One of the most important and difficult parts of the application process is writing the personal statement. You should give yourself plenty of time to complete this, and expect to have to revise the essay many times. During the writing process you should have as many people help you with it as possible, including members of the Pre–Professional Health Committee, the Writing Center and peers.
The letter is not just a list of what you have done in your life, nor is it a Viking saga which chronicles every event, as it should not be longer than two pages, double–spaced. You should write about something very important to you, and what impact it has had on your life both professionally and personally. Possible topics you may wish to consider include:
- Academic experiences
- Research or internship experiences
- Personal interests such as community service, hobbies or extracurricular activities
- Your particular interest in health science
- An event or person who has influenced you greatly
- What makes you different
You should make the personal statement engaging so that the person who reads it would be interested in meeting you. Remember, this is a way in which you can stand out from the crowd. Above all else, make sure the final version of the letter has no errors in it whatsoever.
The second opportunity you will get to distinguish yourself from other applicants is during the interview process. When you are in the interview you should answer all questions in a straightforward and honest way. Do not give the response that you think the interviewer wants to hear; instead give your true response to the questions.
You should take with you to the interview a copy of your entire application, a most recent version of your resumé, any publications or presentations you have completed, writing material and some reading material.
Possible Interview Questions
Questions about you:
- Why do you want to be a doctor?
- What has motivated you towards this profession?
- What are your strong points?
- What are your weak points?
- What do you do in your spare time?
- How do you handle pressure?
- What is the most important decision you have made?
- What is the single most important event in your life?
- Tell me about yourself.
- What would you do if you saw someone cheating?
- Whom do you admire and why?
- What are your nonscience interests?
- What are your reading habits?
- What have you read in the last six months?
Questions about your education:
- Are you satisfied with your credentials?
- Why did you chose to attend Wagner College?
- What is your most favorite class?
- What is your least favorite class?
- Do you grades reflect you true ability?
- How do you perceive the adequacy of your high school education?
- Do you think the MCAT (or other exam) scores reflect a person’s true intelligence?
- Have you had any research experience?
- Tell me about your major.
- What changes have you noted in yourself since you started attending college?
Questions about professional school:
- What do you expect to get out of this professional school?
- What do you think you will like least about professional school?
- How do you plan to fund your professional school education?
- What do you find attractive about this school?
Questions about your career:
- Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
- Are you interested in a particular field of medicine?
- What is your perception of your personal role as a physician (or dentist or veterinarian)?
- How would you feel about having to work in a poor or rural area?
- What will you do if you fail to get into professional school?
Questions about the medical profession:
- What qualities make a good physician (or dentist or veterinarian)?
- Have you any work experience in this field?
- What is one major problem affecting this field?
- What do you feel about the erosion of doctors’ reputations?
- What changes would you make to the current health care system?
- What do you know about current health issues?
- What are some recent developments in this medical field?
- How do you feel about the claim that doctors can easily be replaced by machines?
Questions about your family:
- Tell me about your family.
- Do you want to have a family?