Upon receiving my first interview, at a well regarded med school in the Midwest, I started figuring out what I would need to bring. Snappy portfolio case, power suit, copy of AMCAS application, and of course, a light jacket. This last item was where I made a serious error. Although I was born in the Midwest, I left the area at a young age and spent my teenage and college years in a warm climate with consistent day-to-day temperatures. However, as an astute premedical student I realized that October in my state was not the same as October in the state I was visiting. I therefore took the precaution of checking the temperature the day before my departure. 65º F? Not bad. In fact, it would be a relief from the sweltering heat that had blanketed my area lately. I finished packing and headed off for the terror and exhilaration that comprises the first interview.
By the time I arrived on campus, I realized something significant had happened. The temperature had dropped over 30º and the high would be 33º, not 65º, for the next two days. A big temperature change overnight never occurred to me, nor did the fact that the tour component would involve a lot of walking from building to building. As I shivered my way through the tour I realized three things 1. The shoes that matched my suit so well were hideously uncomfortable 2. My jacket was doing little to nothing to block the wind. 3. My ears were freezing. I later learned from a savvy friend in the Northeast that taking off my metal earrings would have improved the ear situation, but as for the other two, I figured out the remedies myself. The lesson: it’s not enough to review your application, prepare some questions to ask and read up about the school. To be ready for interview day you also need to address the practical aspects of the visiting a new location. Here are some tips to help make your interview day go smoothly:
Wear or bring comfortable shoes. If your shoes have high heels or some other factor that makes them unsuitable for walking, bring a flat pair of shoes to wear for the tour. You will usually be given a schedule at the beginning of the day and will have opportunities between activities to make this quick wardrobe change.
Research the location you are visiting, not just the school. In addition to the climate, you should find out about transportation to the campus, sites to visit if you will have extra time during your stay and the realities of the traffic situation so that you don’t risk being late to your interview. If you are staying with a student host, he or she will be a great resource for these logistical issues.
Carry your suit and shoes onto the plane. If your luggage ends up in Tampa, while your interview is in Toledo, at least you will still have your interview attire.
The story had a happy ending, since the school did accept me. However, I never left for an interview again without my warmest coat stuffed into my garment bag.
For help preparing for your interview day, contact Dr. Eaton at (626) 768-2154 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a free 20 minute phone consultation.