How to nail the interview

There's no doubt that Dental School interviews cause a lot of angst and anxiousness. And yet, it is the most crucial factor in admissions. You can ace the bench test, but if your interview does not go well. You could end up on the waitlist. 

Dress Code

Having attended a dozen interviews between the co-founder of this website and me, one thing we can tell you with certainty is SUIT UP! Almost everyone on the interview day will be suited up. For my UCSF interview, I was the only one not wearing a blazer, and I stood out (not for the right reasons). Having learned my lesson, for the University of Michigan interview, I had a bespoke suit made. An investment into a good suit will serve you well. Alternately, men can wear a long-sleeved, collared button-down shirt with dress pants and well-kept dress shoes. For women, a nice blouse with dress pants or a skirt would be great. Women should also wear well-kept dress shoes, though be careful with too high heels. Because they may not be comfortable if you have to do a lot of walking around the school.

BE ON TIME

Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early for the interview. This allows for any delays such as traffic or locating the university campus, which could be quite a task. Showing respect for the interviewers time is part of making that good first impression.

WORK THE ROOM

Once you are on campus with the other students, introduce yourself and greet everyone with a handshake and smile. An excellent first impression means you are approachable during the entire interview process. Smiling is also a great idea. Don't be over-indulgent, but show you're friendly with smiles at appropriate times. Laughing at jokes will also make you more approachable and break the ice. Do not dominate the room and also do not be submissive. Strike a balance!

Final Interview Process

Remember the interview is a conversation, and that the faculty wants to get to know you as a person. Be yourself and be honest in your answers. Try to find specifics that back up your answers, so you'll be able to enter the conversation mode. Be spontaneous, though you should practice answering some basic questions, answer honestly, naturally and spontaneously in the interview. Don't memorize your answers, or you'll end up sounding like you're reading from a script. Be positive. Highlight the good things from your academic past and put a positive "spin" on your background. Remember that problems can be viewed as challenges.

Commonly asked Questions 
  1. Why do you want to study dentistry in the US?

  2. Why do you want to join our school specifically?

  3. Tell us something about yourself! What are your strengths and weaknesses?

  4. What qualities can you bring to the table and how will you contribute to our school?

  5. What are your hobbies outside of dentistry?

  6. Do you have any acquaintances doing dentistry in the U.S.?

  7. If you saw your classmate cheating, what will you do?

  8. How do you plan to pay the tuition and cover finances?

  9. Explain your research/ volunteering/ leadership experiences.

  10. Talk about your clinical experience in dentistry.

  11. Is amalgam safe to use in dentistry?

  12. Name a situation where you had to make ethical decision. What did you do?

  13. Studying in our program might be hectic. How will you deal with stress?

  14. Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years? What are your future plans?

  15. What is the most craziest thing you did this summer?

  16. If not accepted, what will you do?

  17. Do you have any questions for us?

Get your own questions

Another way to show your interest is to come prepared with questions. Show your excitement and your desire to know more about the college during the admission interview. This will make you more desirable to the school.  Visiting the school websites is a great way to get a start on this.

Non Verbal Cues

For one of the schools (I can't disclose which one) they had a psychologist reading your body language during the interview. So appear confident even if you are nervous. I understand its hard. We have been in your shoes too. Following a few tips may be helpful.

 

  1. Maintain eye contact. Practice keeping good eye contact while listening and speaking

  2. Body positioning- You want to stand and sit in open positions – arms by your sides, not crossed. Make your body take up a lot of space, rather than making yourself smaller. This is how to seem confident.

  3. Don't fidget. Nervousness is understandable but having a stable body posture and language is important in front of the interviewers.

  4. Smile and try to enjoy the process.

  5. Greet people! 

  6. Talk slowly and clearly - Confident people take their time, and aren’t afraid to say, “that’s a great question, let me think for a second" Once you blurt out an answer in your interview, you can’t get it back. So never be afraid to pause

STILL GETTING ANXIOUS?

BREATHE! Take a few seconds off to breathe deep and slow every now and then. It works. Use the restroom when possible and get a good stretch. Yes, you heard that right! Stretch your hands out and relax. That helps in calming down the adrenaline rush too.

FOLLOW UP

The admission process doesn't end with the interview. Remember, you want to show them how excited you are to be part of their school. This will require some follow up on your part. The best way to show your excitement is to send a thank-you email. You will want to send the thank you within 24 hours of the interview. Please keep the email concise and show the interviewer their time was valuable to you.