Tips on crushing your dental school interview

dental admissions interview prep

Alright, so you made it through the written portion of your application, and BOOM: an email from your dream school inviting you for an interview? CONGRATS! This can bring an immense amount of excitement—but also a ton of jitters and nerves.

Here’s a few tips on how to crush your upcoming dental school interview:

Know your interview format

Prior to the interview, check to see if your school does a traditional interview or a multiple mini interview (MMI). This will help you gain a sense of how much time you will have to talk to your interviewers, keeping in mind what you really want your interviewer to know about you. Also, check if it will be an open-file interview or closed-file interview. This means whether or not your interviewer is given your written application to look over before the interview, or if they’re going into the interview knowing nothing about you. From there, you can structure your conversation so your interviewer can learn the most about of you in the limited time.

Know your “Why dentistry” answer by heart

This question gets asked at almost every school! Read your personal statement beforehand, or just simply know how to speak about why you’ve decided to embark on the journey of dentistry. Just like all other aspects of the interview and life itself, it’s incredibly important to be honest here—whether you have some crazy story that got you interested in dentistry or just genuine growing curiosity about the field, the interviewer wants to make sure you’re truly and deeply interested in the field to pursue this rigorous, yet incredibly rewarding career path.

Get to know the people around you

As soon as you walk into the school, you’ll begin an exciting day full of interactions with all sorts of people—other interviewees, current dental students, faculty, etc. This is the time to push yourself out of your comfort zone and make conversation with everyone— be an approachable person, reach out and get to know others, and make new friends with other interviewees! Talking to people about pleasant topics outside of interviews was a huge stress reliever for me, and as soon as it was my turn to walk into my interviewer’s room, I felt ready to carry on just another conversation. In addition, some schools have current dental students working the interview, so get to know them and see what they think of the school! Create that positive and engaging energy from the start and carry it into your interview for a positive experience for both you and everyone you talk to.

View your interview as a conversation

The idea of an “interview” can be intimidating by itself, let alone the thought that it may impact your chances of getting accepted to the school. These interviews are not meant to be heavy, strict interrogations! Your interviewer simply wants to get to know you better as a whole person—they already know that your application on file is good enough to get you to the next stage of the application process, so let your character shine here! If prompted, talk about your interests and hobbies both inside and outside of dental school. If your interviewer seems interested about a topic outside of dentistry, feel free to take that and run with it! The interview does not need to be strictly about dentistry at all. It is meant to be a conversation, so don’t be afraid to ask your interviewers questions too! Your interviewer will be left with a much more positive impression on you if you have a two-way conversation, demonstrating your personality and interests.

Jenna is currently a dental student at the Harvard Dental School. Previously, she earned her Bachelor's in Biology from Ohio State University, where she graduated summa cum laude.


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