Interview Question: Why do you want to become a doctor?

smile'n'laf

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This is probably the only question you can count on being asked, and although seeming straight forward as i of course have a reason, it is a little harder to think of an answer that will stand out to them. The reasons i want to become a doctor are the reasons interviewers hear everyday: i want to help people, and the intellectual side of medicine is facinating. But i wanted to hear other peoples reasons for wanting to study medicine :p
 

WhatUpDoc!

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Bump... I'm in the same predicament when it comes to answering this question. I would like to hear from the fortunate group of SDN'ers with acceptance letters and how they tackled this question at interviews :thumbup:
 

somewhere2010

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i always end up giving a (brief) chronology of how i arrived at the decision to go into medicine...it basically echoes my application essay. or if you can think of a pivotal moment when you REALLY knew you wanted to be a doctor that reflects your general reasons for wanting to do so, that would be a more memorable way of getting the same point across.

but honestly, i think they want to see how sincere you are when you say whatever you say...to hear you comfortably and confidently state that you want to be a doctor and believe that you can do it!
 
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potato51

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Differentiate the typical "I want to help people" answer into why it is, of all the professions where you can help people, you want to pursue medicine. And why is it, if you want to help people through healthcare, that you want to be a physician rather than a PA or nurse or administrator, etc.
 

Turkeyman

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Try to think of any personal reasons you would want to be a doctor. Try to relate it to actual experiences, rather than aspirations. My answer to this is fairly personal --> and of course I padded my personal reasons by saying I've always had an inherent interest in the sciences(pathology especially) coupled with an interest in the doctor's role as the leader of a healthcare team.

edit: Don't give the "I want to help people" thing --> keep your answer personal and specific. Let it flow =]
 

prana_md

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This drove me nuts for weeks. How could I not have an answer?!? :eek:

I'm lucky enough to have a past career to point to and explain my thought process in changing. I discovered that I need very, very direct interaction with people to find my work rewarding ... it doesn't get much more direct than medicine.

Did you have an "A-HA" moment? Whatever you realized right then probably sums up the "Why MD" question. (I leave out that that moment was followed by an "OH, SH**" moment when I realized what I was signing up for.) For most, it's an artful dance around the cliche of "I want to help people."

My boyfriend/interview coach extraordinaire made me brainstorm a list of words that I thought of when I thought about being an MD. I picked the best and tried to weave them into my explanation. (I don't take to coaching well, but this was a particularly helpful idea, imho.)
 

potato51

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Turkeyman said:
My answer to this is fairly personal --> and of course I padded my personal reasons by saying I've always had an inherent interest in the sciences(pathology especially) coupled with an interest in the doctor's role as the leader of a healthcare team.
Good point about leadership. One of my interviewers, a hospital CEO, was impressed when I emphasized the responsibility aspect of medicine.
 

StevenRF

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somewhere2010 said:
i always end up giving a (brief) chronology of how i arrived at the decision to go into medicine...it basically echoes my application essay. or if you can think of a pivotal moment when you REALLY knew you wanted to be a doctor that reflects your general reasons for wanting to do so, that would be a more memorable way of getting the same point across.

but honestly, i think they want to see how sincere you are when you say whatever you say...to hear you comfortably and confidently state that you want to be a doctor and believe that you can do it!

What he said.

I think no matter how you answer this you are wrong, but if you mention $$ at all you're really really wrong. I think the key is just to make it long and drawn out so they get bored with it. I tried answering clear and to the point once and the interviewer just made me explain further. Then he rephrased the question and asked me agian.
 

humuhumu

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No one has asked me this question during interviews. The answer is abundantly clear in my personal statement.
 

Jon Davis

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humuhumu said:
No one has asked me this question during interviews. The answer is abundantly clear in my personal statement.
Same here, but they still ask. They probably didn't read my PS!!! That's been a trend in my interviews. :rolleyes:
 

riceman04

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smile'n'laf said:
This is probably the only question you can count on being asked, and although seeming straight forward as i of course have a reason, it is a little harder to think of an answer that will stand out to them. The reasons i want to become a doctor are the reasons interviewers hear everyday: i want to help people, and the intellectual side of medicine is facinating. But i wanted to hear other peoples reasons for wanting to study medicine :p
So you want to use other people's answer? :thumbdown:

Think long and hard about why you have decided to pursue a career in this particular field. To me it seems like you have a general idea for "why?" but go beyond this and think specifically about your reasons. What type of experiences did you have that made you want to pursue this field? Use the details of those experiences to uncover your real underlying reasons. Sit and think about it for a while in a nice quiet area or outside in a tranquil setting. It may take some time, but it will come to you.

There has to be something that has specifically attracted you that goes beyond the the "surface answer" that so many of us give.

Hope this helps!
good luck with everything!
 

BooMed

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StevenRF said:
I think the key is just to make it long and drawn out so they get bored with it. I tried answering clear and to the point once and the interviewer just made me explain further. Then he rephrased the question and asked me agian.
:laugh:

Wow, that's sad that he didn't like the concise answer. I wish I had been asked questions like, "What about being a doctor appeals to you?" and "What scares you about going into medicine?" Maybe it would have felt less... rambling.
 

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I emphasized that I liked the process of determining a diagnosis (excludes nursing, social work, etc.), and that I wanted the most advanced clinical education that money could buy (hence, why not PA or NP). I got a lot of positive feedback from my last interviewer on this answer, so there must be something good about it. :laugh:
 
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Turkeyman said:
Try to think of any personal reasons you would want to be a doctor. Try to relate it to actual experiences, rather than aspirations. My answer to this is fairly personal --> and of course I padded my personal reasons by saying I've always had an inherent interest in the sciences(pathology especially) coupled with an interest in the doctor's role as the leader of a healthcare team.

edit: Don't give the "I want to help people" thing --> keep your answer personal and specific. Let it flow =]
I think this is great advice (and almost parrots some of my 2º essays to a T: especially about being a leader of a healthcare team. Are you sure you aren't an adcom member?). More to the point, when you volunteered, shadowed, sat around in doctors offices, what did you learn about what a doctor does and how did that experience lead you to pursue a medical education? Why not a nurse, social worker, public health official? They all help people, too. Or if you really want to help people, what about politics? I think it really needs to focus on what you learned about a doctor's role, not only as a leader, but also through other channels.
 

jon0013

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basically it has to come from the heart...everyone has different reasons for pursuing their career because everyone has different backgrounds....no one knows you better than yourself....most people use this as an icebreaker just to make sure that the interviewee is competent enough to handle an easy question about themselves...relax and you will be fine...
 

thegymbum

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One thing I plan on throwing in is something along the lines of how much working at a doc's office has made me see how many people are helped so much by healthcare professionals, and how I want to be able to make that same difference in people's lives, yadda yadda ;) Still working on the specifics, heh.
 

somewhere2010

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StevenRF said:
What he said.

I think no matter how you answer this you are wrong, but if you mention $$ at all you're really really wrong. I think the key is just to make it long and drawn out so they get bored with it. I tried answering clear and to the point once and the interviewer just made me explain further. Then he rephrased the question and asked me agian.
you mean what SHE said... ;)
 

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Turkeyman said:
Try to think of any personal reasons you would want to be a doctor. Try to relate it to actual experiences, rather than aspirations. My answer to this is fairly personal --> and of course I padded my personal reasons by saying I've always had an inherent interest in the sciences(pathology especially) coupled with an interest in the doctor's role as the leader of a healthcare team.

edit: Don't give the "I want to help people" thing --> keep your answer personal and specific. Let it flow =]

good advice, turkeyman
 

FaLoRe

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sorry for the extreme bump, but I was just asked this question today by my professor who is planning to write a letter for me, and I found it surprisingly difficult give an off the cuff answer. I realized there was no gracious or satisfying way to answer that question without sounding cliched or boring them with my life story. How can I give a succinct answer while still expressing a genuine & sincere interest? (a rhetorical question btw)
 
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make it personalized, based on your direct experiences with patients or shadowing and project it into the future. things like 'help people' and 'challenging job' might be true, but they're way too broad and overused
 

naijaboi

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^^^^^^
This. Say exactly the cliched but highlight it with examples from your experiences, while connecting it to concrete tangible goals.
 

QuizzicalApe

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Of all my interviews, one stood out in terms of how relaxed it was and how great I felt coming out of it. Oddly enough, I began my answer in a ridiculous way that I had never brought up before.

"So, I was bedridden for a week and there was this really long M*A*S*H marathon..."
 
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I always talked about one of my first shadowing experiences, and how the doctor just love love loved what he was doing, and kept going on about how amazing it made him feel. And I wanted that from my work.
 

DrTroll

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I wish i can speak the truth: $.

Yet I may have to lie: help ppl
 

BigRedder

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Chicks, money, chicks, feeling of superiority, money, chicks, helping people
 

eldoctor

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so i can legally cut someone's head open, or shove something up their ***, or stick needles in them, or drug people up and tell them it's for their own good. basically to help the CRAP out of them
 

Abby_Normal

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I hate this question. When thinking to myself, or talking about wanting to be a doctor in a normal situation, my answer is pretty clear. But whenever I am point-blank asked "why do you want to be a doctor?" my brain freezes like a deer in the headlights. I think it's that trying to sum up something you've thought long and complexly about in only a paragraph or so is always going to be difficult.
 

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So I can finally say to kids, "any of you kids wanna see a dead body" and actually be able to make good on it.
 
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Well, one day i got a postcard that asked if i wanted to go to this really expensive private high school so i filled it out and went there. then when i was a senior i got another postcard that asked if i wanted to go to the best undergrad college so i filled it out and went there. then i got another postcard that asked if i wanted to go to the best medical school so i filled it out and went there.
 
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I don't know if this is a good answer, but if you asked me right now why I want to become a doctor, the God-honest truth is that I just can't see myself becoming anything else.

I'm curious, I'm friendly, I'm personable, I'm not squeamish in the least, I have a very long attention span, I'm cool under fire and I enjoy solving problems. I've been interested in biology forever, and outside the classroom my chief hobby in life is to figure out how to get the most from the human body via diet, exercise and working the mind. I'm good with my hands, which I demonstrate by the music I play, and I have a good memory - not amazing, certainly not the best, but good enough. I like explaining things to people, and when I work with groups (as in a hospital setting), I like to make sure that I am a good hub for information, and that I don't let any miscommunications go unnoticed, or any relevant people left in the dark. I don't seem to need much sleep and I am pretty good with time management. I'm a doer, a thinker and a tinkerer. I'm always working on projects, be they musical or physical (automotive work/alcohol brewing/leather working/house remodeling). I'm pretty sure that if I became a physician, getting to the bottom of human problems and figuring out how best to fix them, planning out surgeries and pondering medication conflicts and complex diagnoses would just be something newer and more substantial to finally sate my natural tendency to want to tinker and fix things.

I didn't choose medicine, medicine chose me. If I was born to do anything else with any satisfaction, I certainly haven't found it yet.
 

DrTroll

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I don't know if this is a good answer, but if you asked me right now why I want to become a doctor, the God-honest truth is that I just can't see myself becoming anything else.

I'm curious, I'm friendly, I'm personable, I'm not squeamish in the least, I have a very long attention span, I'm cool under fire and I enjoy solving problems. I've been interested in biology forever, and outside the classroom my chief hobby in life is to figure out how to get the most from the human body via diet, exercise and working the mind. I'm good with my hands, which I demonstrate by the music I play, and I have a good memory - not amazing, certainly not the best, but good enough. I like explaining things to people, and when I work with groups (as in a hospital setting), I like to make sure that I am a good hub for information, and that I don't let any miscommunications go unnoticed, or any relevant people left in the dark. I don't seem to need much sleep and I am pretty good with time management. I'm a doer, a thinker and a tinkerer. I'm always working on projects, be they musical or physical (automotive work/alcohol brewing/leather working/house remodeling). I'm pretty sure that if I became a physician, getting to the bottom of human problems and figuring out how best to fix them, planning out surgeries and pondering medication conflicts and complex diagnoses would just be something newer and more substantial to finally sate my natural tendency to want to tinker and fix things.

I didn't choose medicine, medicine chose me. If I was born to do anything else with any satisfaction, I certainly haven't found it yet.

lol, this is so funny i cried a little :laugh:
 

RynoTheGuy

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I don't know if this is a good answer, but if you asked me right now why I want to become a doctor, the God-honest truth is that I just can't see myself becoming anything else.

I'm curious, I'm friendly, I'm personable, I'm not squeamish in the least, I have a very long attention span, I'm cool under fire and I enjoy solving problems. I've been interested in biology forever, and outside the classroom my chief hobby in life is to figure out how to get the most from the human body via diet, exercise and working the mind. I'm good with my hands, which I demonstrate by the music I play, and I have a good memory - not amazing, certainly not the best, but good enough. I like explaining things to people, and when I work with groups (as in a hospital setting), I like to make sure that I am a good hub for information, and that I don't let any miscommunications go unnoticed, or any relevant people left in the dark. I don't seem to need much sleep and I am pretty good with time management. I'm a doer, a thinker and a tinkerer. I'm always working on projects, be they musical or physical (automotive work/alcohol brewing/leather working/house remodeling). I'm pretty sure that if I became a physician, getting to the bottom of human problems and figuring out how best to fix them, planning out surgeries and pondering medication conflicts and complex diagnoses would just be something newer and more substantial to finally sate my natural tendency to want to tinker and fix things.

I didn't choose medicine, medicine chose me. If I was born to do anything else with any satisfaction, I certainly haven't found it yet.
Something tells me that brewing your own booze with a homemade still wouldn't go over to well with an adcom. :laugh:
 

Dianyla

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Well, one day i got a postcard that asked if i wanted to go to this really expensive private high school so i filled it out and went there. then when i was a senior i got another postcard that asked if i wanted to go to the best undergrad college so i filled it out and went there. then i got another postcard that asked if i wanted to go to the best medical school so i filled it out and went there.
Nice HoG reference. :smuggrin:
 
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Something tells me that brewing your own booze with a homemade still wouldn't go over to well with an adcom. :laugh:
It's a fun hobby. Honey + water + yeast + time = awesome. Perfectly legal. With the right licenses I could try to make a business of it someday too. I personally drink no more than 2 glasses per week.

I've been given the impression I'm gonna want to change that answer, however.
 
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redking

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I'm a home brewer and I know many doctors who also homebrew in fact I had an interview recently where the interviewer told me about how he had a bottle of home made cider her was trying to carbonate explode on him.
 
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