singularity2012

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For an interview at my first choice school (there was just one for this particular school), my interviewer ended up being an M4 student with full voting privileges in the committee. Although everything seemed to go well, I couldn't help be suspicious the whole time about the possibility that these folks are tougher on applicants than your standard PhD or MD. Despite his enthusiastic smiles and nods, I kept thinking that this person, like you and me, has also endured the gauntlet of applying and would be in a better position to sift through all the pre-med BS. Of course, you wouldn't know this until the thin envelope arrives at the end of August. :scared:
 

chemnerd89

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I had an M4 at my last interview. It was really relaxed and a good conversation.
 

nevercold

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. . . my interviewer ended up being an M4 student with full voting privileges in the committee. Although everything seemed to go well, I couldn't help be suspicious the whole time about the possibility that these folks are tougher on applicants than your standard PhD or MD . . .
I did interviews for my school when I was in my 3rd and 4th years and you are definitely correct. The student interviewers tend to be "tougher" than the faculty interviewers. However, it's really that they tend to grade on a wider scale. If you impress them, you'll get great reviews. If you don't, there will likely be a more candid reflection on what the negatives were without sugar coating it. But committees know which people are generally harder than others and take that into consideration, too! The student interviewer is actually just as likely to really be the loudest voice rooting for you as to be the one offering a harsh review.
 

RySerr21

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I was interviewed one-on-one by an MS2 at UCI (and on other occasions as well) and it was very relaxed and we had a great conversation. I actually enjoy those interviews the most b/c I'm learning just as much about the school's student body as he/she is learning about me as an applicant. I think its a good way to gauge whether or not you will fit in with the students at the school.
 

chpueblo22

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I did interviews for my school when I was in my 3rd and 4th years and you are definitely correct. The student interviewers tend to be "tougher" than the faculty interviewers. However, it's really that they tend to grade on a wider scale. If you impress them, you'll get great reviews. If you don't, there will likely be a more candid reflection on what the negatives were without sugar coating it. But committees know which people are generally harder than others and take that into consideration, too! The student interviewer is actually just as likely to really be the loudest voice rooting for you as to be the one offering a harsh review.
very much agree with this. but at the same time, it is always a little awkward...you want to feel relaxed and conversational...but think of the typical pre-med type. They always judge people that want the same thing that they want and can potentially be more critical than other interviewers...even though they don't let on. Either way, just be humble and confident....talk about your strengths but don't be afraid to reflect upon your weaknesses. Most student interviewers just want to see themselves in you...so the best advice i guess is to just be yourself...impressive but humble and relatable ideally.
 

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I had an interview with an MS2 last year, and saying it was awkward is the understatement of the century...I had a hard time figuring out if I should talk to this person (which I had nothing in common with as a white girl from the suburbs talking with a black guy raised in the city) as a peer or be terrified of impressing someone who is deciding my future. I opted for the more conversational approach and we really didn't have much to talk about aside from the typical "Why here" and my strengths/weaknesses. Ugh.

But it doesn't matter, looks like it didn't go over very well anyway judging by how I didn't get in last year. Here's to hoping I get two faculty interviews!
 

bluesmd

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mine one was the best of my interviewers. all relaxed and easy going. i felt much more comfortable and we just talked. other ones have been like a conversation, but this one really was just a conversation
 

linguini

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From a school's point of view, I think a student interviewer is a great idea. It's important that you are able to get along and collaborate with your peers in medical school (not be a gunner). I think a student interviewer has a keener sense for this trait than a full-fledged faculty member.

I've had a few student interviewers and they have varied in their interviewing style. One M4 was very laid back and conversational, another M4 was somewhat abrasive and confrontational, and a M1 was as nervous as I was. While you may not be that different in age, I think it is important to remember that your student interview is still a professional event. IMO, treat the student interviewer with as much respect and professionalism as you would a faculty interviewer.
 

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For an interview at my first choice school (there was just one for this particular school), my interviewer ended up being an M4 student with full voting privileges in the committee. Although everything seemed to go well, I couldn't help be suspicious the whole time about the possibility that these folks are tougher on applicants than your standard PhD or MD. Despite his enthusiastic smiles and nods, I kept thinking that this person, like you and me, has also endured the gauntlet of applying and would be in a better position to sift through all the pre-med BS. Of course, you wouldn't know this until the thin envelope arrives at the end of August. :scared:

It's your task, whether the interviewer is a student or faculty, to make sure that the interviewer gets to know you well. It's the interviewer that makes the final sell to the rest of the committee who didn't speak with you.


I did interviews for my school when I was in my 3rd and 4th years and you are definitely correct. The student interviewers tend to be "tougher" than the faculty interviewers. However, it's really that they tend to grade on a wider scale. If you impress them, you'll get great reviews. If you don't, there will likely be a more candid reflection on what the negatives were without sugar coating it. But committees know which people are generally harder than others and take that into consideration, too! The student interviewer is actually just as likely to really be the loudest voice rooting for you as to be the one offering a harsh review.
This has generally been the case at my two schools. The student interviewers seem to give the most complete and insightful reasons for accepting an otherwise marginal student as opposed to attempting to keep a student out.

I had an interview with an MS2 last year, and saying it was awkward is the understatement of the century...I had a hard time figuring out if I should talk to this person (which I had nothing in common with as a white girl from the suburbs talking with a black guy raised in the city) as a peer or be terrified of impressing someone who is deciding my future. I opted for the more conversational approach and we really didn't have much to talk about aside from the typical "Why here" and my strengths/weaknesses. Ugh.

But it doesn't matter, looks like it didn't go over very well anyway judging by how I didn't get in last year. Here's to hoping I get two faculty interviews!
I seriously doubt that your interview was the reason that you didn't get in. I have very little in common with 99% of the people that I have ever interviewed and this is definitely not a factor. You likely had other problems, not the least of which, was that you decided because of your interviewers background,that you didn't have anything "in common". You both had an interest in medicine in common but I guess you made sure that didn't come up in the interview as you focused on your background differences. In any encounter with any person, you have to find common ground even if it's the fact that you both breathe air.
 

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I was interviewed by an MS-3 who had speaking, but not voting privileges at committee meetings. She was extremely nice and seemed like she understood the "pre-med BS" better than most. I would be pretty happy to have someone like her be on my side at one of the committee meetings. My second interviewer for the day was an upper level professor, so I guess it evens out. I imagine it gives a good picture to the Adcom if these two interviewer's views are in line. I think student interviewers are a great tool, if you can get them on your side.
 

sarahl86

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I seriously doubt that your interview was the reason that you didn't get in. I have very little in common with 99% of the people that I have ever interviewed and this is definitely not a factor. You likely had other problems, not the least of which, was that you decided because of your interviewers background,that you didn't have anything "in common". You both had an interest in medicine in common but I guess you made sure that didn't come up in the interview as you focused on your background differences. In any encounter with any person, you have to find common ground even if it's the fact that you both breathe air.
Touchee. No, I won't blame only my interview (I had a low MCAT score and a shoddy PS) but I do recognize that the challenge was to find a common ground with my interviewer. We really just had completely different reasons for wanting to pursue medicine and he continued to harp on student activities. Did I make a point that we were very different people? Not at all, that was just my impression and the first thing that comes to mind when I reflect on that particular interview: "why on earth did they put us together?" I found his rationale for studying medicine interesting and we discussed it accordingly which unfortunately shifted the focus of the conversation away from the point: to get to know me and identify the traits that make me a good candidate for that medical school.

I think its tactless to assign blame to being different from my interviewer, just making a point that it made it a huge challenge to have a natural conversation...it felt forced. Nor did I want to jump in and take control of the conversation just to spout off the reasons why I should go to said school.
 
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Rabbit36

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I've had a few interviews with MS2's and MS3's. I agree that it's more of an opportunity for mutual conversation. I'd ask a lot and they'd ask a lot, obviously I was the one being interviewed and I didn't overstep that, but it's a good chance to show how you do in a slightly looser format than with a 50 year old highly respected md-administrator type.
 

magikdoc

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I've had several interviews with M2 - M4's and really my feelings on their "toughness" seems completely subjective.

That being said, I think you should try being more down-to-earth when being interviewed by students because they most likely want to know that they would be happy seeing you as a friend or at least a classmate. SOOO... definitely try to cut the ego/cockiness and chill out when you interview with them.
 

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I've had several interviews with M2 - M4's and really my feelings on their "toughness" seems completely subjective.

That being said, I think you should try being more down-to-earth when being interviewed by students because they most likely want to know that they would be happy seeing you as a friend or at least a classmate. SOOO... definitely try to cut the ego/cockiness and chill out when you interview with them.
actually good idea to cut the ego/cockiness with any interviewer, student or not and more important to be yourself with the interviewers rather than to be a different person with the student. Many places that have student committee members trust them the way they do senior faculty...and senior faculty don't like to hear that they've been played, or that a student interviewer was being treated differently just because they're a student.

I would just encourage applicants to consider it a good thing that students are represented in the university at multiple levels, including participating in the admissions process and to just go into each interview making the case for why you think you and the school are a good fit for one another.
 

magikdoc

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actually good idea to cut the ego/cockiness with any interviewer, student or not and more important to be yourself with the interviewers rather than to be a different person with the student. Many places that have student committee members trust them the way they do senior faculty...and senior faculty don't like to hear that they've been played, or that a student interviewer was being treated differently just because they're a student.

I would just encourage applicants to consider it a good thing that students are represented in the university at multiple levels, including participating in the admissions process and to just go into each interview making the case for why you think you and the school are a good fit for one another.
Sorry for the confusion. I did not mean to imply this meant not being down-to-earth while interviewing with faculty/alumni nor do I mean putting on a new "face" depending on who you interview with. I simply meant that the manner with which you talk with the interviewers needs to be adapted to better connect with them.

Few people talk to Deans of the medical school the same way as they talk with M1's. I feel that, age, respect, sex, ethnicity, etc. all should impact how you communicate with your interviewer, but not necessarily what you communicate. Forgive me if I am wrong, but don't physicians need to teach their patients too in a format they understand....? I guess it makes sense since someone who can connect with any interviewer w/in 30minutes, will probably end up very skilled in the "art of medicine" after medical school.

But, I could be just digging myself into a bigger hole here... hope this clarifies it.
 

aznb0y129

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I've really enjoyed the interviews I've had with students. I think they're a lot easier to talk to than some really old emeritus professor whom you have nothing in common with.

I imagine they are slightly harder to impress as well.
I've only had two interviews so far, one with just a faculty member and the other with one faculty and one MSII. I felt like I got along pretty well with my student interviewer and she "seemed" impressed that I had done a lot of research. I don't think it was more or less difficult than the faculty interview, just different.
 

edfig99

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hey magik:

don't sweat it, it's all good. i don't disagree with your comments. I just contributed my 2 cents as a useful tidbit. When I was an MS4 interviewer, and now as a faculty interviewer, I just sometimes see applicants get "too comfortable" and let their guard slip a little bit...particularly with student interviewers so I just wanted to put out there that no matter who's interviewing you, you still gotta be on your game.

to get back to the original question on the thread -- as an MS4 I was probably tougher than some of the senior committee members, and now as a faculty member I can see that our MS4s are also pretty tough.

Sorry for the confusion. I did not mean to imply this meant not being down-to-earth while interviewing with faculty/alumni nor do I mean putting on a new "face" depending on who you interview with. I simply meant that the manner with which you talk with the interviewers needs to be adapted to better connect with them.

Few people talk to Deans of the medical school the same way as they talk with M1's. I feel that, age, respect, sex, ethnicity, etc. all should impact how you communicate with your interviewer, but not necessarily what you communicate. Forgive me if I am wrong, but don't physicians need to teach their patients too in a format they understand....? I guess it makes sense since someone who can connect with any interviewer w/in 30minutes, will probably end up very skilled in the "art of medicine" after medical school.

But, I could be just digging myself into a bigger hole here... hope this clarifies it.
 
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singularity2012

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In retrospect, I can definitely understand why *some* medical student interviewers might be tough on their interviewees. I like to think of them as more "borderline" interviewers, in the sense that they're more likely to be either overwhelmingly supportive of you or overwhelmingly disapproving of you. In any case, I think that it's the applicant's job to convey their strengths and attributes effectively to audiences of all types.

It's been said that PhDs are the "easiest" interviewers, due to their stereotype of being less confrontational, more open, and more easily impressed. Older MDs may be the same way - or possibly the complete opposite - depending on his or her personality.

I feel like the younger MDs and med students that have endured this process in an arguably more competitive environment than say, 15-20 years ago, might be jaded by it in a way that makes them hungry for the "gunners" - the "Cristina Yang" types that few would enjoy working with during residency (at least not initially). If you're like me and feel lucky enough to even get your foot in the door, then this sort of interview could go well. All in all, it seems that humility is especially key in a student interview.
 

nevercold

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I feel like the younger MDs and med students that have endured this process in an arguably more competitive environment than say, 15-20 years ago, might be jaded by it in a way that makes them hungry for the "gunners" - the "Cristina Yang" types that few would enjoy working with during residency (at least not initially). If you're like me and feel lucky enough to even get your foot in the door, then this sort of interview could go well. All in all, it seems that humility is especially key in a student interview.
Very astute assessment. Black flags for any student interviewer: (1) gunnerism; (2) being conceited or cocky; (3) lack of interest in or respect for the school.

The Golden Ticket: maintain a conversation that is both intelligent and relaxed simultaneously and demonstrate that you are seizing the opportunity to show or explain why you are suited for medical school/medicine.
 

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They don't vote, but they get to talk to people who do.
 

RySerr21

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I don't want to completely shift the topic of the thread, but what is the point of the non-voting student interviewers? They must have some input....??

Every interview I have been at with student interviewers, we have been told to take them just as seriusly as faculty interviews because the student's say is equally important in the admissions process.
 

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They don't vote, but they get to talk to people who do.
I don't want to completely shift the topic of the thread, but what is the point of the non-voting student interviewers? They must have some input....??
At my school I fill out a form which goes in your file. The student interview is weighted the same as the faculty interview.

Very astute assessment. Black flags for any student interviewer: (1) gunnerism; (2) being conceited or cocky; (3) lack of interest in or respect for the school.

The Golden Ticket: maintain a conversation that is both intelligent and relaxed simultaneously and demonstrate that you are seizing the opportunity to show or explain why you are suited for medical school/medicine.
Very well said, all of you should take note of this post. The first thing they tell you about interviewing is to determine if you would want this person as a colleague, remember that.
 

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I find it easier.
when I interview with students
this is because
I can relate to them better
I get a sense
of what it is like as a student
stuff I need
to make a decision that is prudent
 

nevercold

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I don't want to completely shift the topic of the thread, but what is the point of the non-voting student interviewers? They must have some input....??
Frequently interviewers don't "vote" at all. In fact, there is not exactly an "aye" or "nay" vote that usually takes place. Instead, voting members are really scoring applicants and those assuming the best overall scores are the ones then receiving admission offers. Interviewers may indeed be a part of the scoring/voting committee, but don't have to be, student or faculty. The point of the interviewer's work is to assess things not completely assessed in the written application and to assess the interpersonal skills of the applicant and then offer a score or narrative to the voters to help educate their choice. At the point of an interview, all applicants are not equal. Their written applications will still weigh into their chance for acceptance.
 

nevercold

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I find it easier.
when I interview with students
this is because
I can relate to them better
I get a sense
of what it is like as a student
stuff I need
to make a decision that is prudent
Good thing MCAT doesn't have a poetry section? ;) ;) (just joshin')
 

QofQuimica

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In retrospect, I can definitely understand why *some* medical student interviewers might be tough on their interviewees. I like to think of them as more "borderline" interviewers, in the sense that they're more likely to be either overwhelmingly supportive of you or overwhelmingly disapproving of you. In any case, I think that it's the applicant's job to convey their strengths and attributes effectively to audiences of all types.

It's been said that PhDs are the "easiest" interviewers, due to their stereotype of being less confrontational, more open, and more easily impressed. Older MDs may be the same way - or possibly the complete opposite - depending on his or her personality.

I feel like the younger MDs and med students that have endured this process in an arguably more competitive environment than say, 15-20 years ago, might be jaded by it in a way that makes them hungry for the "gunners" - the "Cristina Yang" types that few would enjoy working with during residency (at least not initially). If you're like me and feel lucky enough to even get your foot in the door, then this sort of interview could go well. All in all, it seems that humility is especially key in a student interview.
So would I be a tough interviewer or an easy one? I'm a PhD, but I'm also a third year med student adcom. :laugh:

All joking aside, the purpose of student interviews is to get the applicant to relax and open up so that we can find out more about you as a person. Usually student interviewers do not have access to your file, so they are only basing their judgment of you on how you interact during the interview. Even though I read the students' apps before voting at the adcom meeting, I don't read them before the interview. During the interview, I don't know what your MCAT score is or what ECs you've done or that you were caught drinking underage, unless you tell me. So I go into the interview as blind as any other student interviewer, with no preconceived notions.

You want some student interview advice? Here's mine:

1) One way to really not impress me is to have canned answers for everything. I'm not saying that doing a mock interview or two and thinking about why you want to go to med school are bad ideas. But I really hate generic answers that don't tell me anything about *you*. You have no idea what I want to hear, and I've participated in way more med school interviews than you have, so don't try to BS me.

2) It's also bad if I have to drag everything out of you; those are very painful interviews. If I ask you an open-ended question, don't give me a one word answer!

3) Read about my school before you come here. If I am talking to you about some aspect of the curriculum that I think might interest you, don't be clueless because you didn't bother to do your homework first.

4) It should go without saying that being arrogant, condescending, unprofessional, or rude to *anyone* you meet on interview day (including the admissions office staff) will not endear you to me. Not that I'll ever have to deal with you, but I have enough pity on the incoming first year class to not want to subject them to a future classmate who is a total tool.

5) Seriously, relax and let me get to know you a little. You don't have to call me Doctor Quimica; no one else does. You don't have to be so anxious that you can't focus on the conversation; I'm not going to leap up and bite you, or ask you to open a window that's been nailed shut. I really want to like you and be able to go to bat for you. But you have to help me and give me some convincing ammo to take to the rest of the adcom.

Best of luck to all of you who are applying, and stay cool. :)
 

nevercold

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2) It's also bad if I have to drag everything out of you; those are very painful interviews. If I ask you an open-ended question, don't give me a one word answer!
Biggest Interview Fail Point. When I'd try to think about what separated applicants, this was a BIG, obvious one. Being shy doesn't count here.