advice on national health service corps scholarship application

uclamendoza

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i just received the application for the national health service corps scholarship application and was wondering if anyone who has applied before, has any advice or helpful hints regarding the application process? please post your thoughts here! thanks.
 

Yosh

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If you search through past threads...there is tons of advice from people who have been through it already...as I did the same when I was applying....

If you have any other questions....feel free to ask...
 

uclamendoza

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Yosh,

When you applied for the NHSC, did you end up getting an interview? How was that? Also, is it to my advantage to turn it in early, meaning well before the March deadline? Please let me know when you can. Thanks for your responses.
 
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andrea

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Hey!

How's it going? Yosh and I both received the scholarship last year. As far as the app, I can tell you to be sure to be consistent. They're trying to weed you out, so if you look carefully, you'll see the same question like three times, just in different places. Be sure to answer the same way each time.

It's kind of like playing a game, and the strategy is to answer positively to these ideas:
- I like to work in groups
- I am flexible (i.e., I don't mind where I get assigned)
- I like family practice
- It's not all about the money for me
- I am an extrovert
- I like to work with people of different backgrounds than myself
Etc. etc. You get the idea. But a lot of people don't, which is why only some make it to the interview.

My advice for the interview is to be enthusiastic. Make the interviewers feel that this is exactly what you've always wanted to do. Bring concrete examples of how you've utilized the above mentioned skills in the past. If they ask you where you want to practice, give a preference but then say "Anywhere is really fine." Let them know you'd bend over backwards and stand on your head to get this scholarship. Tell them how you're going to improve yourself in the future.

Hope that helps. Good luck to everyone!
-Andrea
 
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Horseradish99

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Wow thanks Andrea!!

I was filling the application out yesterday and definitely noticed that they asked the same questions several times... I kept going back and saying, gee, didn't I already say that I consider myself "quite dependable?" Let's make sure I put that again when they ask it in a different spin...

:) Tricky, but I can see where they are coming from...

Thanks for the interview advice too... really hoping and praying that this will work out. I've struggled over the past year or so praying on and off as to whether or not this is the right thing for me, and now I can confidently say that my heart is in it and I am ready to take on the challenge... I just hope the scholarship committee sees that!

Scott:p
 

Yosh

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Ummm...I dunno. I don't think it matters...its more about how sincere you come across during you interview. Just be honest and tell them why you are applying and why you want to do primary care.
The interview is very very laid back....
 

irlandesa

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I will also be completing an NHSC application. I'm not sure I have a great chance. I want to apply for the urban scholarship and definitely have an interest in working with underserved populations. I'm a 2nd year currently working once a week at a Boston state-run hospital that serves a lot of homeless patients, and many people with HIV and/or history of drug/alcohol abuse and it's an awesome experience (though I don't know much medicine yet!). Too bad there is no place on the application to reference these types of experiences in any detail. I am also neither disadvantaged nor a URM, though I'm certainly not in the greatest shape financially at the moment.. I'm interested in going into internal med or pediatrics, leaning toward internal at the moment.. any particular advice for someone interested in fulfilling my commitment at an urban site (preferably on the East Coast, but will go anywhere I can)? thanks
 

eunice

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i, too, have thought about applying, but i'm not too sure anymore.

I have always thought about working for the underserved communities, but I am not so sure how thrilled i am about being bound to primary care. I have always loved children and told myself that I want to be a pediatrician. But the fact that I can't choose something else IF I like another specialty scares me a bit.
Anyone else feel this way?

I have a feeling that I might end up doing exactly what I am thinking of right now (which is working with the undeserved Latino community as a pediatrician). BUT I would rather experience the different rotations and keep my options open and then make my decision. And I guess I could always apply for the Loan repayment program. Does anyone know if it's more competitive than the Scholarship program?

those of you who are applying for the NHSC scholarship, how many of you are more than 95% sure they want to go into primary care? just curious..

I thought I was.. but then i realized, I am not even really equipped to make such a decision yet! I don't even know some of the specialties and what they do!
 

docmartin

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Hi Everyone,

I thought I would post some useful info re: NHSC. I applied and got it prior to my first year of med school. The way the process works is they usually receive 2000-3000 mail applications nationwide. Remember this is open to MD, DO, Nurse Practitioner's and Midwives, so pretty competitive.

Of those mail applications, they give 800+ in person interviews at various cities around the US, mainly big cities (in CA, there was only LA and SF). I chose to do my interview in Los Angeles, but you get to choose the location once you get your letter letting you know that you advance to the next round of elimination. My suggestion is to call right away because dates fill up. You'll get a letter late April/May letting you know about the interviews.

Ok, of those 800 interviews, they usually award about 330 scholarships. Surprisingly, more than half the scholarships go to DO students, mainly because of their track record in going into primary care!

Once you find out whether or not you got the scholarship, usually in November, you have a week or so to decide. You can opt to receive the scholarship for a minimum of 2 yrs. So for those not sure about primary care, it's only a 2 yr commitment, but it is their hope that you will stay in that rural/urban area. If you are unsure about location, check out their website and see where sites are located, but remember these sites change from year to year depending on the needs of the medically underserved.

Finally, it is a nice thing to get $1000 to live on and all my tuition and books paid! I am pretty sure that I will do pediatrics, but the nice thing is that once I finish my obligation, I have the option to subspecialize. It's only a few years and not many people can walk out of med school w/ $0 debt! Good luck to you guys! :clap:
 
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Horseradish99

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Time to breathe a sigh of relief...

I got my letter saying they received my application and have done a preliminary review of my file TODAY... the deadline to have the application in... TODAY.

:) Just a sign that God is watching over me... and also has a sense of humor!

Good luck everyone... let's keep each other posted when we start hearing about interviews!

Scott
 

latte01

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Hello,
I just wanted to add my 2 cents about the military pay. I'll admit that at first, I was very (very) skeptical about wanting to do a military residency. But now, I'm quite pleased with it. I won't go into the details of why I think my residency training is pretty strong, but I will give you an idea of how much money you're saving doing a military residency.

I'm sure that many of you, like me, didn't think much about the finance of being a future physician. I'm sure some of you out there think: I'll be making tons of money as a physician and will easily be able to pay off my loans and also have a nice house and be able to provide my children with a private education. If any of you think this naively, then you haven't done the math.

The best thing about being a military doc is that you not only save, but also make pretty good money. (oooh, some of you may be cringing at the word "money" as a bad thing... )

According to my calculations, these are the huge perks:
1)The best thing is that your debt free!! This is so important because imagine having to pay $500/month for 20 years on a $150K loan. You could be using that money to invest in your retirement. Plus, it's going to hurt your credit report preventing you from getting good mortgage loans for buying a house.
2)Another thing that's great is that being in the military with "active duty" status qualifies you to enroll in this bank called "USAA". And without at doubt, this is an awesome bank! The service is superb, you get great advice on how to invest your money (e.g., building your retirement, paying for your children's future college tuitions, getting loans for a home or car, etc...). I can't say enough about this bank. Before, I had Bank of America and was getting ripped off by them on so many service charges.
3)As a resident, you get paid $50,000 which is by far better than any other place. It makes having a family very doable.
4)If you elect to do a one year GMO, you get an upfront bonus of $15,000 plus your salary for that year goes up to $70,000. Total is $85,000 for one year. Think about what you can do with that money (i.e., reinvest it into your retirement account so that it'll help you retire several years earlier than originally planned.).
5)You can take advantage of the military's Commissary and Supermarket Stores which are super cheap and you don't have to pay any taxes.
6)HPSP scholars qualify for the Montgomery GI bill when they become active duty in the military. This means that if you give the goverment $100/month for 12 months (i.e., total $1200), you'll qualify to receive $900/month for 3 years (i.e., total $36,000) in additional fellowship training. For me, I'm planning on doing a non-military (civilian) residency and using the GI bill to give me more income. So when you do the math, that comes out $67,000 for 3 years of fellowship at a civillian program ($55K average of most civillian fellowship programs + $12K GI supplement income).
7)No Malpractice insurance fees. Being in the military, you never have to pay for malpractice. But in the civillian world, malpractice can cost you up to $200,000/year in some specialties. And believe me, there's no way you'd be able to reasonably pay that amount.
8)Health insurance is all covered for you and your family.
9)Life insurance plans are very cheap. I pay $15/month for a $250,000 life insurance.

I can go on and on about all the financial benefits. But I'll stop for now.

My take on being a doctor is this: Yes, we went into this profession to help people and not become a millionaire. But at the same time, we didn't go into this profession to end up being a slave to debt. Nowadays, it doesn't make any sense to be a physician. Medical school is ridiculously overpriced and the huge debts that people get themselves into hurts them financially in the long-run. You need to do the math yourself.

For me, these are the things that I want in my life:
1)Be well-trainined as a physician, have several more publications before finishing residency, making myself marketable by the time I leave the military for a civillian job.
2)Start early in my investments (i.e., Roth IRA and 529K Education fund) so that they're growing at the right pace to allow me to pay for most of my children's college tuitions so that they're not burdened with debt and allow me and my wife to retire by age 65 with a comfortable income.

Being in the military clearly allows me and my family to meet those two objectives stated above and I couldn't be happier.

Last of all, people might be wondering that there's probably a catch to all these great incentives. Well, when you graduate from residency, your salary probably will be a bit lower than someone graduating from civillian program. For example, a starting salary in Pediatrics is about $90,000 to 110,000 in the civillian world. But in the military, it's about $75,000 to 80,000. Some of you may be thinking that the extra money you get from a civillian program is huge. But again, not so. Being in the military, you get FREE health insurance for you and your family and you don't have to pay any Malpractice insurance which is probably $10,000 to 15,000/year for pediatricians. So again, you MAKE more in the military.
 

Su4n2

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DocMartin,
can you elaborate on the 2 year scholarship, i'm not really sure i get it. also, i just found out that i was accepted. i know that it is too late to apply this year, can i apply asa 1st year and if i getin can i get my 1st year loans paid? thanx. susan
 

RuralMedicine

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Susan,

Congratulations on your acceptance! Although you have missed this years NHSC deadline you are eligible to apply next spring and potentially qualify for a scholarship that would cover your remaining 3 years of school. I do not believe they offer retroactive scholarships. I think when DocMartin referred to a 2 year scholarship he was referring to the fact that the service obligation is a minimum of two years (or equal to the number of years you took the scholarship if that is more than two).

Additionally there are loan repayment options through NHSC and it is possible to have your remaining loans addressed through that program after you complete your service obligations. I opted to accept the scholarship for two years, received a private (and no obligations scholarship) for one year and borrowed to finance the rest of my education. I'm currently completing a combined Medicine-Pediatrics residency and will fulfill my service obligation before most likely returning to a fellowship program in critical care.

From reading through this years deferrment bulletin I think the post graduate requirements have become more restrictive in recent years. They are no longer approving combined residencies (with the exception of people like myself who were approved in prior years). So you may want to be more certain that your heart is really set on FP, IM, PEDS, or OB.

Good Luck to all applicants!
 

docmartin

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Ruralmedicine,

Thanks for clarifying that point. I have one question for you. I had read in the fine print of the scholarship that in some cases you may be able to fulfill your obligation during your residency if you work in an underserved hospital. Do you know anything about this? I am going onto my third year of receiving the scholarship...Why did you decide to take it for two years instead of 3-4?

Quite impressive: your dual residency...and continuing w/ critical care, no less...Is the critical care fellowship for the IM or Peds? And if it's for peds...what does that allow you to do (e.g. work in PICU?). Sorry for the tangent...just curious.

Thanks :D
 

RuralMedicine

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I don't know of any way to fulfill scholarship obligations during residency. Our county hospital is a great place to train but as disadvantaged as they come and I have my continuity clinic in a HPSA designated clinic. (I've had some thoughts of trying to complete my scholarship obligation there after residency.) Perhaps you are thinking of the medical scientist program where you can complete you obligation by doing NIH research. I think this program has been phased out now and currently one can only complete their obligation by actually practicing in some form of primary care.

I grew up in a rural area that was not by definition underserved but there were areas in our county that were. I've had an interest in rural health care networks and access to care issues since I was a rather outspoken high school student involved with our county planning board. When I started medical school my goal was to develop both my clinical skills and my public health and programming skills. While I don't agree with all of the directions the NHSC has taken in the past decade I do think it's a start to addressing some of these issues. Unfortunately in rural areas the shortage involves not just providers but also capital investments like CT scans and ventilators. I opted to only take 2 years of the scholarship because at that time I thought there was a possibility I might want to return to fellowship training. Two years of general practice can provide you with time to focus and direct your goals for fellowship based on the needs of your community while not removing you too far from the university setting to make the transition back difficult. (Or at least I hope so!)

As far as fellowships I think I'd like to combine a PICU fellowship with and adult critical care and pulmonary fellowship. I'm not sure how well the timing of this will work and I may end up doing an adult Pulmonary & Critical Care Fellowship with some pediatrics electives. And yes PICU grads pretty typically work in PICUs exclusively (although a minority may work in EM, administration, research, etc). In pediatrics Pulmonary is separate fellowship, in IM Pulmonary & Critical Care are almost always linked programs.
 

uclamendoza

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I just got off the phone with a respresentative from the NHSC. She said that all applications received by the specified postmark deadline have been reviewed and scored. Letters were being sent out today to inform all applicants if they have received an interview invitation or not. She said that we should be receiving something from NHSC by the end of this week. Good luck and hopefully we all get some interview invites!!!
 

PACtoDOC

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I just got my letter to come for the NHSC interview as well today. I am just finishing up my first year of medical school and will be trying for a 3 year scholarship. Anyone know if the monthly stipend is taxed before they give it to you? And how leniant are they for things you need like books, manip tables for us DO kind, white coats, and equipment? Do you have to show receipts or do they just give a set amount? Do you get paid all year long even when you out a month in the summer? Do you need to wear a suit for the interview, because I am afraid my freshman 20 lbs will require a new one!! Thanks to anyone who replies with some advice.


Matt
 
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nettaw

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I just received my interview invite letter today as well. May 13 Richmond, VA. Good Luck to all the applicants throughout this process.

----------------------------------------------------
NYCOM Class 2007
 

panda01

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Just got my invite letter today.
I'm interviewing May 8 here in NOLA--anyone else coming down to the Big Easy?
:clap:

PAC--I'm pretty sure the stipend is taxed, but I have no idea about how lenient they are with supplies. I'll bet as long as you don't try to pass off "used BMW" as a medical expense they'll be fine.

First we have to interview!! Good luck all.
 

Horseradish99

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hate to resort to this...

but thin envelope or thicker envelope?

the worst part about this is that i am not home to intercept it... i have to rely on (shudder shudder) my MOTHER to get the mail.

congrats everyone-- hope i hear good news in the next few days! :)

scott
 

Horseradish99

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So in case anyone was doubting my mental state, this will reveal all doubts that I am psychotic...

My fedex letter has been delivered to my home address (I'm at school about an hour away) My older brother who lives at home said it was delivered today, and it was left on the front doorstep. He happens to be a paraplegic and can't get his wheelchair out that entrance, so he cannot pick it up and read it to me.

Instead, I have to wait in agony until my mom comes home from work (which could be anywhere from 20 minutes to 4 hours knowing her!) AGONY !

:0)
scott
 
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msl2007

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for those who have done the interview, what was it like?
what kind of questions do they ask, and is the interview one on one, or for a panel?

I also am not sure how to express my dedication to primary medicine- any suggestions? I like IM, peds and ob/gyn the best... any pointers about those?

Thanks- all us nervous interviewees appreciate it!

msl
a chicago interviewee
:eek:
 

tedstriker

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I'm pumped to have gotten my interview invite, but when I logged in to secure a Boston interview it said all the interviews had been booked. Argh! Looks like I'm interviewing June 24 in Providence RI, though it's much less convenient for me. Any SDNers gonna be there?

Good luck to all of us! And if anyone knows anything about them thar interviews, speak up! :)
 

tedstriker

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Horseradish, I PM'ed you. Not sure if it got thru though, because of my archaic computer's unreliability.

What you have to do is make sure to enter the web address EXACTLY as it says on the letter you got. This means capitalizing NHSC... try this one:

https://ice.iqsolutions.com/NHSCsignup/hrsaApp/

Good luck!!
 

neurobiology

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Horseradish99,

You might want to try and register on a computer at your school's library (I wasn't able to get on the site from my home computer).

If there are any SDNers out there who have already received the scholarship, PLEASE give us a hand! How many interviewers are there? What kinds of questions do they ask?? Are we allowed to take a resume with us? :confused:

My interview is on May 6th (Cleveland), and I will be glad to pass on any questions I remember to those who have a later interview.

Congrats again to everyone and good luck!!

:D
 

jhug

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I just found out about the interview as well. I'll be interviewing June 4th in san francisco. WIll anyone else be there that day?? the only question i have heard is asked is about the life challenge you handled on your own....Nuero-- i'll look forward to hearing how the interview goes. I wish all of you the best!!
 

uclamendoza

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I would also think that they would ask questions regarding your responses on the NHSC Application, i.e. why did you choose to serve in a rural as opposed to urban areas?, what experiences do you have in working with underserved communities?, why do you want to work in medically underserved communities?, etc......etc.........also, maybe your family background and upbringing........my friends who applied last year and were interviewed said that everyone was asked the same questions to make the process fair for everyone who had interviewed......
 

neurobiology

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I did a search on this site to find out some answers to my own questions about what to expect during the NHSC interview. I copied and pasted different peoples' answers. This is what they said:

Start thinking about leadership roles, volunteer work in the underserve.... I found it beneficial for me to bring a CV/Resume of activities I did during my undergrad.... The interviewers were impress b/c one of the questions they ask me was to list activities relating to the underserve, any volunteer, jobs, and research, I did.... so instead of verbalizing it, I handed them my resume and they proceeded to list them and look at them

Hey everyone! I just got back from my NHSC interview in San Antonio today, and I wanted to give you feedback as to what to expect. I had two interviewers who were very friendly and professional. They read questions from a booklet and then wrote down my answers. Here were some of the questions they asked:

* Tell us about your family and background.
* What kind of environment(s) did you grow up in?
* Who made the decisions in your family?
* What was the biggest hardship that your family had to face?
* Describe your volunteer and work experience.
* Describe a time when you showed leadership skills.
* Describe a time when you had conflict with someone. How was it resolved?
* Where are you going to med school? Why did you choose this school?
* Where do you see yourself 5 years after you finish your training?
* Why are you a good candidate for this scholarship?

Those are just some of the questions... the interview lasted about an hour, and then I stopped to talk to the NHSC guy for a while. No one will hear back until mid-August, apparently.

I went to Arizona for a May 7th interview. The interviewers were very friendly and just wanted to get to know you as an individual. Some additional questions that were asked:

* Name one time you had to make a decision independent of anyone.
* What does Primary Care mean to you
* Do you have close friends and what are they like
* What are your suggestions for solving the lack of adequate care in third world countries (something to that effect, I don't remeber the exact wording)
* Describe the greatest hardship you've faced thus far
* What is your community like, describe it
* How would you go about resolving a conflict
* Where would you NOT like to practice

Well, these are some of the questions that come to mind. If I remember anymore, I'll be sure to post them. I was told by my interviewer that they read the exact same questions to all interviewees in order to be fair. My only advice: Don't let your nervousness prevent you from showing them your best. Good luck all!!!!
I just had my interview today .. here are some of the questions I can remember that (I think) weren't mentioned already:

* Have you experienced any personal or professional setbacks?

* Describe a situation in which you were involved in a personal/family/professional conflict and how the situation was or was not resolved.

* What are your goals in life? (something like that - how broad!)

* Is there any location where you would specifically like to practice?

* What kind of work setting would you prefer? (I think what they meant was .. do you want to work in a hospital, a private practice, etc..)

I think most of the other questions were posted by others. They just read the questions straight out of a book so I bet we all get the same ones! Now.. more waiting...

I had my interview last week and just wanted to encourage everyone else who is still waiting. The only other question that I can think of that wasn't posted was:

Why do some people not have adequate healthcare (or somthing along those lines)?

The interview was very stiff in formal. You are interviewed by two people at once. They first read you this statement that they have to read every applicant. Then my interviewers alternated between asking the questions in this book as they frantically took notes. They have to ask every question and there was a ton of redundancy - they want to make sure they get the same info from each person. But, interviewers were very nice and open dispite the formal questions. I brought my resume with me, but they said that they were not allowed to accept anything like that from students and that I should not refer to it, but should be just come up with everything off of the top of my head. So, you can bring your resume, but the odds are they won't look at it or even let you refer to it.

They also had someone available to answer questions who did not have any bearing on the interview process- make good use of them and ask as many questions as you have. They aslo give you a FAQ sheet and a video to view at home.


If there is any more information that anyone else finds to help us with our interviews, please post them!

I am just curious, but what area of medicine do each of you want to go into (family medicine, OBGYN, pediatrics, internal medicine, psychiatry, physician assisting, nurse practioner . . .?) and what kind of geography are you wanting to work in (rural, urban, prisons, etc.)

I would like to go into family medicine in a very rural area.

Thanks for everyone's participation in this forum! It is nice to hear about others' experiences.
 
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jhug

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neurob-- thank you for that resource!! a lot of work goes into finding all that information so thanks ofr the effort. I have 9 month old triplets so peds it is for me-- i imagine in an urban setting buy rural is fine as well. I am open minded as far as FP and IM goes.
 

uclamendoza

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thanks to neurobiology for posting that vital information on th nhsc. as fas as the resume goes, I would being one just in case. However, as I did my search on sdn, there was one person who interviewed and brought their resume and the interviewers did not want to see it....they just asked for him/her to list their relevant experiences. So take that with a grain of salt and just be prepared....bring the resume but if they don't want to look at it or take it, be sure you can name some relevant experiences when asked. Hope this helps. Good luck to everyone......this post is on fire lately......keep the information rolling in....
 

neurobiology

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Well, I had my interview today! There were two people that interviewed me. They asked questions out of a booklet and both wrote down what I said in the blanks provided in their booklets.

In terms of the questions asked, I felt very prepared from looking and making myself answer the questions that other SNDers had written down that they were asked during their NHSC interview. (See my previous post of my compilation from other SDNers' remembered questions and feedback).

I rewrote for myself what questions and concepts one should be able to answer, and I'm including an edited list below. I deleted the questions they didn't ask.

Horseradish99, good luck tomorrow in Cleveland - you'll do fine!



Tell us about your family and background (This was their first question.)

Describe a place that you have lived in that is different from the one you grew up in.

Give us examples of your ability to work in a group.

Start thinking about a time in your life when you had some trouble and how you were able to solve it

What field are you interested in and why?


What was the biggest hardship that your family had to face?

Describe your volunteer and work experience.

Describe a time when you showed leadership skills

Describe a time when you had conflict with someone. How was it resolved?

Where are you going to med school? Why did you choose this school?

Where do you see yourself in 5 years after you finish your training?

Why are you a good candidate for this scholarship? (Last question)

Name one time you had to make a decision independent of anyone.

What does Primary care mean to you?

What do you believe are the reasons for inadequate care in third world countries?

Describe the greatest hardship you have faced thus far

How would you go about resolving a conflict?

How would you interpret someone's non-verbal communication. (or something like that)

Have you experienced any personal or professional setbacks?

Describe a situation in which you were involved in a personal/family/professional conflict and how the situation was or was not resolved. (They mention that some of the questions are repetitive)

What are your goals in life?

Where do you see yourself five years after you have finished your committment to NHSC?

Is there any location where you would specifically like to practice?


Good luck everyone in your interviews!!
 
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