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3 Ways to Kill Your Chances at an Acceptance at Your Med School Interview

by Ryan Gray, MD of The Medical School Headquarters

While this may be stretching the truth a little bit, you need to go into your interview day with the thought that your acceptance to that school is yours for the taking. You need to assume that the interview can only hurt you. If you go into your interview with that mentality, then you should be as prepared as possible and less likely to screw it up. Unfortunately, every interview day is met with “acceptance killers”, or actions that can negatively impact your chances of acceptance.

In this post I will discuss three common “acceptance killers”:

“Acceptance Killer” #1 – Getting into an Argument

Hopefully, your interviews are very conversational and easy going. Sometimes they aren’t though and you need to be prepared for that. Some interviewers like to put stress on students. Some interviewers and interviewees just don’t mesh very well. When this happens it is very easy for you to get defensive about some of your answers and be put off by some of the questions.

No matter what happens during your interview, the last place you want to take it is to an argument. If you feel like the interviewer is leading you down that path, you need to step back and think. Maybe he or she is trying to provoke you to see what your response is, maybe they are just having a bad day. Your job during the interview is not to prove that you are right. Your job is to prove that you can communicate well under pressure.

Arguing is proving the exact opposite.

“Acceptance Killer” #2 – Lack of Eye Contact

Physicians communicate with patients for a living. They need to communicate with nurses, peers, and other staff members as well. Eye contact is key for good, effective communication. If you are someone who lacks the ability to sustain good eye contact, you need to start practicing and try to push through it the best you can.

Lack of eye contact is a red flag for interviewers. They want to make sure that your ability to communicate meets certain standards. Not making eye contact definitely doesn’t meet the standard.

Eye contact and simple head nods also let the interviewer know you are engaged and actively processing what is being said.

I’m not saying that you need to have a staring contest, but you need to be able to comfortably look at the interviewer a majority of the time.

“Acceptance Killer” #3 – Being Rude

The moment you initiate any contact with the medical school as an applicant, you are being judged. Emails that you send, phone conversations that you have, and any in-person meetings that you attend are being judged. During your interview day, this is multiplied 10-fold. Hopefully, you don’t need to fake this one, but you need to be nice to everyone you come in contact with. Be nice to parking attendants. Be nice to janitors. Be nice to the cafeteria workers. Be nice to the admin staff. Just be nice.

You need to assume that everyone you come in contact with is given the directive to be the eyes and ears of the Admissions Committee. Everyone on that campus is to report back about any students who may have been rude. A simple “Please,” “Thank you” or “No, thank you” can go a long way towards leaving a positive impression on those you encounter.

Be on your best behavior and you’ll be good!

Avoiding these things won’t guarantee you have a successful medical school interview day, but it will guarantee you avoid an easy rejection. Interested in learning more about med school interviews? Check out my book The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Interview: Be Prepared, Perform Well, Get Accepted.

Ryan Gray, MD
Author, The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Interview
Advisor & Publisher at the Medical School Headquarters

Before you can get that interview invite, you’ll need to create the best medical school application you can and that means getting an amazing MCAT score. Blueprint MCAT has an MCAT prep style perfect for every learning style! Check out our upcoming schedule of Live Online Classes for an instructor-led experience or our Online Course to prep for the MCAT on your own. If you’re looking for more 1-on-1 help, schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our MCAT Advisors to learn more about private MCAT tutoring.

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