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Effectively Preparing for Your Upcoming Interview(s) in 2023 and Beyond

Now that you've already done the hard work of crafting and submitting your professional school application (e.g. AADSAS), it is time to start your preparation for the interviews you have received or are anticipating receiving. With the COVID restrictions mostly behind us, many programs have resumed their in-person interviews or have implemented a hybrid approach (half virtual, half in-person interviews). These changes obviously require applicants to adapt and plan in advance.


The good news is that once you have been invited to interview at the program you are interested in, it truly means you stand a solid chance of being selected to matriculate as a student! As you can imagine then, your performance at the interview and the lasting impression you leave can literally be the "make-it or break-it" factor for your acceptance. Given the high stakes at hand, let's walk you through how to effectively prepare for this important moment in your quest to become a healthcare provider.


Step 1: Understand the logistics, and do so comprehensively


Unsurprisingly, each program has a different set-up for how they desire to assess their applicants. Along with the interview invitation, the school will give you a slew of instructions. Please read these instructions thoroughly and many times over! You may be able to select an interview date/time, know in advance who your interviewer(s) are, and find out if there are an other adjunctive assessments (e.g. writing prompts, bench top assessments...etc.) in addition to the actual interview itself. Sometimes there might be another assessment fee that is required for you to pay (with a corresponding deadline) prior to your interview date.


In regard to selecting an interview date if given the choice, our general recommendation at The Pre-Dental Guide is to choose the first or second available interview dates as some programs are filling up their classes on a rolling-admission basis. Once you have decided on a definitive interview date, please plan your lodging and transportation appropriately to give yourself adequate time for rest. In other words, a common mistake is landing at 5AM for your 6AM interview day start. You will inevitably be less composed and off-guard. The goal is to have you appear calm, cool, and collected on your big day.


Lastly, if there are any uncertainties about the instructions, please don't be shy and politely contact the adcoms/administration to flush out every detail.





Step 2: Research


With the many different modalities of assessments out there, it is imperative you understand the type of interview you are entering into. Below are a few common types for you to get familiarized with:


One-on-one: You are assessed by only one member of the admissions committee at a time, and it may be an open-file or closed-file interview. In the open-file interview, the interviewer has complete access to your didactic scores (i.e., GPA and DAT), all letters of recommendation, and even your personal statement. Whereas in a closed-file interview, your interviewer won't have access to your application so the direction the conversation is steered may be more natural and spontaneous.


Panel interviews: This is the interview modality where there are multiple people interviewing you at the same time. This panel of interviewers can be comprised of faculty, students, administrators, researchers...etc.


Multiple mini-interview (MMI): Candidates are put through a rotation of different stations. In each encounter, you will be exposed to a short scenario or question before you actually enter each room to interact with your interviewer(s). The prompts could be range from hypothetical scenarios, ethical dilemmas, or standard interview questions.


Since there are different strategies to optimize your performance specific to each type of interview, it will benefit you greatly to know this information prior to your interview day. Not sure about what kind of interview your potential dental school upholds? If they didn't include it in the invitation details, please reach out to current students at that program or other students who have applied.





Step 3: Practice Makes Perfect


The best time to practice your interview skills was before you even applied (A Long Term Approach to Mastering the Interview), but now is the second-best time. The truth is that most applicants are not naturally gifted at speaking with intention and elegance during a high-stakes environment such as your professional school interview. Even the most naturally charismatic and articulate applicants will benefit greatly from participating in simulation training sessions (i.e. mock interviews). It is 100% unadvised to "wing it" or create answers on the fly. The mock interview process helps candidates gain confidence since they will have the chance to reflect on their non-verbal and verbal communication. Most importantly, you can make mistakes and work on correcting them in a safe atmosphere!


In being able to participate in a "rehearsal" of your interview, you will be able to blend your professional conversational skills with your own twist/personality. The feedback you get will help socially calibrate your responses to fit the impression you wish to leave.


Please reach out to a mentor or friend to conduct a mock interview for you. You may be surprised to see your nervousness kicking in, despite interviewing with someone that already knows you! If you feel you need professional help in achieving better and more natural pacing, improving your interview presence, and/or want to craft the best answers possible, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at thepredentalguide@gmail.com to schedule a mock interview session. In having gone through the process ourselves and even served on the other side as interviewers, we have since helped many applicants over the years in providing customized guidance and advice specific to your strengths and weaknesses. We believe that with adequate preparation, any student can master the art of winning the hearts of your interviewers!


Best of luck,

Wilson and Jenny



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