Medical school interview days are fun and stressful. Candidates present their best performances to convince medical schools that they are strong candidates.
After the long day of interviewing, it’s important to relax. But before you completely relax, here are four important steps to take immediately after the interview.
- Reflect on your performance in the interview.
- Write thank you notes.
- Keep in touch with the people you met.
- Record your impressions of medical school.
Reflect on your interview performance
Interviewing is a practiced skill, and medical school applicants can continually improve over time.
Before all the interview questions and details slip out of your memory, make notes about your medical school interview as soon as possible. If you have breaks during your interview day, you can also use this downtime to take notes on your interview performance. Be as detailed as possible so that you can review these notes as you prepare for the interview.
It is important to reflect on how you can improve your answers in the interview. Were there any answers you could make more succinct? Were there answers where you could link opportunities in medical school? Were there times when you could have been more specific and given examples? Jot down specific ideas and stories that you can incorporate into your interview responses.
Also, think about whether there are actions you can take to make your interview day stronger next time. For example, should you bring a resume or a copy of your research summary? Do you want to print a piece of paper that goes over the main points you want to discuss during your interviews?
Doing well in medical school interviews also requires a strong mindset. Naturally, many pre-med students are nervous before and during interviews. After the day of the interview, reflect on what helped calm your nerves.
For example, some candidates find it helpful to take a walk or go to the bathroom before each interview. Others find it helpful to practice some common medical school interview questions ahead of time to get into the groove of the interview.
Write thank you notes
As with other job interviews or graduate interviews, it is common to write a thank you email to your interviewers. Writing and submitting them within 24 hours is standard practice.
But who should you write thank you emails to? If your medical school interview consisted of traditional one-on-one interviews with professors and/or students, send a thank you email to each of them. If you’ve had a mini multiple interview, you normally shouldn’t email your MMI interviewers. Instead, write a thank you note to the medical school admissions office.
If you miss the 24-hour window, don’t worry. You can still write a thank you email, and I suggest reminding interviewers the date you met them. Make sure the email is personalized and it’s okay to ask follow-up questions based on your discussion.
Keep in touch with people you met
In addition to your interviewers, there are likely many people you met during your medical school interview day, including other medical school students and other applicants. If you exchanged emails with these individuals during med school socials, send them out immediately. If you don’t have their contact information, find them on social media.
I kept in touch with one of the other candidates during my interview day at the Stanford University School of Medicine. We exchanged notes throughout the application cycle. We both ended up enrolling at Stanford Med, and he was one of my first friends in medical school.
Keeping in touch with other medical school applicants and current students can help you learn more about various schools. For example, you might hear about specific aspects of the curriculum, medical school culture, and student organizations. These insights can be helpful when determining which medical school to attend.
Register your impressions about the Faculty of Medicine
During the day of the interview, you will be provided with a wealth of information about medical school, including culture, curriculum, financial aid, and housing. Looking at the unique aspects of a school can help you to differentiate between them.
For example, some medical schools have certain afternoons off so that students can relax or use that time to pursue extracurricular opportunities. More schools are shortening their preclinical curriculum to 1.5 years instead of the traditional two years. Others have opportunities for combined degree programs such as MD-MBA, MD-MPH or MD-MPP
Many medical schools also give students scholarships so they can take an extra year to conduct research.
One aspect of a medical school that I think greatly influenced the student culture was the living arrangements. Do medical students live in dorms or are they spread out in apartments nearby? The dorm-style housing feels more like college and allows medical students to be closer to other students, which appeals to some individuals but not others.
From the information collected during the day of the interview, record the housing options available to medical students and whether the medical school subsidizes affordable housing. Affordable housing options are particularly important in expensive places like New York City.
These small but impactful actions immediately after your medical school interview can help you build a strong network of mentors and friends during the admissions cycle and prepare for potential acceptance.