We wish all our readers a happy and successful 2019 and to rock your dental school interview!
Speaking of a new year, it’s also almost the time for a new application cycle to open for advanced standing and residency programs for a lot of international dentists, perhaps like yourself.
After you have finished submitting your ADEA CAAPID and supplemental applications, it’s time to gear up for the next step: the dental school interview. In this article, we aim to provide some tips to make your interview a successful one and how to avoid having a nerve-wracking experience. Remember, your dental school interview is an opportunity for you to shine so make sure to show the school what you’ve got by preparing thoroughly.
Your application only gives the evaluators a limited glimpse of who you are. Interviews, on the other hand, are an essential part of the application process because it provides the reviewers an opportunity to have a deeper understanding of your personal qualities, in addition to your academic achievement.
There are a couple of interview styles for dental schools. It is better to contact the school and ask what format the interview is and prepare for that type. If you prepare in advance, you will be at an advantage. Different interview styles such as multiple mixed interviews (MMI), group or one-on-one interviews will require different preparation, so it is best to be emotionally, mentally and physically ready for it.
Though the dental school interview process varies from school to school, you can expect the following in your upcoming interview:
- Welcome lectures
- A campus tour with a group of fellow interviewees
- The interview could last 4-6 hours
- Possible conversation with dental students who are currently enrolled in the program
- Actual interview sessions may range from school to school from 10 minutes to over 60 minutes, with the average being around 30 minutes. There are individual interviewers (most common and casual talk), multiple interviewers (more formal questions), group activities (like that of USC’s). Sometimes your interviewers may be staff, faculty, or even current dental students.
- Student financial presentations
Now we move on to some tips specific for a dental interview.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Once you have acquainted yourself with the interview format, research thoroughly about the standard questions. Write down your tentative answers and review them. Rehearse them in front of the mirror or practice them with your family and friends. You must leave the best impression you can during your dental school interview. How quickly you build rapport with others will reflect your communication skills. A mock interview would be a great way to practice.
Work on your body language
Ask someone to take a video of you as you vocalize your answers. Reflect on your body language and voice modulation. Your shoulders must be relaxed, and you should minimize any nervous habits like shaking your legs or making too many hand gestures. Find a way to deal with anything that makes you nervous. Stay calm at all cost.
Your attire for the day matters as well. For men, a long-sleeved suit with a buttoned shirt and a tie works well. For women, pants or skirt suit would be professional. Just keep in mind a few things regarding your attire:
- Wear well-ironed clothes
- Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication
- Don’t wear any flashy jewelry
- Keep your hair tidy.
Show them what’s unique about you
Don’t always memorize your answers; be spontaneous as well. The conversation should flow. Answer your questions with enthusiasm and positivity, be reflective of your past experiences and be honest about your weaknesses. Portray your passion for dentistry with some examples. Show them your role as a future health provider.
Bring your own questions
You will have the opportunity to ask questions about the program during the interview. Do not take this for granted since the questions you ask will also provide an insight on how you think and what possible concerns you may have.
- Arrive early at the venue
- Make sure you have a peaceful sleep the night before your interview
- Eat a healthy breakfast
- Be prepared to answer questions from your application
- If you feel it’s appropriate, you could send thank you cards/notes later
The sooner you start preparing, the more you will be ahead of the game. Make sure you bring something unique to the table, making you stand out from the rest of the applicants. Don’t be pretentious. Make it as personal and natural as possible.
If you do not feel confident, taking help from professional services may be a good option for you. Apply early and start focusing for the interview proactively.
According to you, what is the most helpful preparation you need to complete before taking an interview? Let us know, and we’ll love to elaborate on it further!