Interview: Asking Questions

The interview is a very important step in the application process. Just think of it this way: if you are invited to an interview this means that you are good enough for their school, or at least on paper you are. The admissions committee wants to see if you are all that you say you are on paper. More than likely you wrote a good personal statement, presented yourself well throughout the application, and not to mention your statistics were where they needed to be. However, the question remains: Can you present yourself well in person?

Another important aspect of the interview is asking questions. The admissions committee wants to see that you are genuinely interested in being admitted into the right dental school for you. They want to see that you have researched the school and have taken the time to figure out what is important for you to know about their school. With this said, it takes time and effort to ask good solid questions. Trust me, you don’t want to be the person caught with their pants around their ankle when the interviewer says “Why don’t you go read our website and find out about our school?” or “Why don’t you read the handout we just went over?”. Now that could be embarrassing.

I created a summary outline of things to think about when asking questions.

  • Avoid asking questions that can be found on the school’s website. This means that you are going to need to go to the school’s website and read as much as you can before the interview. Find out about the schools curriculum, the mission statement, and whatever else you can find.
  • Don’t ask questions that have been answered in the presentation. I suggest making a list of questions before the interview. These questions can include anything that is not located on the website. If you talked with a current student you can create questions based on your conversation. Have this list handy for the presentation and cross out any question that is answered. At this point, you can create follow-up questions to ask the presenter, the tour guide, or your interviewer. This will help you stay awake during the presentations and show that you are attentive to what is being said.
  • Ask questions that help you to know if the school is right for you! This is going to take even more effort on your part because you need to know what you want out of a dental school. You may want to know what types of aides that they provide for students in order to help them excel .
Asking the right questions can be difficult. You do not want to ask questions just to ask questions. However, when you do ask questions you want it to be well thought out. Questions that require the person on the other end (interviewer or presenter) to repeatedly say that they don’t understand what you are trying to ask them, is not a good way of leaving a good impression on them.
Below I have come up with a list of possible questions that you may want to ask during your interview. For some school’s these questions may be totally appropriate while other schools may provide the information on their website or during the presentation.
  1. What types of thing does the school do in order to keep students involved in community service?
  2. When does clinical experience begin? How soon is patient contact?
  3. What types of clinical experience will I have as a first-year dental student?
  4. When do students generally take boards?
  5. Is there time set aside for students to study for the boards?
  6. How do students get patients for their clinic?
  7. Does the school schedule patients for you or are the students responsible for finding and scheduling their own patients?
  8. One of the goals of Specific Dental School is to attract qualified professors. What does the school do to get the professors they do and how will they continue to draw such professors to the schools?
  9. As a professor/faculty member what aspects of this school made you want to teach/work here? If there is something you would change about the school what would it be?
There are a lot more questions that you can ask. These are examples, and by no means are they perfect examples, but they are here to try and get you to think outside the box. Feel free to comment and add any questions that you have come up with.