your interview starting? How's the traffic in the area that the school is located? Where are you staying in location to the school? Please take all these things into consideration BEFORE you arrive to the school for your interview. If you're interviewing in a big city and your hotel/airbnb is just outside of the city, make sure you check commuting times for that morning. Are you taking an uber/lyft/cab or is someone you know picking you up? It is always better to be early to your interview than late!
i know someone that made reservations and arrangements for the wrong day for their interview...
 
  • Like
  • Wow
Reactions: 1 users
I'll add some more to the list:
  • Treat everyone with respect. As @macsak has mentioned, everyone on campus will have their eyes on you. All your interactions with your interviewers, professors, admissions officers, and your fellow peers will be taken into account when they're interviewing you. Make sure you are acting in a professional manner because you never know how your actions will impact your chances of getting an acceptance!
don't ask if students "party" or "hook up"
or where is a good place to score drugs...
 
  • Haha
Reactions: 1 user
Top