The interview is an important part of the dental school application process. An interview invitation generally means that you are academically qualified to be admitted. Now the school wants to take a closer look at you to determine if you have the personal qualities they consider important, such as effective communication skills, integrity, leadership ability, decision-making skills, and a genuine enthusiasm for their school. You should be prepared to discuss: (1) yourself, (2) the school, and (3) general issues about health care.
It is important to relax and be “yourself,” to answer questions honestly, and to not second-guess the interviewer. For advice on adopting an effective approach to your interview, please see our blog entry, Interviewing for Medical and Dental School: Empathy for your Interviewer.
The interview is an opportunity for you to share your strengths, interests, goals, and values. Although the interview provides the school with a chance to evaluate you, remember that it also provides you with an opportunity to learn about the school. For advice on how to prepare for interviews, please see our blog entry, 5 Tips for Medical and Dental School Interviews.
The Multiple Mini-Interview
The Multiple Mini Interview, or MMI, format is used by some dental schools as an alternative to the longer, conversational one-on-one interview. You will be informed ahead of time if the school uses this interview format. The MMI is structured around a series of timed exchanges with different interviewers. You will read a scenario or question and have a few moments to gather your thoughts before speaking with the interviewer. You might be asked to discuss your thoughts or asked to role play your response with an actor.
For information and advice on the MMI format, please see our blog entry, The Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI): Interviewing the Speed-Dating Way.
- Dress professionally and conservatively, in a suit.
- Start and end the interview with a good handshake, and maintain eye contact throughout the interview.
- Be professional and courteous at all times while on the school campus.
- Turn off your cell phone when you arrive on campus.
- Bring a portfolio with a notepad and pen to jot down information as needed.
- Bring copies of your 1-page resume and your application.
- Write a timely thank you note to every person who interviews you.
Resources to Help You Prepare
The dental school interview is a unique, in-person opportunity to convey who you are to dental schools. For this reason, you should devote time to preparing by practicing talking about yourself and your experiences. For a non-exhaustive list of possible (non-MMI) interview questions, please see Sample Dental School Interview Questions.
If you have a webcam, you can do a practice medical school interview through InterviewStream, which you can access through the Career Services website.
If you have an interview scheduled, you can set up a mock interview with a pre-health advisor by calling 215-898-1789.