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What Can You Expect in a Pre-Medical Post-Baccalaureate Interview?

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Pre-med post-bacc programs are competitive. You’ll have to make a strong case about your drive and potential as a future medical student, and convince an admissions committee that you’re a good fit for their specific program, too (no pressure)!

Perhaps no single aspect of the admissions process for any degree program is more nerve-wracking than an interview (yes, even more than finding financial aid for your post-bacc). While it’s great to be asked in for one, many applicants for pre-medical special master’s programs or pre-medical post-bacc certificates become understandably anxious about the prospect.

Here are some pointers about what to expect and tips for getting it right on the day.

How Are Pre-Med Post-Bacc Interviews Conducted?

According to Liza Thompson, a medical school admissions advisor who is former director of the Johns Hopkins Premedical Post-Baccalaureate program and the Goucher College Post-Baccalaureate Premed program, the most common interview formats includei:

  • Traditional face-to-face interviews where you meet one-on-one or with a few members of the program staff and have a 30- to 60-minute discussion.
  • Shorter, more focused videoconferencing interviews, often used as a screening tool, which last around 20 minutes each.
  • On-campus experiences, including tours or the opportunity to sit in on classes. These longer-format experiences also give you the chance to talk to current students and learn more about the program and the school.

What Do Pre-Med Post-Bacc Interviewers Want to Know About You?

In an interview with Medical School Headquarters, Dr. Glenn Cummings, Director of the Bryn Mawr Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program, explained that admissions staff are chiefly concerned about your passion for the profession and how well you’re likely to fit in the culture of their program.ii Liza Thompson outlines the following objectives interviewers have in mindiii:

  • Seeing how well you match the record and experiences presented in your application.
  • Getting a feel for your enthusiasm about a medical career and about what their program offers you.
  • Developing a sense of what kind of colleague you’ll be to other students in the program—can you make a positive contribution in classes?

And, of course, interviewers want to get a sense for your potential as a future medical student after the post-bacc. It’s the entire goal of their program to graduate well-qualified applicants, especially if they have medical school linkage programs!

Some Specific Interview Question Examples

The University of Georgia Pre-Health Program has published many sample questions they often ask at pre-med post-bacc interviews.iv These include:

  • Why do you want to become a physician, and what attracted you to the field of medicine?
  • What attracted you to this specific program?
  • What do you expect to be doing ten or even 20 years from now?
  • What are your plans if you don’t get accepted to medical school?

If you’ve written a post-bacc essay, you’ll already have organized your thoughts about many of these questions. But it pays to search Google, sub-Reddits and forums for other examples of past questions asked at pre-medical post-bacc interviews—previous students often share these online, and reading them can help shape your thinking and practice your answers. If you can make contact with someone who’s attended a program you’re interested in to find out what kinds of things they were asked in their interview, that’s even better.

Just remember that every interview will be a little different, and there are no exact right answers. Honest, carefully considered answers are most likely to make a good impression.

Preparing for Your Post-Bacc Interview

Research, research, research. You most likely didn’t apply to a premed special master’s or post-baccalaureate on a whim, and have probably already learned quite a bit about the school, the staff, and the program. Go a little further with your research ahead of the interview to get a better idea of what gaps in your experience the interviewers might want to address.

Form your own questions. It will be important that you ask about the program during your interview. Is there a particular member of staff whose research areas align with your professional goals? Do the advertised linkages lack any details you want to know about? Are you interested in knowing more about the clinical experience offered? Write down anything else you may want to know about.

Practice your answers. Think about the key points you want to make about yourself over the course of the 30-40 minutes—highlights of your academic career to date, any reasons for a low GPA or MCAT score, why you are changing your career, and what makes you passionate about medicine.

Remember they aren’t out to get you. The interview team haven’t taken the time to review your application and set up a meeting with you because they want to trick you, or force you to fail. They have called you in because they are genuinely interested in you and want to see if you’d be a good fit for their program. Be excited that you made it this far, do your homework, and go in ready to listen as well as talk. Good luck!

i https://www.thompsonadvising.com/blog/post-baccalaureate-program-interviews/#.Xa_P4yXTWaN

ii https://medicalschoolhq.net/pmy-253-almost-everything-you-need-to-know-about-postbac-programs/

iii https://www.thompsonadvising.com/blog/post-baccalaureate-program-interviews/#.Xa_P4yXTWaN

iv https://prehealth.uga.edu/pre-medical/after-you-hit-submit/interviews/Sample-Interview-Questions/

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