DePaul University Career Center's Blog

How to Nail your Professional School Interview

By: Megan Boone, Career Community Advisor

Applying to graduate programs such as medicine, dentistry, podiatry, optometry, etc.? There are many steps to complete in the admissions process, including interviewing. Preparing for your professional school interview can look a bit different compared to preparing for a job interview. Although there is no way of knowing exactly what the interviewer is going to specifically ask, there are common trends to guide you through preparing and nailing your professional school interview.

Here are 5 specific tips and tricks:

  1. Practice common questions by mock interviewing. Mock interviewing can be a great way to practice answering interview questions and refine your responses. Reviewing commonly asked questions on your own can be useful to see different types of questions. Taking it one step further and talking through your responses will allow you to start feeling comfortable voicing your answers. Having a friend or family member ask you questions is a great way of mock interviewing. Want to practice answering questions verbally individually? Check out Big Interview, a platform that allows you to record yourself answering common interview questions and receive feedback virtually. They have a specific graduate school deck of questions that cater to medical, dentistry, veterinary programs!
  1. Always research the school and program prior to the interview. Going into an interview, it’s important to do your research. Specifically, look at the school’s mission statement and choose aspects that are of interest and stand out to you. A common question asked is why this school or program, it’s vital to show your interest in specific aspects of the program and how you would like to add to it. Applying and interviewing at several programs? Create a spreadsheet or document to have all of the information in one place. 
  1. Prepare questions for the interviewer. In any interview, once the interviewer reaches the end of their questions to the candidate, they may ask if you have any questions for them. As a candidate, it is crucial that you ask the interviewer(s) questions to learn more and show your interest in the program. It’s encouraged to prepare a couple of questions prior to the interview as it can sometimes be difficult to think of questions on the spot. The questions prepared can vary from asking about logistics of the program or school to asking the interviewer about their role in the program and their background. It’s important to keep in mind that interviews are not only an opportunity for the school to learn about candidates, they are also a way for candidates to gain information about the school.    
  1. Dress for success. On the day of the interview, it’s important to feel confident about yourself and all of your accomplishments. Make sure that you are dressing professionally while also feeling comfortable, the last thing you want to worry about is feeling uncomfortable. It is suggested to wear traditional or business suits (conservative colors) or skirt suits (conservative, below the knee, nylons if you choose a skirt). Looking to build your closet with professional clothing? Visit our Career Closet on either campus (LPC or Loop) to gain a variety of new or gently worn business professional clothing free of charge and yours to keep. For more information about specific locations and hours, check out our website.
  1. Send thank you notes. In any interview, it’s important for candidates to connect with interviewers to thank them for their time and to provide a specific example from the interview that you particularly enjoyed. Within 24 hours of your interview, you should follow up with all of the interviewers you spent time with. A hand-written thank you note or an email are both appropriate examples of following up with your interviewer. The goal of your note is to leave a lasting impression on the interviewer while identifying something specific that you discussed and enjoyed about the interview. 

Looking to practice mock interviewing? Unsure how to prepare for your professional school interview? That’s exactly where we come in. Whether you’re a freshman or an alumnus, it’s never too early (or too late) to utilize our services. Book an appointment with Megan, or another member of the advising community through Handshake, or by calling the front desk at (773) 325-7431.

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