• Dr. Samir Desai

How to Research a Medical School to Better Respond to Common Medical School Interview Questions

Updated: May 17


Responses to many common medical school interview questions would be stronger if students spent the time to thoroughly research the school


One of the most common mistakes when it comes to the medical school interview is not crafting unique, memorable responses. When I say unique, I mean responses that are unique to you AND unique to this school.


For example, think about the common question "Why did you apply to our medical school?" Many students will provide responses that focus on the great clinical training, the strong faculty, and the impressive resources of the school. However, that response could essentially be given at any medical school.


Instead, the strongest responses highlight something specific about the school that meshes with your particular interests, strengths, and goals. You might choose to talk about the patient simulation lab, or the student-run clinic that provides healthcare to a homeless population, or the Ethics Track at this school.


This is why doing a deep dive into the school is so important.



These medical school interview questions require thorough research into a particular medical school


Just about any interview response could be elevated with a deep knowledge of the goals and strengths of this school. These questions in particular require research.


  • Why did you apply to our medical school?

  • What questions do you have for me?

  • What are you looking for in a school?

  • Where do you see yourself in 10 years?


Even a question such as "tell me about yourself" would benefit from knowledge of a school's strengths and unique opportunities.


Why did you apply to our medical school?


This is one of the most important interview questions out there, and a strong response here can really set you apart. The key to answering this question well is to highlight how your interests, strengths, and goals are a great fit with the school's mission, offerings, and goals.


In order to do that, you need to research the school. And by "researching the school," we mean far more than just reviewing the website and speaking to some current students.


When we're working with our advisees, we recommend the AEIOU approach. In fact, we ask our students to fill out this worksheet for every school to which they're applying. As you're completing the worksheet, see what speaks to you. That should become one of the keys to your response.


In future blog posts, we highlight how to take your research into a medical school and use it to craft strong, unique, memorable responses.


 

Dr. Rajani Katta is the creator of Medical School Interviewing 101, the course that teaches students how to ace their interviews. She is also the author of the Multiple Mini Interview: Winning Strategies from Admissions Faculty, the Casper Test Prep Guide, and The Medical School Interview. Dr. Katta is a practicing dermatologist and served as a Professor of Dermatology at the Baylor College of Medicine for over 17 years.

Dr. Samir Desai is the author of The Clinician's Guide to Laboratory Medicine, The Medical School Interview, and Multiple Mini Interview: Winning Strategies from Admissions Faculty. He is an Internist, on faculty at the Baylor College of Medicine, and has served on the medical school admissions and residency selection committees at the Baylor College of Medicine and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.




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