My advice for not blowing your dental school interview

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Chuck NOracle DMD
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Jul 29, 2008
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So...you got a dental school interview. CONGRATS!
I got to sit through 2 cycles of applicants while at Midwestern-AZ with the admissions committee.
I absolutely had no say in their final decisions but my input was heard, and I got to hear their input.
When you’re looking at thousands of dental school applications, they are blindingly similar. 90% of your admission essays are super dry (maybe that’s a safe play for you personally). So the interview is your chance to actually make an impression.
I’ve seen quite a few interviews absolutely bomb. Here’s some tips so it’s not you.

1) You’re interview starts, the second you drive onto campus. Act accordingly.
Somebody could always be watching!
-I saw a guy drive like an idiot through the parking lot, slam on the brakes to slide into a parking spot.
-I saw a guy hit on girls, and girls flirt with guys
-Pre-Interview inappropriate topics of conversation while the candidates were waiting
-Rudeness to the office secretary
Anything other then charming and professional is a terrible idea. The dental school is trying to get a sense of who you are, act like a first date, present your best self.

2) Dress Appropriately
-Guys, especially from the west coast, have a reputation of underdressing to interviews. Wear a suit. Sport coat and nice t-shirt is bad form. So need for a tuxedo, but my goodness get a suit and tie. You’re gonna be talking to doctors, look like a doctor.
-Gals, you tend to get more slack from guy docs and less slack from girl docs. Look professional.
Everyone tends to dress in dark colors, navy blue and black. Classic choices. We are trying to separate ourselves from a pack here though, a light grey, a small bit of color in tie choice might help, whatever you feel comfortable with.

3) Be friendly, smile, and RELAX!
This might be the most important interview of your life (mine was!) but you need to appear comfortable and relaxed. If you can’t handle this pressure, why would they think you can handle dental school?
- I asked a guy in the interview what he does for fun, after thinking about it quietly for what seemed like an eternity, he stuttered out...NOTHING REALLY
-I asked a girl what she would major in if she got to do undergraduate school again for fun. She started shaking and cried for a couple minutes.
Dental schools consider personality. Class sizes are pretty small and everyone knows everyone so don’t be weird. Act like you belong there because YOU DO.

4) At the end of the interview, ASK GOOD QUESTIONS
The end of the interview arrives, any questions for us? Typically you’ll get 10-20 minutes of questions and chatting for your interview. At the end you’ll get the open ended go ahead to ask them anything that’s on your mind. Ask questions. Ask as many great questions as they’ll let you without being annoying. When it comes to answering the question: “who made an impression today?” sometimes it matters who you just spent more time with! My interview for dental school was about 40min. I seen lots of 10-15 min interviews. Sometimes they get in anyway! Big stats talk. However if it’s between two similar candidates, I’d rather be the one who had double the interview time

The only thing worse than no questions, are bad questions. For the the love of all that is holy, never ask anything that could be found on the school’s website. Nothing says “this school isn’t important to me” like asking what the average accepted GPA is or what is the class size. It happens all the time and it’s infuriating that someone would come all the way to a school for an interview and not even bother googling the school.

This post is long enough. Good luck this year!
 
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PreDentGator2021

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Nov 16, 2017
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This was definitely helpful, will take your advice if I get more interviews :) from my experience so far it does really seem like the key is to be yourself, they already know about your application and want to see how you act in person and what you’re all about
 

macsak

2+ Year Member
Aug 16, 2018
1,330
1,319
So...you got a dental school interview. CONGRATS!
I got to sit through 2 cycles of applicants while at Midwestern-AZ with the admissions committee.
I absolutely had no say in their final decisions but my input was heard, and I got to hear their input.
When you’re looking at thousands of dental school applications, they are blindingly similar. 90% of your admission essays are super dry (maybe that’s a safe play for you personally). So the interview is your chance to actually make an impression.
I’ve seen quite a few interviews absolutely bomb. Here’s some tips so it’s not you.

1) You’re interview starts, the second you drive onto campus. Act accordingly.
Somebody could always be watching!
-I saw a guy drive like an idiot through the parking lot, slam on the brakes to slide into a parking spot.
-I saw a guy hit on girls, and girls flirt with guys
-Pre-Interview inappropriate topics of conversation while the candidates were waiting
-Rudeness to the office secretary
Anything other then charming and professional is a terrible idea. The dental school is trying to get a sense of who you are, act like a first date, present your best self.

2) Dress Appropriately
-Guys, especially from the west coast, have a reputation of underdressing to interviews. Wear a suit. Sport coat and nice t-shirt is bad form. So need for a tuxedo, but my goodness get a suit and tie. You’re gonna be talking to doctors, look like a doctor.
-Gals, you tend to get more slack from guy docs and less slack from girl docs. Look professional.
Everyone tends to dress in dark colors, navy blue and black. Classic choices. We are trying to separate ourselves from a pack here though, a light grey, a small bit of color in tie choice might help, whatever you feel comfortable with.

3) Be friendly, smile, and RELAX!
This might be the most important interview of your life (mine was!) but you need to appear comfortable and relaxed. If you can’t handle this pressure, why would they think you can handle dental school?
- I asked a guy in the interview what he does for fun, after thinking about it quietly for what seemed like an eternity, he stuttered out...NOTHING REALLY
-I asked a girl what she would major in if she got to do undergraduate school again for fun. She started shaking and cried for a couple minutes.
Dental schools consider personality. Class sizes are pretty small and everyone knows everyone so don’t be weird. Act like you belong there because YOU DO.

4) At the end of the interview, ASK GOOD QUESTIONS
The end of the interview arrives, any questions for us? Typically you’ll get 10-20 minutes of questions and chatting for your interview. At the end you’ll get the open ended go ahead to ask them anything that’s on your mind. Ask questions. Ask as many great questions as they’ll let you without being annoying. When it comes to answering the question: “who made an impression today?” sometimes it matters who you just spent more time with! My interview for dental school was about 40min. I seen lots of 10-15 min interviews. Sometimes they get in anyway! Big stats talk. However if it’s between two similar candidates, I’d rather be the one who had double the interview time

The only thing worse than no questions, are bad questions. For the the love of all that is holy, never ask anything that could be found on the school’s website. Nothing says “this school isn’t important to me” like asking what the average accepted GPA is or what is the class size. It happens all the time and it’s infuriating that someone would come all the way to a school for an interview and not even bother googling the school.

This post is long enough. Good luck this year!
great advice...
 
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Apr 25, 2019
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... and never say that x school is not your first choice. I remember someone in the group interview who inadvertently said this outloud.
It worked out for me. I honestly told one of my interviewers that the school was definitely one of my top choices though not quite my first choice but I’d like to have the opportunity to evaluate the finances more. Other than that, I really made it clear I was a huge fan of their program.

Now, telling a school they’re your safety is another matter...
 

S_Diamond_DDS

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Jun 24, 2015
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It worked out for me. I honestly told one of my interviewers that the school was definitely one of my top choices though not quite my first choice but I’d like to have the opportunity to evaluate the finances more. Other than that, I really made it clear I was a huge fan of their program.

Now, telling a school they’re your safety is another matter...

I don’t recommend this, I did something similar at one of my interviews and it did not work out as well for me. Probably depends on the ego of the interviewer/school haha.
 

Needmyphone

5+ Year Member
Oct 28, 2014
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As for the question regarding which school is the top choice, I said years back that all the schools I applied to were each of equal importance to me. I only applied to five, so for me it was important to apply to places I could see myself attending.

I do think it’s all in how you present to your interviewer. Sometimes they can be crass/dry on purpose to see how you respond to stress. That’s their gauge to determine how you may handle disgruntled patients or when you’re having a bad day clinically.

The stats get you in the door, but the personal attributes get you the acceptance!
 
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Oct 8, 2020
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Hi I am just curious how your school grades candidates? Do they use a scoring scale and rank the interviews? Do they still consider the application or just the interview?
 
Apr 25, 2019
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Hi I am just curious how your school grades candidates? Do they use a scoring scale and rank the interviews? Do they still consider the application or just the interview?
That’s not publicly available information. I have seen various people here, some adcoms and some dental students, mention various ranking approaches but almost always with very limited information. The one exception was a ranking formula for one school (Don’t remember which). As far as any applicant is concerned, everything matters so put your best foot forward.
 

2thDoc11

2+ Year Member
Nov 19, 2018
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That’s not publicly available information. I have seen various people here, some adcoms and some dental students, mention various ranking approaches but almost always with very limited information. The one exception was a ranking formula for one school (Don’t remember which). As far as any applicant is concerned, everything matters so put your best foot forward.
Unlv
 
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Thanks! Now I’ve found the original thread I saw this in.

 
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