When your dream is to become a doctor or a dentist, the journey of getting into medical or dental school can seem like an emotional, stressful, never-ending list of to-do’s: Take these pre-req courses. Volunteer. Shadow. Hurry up. Go, go go. Get clinical experience. Prepare for your MCATs or DATs. Take them. Run here. Do this. Conquer that!
And that’s not even getting to the application, yet. Once you do, you start a whole new path of uncertainty and stress. Did you write the memorable personal statement that is going to knock their socks off? Did you do the right experiences? Did you say all the right things in your application? Did you apply to the right schools? And with all these questions comes the oftentimes inevitable self-doubt. The worry. The stress. …The freak out. And the longer you have to wait to hear, the worse it generally gets.
So first, let me say. You are not alone. This is normal. Especially if you didn’t apply the minute the application went live, which many don’t. As for many students, the academic years leading up to the summer of applying usually fly by in a blink, and with all the self-growth and development, both educationally and experientially, who has the time to thoroughly and thoughtfully fill out the application, write that Wowzers personal statement, take their tests (and nail them the first time), and get all their letters of evaluation, all by the beginning of June, and all while taking upper level course work with final exams and projects running through the end of April, beginning of May? …It’s a race against the clock, and for a good many number of applicants, they just need a little more time … sometimes a month or more … to be ready to fully submit. And really, that’s not all that bad, right? I mean, the application deadlines often go into early fall, so there’s time, right?
Well, that’s the thing with rolling admissions. It’s hard to know. There are general trends, but from year to year, it just depends on a lot of factors.
So let’s talk a little about some of these factors and what you can do from here, while you wait.
Some of the bigger factors impacting whether you are going to get an interview offer from any particular school:
- How strong is your application in comparison to all those who have gotten their apps in before yours? (… as well as at the same time, and in general, overall … as they may want to hold your app for comparison against other students’ applications who come in even after yours.)
- What is your fit-ness to the school you have applied to?
- How many interview seats does the school have?
- How do you fit in the overall class profile they are building?
The bottom line, it may take a while for you to get an interview invite. Often schools are evaluating thousands of applications for only a few hundred interview slots, which will then fill only a subset of those slots in actual class seats.
So, could you hop on the wheel of self-doubt and go full on freak out? Let the stress get to you? Start to self-shred? Sure, you can, but that’s not going to help you. Remember, if you are truly ready to be a healthcare professional, then you applied feeling confident and ready to heal and help! So start with yourself. Heal and help yourself!
Instead of giving into the anxiety and stress, your time will be better served by engaging in activities that continue to grow you and help others as well as the all-important interview prep! You can use this time to acclimate yourself to the demands of sharing your story and abilities in coherent, articulate, nerves-abated discussions and conversations.
Should you get interviews at each of the schools you applied to, which type of interview process do they use: traditional or MMI (multiple mini interview, which his generally performance based)? In preparing for your interviews, your goal isn’t to rehearse your responses, but to present yourself in a manner consistent with becoming a healthcare professional. So, that means:
- act and dress professionally
- shake hands
- be polite
- think on your feet
- think critically and problem solve
- articulate your thoughts clearly
- communicate effectively
- share your values (ethical discussions)
- demonstrate a knowledge of the field of healthcare you are seeking
- show your interviewers your maturity and readiness
- definitely be able to demonstrate your understanding of their school (mission and curriculum, for instance) and be able to give them examples of how you fit in with who they are and what they do and offer
- be able to demonstrate leadership and teamwork skills
- if you’re pre-dentistry, then you also want to be able to demonstrate manual dexterity (to include performing mirror image tasks)
Essentially, if it’s a desirable personal attribute for becoming a healthcare professional, then you can be interviewed in a manner consistent with assessing your skill, and if you are being interviewed in an MMI format, then the best thing you can do for yourself is to prepare and be yourself, which actually stands for traditional interviews as well, as does: being an effective verbal communicator, being able to prioritize the points you want to make, and being able to talk intelligently about issues that don’t necessarily have right or wrong answers.
I encourage you, in this time of waiting and hoping, know that until you’ve received outright rejection letters from each and every school you applied to, then there is still hope, and where there’s hope, there’s a need to prepare for your interviews. So use your time wisely, and dig in. Focus on what you can do, instead of what you can’t control.
Focus on putting your best foot forward. Engage in meaningful interview prep. And be ready to show them you are most definitely the right candidate for them and for your future patients!!!
For more information on how to prepare for and nail your interviews, check out these courses and more offered by The Best You PAL Academy:
Best wishes for you and your success, always!
Mary Kate :0)