It’s the end of your medical school interview. After being barraged with questions, the interviewer got all the answers he or she needed from you. S/he looks at you and says, “OK, I’m done here. Do you have any questions for me?” Taken a little off guard, you just say “uh… no.”
And that’s it. The interview is over. Did you do something wrong?
The Inevitable Last Question
I can assure you that the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions of your own. Responding with “no” makes you look uninterested — so I would recommend planning a response to the question. Preparing a top of the line question to ask your interviewer is not something most premeds can generate off the cuff.
What Do You Ask?
Start by asking a couple “warm up” questions. Your questions should be open-ended rather than confirming obvious facts, and they should demonstrate that you are interested in realizing the school’s mission. Medical schools are looking for students who add value. Therefore, if you ask questions relevant to student life, and what direction the school and students are going, this will indicate to the interviewer that you have already considered what positive contributions you would make if you were accepted.
The Medical Program
This is the most pertinent topic and if you ask anything at all, let it be about this (especially if your interviewer is a physician faculty member).
Some possible questions to ask: In what direction do you see the program going? Are there any expected future changes? What do you think are the strongest aspects of this program?
Only ask questions on research if you have done some work in it as a premed. If you’re just asking about research and overplaying it without any experience, the interviewer will know. However, if you’re really into research science, do ask — interviewers love that.
Some questions to consider asking: What is the most exciting research going on campus right now? What are some future research opportunities? How can students conduct their own research?
There’s plenty more to being a med student than just research and your medical program. Ask about some possible perks you’d be getting once you get in. This will also demonstrate your interest in the well-being of the school and its community, rather than just your studies.
Questions to consider asking: How are the student wellness programs? What financial advisors are available to students? What are the recreational facilities on campus?
The One Big Question
There remains one question that you should ask before the end of your interview. After you have asked one or more questions above, then it’s time to ask “The Question” of your interviewer.
Here it is:
Is there anything in my application, or in any of my answers today, that was unclear or left you unsatisfied?
Asking this question effectively sets up your interviewer to either tell you “yes,” in which case you get a chance to clarify your question, thus saving the interview, or “no,” in which case the interviewer is basically telling you that you’re a qualified applicant for his/her school.
This question is an awesome way to solidify your relationship and status with the interviewer.
Any Other Ideas?
Do you have any other ideas for questions to ask your interviewer — or your own stories about questioning your interviewer? Please share them in the comments below!