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How important is the interview in getting accepted to medical school?
The interview is very important in getting accepted to medical school. Although intellectual ability and record of achievement are important factors, the personal interview gives the admissions committee another dimension by which to evaluate and understand other traits necessary to foster the development of a competent, compassionate, and responsible physician. The ability to communicate and interact, social consciousness, maturity, personal integrity, tolerance, service to others, and motivation for a career in medicine are among the characteristics sought.
The majority of medical schools in this country interview applicants. It is an expensive and time-consuming process. Thus, one can assume that the schools will value what their faculty and students learn about an applicant. The interview process, in many respects, is designed for the applicant as much as the school. Interviews serve as a valuable recruitment tool, provide a resource for answering questions, and help the applicant determine whether the institution is right for him or her. From the school's standpoint, a sizable component of the information gathering focuses on important character traits that include such things as integrity, commitment to medicine as a career, conscientiousness, strength of interpersonal skills, empathy, and reliability. The transcript gives some indication of academic strength, but some aspects of the interview will focus on problem-solving skills, research interests, creativity, and challenges that bring out one's best potential.