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Just how important are these interviews???

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Dominator39, Aug 26, 2001.

  1. Dominator39

    Dominator39 Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 5, 2001
    I've heard different theories on the importance of medical school interviews. Some people have said that they just want to talk with you to make sure you aren't a psycho. The interview does not factor too much in the final decision. Other people have said that once you get to the interview, everyone is on level ground. So the interview makes or breaks you. Has anyone talked to a member of an adcom about this? Does the importance of the interview vary by school? :confused:
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  3. lilycat

    lilycat Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Aug 12, 2000
    Okay, in talking to adcomm members about this, now that I'm sort of on the other side, my impression is that the interview can definitely break your chances, but it won't definitively give you an acceptance.

    If you make it to the interview stage, you're a competitive applicant, but your entire application, with the addition of the interview report, is what is considered when making admissions decisions. Obviously, if you really connected with one of your interviewers, it can definitely help if he/she is a strong advocate on your behalf. But don't assume that just because you have a very strong interview, that will automatically wipe out a less than stellar GPA or MCAT score.
  4. synite

    synite Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 20, 2001
    wow that's some good info. i didn't realize the entire application was weighed during the final review, and even the numbers are looked at again.

    i just assumed that if you were given an interview, it meant you cleared all hurdles in their eyes...except the personability one. i thought the admit/reject decision was based solely on the interview.

    thanks for the "inside look". anyone else have more info about this?
  5. Dominator39

    Dominator39 Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 5, 2001
    Would a less than great interview overshadow an otherwise strong application? What exactly constitutes a "bad" interview anyway?
  6. racergirl

    racergirl Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    I got this little nugget from an adcom member:

    He was interviewing an applicant with a 4.0 cum GPA and a "good" MCAT score. He asked the applicant what the last book he read was.
    The applicant said he never read for fun. He said he was 4.0 and he studied all the time. When asked about hobbies, the applicant gave a similar answer--he was 4.0, and didn't have time for hobbies.

    This applicant was not accepted. As the adcom member put it, "some people are just too geeky to be good doctors"!

    So, I guess you could say the 4.0 guy had a "bad" interview.
  7. gower

    gower 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 14, 2000
    New York
    re the previous snippet. Of course the applicant was rejected! He was an ace grade-getter but stupid not to realize that faculty in a professional school are no different than faculty in colleges and universities: they expect students not to be single-minded, focussing only on earning high grades. Even faculty in science are not fixated only on their subject. They have interests in the arts, literature, history, philosophy, whatever; they are not technicians. In the classroom many of them may give the impression of interest in only the subject matter of the course, but if you met them informally you would discover how wrong your impression is.

    The purpose of the interview is to go beyond grades and evaluate the candidate on other criteria, criteria not amenable to grading.

    An interview is also not simply a Q&A session: was the right answer given to the question? Body language, tone, depth, warmth of responses, feelings, attitudes, stiffness or at ease, all the kind of qualities you might look for in a friend or professional colleague or your own physician. Remember also that interviewers, even if they be clinicians, are not your ordinary medical practioner but university--academic--types. Sure, grades/MCAT scores are important, but that gets you to the interview.

    The student referred to may well be accepted somewhere but not likely at the schools where a 4.00 GPA is not the only or principal consideration.

    I am not interested in hearing stories about "I know someone who..." People, including the acceptee, commonly do not understand the real reasons behind their success; also, unless you have independent verification of the acceptance, keep in mind that to save face not everyone tells the truth. Finally, no system is perfect and mistakes do happen.

  8. jdub

    jdub Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 27, 2001
    Albany, NY
    yeah, the interview is really important, but at the same time, for most schools, numbers do most of the talking, people always talk about the 4.0 guy with good mcats that didn't get in, i find this scenario to unlikely for the most part. just look at the numbers of a lot of the med schools, average gpas are at 3.6 or higher for quite a few (they don't give the range, but you can be assured that most schools have plenty of 4.0 kids, and less folks with gpas below 3.3 or 3.2). also, take a look at the numbers of the folks on this board who have already gotten quite a few interviews, schools like that.

    with that aside, i think that for the average applicant, the interview is what can set one ahead of a lot of people with very similar numbers and experiences, so as gower said, it definitely should not be taken lightly.

    for example, i was rejected last year from mcp after an interview, and they told me that my interview was not that good and that my science gpa was too low. a better interview may have made a difference . . .
  9. Smoke This

    Smoke This Sweet cuppin' cakes! 10+ Year Member

    Word. Listen to this guy.

    Gower, would you be able to tell me if interviews carry different weights at different schools, or are they of about equal importance to the final decision everywhere?

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