Interview Advice from UCI, Keck Admission Officers

by Hao-Hua Wu
Editor-in-ChiefDiamond-studded earrings. Cuss words. Rude and disrespectful behavior.These are the things you want to avoid at a medical school interview, said Dr. Ellena Peterson, Associate Dean of Admissions at UCI School of Medicine.

According to Keck School of Medicine Admissions Committee Chair Dr. Kim Bader, the interview is a critical component of the medical school application process.

“What ultimately to me makes or breaks a situation [for an applicant] is the interview,” said Bader, who sat on last Thursday’s “Mock Interview Panel” with Peterson and Career Counselor David Ginchansky of USC’s Career Planning & Placement Center.

The three panelists gave students advice on how to succeed at the interview.

Panelists Dr. Ellena Peterson (left), Dr. Kim Bader (middle), and Mr. David Ginchansky (right) offer their advice to prospective pre-medical students. Photo by Han Dao.

For instance, interviewees should dress professionally and avoid showing anything potentially offensive.

“[Before coming to an interview], cover up your tattoos; take out your piercings,” Peterson said. “You don’t know who you are going to be getting at the interview.

“Dress for success not for failure.”

Peterson also advised students to recognize that the interview and evaluation process is not only based on the formal interviews given. Medical students hosting applicants can also give the admissions committee feedback.

Said Bader: “We have [medical] students on the [admissions] committee, and they are often more critical of certain aspects of the applicant.

“There are times when the applicant gets high marks at a faculty interview, but a student says the applicant is disrespectful.”

Things that are said about an applicant should match up or else it might raise questions about his or her character, Bader said.

“Just be yourself, but recognize that you are interviewing for a professional school,” Bader said.

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