This is it, applicants—the final stretch. Medical school interviews are the final step in the application process, but they’re also one of the most challenging. It is critical that you show enthusiasm and engagement, and one of the most effective ways to do this is by coming up with insightful questions to ask medical school interviewers.
In this post, we’ll share 32 questions to ask your interviewer, as well as what to expect in the medical school interview process, how to prepare questions, and strategies for success on the interview trail.
Why Interviewers Want You to Ask Questions
Interviewers ask questions to gauge your interest. They want to know how enthusiastic you are about joining their program. Is it a passing interest, are you settling, or is it your dream to attend that specific medical school? Programs don’t want to be anyone’s second choice. Interviewers aren’t only looking for the best candidates but the candidates that best fit their school.
Thoughtful, insightful questions demonstrate a real and sustained interest in a medical school. It is absolutely imperative to ask at least one or more questions at the conclusion of your interview when prompted by your interviewer. Some interviewers may even start the interview off by saying, “What questions do you have for me?” If you haven’t prepared beforehand, this question could really throw you off and derail your interview before it’s even started.
Avoid asking questions that can be easily answered by reviewing the medical school’s website, as this shows a serious lack of interest and preparation. If you show any hint of apathy or disinterest, the interviewer will note it. Ask questions that demonstrate you’ve thoroughly researched the program, including what it has to offer and what, specifically, you can offer it.
Questions to Ask Medical School Interviewers
You don’t have to work in a vacuum. Thousands upon thousands of doctors have been exactly where you are right now. Use the list below to get you started, but be sure to tailor the questions to each school and to each interviewer. You very likely will make changes to how you word your questions based on how the interview goes.
You may also come up with questions to ask during your interview based on the questions they asked you and the flow of conversation.
Here are some common and effective questions to ask your medical school interviewers:
- What do you love about this medical school?
- What are you most proud of about this medical school?
- What are this medical school’s greatest strengths?
- If you had to pick one, what is this school’s greatest weakness?
- What’s your favorite memory of attending medical school?
- What are the research opportunities like at this medical school?
- What is something you would change about this medical school?
- Are there any research requirements or structured research mentoring programs?
- Are there any specialties in particular that this medical school excels at?
- What new additions or changes are planned for this medical school in the near future?
- How do the students here do in The Match?
- Is there any area of campus I should take a closer look at today?
- What do you like most about living in this city?
- Why did you decide to become an interviewer?
Depending on who is interviewing you and the social events of the day, you may have a chance to ask students questions as well.
- What do you love most about attending this medical school?
- Do you feel the students here are more competitive or collaborative?
- Are preclinical years pass/fail? How are they graded?
- What is the didactic curriculum at this medical school?
- If you could change something about this medical school, what would it be?
- Who were you most excited to learn from when you were accepted to this medical school?
- Did you have trouble deciding which medical school you wanted to attend? How did you end up choosing?
- Are there any fields or specialties you do not feel you get good exposure to?
- Who is your favorite professor?
- What’s your favorite class?
- How much travel do you have to do at the medical school? Do you need a car?
- What is public transit like to and from the medical school?
- Are there subsidized housing opportunities?
- Do the students spend time with each other outside of medical school? Is there good comradery?
- What is student life like outside of school?
- What is life like in this particular city?
- What’s your favorite thing to do in this city outside of your studies?
- Are there any costs to living in this city that you did not expect?
The Medical School Interview Process: What to Expect
Medical school interviews are the final step in the application process. They follow the MCAT, your primary application (including a personal statement, letters of recommendation, etc.,) and your secondary applications. All this to say, interviews follow a tremendous amount of hard work, long hours, and scrupulous dedication, which is why it’s easy for applicants to burn out during the interview phase.
While interviews are the home stretch, you’re out of the woods yet—not by a long shot. No matter how excellent each component of your primary and secondary applications is, a bad interview can ruin your chances of acceptance.
It’s critical to stay on top of deadlines and to respond to interview invites as soon as possible. Most schools won’t send you an invitation to interview until September, but you could receive an invite as early as August. This is because some schools will automatically send you an invitation to interview, without even looking at your application, if you meet their GPA or MCAT cutoffs. Interviews can start as early as the summer and last until April or May of the following year.
Generally, your invitation to interview will include a list of dates to choose from. This is no time to procrastinate. Respond as quickly as you’re able, as the interview slots will fill up fast. It’s also a good idea to choose an interview slot earlier in the process, as rolling admissions mean medical schools review applications on a continuous basis as they are submitted. Offers are only made while spots are available. The longer you take to respond, the worse your chances of acceptance are.
How to Prepare Medical School Interview Questions
Ensure you take time to prepare answers to common questions well in advance of your interview. Don’t expect you’ll be able to deliver a well thought out answer on the fly. Practice answering common questions, and practice how you will phrase possible questions for your interviewer(s).
Do not write yourself a script to memorize, as not every question will be asked in exactly the same way. Build a foundational response that you can tailor to each interviewer. Don’t overthink your answers. Very likely, you’ve already answered most of the questions you’ll be asked within your primary and secondary applications. Review your application materials, including the various anecdotes you included and each of your extracurriculars. Everything you included in your applications is fair game to be asked about.
Need help getting started? Here are 21 Medical School Interview Questions and How to Answer Them.
It’s also important to prepare your wardrobe in advance and practice wearing it. How does it feel? Can you stand up, sit down, and breathe comfortably? Does the material breathe, or will you be sweating? Are your shoes comfortable? You will need to do a lot of walking on interview day due to touring the campus.
Fashion-wise, interview day is not the time to stand out. Dress to impress, but don’t wear anything flashy or distracting.
Here are a few general tips on how to organize your outfit:
- Clean up and wash the day of your interview.
- Invest in a nice outfit.
- Keep it simple and professional.
- Wear comfortable, closed-toe shoes.
- Test your outfit before interview day.
- Don’t wear anything too tight.
- Don’t wear anything too flashy.
- Keep accessories to a modest minimum.
- Look sharp!
For more tips and details, read our guide on The Ideal Attire for Medical School Interviews.
On the big day, most medical schools start with a general presentation of the medical school, providing folders with specific information, such as school policies, curriculum, maps, recommendations of things to do in the area, and more. It’s a good idea to flip through this during any downtime so that you can learn as much as you can about the school and come up with some good questions to ask interviewers.
You will also be given a schedule of your interviews for the day, the number of which can vary depending on the school. It’s important to know exactly where you have to be and at what time.
For more information, read our comprehensive Medical School Interview Guide, which covers how to schedule your interviews, what to wear, common questions, and how to prepare.
Live the Interview Experience With Mock Interviews
Med School Insiders offers a course on How to Ace the Medical School Interview that provides thorough and thoughtful training that covers the entire interview process. We offer mock interviews with former interviewers who will provide you with direct feedback on how effectively you answer and ask questions. Mock interviews provide an opportunity to put your interview skills to the test so that you know exactly what to expect come interview day.