Navigating the "other schools" question with lots of interviews

namaste08

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Hi all!

I am prepping for upcoming interviews and wondering- what is a tactful way to answer "what other schools have you applied to? Where/ how many schools are you interviewing at? Where does this school fall on your list of priorities?" Is honesty priority here, or is it just 'what they want to hear?'

I have received over ten interviews so far, which is great! But is that really something I share with an adcom? Won't that make them more likely to reject me because they might think I will get accepted elsewhere and go elsewhere? Or does it make me look more 'desirable' because other schools are interested? Or does it not matter and my neurosis has just taken a whole new level?

Also, if I say every school I interview at is my top choice, won't that sound like a lie if they know I am interviewing at so many places? To be honest, I don't particularly have a top choice yet. I love every school I have received IIs at for different reasons (otherwise I would not have applied to that place), and would be happy to have the chance to study medicine at any of them. Any advice would be greatly appreciated :)
 

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"I like your school because blah blah blah and I think it will give me the tools I need to be an amazing doctor for my patients"

Very insecure thing to ask imo, it's like when a girl was badgers you about your female friends.
 

Pinocytosis

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"I like your school because blah blah blah and I think it will give me the tools I need to be an amazing doctor for my patients"

Very insecure thing to ask imo, it's like when a girl was badgers you about your female friends.
Definitely the best approach. I have an interview at a school that's probably one of my lowest priority schools. But you can bet your ass it's my number one school on interview day.
 
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namaste08

namaste08

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"I like your school because blah blah blah and I think it will give me the tools I need to be an amazing doctor for my patients"

Very insecure thing to ask imo, it's like when a girl was badgers you about your female friends.
ook. I'm just asking because I've heard some adcoms say "don't tell us your first choice we talk to other schools" whereas my premed advisor told me to say every school is my top choice... just trying to cut through the noise and make sure I don't shoot myself in the foot when I've gotten this far.

I would say what I like about the school itself at most interviews I would assume, I'm looking for a way to navigate "how many interviews have you gotten?" and "what's your top"
 

Pinocytosis

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ook. I'm just asking because I've heard some adcoms say "don't tell us your first choice we talk to other schools" whereas my premed advisor told me to say every school is my top choice... just trying to cut through the noise and make sure I don't shoot myself in the foot when I've gotten this far.

I would say what I like about the school itself at most interviews I would assume, I'm looking for a way to navigate "how many interviews have you gotten?" and "what's your top"
Well, let me clarify what I said. Go the politician route.

Don't explicitly say it's your number one choice. Say you applied to other schools, but you applied to this school because of 1) __, 2) __, and 3) __. Adcoms aren't dumb. They know applicants aren't exclusively applying to their school. Just be convincing of why you applied there (hopefully there was an initial reason + your pre-interview research).

Any knowledgeable parties that can chime in on this approach, please do.
 

ndafife

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"I have had other interviews and I would not have taken time out of my life to come to this interview if I were not strongly considering attending this school regardless of how any other interview plays out."
 
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namaste08

namaste08

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Well, let me clarify what I said. Go the politician route.

Don't explicitly say it's your number one choice. Say you applied to other schools, but you applied to this school because of 1) __, 2) __, and 3) __. Adcoms aren't dumb. They know applicants aren't exclusively applying to their school. Just be convincing of why you applied there (hopefully there was an initial reason + your pre-interview research).

Any knowledgeable parties that can chime in on this approach, please do.
Thanks!
 

GrumpyGus

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I went to two TMDSAS interviews and they can see what other TMDSAS schools I applied to / asked what AMCAS schools I planned to apply to. I was actually asked about it in my interviews and I was simply honest. I said I applied broadly because first and foremost I want to become a physician but then I would instantly start talking about why I applied to that specific school and what I loved about it. It seemed to have gone over well.
 

Psai

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ook. I'm just asking because I've heard some adcoms say "don't tell us your first choice we talk to other schools" whereas my premed advisor told me to say every school is my top choice... just trying to cut through the noise and make sure I don't shoot myself in the foot when I've gotten this far.

I would say what I like about the school itself at most interviews I would assume, I'm looking for a way to navigate "how many interviews have you gotten?" and "what's your top"
Don't listen to your premed adviser. You should be truthful if you can but don't go around telling people that a place is your top choice if it's not. The people who run adcoms run in the same circles according to my dean of admissions. I doubt they will meet up to compare notes about namaste08 in particular but they do talk.
 

URHere

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Find something about each potential school that really blows you away, and then sell that on interview day.

"I'm applying mostly to schools in XXX region, but I think your school has the most impressive curriculum/research program/particular local patient population/etc. I was really impressed by YYY and would love to learn more about it."

Back when I interviewed, I was asked this question when I was at what was clearly my safety school. I said that of all the schools I was applying to, that school had the highest number of people I knew from undergrad/etc, that they spoke very highly of the program, and that I thought it would be nice to attend school where I already had a sort of safety net. I didn't lie and say the program was my #1, but the interviewer responded very well to my answer. Find something similar.
 

Goro

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Just tell them the truth. And spin without ouright lying. And always have an open mind...you be able to objectively compare and contrast all of your II schools.
 

Pinocytosis

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Just tell them the truth. And spin without ouright lying. And always have an open mind...you be able to objectively compare and contrast all of your II schools.
Would that hurt your chances though?

Two similar applicants. One said it's his top school and the other says it's mediocre priority. I'm sorry I'm using a hypothetical situation.
 

Matthew9Thirtyfive

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Would that hurt your chances though?

Two similar applicants. One said it's his top school and the other says it's mediocre priority. I'm sorry I'm using a hypothetical situation.
If you're that socially awkward that you would phrase it that way, then yes it will hurt you. Jesus, people.
 

Goro

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Why should it? We already know you're interested in our school. We try to convince you that we're the best fit for you, just as much as you try to convince us that you're the right fit for us.



Would that hurt your chances though?

Two similar applicants. One said it's his top school and the other says it's mediocre priority. I'm sorry I'm using a hypothetical situation.
 

DingoPingo

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I love every school I have received IIs at for different reasons (otherwise I would not have applied to that place), and would be happy to have the chance to study medicine at any of them. Any advice would be greatly appreciated :)
The penultimate sentence in your post is a great answer to any of these questions

Love it when people answer their own questions.
 

Pinocytosis

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Why should it? We already know you're interested in our school. We try to convince you that we're the best fit for you, just as much as you try to convince us that you're the right fit for us.
Good point.
 
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You should say that the school that's interviewing you is your number one choice, while winking obnoxiously. Then slip the interviewer a $1 bill and tell him/her to keep it fair.

In all seriousness, the above advice is solid.
 

libertyyne

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Would that hurt your chances though?

Two similar applicants. One said it's his top school and the other says it's mediocre priority. I'm sorry I'm using a hypothetical situation.
Would highlighting experiences that show alignment with the mission and talking about things i like about the school be a good strategy here?
 
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Lie and say it is your top choice school because it has that certain je ne sais quoi. Say you only applied to schools after serious consideration, and that if you were to receive an offer, you'd be excited to enroll at their school.
 

Matthew9Thirtyfive

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Lie and say it is your top choice school because it has that certain je ne sais quoi. Say you only applied to schools after serious consideration, and that if you were to receive an offer, you'd be excited to enroll at their school.
I feel like unless that's actually true, it is going to sound super canned. I don't think an interviewer (unless they are bad) would fault you for being honest and saying you applied broadly because it is a competitive process in which the average successful applicant applies to over a dozen schools, and your primary goal is to be a physician--something you cannot achieve if you don't get into medical school

Of course, you would follow that with why you applied to the school in question.