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Graduate Program Interview Questions

Use these questions as a general outline to prepare for either the committee interview (medical and dental school applicants only) or for interviews with the health professional schools. It is important to practice articulating your answers out loud with a friend or tape recorder. Your responses should generally be 30 to 90 seconds in length. When being interviewed, applicants that do not answer satisfactorily are generally asked a series of questions that get at the issue! You want to practice some general questions that you think you will be asked (tell me about yourself), but not to the point that they sound memorized.

General questions

  • Why choose this profession over some other career in health? Dentistry? Public health? Nursing? Within this profession, what field interests you most?
  • What will you do if you fail to gain admission this year? Will you reapply?
  • How would you spend the interim year?
  • Why were your standardized test scores so low? Will you retake the MCAT/DAT/OAT/PCAT/GRE? How will you prepare to improve your scores the second time? How did you prepare for the standardized admissions test the first time?
  • Why is this school of interest to you? Why would you choose it over another?
  • Have you thought about our Problem-Based-Learning Program?
  • What do you think we should look for in applicants?
  • Are you aware of the level of difficulty in this school? How will you handle the rigorous schedule?
  • Which specialty interests you?
  • How do you plan to finance your graduate education?

Personal/family questions

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why did you choose Wittenberg? Where is it?
  • How many hours a day do you study?
  • How do you spend your time outside of the classroom?
  • Explain your research. Do you enjoy it? What did you like/dislike about research? Would you like research to be a part of your career?
  • What do you see yourself doing both personally and professionally in 5 years? 10 years?
  • What are your personal strengths and weaknesses (positive/negative qualities)?
  • What is the hardest thing you have ever done? Why was it so difficult?
  • What is your biggest regret? What would you do differently?

Thought questions

  • If you made a mistake as a health care practitioner which caused permanent harm or death to your patient, how would you deal with the patient? Family? How would you handle the mistake personally? Professionally?
  • You just delivered a baby that has Down's syndrome. The child is having problems breathing and needs to have a simple operation to take care of the problem. If the child does not have the surgery, he will die. The parents ask you not to save their son. What are the legal issues involved? What are the ethical issues? What do you do?
  • What do you think of mercy killings in the wake of a disaster such as Hurricane Katrina?
  • What type person do you foresee as being a difficult patient? How will you handle that type of patient?
  • Describe a conflict you observed between a health care practitioner and a patient. What did you get out of that experience?
  • What would you do if you saw one of your fellow students cheating? What would you do in your residency if one of your colleagues came to work with alcohol on his/her breath?
  • What are your thoughts on euthanasia? On abortion? On fetal tissue research?
  • If you were the President of the United States, what would you do to improve the health care situation in the U.S.? (Or what do you see as the positives and negatives of the President’s health care plan?) How does this situation affect your profession?
  • What changes in medicine do you think will affect your profession?
  • What are the greatest problems facing American medicine?
  • Do you think that health care practitioners make too much money? Why or why not?
  • How will you handle a patient who cannot afford to pay for your care?
  • What do you dislike about the field of medicine as a whole?
  • Tell me about your experience in a medical setting. What did you like/dislike?
  • How would you pass along bad news to a family?

Sample Allopathic/Osteopathic/Podiatric School Interview

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want to study medicine?
  • What do you see yourself doing in 5 years both personally and professionally? In 10?
  • Tell me about your experience in a medical setting. Research?
  • What will you do if you fail to gain admission to medical school this year? Will you reapply? How would you spend the interim year?
  • How do you plan to finance your education?
  • What do you dislike about medicine?
  • Describe the current movement in health care management. What are the advantages and disadvantages of our system?
  • If you made a mistake as a doctor which causes permanent harm or death to your patient how would you deal with the patient? Family?
  • An elderly man is in the hospital on life support. He has two sons. One son wants his father taken off life support, and the other wants to continue support. There is not a signed living will, and your patient has been in a coma for a month. What would you do?

Sample Dental/Optometry/Pharmacy School Interview

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why did you choose this instead of medicine, physical therapy, or social work?
  • What do you like about this profession? Dislike?
  • Tell me about your health related experience. What kinds of things were you able to do?
  • How does the current health care situation affect our profession?
  • A patient comes into your office that desperately needs a procedure not covered by her insurance. She is a single mother with three small children, and cannot pay for the procedure out of her pocket. What would you do?
  • What do you see yourself doing in 5 years both personally and professionally? In 10?
  • What will you do next year if you don't get into our program? Will you reapply? How would you spend the interim year?
  • Upon examination of a 50 year old male patient, you determine that he has gonorrhea in the mucous membranes of his mouth/eye. His wife is one of your best friends, and you now suspect that he has had extramarital activity. How much information would you divulge about your finding to his wife? Do you encourage her to get a checkup with her physician?

Sample Veterinary School Interview

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses (positive/negative qualities)?
  • Why do you want to study veterinary medicine?
  • Tell me about your experience in a veterinary setting. What did you like most? Dislike?
  • What do you think is the greatest challenge of veterinary medicine?
  • What careers are out there for veterinarians apart from the typical small animal practice?
  • What do you think about the current genetic engineering taking place in stock animals?
  • A father comes in with a dog that has just been hit by a car, and his son is crying uncontrollably. The father would like the dog to be put to sleep, because he did not want it anyway. You can easily set the broken leg and the dog would be 100% within 2 months. What do you do?

Sample Occupational Therapy/Physical Therapy/Nursing/Physician Assistant Interview

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want to enter this profession?
  • What experience have you had with a(n) OT/PT/Nurse/PA?
  • Why were your standardized test scores so low? Will you retake the GRE? How will you prepare to improve your scores the second time? How did you prepare for the GRE the first time?
  • What do you hope to gain in you personal life from this profession?
  • What type of people do you foresee as difficult patients and how will you handle those patients?
  • Nurse or PA: A nurse has worked in a hospital for several years. She begins to notice that one particular doctor has made several mistakes in diagnosis over the last several months, but has not done any serious harm. What should she do?
  • OT/PT: A physician refers a patient to you with specific instructions to treat osteoporosis. Upon assessing the patient, you disagree with the course of treatment suggested by the physician. What would you do?
  • What do you see yourself doing in 5 years both personally and professionally? In 10?
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