Know everything there is about the school you
are applying to. Get their catalogue. Review
their academic schedule; for example, do they
teach anatomy first or do they teach based on
organ systems. Do all the students have similar
classes at the same time? What is the tuition
amount? Do they offer a special financial aid
office solely for the medical students, etc?
Find the name of the students who have been
accepted to the program from your college. Ask
them about the school. The strengths, the
weaknesses, the social climate of the city, the
weather, etc. The more you know about the school
that you are interviewing at, the more prepared
you will be for certain questions:
1. "Do you have any questions that we can
answer?" You can ask them about material
that you know the school is proud of; you can ask
"Is it true that you have over one zillion
dollars in NIH grant for testing hamster
2. You may be asked, "Are you concerned
with the firing of our dean?" If you answer:
Oh, really; your dean was fired, you would not be
giving the proper response. This response would
show your lack of interest in the school; it
shows that you do not know enough about the
school where you hope to spend four grueling
years of study.
Find out if the school has any special
research interests. For some of the larger
medical schools, it would be impossible to narrow
down their research interests. What you can do,
however, is to try to figure out the interests of
the person/s interviewing you. Run a medline
search looking for your interviewer's name (some
schools may offer this name to you in advance).
While you are running the search, list the
subjects of your own research projects and review
the articles which pertain to your projects.
Needless to say, you must know everything that
relates to the research you describe in your
application (otherwise, the interviewer will
think that you were washing the test tubes and
got your name on the paper).
Know the grading system (is it pass or fail)
and the advantages of each. What percentage of
their students matched into their top three
choices; what percentage matched into competitive
fields? How were the average board scores? Do
they get lots of early clinical experience? What
kind of setting is available for their clinical
experience (private hospital, county setting, VA
hospitals, primary care community setting, etc).
This information may be easier to gather by
talking to the medical students at the school.
Be sure to double check the date and time of
your interview. If necessary, call the school
one-week before the date to confirm your arrival.
Make a list of all the equipment you will need
and make sure you have everything packed before
every interview. This includes you alarm clock to
wake you up at the right time, a pen and a nice
zippered notebook for writing notes during the
interview, two clean shirts and suits (in case
you pour coffee all over yourself in one
interview!), your grooming material, etc.