Medical school interview days are both fun and nerve-wracking. Applicants put on their best performances to convince schools that they are strong candidates.
After the long interview day, it’s important to relax. But before you completely unwind, here are four important steps to take immediately after your interview.
- Reflect on your interview performance.
- Write thank you notes.
- Keep in touch with individuals you met.
- Record your impressions about the medical school.
Reflect on Your Interview Performance
Interviewing is a practiced skill, and medical school applicants can continuously improve over time.
Before all the interview questions and details escape your memory, take notes about your medical school interview as soon as possible. If you have breaks during your interview day, you can also use that downtime to write notes about your interview performance. Be as detailed as possible so that you can review these notes during your preparation for your interview.
It’s important to reflect on how you can improve your interview responses. Were there answers you could make more succinct? Were there responses in which you could link to opportunities at the medical school? Were there times when you could have been more specific and given examples? Jot down specific ideas and stories that you can incorporate into your interview responses.
Also, think about whether there are actions you can take that will make your interview day stronger next time. For instance, should you bring a resume or a copy of your research abstract? Do you want to print out a piece of paper that goes over the main points you want to discuss during your interviews?
Doing well on your medical school interviews also requires a strong mental mindset. Naturally, many premed students are nervous before and during their interviews. After your interview day, reflect on what helped calm your nerves.
For example, some applicants find it helpful to take a walk or go to the bathroom before each interview. Others find it useful to practice a few common medical school interview questions beforehand to get in the groove of interviewing.
Write Thank You Notes
As with other job interviews or graduate school interviews, it is customary to write a thank you email to your interviewers. Writing and sending them within 24 hours is standard practice.
But to whom should you write thank you emails? If your med school interview consisted of traditional one-on-one interviews with faculty and/or students, then send a thank you email to each of them. If you had a multiple mini interview, you typically should not email your MMI interviewers. Instead, write a thank you note to the medical school admissions office.
If you miss the 24-hour window, don’t worry. You can still write a thank you email, and I suggest reminding interviewers of the date you met them. Make sure the email is personalized, and it’s OK to ask follow-up questions based on your discussion.
Keep in Touch With Individuals You Met
Other than your interviewers, there are likely many individuals you met during your med school interview day, including other med school students and fellow applicants. If you exchanged emails with these individuals during school social events, email them right away. If you do not have their contact information, find them through social media avenues.
I kept in touch with one of the other applicants during my Stanford University School of Medicine interview day. We exchanged notes throughout the application cycle. We both eventually matriculated to Stanford Med, and he was one of my first friends in medical school.
Keeping in touch with other applicants and current school students can help you learn more about various schools. For example, you may hear about specific aspects of the curriculum, the medical school’s culture and student organizations. These insights can be helpful as you determine which medical school to attend.
Record Your Impressions About the Medical School
During your interview day, you’ll be presented with a lot of information about the medical school, including its culture, curriculum, financial aid and housing. Noting unique aspects of a school can help you differentiate among them.
For example, some med schools have certain afternoons off so that students can relax or use that time to pursue extracurricular opportunities. More schools are shortening their preclinical curricula to 1.5 years instead of the traditional two years. Others have opportunities for combined degree programs, like MD-MBA, MD-MPH or MD-MPP
Many med schools also give scholarships to students so that they can take an extra year to conduct research.
One aspect of a medical school that I found greatly influencing the student culture was housing arrangements. Are medical students in dorm-style living or are they spread out in apartments throughout the vicinity? Dorm-style housing feels more like college and allows med students to be closer in proximity to other students, which appeals to some individuals but not others.
From the information you gather during interview day, record notes about available housing options for med students and whether the medical school subsidizes affordable housing. Affordable housing options are particularly important in expensive places like New York City.
These small but impactful actions immediately after your medical school interview can help you create a strong network of mentors and friends during the admissions cycle and be prepared for a possible acceptance.
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