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Why do interviewers always ask "where else have you applied?"

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by chef, Dec 13, 2001.

  1. chef

    chef Senior Member

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    I mean, why the hell do they wanna know where you are applying, where you have interviewed, etc? IMHO this is none of their business and where I have interviewed should not influence the final decision. When I first started interviewing I thought the people asked b/c they were curious, so I innocently told them where I applied, where I interviewed etc, but after 7 interviews (in fact more than 35 interviews b/c I'm applying md/phd) I am convinced that they must use this info in the final decision making. Some even asked me q's like "have you applied at school X? what about school X?" WTF????
     
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  3. coop

    coop Senior Member

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    i've been on 7 interviews and never been asked that question... i'm straight MD, so maybe it's more common for md/phd applicants
     
  4. elle

    elle Senior Member

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    I've been asked where I applied/have interviews only once I think... maybe interviewers do that to see how comfortable you are giving an answer? That's kind of far-fetched I guess, but they have to know that most people apply to a good number of schools.

    When I was asked where I interviewed, my interviewer then told me how nice all the other schools were and said something good about all of them (i.e. nice price, location, facilities, etc) That was interesting but a little bit odd :)
     
  5. italianlove

    italianlove Senior Member

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    hey chef,

    I totally agree that it's none of their business where else we're applying. I was at an interview last week and was asked where else I had applied. It was at my state school and after saying that ideally I'd like to remain in state it got out that I had an interview invite at Creighton in January and then they're like "Well that's not in state." Oh right, like I'm gonna put all of my eggs in one basket and only apply to my in-state schools because "ideally" I want to stay in state and if I apply to an out-of-state school then that means that I'm not going to school in state. (Sorry about the rant.)

    So now I'm not sure what to do if asked this again. Should I tell them where else I am interviewing/applied or say that I don't feel comfortable answering the question or what? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.
     
  6. Dr. Kermit

    Dr. Kermit Senior Member

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    Couldn't be as bad as being asked if this was your first interview. Saying "no" and then being asked if you were holding any acceptances. Saying "yes" and then hearing, "so why are you here!"
     
  7. chef

    chef Senior Member

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  8. Resident Alien

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    I've been asked that question in ALL of my interviews so far (4). They usually followed questions of where i applied with "why?" and "did you hear from them?".
     
  9. Jamier2

    Jamier2 SDN Hillbilly Moderator
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  10. Szkwicz

    Szkwicz Senior Member

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    I've never been asked what other schools did I apply to, but I have been asked about how many other schools I applied to. I applied to a very small number (4) and told my interviewer...I think she was getting at how committed I was to going to school and practicing in the area. So, it made sense to me...it may be kind of a fair question in assessing interest in the school.
     
  11. Hopkins2010

    Hopkins2010 Banned
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    I was also asked a lot about how many and which schools I applied to, at both MD and MD/PhD interviews.

    I had a hard time remembering 31 med schools so I just started listing them until they changed the topic. ;)
     
  12. Dr. Kermit

    Dr. Kermit Senior Member

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    I forgot to add the dinger of the interview (read I was probably rejected.) I replied to "why are you here" by saying, "fortunately, I'm not in the position of going to the only med school that accepts me. I'm here as I had a deep interest in your school with its new lab and location and also trying to find the med school that is best fit for me." Her answer, "I hope you find that school!"
     
  13. md2be06

    md2be06 Senior Member

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    I've been asked this as well at all my interviews, and I just go ahead and mention a few schools. Maybe the reason they ask is that they're really concerned about their yield (# of matriculants /# of acceptances granted)* 100. Perhaps this factors into US NEWS Rankings like it does for Undergrad? Even if it doesn't, schools are probably a little hesitant to grant acceptances to students who've interviewed or been accepted to much higher quality schools. After all, if you've interviewed at a lot of the top schools and even been accepted to one or two, what are the odds that you're going to attend a much lower ranked school, cost considerations being equal?
     
  14. none

    none 1K Member

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    Yes, this has been VERY common for me as a MD/PhD applicant. The reason they ask is because they want to know what you're looking for in a school and the best way to see that (truthfully) is looking at where you applied. Clearly you would lie if asked directly and make each and every school seem like it is perfect for you in everything. My interviewers haven't phrased the question like that though. They've always asked "where are you interested in?" This gave me much more leeway in tailoring my reponses. And interestingly, none of them wrote anything down after I answered it.
     
  15. locitamd

    locitamd Senior Member

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    Devil's advocate here,

    instead of being concerned with their "yield", i.e. # accepted/# matriculated, maybe they are looking to up their MCAT and GPA statistics - knowing they can accept people with higher stats and yet knowing full well they won't attend.

    More likely, I think it's a stress question, seeing how you respond to an uncomfortable question.

    Just a thought
     
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  17. E'01

    E'01 1K Member

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    I think it worked against me. I've only been asked that twice - and in both times I just said that I carefully chose 19 schools situated mostly on the East Coast. Both interviewers then prodded me and were like...."Harvard, Yale, Cornell etc", I mumbled yes to them. One of those interviewers then proceeded to state, "oh of course you would apply there, I'm sure you wouldn't come to our school if you got into Harvard etc..." He kind of muttered this under his breath - I don't know what I was supposed to say.
     
  18. The Fly

    The Fly Senior Member

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    I've been on 11 interviews and asked a similar question only once...

    Interviewer: "So, this can't be your first choice?"

    Me: (pause)... Well, no, ------ isn't my first choice, but its an great school with a superb curriculum and an excellent hospital that I would be perfectly happy to attend.

    ----------------------------

    I am really not a fan of lying, so I felt that honesty was the way to go, but maybe I shouldn't have been so honest. Thoughts?
     
  19. soren77

    soren77 Member

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    i've been asked that question numerous times as well as the "what would you do if you're not accepted to medical school this year?" well, i didn't mention that i have already been accepted to a school and just told them that i would apply again. i felt horrible doing it, but i just didn't want to bother explaining why would rather come to their school over my accepted schools. i think it's wrong for schools to ask where else you have applied or interviewed at. there's a reason why schools don't see your designated list of schools on the amcas app.
     
  20. YBee

    YBee Member

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    Has anyone had the experience of refusing to answer the question, either outright or by changing the subject, and if so, was still accepted?

    I just don't think it's any of the others schools' business, but I don't know that I can get away with saying that. Man, I hate kissing butt.
     
  21. E'01

    E'01 1K Member

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  22. sorrento

    sorrento Senior Member

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    I heard from a faculty interviewer that they ask this partly to test your mettle on what you've declared is your interest in medicine. For example, if you're interviewing at a strong primary care school and selling yourself as a future primary care doc, but all the other schools you list are research powerhouses, they might wonder how strong your commitment really is, or maybe at least acknowledge that the other schools do have a different focus.

    Truth is, they know most people apply everywhere. You can probably admit as much without hurting your chances, as long as you follow up with a brief reminder of why you applied THERE. So far I have given vague, but friendly replies to this question and nobody has scowled or pressed me further. (but who knows, no acceptances for me yet!)
     
  23. reesie0726

    reesie0726 Senior Member

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    I have been asked this question at several interviews. In one interview after being grilled about some of my not so great undergrad grades, he then asked me what schools were on my list? (I am a post-bac with good later grades and good mcat) After I told him, he kept pressing me that I would not really go to that school but to schools in my home state or a school that was higher ranked. I felt that the question opened a 20 minute can of worms. I kept trying to defend the fact that I would really consider attending the school.
     
  24. EpiII

    EpiII Senior Member

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    None of the interviewers (3 schools) have asked where I applied, but some at each school have asked if I have been interviewed elsewhere yet. None have asked if I have been accepted though.

    In fact, they have also asked where all I applied. I only applied to CA schools, so I basically tell them "I was a little naive and maybe it will end up being a stupid thing to have done, but ...". My plan was to give CA two years if I did not get in my first year and the second year, I would apply to more schools.
     
  25. alice

    alice Senior Member

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    I got pretty fiesty when my interviewer asked me this at my state school. I mumbled my 14 other interviews - all of which are ranked better - only when he absolutely grilled me. We spent about 20% of the interview talking about this! I was furious.

    Why do they do this? My best guess is to have some idea what their competition is aside from the rankings. Or to have some idea of the yield. My interviewer thought he was being very funny by saying that the reason he asked was so that he could write mean letters to all the other schools. By that point, I already wanted to pound him....

    After all of that madness, I actually got accepted less than 2 weeks later. And I am definitely not going there. A significant part of this was the negative interview experience... So I am guessing that the purpose wasn't trying to see whether I'd go if accepted. What a mess. :rolleyes:
     
  26. megkudos

    megkudos Senior Member

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    I can kind of understand why they would want to bring up at least wehre you have interviewed at....if they think that you aren't gonna chose their school..and I'm sure this has happened as a result of experience...then they probably feel like they are wasting their time a little. But for the most part I guess the question gives you a chance to explain what interests you about that particular school and why you would want to go there....and I like that.....but I guess I just haven't had a real stickler/griller for an interviewer yet so maybe I shouldn't talk :)
     
  27. Nova

    Nova Member

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    Has anyone ever asked the interviewers why they ask you where else you've applied? And don't let them give you a BS answer, since they probably don't let you give them one. ;)
     
  28. miss.chris

    miss.chris New Member

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    I have had four interviews, and have been asked both "where have you applied?" and "what have you heard" at all interviews. The first time it really threw me off and I thought it must be against the rules or something but after the second time, I started to expect it and found a way to turn it around. I would say something like, " I applied at X school because of this reason, and was wondering if your school has something simliar?" As long as you don't seem too challenging, this kind of turns the tables and, in my experience, the interviewer begins discussing their school in comparison to the other school. It results in you getting more information and, most importantly, takes you off the hot light!! :)
     

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