Graduate School Interviews
for Healthcare Majors
Graduate School Interview Power Point
Work Questions and Answers for the Healthcare Grad School Prep Workshop
Prepared for the Interview
Questions Can You Expect?
YOU can ask the Interviewer
Grads Offer Tips for Health Career School
Sample Questions for MED School
You Notes- yes you should send them!
Prepared for the Interview:
you need to make sure you are clear on are these three areas:
1. What are your goals related to this field? What
do you want to do professionally and how do you accomplish those goals?
There are some things the goal statement should not be:
-Avoid the "what I did with my life" approach.
-Avoid the "I've always wanted to be a " approach.
-Avoid a catalog of achievements. This is only a list of what you have
done, and tells nothing about you as a person. Normally, the statement
is far more than a resume.
-Avoid lecturing the reader. For example, you should not write a
statement such as "Communication skills are important in this field."
Any graduate admissions committee member knows that and is not trying to
learn about the field from the applicant. Some statements do ask
applicants about their understanding of the field.
These are some things the statement should do:
-It should be objective, yet self-revelatory. Write directly and in a
straightforward manner that tells about your experience and what it
means to you. Do not use "academese." This is not a research paper for a
-It should form conclusions that explain the value and meaning of your
experience, such as what you learned about yourself and your field, your
future goals, and your career plans. Draw your conclusions from the
evidence your life provides.
-It should be specific. Document your conclusions with specific
instances, or draw your conclusions as the result of individual
experience. See below a list of general words and phrases to avoid using
-It should be an example of careful persuasive writing. Career Center
Counselors can help you determine if this is so by reviewing your draft
-It should get to the point early on and catch the attention of the
-It often should be limited in length, no more than two pages or less.
In some instances it may be longer, depending on the school's
2. What are your strengths and weaknesses? You must
do some self-introspection here. Always turn your weakness into a
What is your greatest weakness?
I’ve historically been a poor time manager. I would get some involved
with the projects that I was working on, that I might run late for a
meeting, or not schedule enough time for another project. In order to
deal with this, I’ve begun adhering to a much tighter schedule on my
calendar. I will organize my projects and schedule a time to work on
each. This has the added bonus of not only helping with my time
management, but enables me to remember all of the projects that I need
to work on. I now carry my pocket calendar with me everywhere. Here, let
me show you what I have scheduled for next week. As you can see…
What are your strengths?
Describe two or three skills you have that are most relevant to the
job. Avoid cliches or generalities; offer specific evidence.
Describe new ways these skills could be put to use in the new position.
If you have to talk about weaknesses, be honest without shooting
yourself in the foot-avoid pointing out a weakness that could be a major
obstacle in landing the job. For example, it might be wise to mention
you barely have the required work experience for the job; the
interviewer has surely noticed this much, and then you can explain how
you're qualified nonetheless.
"My strengths are interpersonal skills, and I can usually win people
over to my point of view. Also, I have good judgment about people and an
intuitive sense of their talents and their ability to contribute to a
given problem. These skills seem to me directly related to the job. I
notice that you require three years' work experience for this job.
Although my resume shows I've only two years' experience, it doesn't
show that I took two evening college courses related to my field and
have been active in one of the professional societies. I also try to
gain knowledge by reading the industry's trade journals. I'm certain
that my combined knowledge and skill level is the equivalent of that of
other people who do have three years' of work experience. I'm also
currently enrolled in a time-management course; I can already see the
effects of this course at work on my present job."
3. What have you done to explore your chosen profession?
Internships, jobs, volunteer experiences, clinicals, research, etc.
Anything you can think of to substantiate your desire to get in the
health careers program.
here for the
SU Healthcare Graduate School Interview Guide.
here for more
Most Important Aspect of Successful Interviewing
You Need To Do Before You Interview
Right Answer Length for Your Interview Responses
To Overcome Interview Nervousness
to Bring With You to the Interview
for the Toughest Interview Questions
to Do After Your Interview
a list of strengths, achievements, and
who your audience will be.
research on the school, graduate program, and
faculty before the interview.
a list of common interview questions.
answering questions with friends, family, and
graduate school advisors.
the unexpected questions.
ready to answer personal and thought-provoking
enough rest the night before.
The Day of the Interview:
early (at least 15 minutes early).
appropriately – Look neat and professional. (No
Jeans, T-shirts, shorts, etc.).
copies of your resume (or CV), papers, and/or
polite. Shake hands with the interviewer or
anyone else you meet during your visit.
the interviewer by their title and name (e.g.
respectful and courteous.
alert and attentive.
to have an appropriate body posture. Body
language can express a lot of different moods so
make sure you look interested.
your ideas and thoughts in a clear, intelligent,
and straightforward manner.
your interest in the school and program in a
passionate and enthusiastic manner. Let the
interviewer know that you are really interested
in attending their school without stating it
your goals (career and graduate school goals).
flaws that exist on your academic record
(without making excuses).
consistent in your answers. (Additionally, make
sure your answers on the application are
consistent with your interview answers.)
intelligent questions. Knowledgeable and
specific questions that show you have done your
homework are a plus (e.g. questions about the
school, program, or faculty).
for clarification if you don’t understand the
to send a thank-you note/letter or email after
each interview experience to prepare for future
forget to do your research on the school,
program and faculty.
forget to prepare and rehearse answers.
reschedule the interview unless if it is
The Day of the Interview:
nervous or worry. Remember to relax.
the interviewer’s name.
too much or too little.
or exaggerate about your accomplishments.
excuses for weaknesses.
yourself or other individuals.
to be funny.
about controversial or ethical issues (unless
your cell phone (Turn it off before the
interview or don’t bring it at all).
yes or no only or make your answers too general.
Make sure you give descriptive and elaborate
your answers reflect what you think the
interviewer wants to hear.
to thank the interviewer before you leave.
to send a thank you note or letter to everyone
What questions can you expect?
for more questions
me about yourself.
are your strengths and weaknesses?
you're not accepted into graduate school, what
are your plans?
did you choose this career?
do you know about our program?
did you choose to apply to our program?
other schools are you considering?
what ways have your previous experience prepared
you for graduate study in our program?
do you believe your greatest challenge will be
if you are accepted into this program?
college, what courses did you enjoy the most?
The least? Why?
any research project you've worked on. What was
the purpose of the project and what was your
role in the project?
would your professors describe you?
will you be able to make a contribution to this
are your hobbies?
a situation in which you had a conflict and how
you resolved it. What would you do differently?
your greatest accomplishment.
me about your experience in this field. What was
challenging? What was your contribution?
are your career goals? How will this program
help you achieve your goals?
do you intend to finance your education?
skills do you bring to the program? How will you
help your mentor in his or her research?
you motivated? Explain and provide examples.
should we take you and not someone else?
do you plan to specialize in?
do you do in your spare time?
can be determined about an applicant at an
do you want to become a _____?
other schools have you applied for?
did you get a poor grade in____?
you participate in any special projects in
do you think you are better suited for admission
than your classmates?
has been your most significant accomplishment to
any research project you’ve worked on at
will you do if you are not accepted?
do you rank among other students in your major
at your school?
you ever worked with people, and if so in what
made you apply to our school?
are your weaknesses?
your exposure to (subject) at Wartburg College.
you are accepted to more than one school, how
will you decide which to attend?
do you see yourself ten years from now?
you explain why your admission test scores went
up (down) when you took the test a second time?
message would you like me to convey to the
admission committee in your behalf?
were your most favorite and least favorite
courses in college?
you been interviewed or accepted at any other
Actual Questions Used by Medical
1. What do you hope to gain during your medical education?
2. Describe a typical day from your elementary school days.
3. What questions do you have for me about our school?
4. What is your weakness that concerns you most?
5. Name some strategies to address the problem of smoking among
teens; talk about some that haven't been tried before.
6. What would your best friend say about you in convincing me I
should admit you to our medical school?
7. If you could be any character in history, who would it be, and
8. How did you decide to apply to our medical school?
9. Why did you choose our specific program?
10. How are you a match for our medical school?
11. What do you do in your spare time?
12. What other medical schools are you applying to?
13. How do you view abortion?
14. Would you perform abortions as a doctor? Under what conditions?
15. What are three things you want to change about yourself?
16. How would you describe the relationship between science and
17. Think back on your undergraduate experience at SU; what would you
change about it?
18. If you were in charge of SU what would you change that would impact
the undergraduate experience?
19. Name something you are most proud of…
20. Which family member has influenced your life so far and why?
21. What do you think about the health care system and which way should
22. What do you think is wrong with the current health care system in
23. Name a meaningful experience you've had and how it shaped you to
pursue work as a physician.
24. Is there a good deal of drug use at your school? Possible follow up:
Have you taken drugs?
25. Which languages do you speak? Why?
26. Which of your college courses interested you the most?
27. If you couldn't ever be trained to be a physician, what would you
28. In your present living situation, how do you settle disputes with
29. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
30. What interests you outside of medicine and getting into medical
Recent Grads Offer Tips for Health Interviews
From a Student Who Applied to a
Physician Assistant Program
"I spoke with my daughter and she did have some ideas on what might have
helped her be so successful. First of all, she said that students
need to do as much research as they can on the schools where they are
interviewing. For example, she found out that xxxxx University has a
big public health focus - so she spent a lot of time researching public
health so that she could use some of the buzz words from that field. At
yyyyyyy University, the focus is on underserved populations - so she did
everything she could to bring herself up to speed on this topic and then
included it in her interview.
Secondly, if there is a group interview - try to avoid just agreeing
with what the other students have said. She was in a group interview
with 10 other students and she found that everyone was just agreeing
with what others had said. She was determined to add something new to
the conversation even if it wasn't profound - one of the faculty at her
private interview commented on how refreshing that was.
She also practiced out-loud what she would say to questions that she
could anticipate. And once she had the answers down-pat she then
rehearsed how to make the answers sound extemporaneous. She didn't
always focus on saying only what she thought they wanted her to say but
on her real thoughts and feelings. Her answers weren't always medically
related - she said a lot of the students in the group interview always
gave medically related answers and it made them appear to be trying too
She said that all of the schools appeared to be very interested in
her research lab experience. She spent a year in an animal lab
(mice) doing medical research - so trying to get involved in research
appeared to be a good idea.
Some of the questions that she answered that she didn't find on
any of the websites were:
1 - How is a PA a leader?
2 - What are the problems facing PAs in the next 10 years?
3 - Tell me something interesting about yourself that I couldn't find
from your application?
4 - Tell me what you like most about your patient encounters?
5 - What would you do if you thought that your supervising physician was
Hope that helps other SU students in their pursuit of PA school
From a Student in Med Tech Who Applied to a
Pathology Assistant Program
"I'm a student in the Medical Laboratory Science program at Salisbury
University. I recently interviewed as a prospective candidate for a
Pathology Assistant program in Chicago. It was in a group interview
setting with three of the professors of the program and about seven
competing students. They split the group into two one half went on the
tour of the school and the second half had the interview. There was
about 14 candidates total. It was very interesting to have a group
interview because I think it was easier to stand out from the other
students. You could hear their responses and have more time to formulate
an answer that could make you unique. I never agreed with the other
candidates by saying "me too" although some candidates took that
approach. The group setting was also interesting because some of the
students would speak quickly before it was their turn to answer the
question and you have other students who wouldn't speak until the last
possible moment. You could clearly see personality differences amongst
the group. It is crucial that you research the school and find out how
you fit in with the school. For example, I was asked if I am involved in
community service. Some of the students said they were not involved in
community service but I personally researched the college and found out
that they have free foot clinics and children's health fairs free to the
community. It was important that I stated how excited I was that the
school focused on community service because I also take great pride in
serving the community. It's important to tell them a story about
yourself when answering the questions so they get to know you. The group
interview process was more relaxed than an individual interview but
still helped the teaching staff see which students could adequately fit
into their program. I had a wonderful experience and was fortunate to
attend the class Salisbury offered for health professions seeking
admission into a graduate program. I truly believe that by having this
class at Salisbury I was more confident in the interview process. I was
prepared with a black business suit and a leather notebook and held my
purse/notebook on my left side so I could shake with my right hand. The
questions that were asked during the class were very close to the
questions I was asked in the actual interview. I think it's also
important to mention that over half the questions I was asked were
hypothetical questions based on a given situation".
Four students spoke recently about their
interview experiences of a year ago. Most health
professional schools use the interview to help
them decide who is the best match for their
Know the School:
When preparing for professional school
interviews, these experts advise students to get
acquainted with the schools' background, the
programs they offer, and their research
strengths. This knowledge tells the
interviewers that you've done your homework; you
know enough about their school to be able to say
why it is the one for you. Says one student, "
…it shows you've done some research and are
serious about attending their school."
It is also helpful to be caught up on current
events and field-specific trends. For pre-dents,
a student suggests the
American Dental Education
Association (ADEA) website for
links to various professional organizations and
recommends skimming articles and the table of
contents in journals such as Mouth Health
Quarterly, published by the American Mouth
Health Association. Consider registering (it's
free) for the
New York Times
Los Angeles Times
online services for easy access to
health-related articles as you prepare for your
Other than specific resources for your future
profession, read the newspaper local to the
interview school every day the two weeks before
your interview so you'll be comfortable chatting
about regional happenings.
In addition to adding to your knowledge about
the profession and the school, definitely know
your own information. Be fluent about the
information on your application and statement
and be able to speak honestly and genuinely
about your life. You may be asked questions
about you, your view of the health profession,
of your own educational experiences thus far,
and the way your encounter the world around you.
I just wanted to let you know that yesterday
I attended my interview for PCOM! I feel that it
went well and am eagerly awaiting my decision
I didn't know if it would be at all helpful for
future interviews and practice, if I jotted down
the questions they asked. I really enjoyed how
thoughtful and applicable the questions seemed
and didn't have any difficulty with them, but a
couple of them I hadn't considered before the
interview. I don't know if it will be of any
use, but if it is--great!
1. Why do you want to be in medicine/why now?
2. Why specifically a physician, instead of
another application of clinical medicine like
3. Why DO, not MD?
4. Why PCOM?
5. How do you recognize when you are
overwhelmed/stressed/in over your head and need
to ask for help? And what do you do to handle
6. In every change/transition, there is a hurdle
to be overcome--what do you foresee your hurdle
will be in transitioning to medical school and
how will you handle it?
7. If a friend were to describe you, in a
sentence, what would they say? Ditto for an
8. As a non-traditional student, do you feel you
have more difficulty relating to classmates?
They also asked me how many schools I applied
to, how I prepared for the MCAT's, what I will
do if I get rejected and then to expand on a few
specific things on my application.
Anyway! Most of these are pretty basic and
expected, but a couple of them I thought might b
e helpful to incorporate into the practice
Questions to Expect:
Some questions dental school-interviewing
students recall are:
is your weakness?
should we pick you over other students?
do you choose dentistry over other professions?
Future optometrists were asked such
is it about optometry that causes you to pursue
it as a career?
is the most difficult situation you've been in
and how did you overcome the difficulties?
are your hobbies?
would you benefit from the field of optometry?
Some questions that have appeared in interviews
for medical students include:
me about yourself.
are you interested in medicine?
have your experiences shaped your interest in
These questions are just a small fraction of the
possible questions that professional schools
could ask. When tackling interview questions,
one student advises, "Don't be arrogant, but
don't be afraid of the interviewer." All of
these recent students agreed that it is very
important to know why you are choosing that
profession and how your experiences have shaped
These are the two most common questions, so
prepare solid answers by keeping a journal,
talking with others, or reading early drafts of
your personal statement. A first-year medical
student reminds prospective medical school
students that, "An interview can make or break
you. You must take interviews seriously. Be
fluent about the reason why you want to pursue
medicine. Do not doubt yourself."
During the interview, alums advise students to
be honest about who they are and speak with
confidence. a student suggests that,
"Interviewers will appreciate you even more than
'show-offs' if you can speak confidently from
After talking with other applicants they know
well and reflecting on their own experiences,
our experts agreed that interviewers will
respect honesty over someone who is trying to
"impress" them. One suggestion to keep you from
being self-conscious is to remember that not
only is the school choosing you, but you are
also deciding if that school is right for you.
These recent interviewers have named a list
of tips, but how did each specifically prepare
for their interviews? All alums suggest
utilizing the services provided at the Career
Center such as setting up mock interviews or
having a video-taped mock interview. Some alums
practiced with friends, family members, and
anyone else who would listen. Successful
interviewing does not only depend on what you
say but how clearly you deliver your message, so
Another key element to interviewing is eye
contact, which will communicate to your
interviewer that you can confidently interact
with others. Several of our interviewees
practiced wearing their interview clothes to
check for comfort; the last thing you need
to deal with at your interview is an
uncomfortable collar or irritating sleeves. An
interview is a high-stakes conversation; you
want to be comfortable and relaxed enough to
reveal your wonderful self during the