Application year procedures for many professional schools follow a set of guidelines, sometimes referred to as "traffic rules," established by the profession's national educational organization. Links to these guidelines for some professions are below. It is important to review the guidelines established for your professional schools so that you have a complete understanding of how to manage the application process after you have submitted all of your written materials.
Preparing for interviews
Congratulations! You received your first invitation to interview. The program thinks you may be a good fit. The interview is for them to confirm that fit, and to learn more. Most want to understand your:
- Strengths and weaknesses
- Problem-solving skills
- Commitment to the profession
- Interpersonal skills
- Academic readiness
- Professionalism and maturity
What do I do next?
- Accept the offer and select the earliest time slot possible
- Plan for the day of your interview
- Organize travel well in advance. Plan to arrive at least a day before the interview
- Plan professional attire (see the MHC Suit Yourself Program)
- Read up on the schools you are going to visit and prepare questions
- Review your primary and secondary applications
- Call Jackie at 413-538-3389 to let her know of the invitation and to schedule a mock interview.
- In advance of your mock interview:
- Listen to this presentation
- Have someone else ask you practice questions at least once: See our traditional style questions, and for MMIs, search reputable online sources for practice questions. Ours are used only for our mock MMIs.
- You may also choose to practice with the online program, Big Interview.
- Continue to practice after your mock interview
- On interview day:
- Be early, professional, courteous and friendly with everyone you meet.
- You are always “on.” Your phone should always be off.
- Follow up appropriately. A handwritten note is a nice touch, though an email may be easier for schools to save in your admission file.
Common interview styles
Traditional interview: In this interview style, you spend 30-45 minutes with 1-2 people discussing your qualifications. Traditional interviews can be “open” or “closed.”
- Open Interview: The interviewer has seen your application documents, so you should be prepared to address anything you submitted. Avoid repeating information, and instead elaborate and update.
- Closed Interview: The interviewer will know nothing besides your name and the college you attend(ed). Ensure your responses to questions provide adequate context about your background.
Group interview: In this style, you are one of a few candidates meeting at the same time with representatives of the professional school.
Multiple Mini Interview (MMI): The MMI is approximately two hours in length and consists of 6 to 10 short interviews that revolve around a scenario. The MMI is increasingly common among Canadian and U.S. medical schools. It is now used by some programs in other professions, as well.
Additional interview resources
- Interviewing tips for health profession schools
- General interviewing tips -- Especially note section on “behavioral interviews.”
- Interviewing tips from the Association of American Medical Colleges
- MHC sample standard interview questions
- More information on the MMI
- Who is using the MMI
- Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine (Canada) Manual for MMI Interviewers 2017-2018
You have been accepted, congratulations! Now what?
- If this is your first offer of admission, accept the offer and hold your spot in the class.
- If this is not your first offer of admission, it is acceptable to hold multiple spots for a period of time. This may be necessary as you wait on additional information, such as financial aid packages.
- If this offer is from a school that you know you will attend instead of another school where you were admitted, regardless of any additional information you might receive, secure your spot at the preferred program and release other spots you are holding.
- At a certain point in the spring, you will be expected to withdraw from all spots you are holding expect for the spot at the school that you will attend.
You are on a waitlist, and that is a positive first step. A school that places you on their waitlist considers you a good fit for their program.
The most important thing to do once you learn you are on a waitlist is to ensure that you understand what the program expects of you at that point. Some schools will require you to confirm that you wish to remain on the waitlist. Others do not have such a requirement. Some schools appreciate periodic communication, sending updates and reaffirming your interest. Other schools prefer no additional communication. It is important to understand a program’s preferences and proceed accordingly.
If you are waitlisted at a school that you know you would prefer over a program where you are holding a spot in the entering class, you should still continue to hold your spot at the other school. On the other hand, if you are waitlisted at a program that you would not attend over another where you have already been admitted, it is courteous to decline to remain on the waitlist. This frees up space for others. Most movement off of waitlists will happen in the late spring.
Everyone gets rejections, even the most highly qualified applicants. So be ready, because they will come. Allow yourself your disappointment, then refocus your energy on the schools where you are still an active candidate for admission.
Check in with your pre-health advisor midway through your application cycle if you have not received any offers of admission. While offers can and do come later in the cycle, it is prudent to consider your plan B so that you will know where to turn if you are not admitted.
If the end of the application cycle comes and you have not received any offers of admission, find out if the programs to which you applied will offer feedback. Many schools will not do this, but those that do may provide valuable insight.