A Big Hello to my Lovely Readers!
This post is going to be all about my experience interviewing at Canadian medical schools, specifically the University of Ottawa and the University of Toronto.
This year has been one of the most eventful of my life. I could not believe that I would be interviewing for a spot in medical school. It has always been my dream to be a physician and provide such a wonderful service to patients, and this year was my time to prove that I could do it! I did everything I had to do to apply: I wrote the MCAT, completed my ABS, got reference letters, wrote my essays, sent off my application, and then it was time to wait.
The last thing on my mind was that I would actually receive an interview. I was a third year undergraduate student, so my competition was pretty tough. I had to beat out fourth year students, master’s students, and Ph.D. students. I knew I worked my butt off to achieve high grades, get a good MCAT score and be involved, but I wasn’t sure if I would make the cut. For months I waited, and then I finally received my first interview at the University of Ottawa.
I received an interview invitation by email, followed by an interview package. Everything was clearly outlined for me. I knew where to go, what to wear, and how the day would be organized. The university also provided a calling list for the interview candidates, so that any questions could be answered for us. It was a nice touch.
I had about a month to prepare for my interview, however I had been preparing (just in case) since my application was sent off. I read books, listened to podcasts, and practiced scenarios. I felt pretty good. As the interview day approached, I continued to practice by going to a mock interview at my university and having my friends ask me ethical questions.
Finally, it was interview day.
The day of the interview I woke up early, got myself ready, and went to the building hosting the interviews. I got there pretty early so that I could easily find everything and attend the information sessions held for the candidates. I mingled with candidates and medical students, took a tour, attended the information sessions, and then collected my thoughts before the interview time. I didn’t feel too nervous. I honestly believe that allowing yourself to arrive early and calm down helped with my nerves. Also, I got to chat with some incredible candidates and medical students, which distracted me from all my thoughts.
Finally, it was interview time. I was escorted to my interview room by a friendly fourth year medical student. The interview was a 40-minute panel style with three interviewers: a medical student, a physician, and a member of the admissions committee. The questions varied from typical job interview style questions to ethical situations. I felt confident and I had heard pretty much all of the questions before during my preparation. Before I knew it, my 40 minutes were complete. It honestly felt like I was in there for less than 10 minutes. Again, I was escorted out by the medical student and the waiting game continued. I interviewed in late February and wouldn’t hear back until early May.
After my interview, I continued my daily activities and studies. I thought that I wouldn’t hear back from any other schools and that my interview preparation was complete, but I was pleasantly mistaken.
In late March, I heard back from the University of Toronto for an interview to their medical school. I was so shocked that the invitation brought tears of happiness to my eyes. This was the best medical school in Canada, and they wanted to interview me! Fortunately, all of my preparation for Ottawa could carry over for Toronto, as their interview styles are both panel. The only difference between the two schools is that Toronto has Modified Panel Interviews (MPI), which is a one on one panel style (one interviewer and one candidate). Again, I prepared by looking through books, listening to podcasts, and practicing ethical scenarios. I also went to another mock interview at my university, which was incredibly helpful.
My interview date was early April and I followed the same routine as Ottawa. I got up early and went to the interview building well in advance in order to calm my nerves and feel comfortable. Once again, I met wonderful students and candidates, and we chatted about the school and the city. I also attended information sessions and campus tours. It was very similar to Ottawa’s agenda, so I felt at ease.
Before I knew it, it was time for me to go my interview. As I mentioned the interview was MPI format, so myself and three other candidates were grouped together and brought to our “interview hallway.” Each of us stood in front of a different door, with a different interviewer inside it, and we each rotated from room to room. Each interview was 12 minutes long with a short break in between. It was very laid back and the interview itself was very conversational. Again, there were simply job interview style questions as well as ethical situations, which was similar to Ottawa. I felt confident and well equipped to answer all of the questions thrown my way. I think that my preparation allowed me to anticipate certain questions and themes that I saw during my interviews. I interviewed this time in early April and, like Ottawa, will be hearing back in early May.
I can’t believe the year I have had so far. I experienced everything from writing my MCAT and applying to medical schools, to interviewing and waiting to hear back. I cannot believe how close it is to the date that we receive the status of our application. The anticipation is definitely getting to me now! My fingers are crossed and I am praying each day that I hear back with great news. I will be sharing my tips to prepare for interviews in the coming weeks – after I hear back!
I would like to thank all of my readers for following me on this exciting journey and supporting me with all of your encouragement! I really hope that I will be sharing positive news with you all very soon!
Pink and Premed