Who gets invited for an interview?

A wide range of of people screen medical school applications and decide who should be invited for an interview, including current medical students, attending physicians, medical school administrators and basic scientists. Some schools and programs have minimum cutoffs for grades and standardized test scores, and the application of anyone who does not reach these levels does not even make it to the screening process. Some schools assign “points” for everything: extracurricular activities, medical college admissions test (MCAT) scores, and letters of recommendation; you are invited for an interview only when your score meets a minimum number. More often, whatever the grading system, a great deal of subjectivity goes into the decision to invite an applicant for an interview. Frequently, the screener’s personal interests and outlook play a part in the review of your application–especially if you are a “borderline” with standardized tests yet managed to succeed while reviewer is much more likely than reviewer B to screen in an application with lower-than-average board scores.

Featured article: Dr. Freedman’s medical school interview advice as posted in a recent edition of the U.S. News & World Report Medical School Admissions Doctor.

US News & World Report Features Dr. Freedman's Medical School Interview TipsIs your interviewer experienced or a novice?

The person reading your application might have years of admissions experience or he or she could be a novice, such as a medical student or a junior faculty member. Both the level of experience of the screener and his own biases and preferences often determine whether or not you are granted an interview. hours to peruse through all of your materials, it is more likely that she is tired and rushed and has a large pile of applications to review. If your application follows one that is more stellar, yours may pale in comparison. On the other hand, if the pile contains mostly mediocre-to-poor applications, yours may stand out.

Make your application distinct.

For all of these reasons, making your application as distinctive as possible increases the likelihood you will be invited for an interview. If the application bores the person reading it, you will likely end up in the rejection pile. But you must also understand that many applicants to medical school are highly your control. This is a hard truth to accept, and you can only hope that your application and letters of reference are appealing enough to trigger some medical school interview invitations. Each interview is a chance for acceptance, so it is essential to be prepared and know what to expect.


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