"Do you have any questions for us?"
Here are several questions to ask during your medical school interview:
As we discussed in this post, not asking any questions during an interview may come across as a lack of interest in the school. But equally important, you may be missing out on learning useful information first-hand! By asking the right questions, you can make it easier on yourself when the cycle is over and you are deciding which school to attend (with BeMo’s help, you may receive multiple acceptances!).
Usually, we think of questions as either specific or general. Specific questions show you’ve done your homework, and are specific to one school. For example, you may have done a bit of research and found out school “X” has a unique, new curriculum, which you want to ask more about. Or you may have read on the website that school “Y” prides itself on its global health opportunities. Asking questions about topics you previously researched often impresses the interviewer.
On the other hand, general questions, in remaining a bit more open-ended, may prove to be more informative. Every applicant should have a few of those in their pocket. For example, asking a faculty why they like their institution is often a nice way to build rapport.
Below, find a list of topics that are useful to ask about during an interview. We encourage you to reflect on these aspects when browsing through schools’ websites too!
But first a word of caution... do not ask any questions that you can easily find the answers to on the admissions website! It's important that you have genuine questions otherwise it's best not to ask any questions at all.
Asking about the curriculum….
- How do students like X curriculum? Is it new? Does it focus on group-based and/or active learning?
- Is it pass/ fail? (Schools are moving towards this model)
- Is the pre-clinical curriculum 1 year, 1.5 years, or 2 years long? (Many schools are moving towards a shortened pre-clinical curriculum)
Asking about clinical rotations…
- How many hospitals do students rotate in? Do they use paper or electronic charts? (More than one hospital means more commuting, but may enrich your education)
- Are clinical grades pass/fail? (While this would take away some stress, it also means your Step scores become extra important)
- Are the standardized Shelf exams used for clinical grades? (If you loathe standardized exams, going to a school that does not use Shelf exams may be nice)
- What are some unique fourth-year electives offered? (Some schools offer short courses on the business behind owning a clinic, courses on narrative writing, or even outdoors rotations on wilderness medicine. The list is endless!)
Asking about research…
- What opportunities are available for students to get involved in research?
- Are there research stipends if I want to stay in town and pursue research my first summer?
Asking about global health…
- What opportunities do students have to go abroad during their first summer and/or during a fourth-year elective? Are they funded?
Asking about student leadership...
- What kind of student organizations are there in this school? (For example, if you enjoy writing you may be happy to hear the med school has a student-run newspaper or journal)
Asking about volunteering opportunities...
- What opportunities are available for students to volunteer in the community? (Several med schools have associated free clinics, have big refugee populations, or have established initiatives with the community (e.g. initiatives with the Latino community) with which students can volunteer)
Asking open-ended general questions…
- What do you love most about this institution? What do you love the least?
- What is it like living in _(specific town)__?
- What is the patient population here like? (Ex: rural, suburban, inner-city, indigent, wealthy, etc)
About the author:
Helena Frischtak is currently a graduating med student at University of Virginia’s School of Medicine and an admissions expert here at BeMo. Helena was a member of the admissions committee at University of Virginia’s School of Medicine and has acted as an interview evaluator.
To your success,