You’ve landed the coveted medical school interview. Congratulations! But what should you do if your interviewer asks a question that makes you uncomfortable or one that is off limits? What are these questions? What is considered out of bounds in a medical school interview?
First, anything that is in your application and that you have divulged is fair game in an interview. If you’ve disclosed a medical condition or mental health challenge or the death of someone close to you, the interviewer may ask you about it in an interview. You open the door to questions about anything that is in your primary or secondary application once you’ve written about it. So do not be caught off guard or be surprised if an interviewer asks you whether you’ve recovered from a health condition that was disclosed. If you wrote about it, be prepared to discuss it.
Second, interviewers have every right to ask about poor grades or academic challenges. If your transcript shows that you experienced academic difficulty, be prepared to discuss it. Don’t be surprised by any questions about academic challenges or MCAT performance.
But some questions are considered inappropriate, especially pertaining to where else you have applied or interviewed. While these questions might be asked out of general curiosity on the part of an admissions committee member, it’s none of their business. And it makes applicants intensely uncomfortable because they can perceive that the interviewer may be biased against them depending on where else they have applied/interviewed.
These questions are intrusive. No interviewer should ask these questions but unfortunately, some do, and it seems to be getting more commonplace. How should you handle this?
- Be vague by responding in generalities. You could say that you have applied to a range of schools across the country, without giving specifics.
- The same goes for the question about where you have interviewed, while making sure you’re being honest without being forthcoming. Speak in generalities, whenever possible, so that you avoid giving concrete information while remaining polite.
You should also consider informing the admissions office about these questions or any others you believe are inappropriate. They would want to know that someone on the admissions committee is asking inappropriate questions and making applicants uncomfortable, thereby giving the applicant a negative impression of the school.
If you have questions about your situation, feel free to reach out to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
–Liza Thompson, Expert Medical School Admissions Consultant