Your dental school interview is the culmination of months of hard work and dedication to your career. In many cases, dental schools interview about two students for every position available in their program, meaning that how you perform during your interview can determine whether you make it into the dental school of your choice. Preparing for your dental school interview requires that you research the types of questions that may be asked of you, prepare answers to potentially tricky questions and practice your interviewing skills whenever possible.
Adding a Personal Touch
One of the main purposes of the dental interview is for the dental admissions committee to gauge who you are and whether you are a proper fit for their program. Don't be afraid to talk about yourself. Many dental school admissions committees are interested in who you are and why you are applying to dental school. Dental school interviews seek to answer three major questions: Who are you? Why do you want to be a dentist? Are you a fit for this program? Even trivial information such as discussing your hobbies, favorite books and career goals can allow your personality to show through the interview. The American Student Dental Association suggests balancing honesty with being humble, by paying credit to your mentors, professors and others who influenced your decision to pursue a career in dentistry.
Researching the School
No two dental schools are alike, meaning that you should research your school's interviewing style to best prepare yourself for a successful interview. Some schools may conduct panel interviews, placing you in front of a group of faculty and students, while other interviews may have you interviewing one on one with several interviewers throughout the day. If information on your interview is not readily available online, you may be able to reach out to current students at the school via social media to ask their opinion.
Asking questions during your interview can make you seem interested in the school and engaged in your conversation. Although many students see a dental school interview as an opportunity to advance their careers, it is also an opportunity to ensure that you make the right decision about where you will further your education. A question such as "How many of your graduates pass their state licensing exam on their first try," indicates that you are concerned with the value of your degree after graduation, while a question such as "How involved are your students in the community" sends the message that you would like to extend your skills and training to your neighbors in need.
Practice Makes Perfect
Take advantage of the services offered at your school's office of career services to prepare yourself for your dental interview. The professional career counselors at your school's career services office may be able to review questions frequently asked during dental interviews, critique your interviewing skills and give you the opportunity to perfect your responses.
Anthony Oster is a licensed professional counselor who earned his Master of Science in counseling psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has served as a writer and lead video editor for a small, South Louisiana-based video production company since 2007. Oster is the co-owner of a professional photography business and advises the owner on hardware and software acquisitions for the company.