The VITA Medical School Interview
Written by: Areesheh Khan
COVID has changed alot about our lives, so we shouldn’t be surprised that it is also changing the medical school admissions process! Due to the lack of in person interviews in the 2021 cycle, AAMC has created the Video Interview Tool for Admissions (VITA) in order to add a way for medical school admissions to better understand their applicants. This is a free, one-way recorded interview using the online platform HireVue. Applicants in the 2021 cycle who have been selected for the interview will be invited by the HireVue system through a series of emails. The interview is anticipated to open on August 6th, 2020 and the deadline to submit the interviews is April 30th, 2021 11:59 P.M. ET.
Medical Schools Using the VITA Interview
- Baylor College of Medicine
- California Northstate University College of Medicine
- Carle Illinois College of Medicine
- Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
- Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science’
- Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine Hofstra/Northwell
- East Tennessee State University James H. Quillen College of Medicine
- Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University
- Morehouse School of Medicine
- New York University Long Island School of Medicine
- Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
- Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine
- Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
- Saint Louis University School of Medicine
- San Juan Bautista School of Medicine
- Stanford University School of Medicine
- State University of New York Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine
- State University of New York Upstate Medical University
- UCLA/Drew Medical Education Program
- University of Alabama School of Medicine
- University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix
- University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine
- University of California, Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine
- Joint Medical Program UC Berkeley – UCSF
- University of Central Florida College of Medicine
- University of Florida College of Medicine
- University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine
- University of Illinois College of Medicine
- University of Louisville School of Medicine
- University of Maryland School of Medicine
- University of Massachusetts Medical School
- University of Michigan Medical School
- University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine
- University of New Mexico School of Medicine
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine
- University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
- University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville
- University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio (MD-PhD program only)
- University of Texas Southwestern Medical School (MD-PhD program only)
- University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
- Washington State University Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
- Wayne State University School of Medicine
- Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine
- Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine
What does the VITA Medical School Interview Test?
Unlike other interviews for medical school, VITA will not test your medical experience and is not tailored for any specific medical school. The interview is designed to learn more about your personal medical school journey and about your experiences that reflect five specific core competencies: Social Skills, Cultural Competence, Teamwork, Reliability and Dependability, and Resilience and Adaptability.
Will VITA Replace Real Interviews?
The AAMC does not intend for this interview to not replace online face-to-face interviews but to be a supplement to primary or secondary applications for medical schools.
VITA Medical School Interview Format
The interview consists of six questions that you will not know before the interview. Once you access the question, you will have one minute to read and reflect on the written question and three minutes to record your response. Once you start recording, you will not be able to pause so it is important that you are in a location where you can remain undisturbed. If you complete it in one sitting the recording process will take 30-40 minutes. But, unlike other interviews, you can take breaks between each question that can be as long as you’d like, so the interview length is up to you. However, AAMC highly recommends you finish the interview within two weeks of getting the email notification.
VITA Medical School Interview Question Types and Sample Questions
The first question for the interview will ask you to describe your journey and/ or experiences that led you to pursue a career in medicine. The next five will consist of three different question types:
- Medical School/ Journey questions– will ask you to explain your medical school pursuit and steps towards it. (AAMC Sample: Why did you decide to pursue a career in medicine?)
- Past behavior questions– will ask about past experiences that reflect the core competencies. For these questions, explain the situation, what you did, and your reflection of the experience. If you cannot recall anytime you have experienced what the question is asking, you can explain a hypothetical experience or an experience of someone you saw and how it made you feel. (AAMC Sample: Describe a time when you experienced a conflict with a classmate or a coworker. What did you do? What was the outcome?)
- Situational questions– will describe a situation and you will explain how you would react and what you would do in the hypothetical. For these questions, explain why you would make the choices you decided to take and what you expect the outcomes to be. You can also reflect on your own similar experiences. (AAMC Sample: Imagine you are working in a group project and one of your teammates is not doing their share of the work. What would you do?)
When answering the questions, be sure to explain your question responses fully when describing an event or experience. Because this is not an in-person interview and you will not be asked follow up questions for clarity. You do not need to take the entire three minutes to respond to the question, but make sure to read the question carefully and respond to all parts of the question.
How to Prepare for the VITA Medical School Interview
Preparing for the interview and these questions is very similar to how you would prepare for other interviews. Make sure to provide detail, read the question thoroughly, and answer all parts of the question. Present your best self and make sure to be professional. This interview will definitely require you to reflect on past experiences that were impactful for your decision to pursue medicine and experiences that shaped who you are today.
Before the interview, go through your resume and list some experiences in your life that you believe reflect the five core competencies well. These questions, since they are not medical school specific or about medical experience, are very similar to job interview questions. You can look up some common job interview questions and think about how you would respond to them. Another way to prepare is to ask friends or family to do a mock interview with you where you take a minute to prepare and three minutes or less to respond. MedEdits can also help you prepare for the VITA interview.
Because this is a recorded interview, preparing also involves assuring access to proper technology and a quiet place to do the interview. The interviewing platform can be used with phones, tablets, or computers with access to the internet. You will also need a quiet place where you can speak freely and will not be disturbed. Practice recording some sample answers with your desired device (computers might be best for recording stability). Make sure to practice looking into the camera and not the screen, and watch your recordings to see if you fidget or if your microphone picks up your voice well.
How to Complete the VITA Medical School Interview
AAMC is using the online interviewing platform HireVue. Once you have been selected by medical schools for an interview, HireVue will send you an email that provides a link for you to start recording the interview. These emails will go out the Thursday after you’ve been selected. Once you are on the site, there will be a terms and agreements section you must sign, and then there will be a section where you will be able to practice recording your interviews. The system will automatically do a technology check, and you can see for yourself if you like the way your video and sound quality is. Then, by pressing “Start” you will be able to record your 60 second interviews. Once you have finished recording your videos, a “Finish” or “Done” button needs to be pressed so the recording can be stored. Once your interview is complete, HireVue will send you an email within 24 hours.
Frequently Asked Questions About the VITA Medical School Interview
Who will Invite me to Complete the VITA Interview?
- You will be invited through the HireVue system through a series of emails. You do not have to apply or register, all applicants in the 2021 cycle who have been selected for the interview will be contacted. You will only need to record one interview even if you were selected by multiple medical schools.
Will VITA Replace Live Interviews?
- No, VITA interviews are intended to only be a supplement to your application.
How Long is the VITA Interview?
- The full length of the VITA interview is 30-40 minutes. But you can take breaks between each question that can be as long as you’d like, so the interview length is up to you, but try to finish the interview within two weeks of getting the email notification.
Can I Retake my VITA Interview?
- No. Once your recording is made, you will not be able to access it or change it. However, If you believe you experienced technical difficulties you can submit a AAMC VITA Technology Issue Report Form within 24 hours.
What is the VITA Interview Deadline?
- The interview is anticipated to open on August 6th 2020 and the deadline to submit the interviews is April 30th 2021 11:59 P.M. ET. However, AAMC highly recommends that you complete the interview within two weeks of getting the email notification. Also make sure to see if the medical schools that have selected for the interview have their own specific deadlines.
Will I Know Which Medical School Invited me for a VITA Interview?
- No. You will not be informed which school asked you to complete a VITA interview.
What do I need to set up the VITA Interview?
- You need a tablet, phone, or computer with stable internet access and a working microphone and camera. You will also need a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Try your best to avoid bright lights and distracting backgrounds.
- Once you’ve prepared everything you can, relax! This interview is meant to give the medical school you want to go to a better idea of what makes you, you. So don’t stress, be calm, and just answer the questions in a way that shows who you really are.
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