Potential Interview Questions for Dental School

Whether you have one interview or seven interviews it is important to be prepared for each one. Each school has slightly different interviewing styles and favors certain types of questions, whether that be ethical, critical thinking, or “get to know you” questions. While preparing for your interviews take the time to go to the school’s website and read the information given about the school. You do not want to be “caught with your pants down” when you ask a question to one of the faculty and they say “why don’t you go read our website?”. In the same instance, one of your interviewers may ask a question that is easily answerable if you do a little research about the school. If for nothing else, being prepared will put your mind at ease and make the interview that much less stressful!

There are a few things that you need to be able to do well at the interview in order to be successful. Some of these include, but are not limited to:

  • Present yourself with a professional appearance
  • Be courteous/professional 
    • Be on time
    • Use please and thank you
    • Use correct title (Mr., Mrs., Ms, Dr. etc…)
    • Avoid yawning/sleeping during presentations
    • Avoid removing yourself from a presentation (unless medical emergency). Time is generally given for bathroom breaks or go before you get there!
    • Do not interrupt others while they are speaking
    • The list goes on…
  • Ask genuine questions (“Interview: Asking Questions”)
    •  Don’t ask questions that have been answered in the presentations
      • Create a list of questions before the interview and check them off as the presentations are given.
    • Avoid asking questions that can be found on the school’s website
    • Ask questions that help you to know if the school is right for you!
  • Be prepared to answer questions
    • Be aware of time when answering questions
      • Give a 2-4 minute answer on detailed questions such as tell me about yourself or why this school? The interviewer will prompt you if they want more than what you have given them.
      • 1-word or 1-sentence answers usually we are inadequate to answer questions effectively
    • You do not have to answer immediately!
      • Don’t rush into answering a question immediately.
      • If you are not prepared for the question use a small amount of time to think and formulate a response (5-30 seconds should be plenty).
    • Practice answering questions
      • Create a list of common questions and formulate answers to these questions (list is presented below)
      • Be sure to practice answering the questions out loud! Find a spouse, sibling, friend, pet or mirror to practice answering the questions to. This will help you to answer the questions smoothly and with confidence
      • There may be some questions that you want to have “canned” or in other words memorized. However, practice answering these questions in a way that it does not appear to be a memorized answer. The interviewer wants to know that you are human!

If you can do the four things listed above you WILL have a successful interview! In order to further help you to prepare, I have come up with a list of common interview questions. These questions should help get you started but I would also recommend trying to find questions that are asked at the specific school you will be interviewing at.

Potential Interview Questions

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. Why should we choose you? What do you bring to the incoming class?
  3. Why did you choose the school that you are interviewing at ?
  4. What are your strengths/weaknesses?
  5. Why are you interested in dentistry? Why are you a good fit for dentistry?
  6. Are you a people person? How do I know?
  7. Why did you choose to get a ___Biology___ degree?
  8. Tell me about your academic background and explain the gaps in your education. (Do not voluntarily talk about negative academic history during interview, only if they bring it up.)
  9. How do you handle constructive criticism?
  10. Talk about your shadowing/dental experiences.
  11. Can you explain the leadership positions you listed?
  12. What will you be doing in 5 or 10 years? Where do yo see yourself in 10 years?
  13. What will you do if you do not get in this year?
  14. Where does ____ fall in your dental decision (1st, 2nd, etc) and what do we need to do to entice you here over other schools?
  15. Are you organized? How is your time management?
  16. Why did you become interested in dentistry?
  17. What makes you stand out from other candidates?
  18. What do you see as some of the negative aspects of dentistry?
  19. What can you tell us about the curriculum at this school?
  20. What qualities make a good dentist?
  21. Talk to us about __(manual dexterity activities listed on application)__.
  22. How do you know you will succeed in dental school?
  23. Would you consider yourself to be “good” with your hands?
  24. Given that you have a wife and 2 kids do you think you can be successful in dental school?
  25. What do you do in your spare time?
  26. What activities do you do for fun?
  27. Why did you change your career from ____ to dentistry?
  28. If you are working in a group and someone is not doing their part, what do you do?
  29. What did you not like about your shadowing experience?
  30. Do you think that current technology is absolutely essential to practice effective dentistry?
  31. What are some current issues that exist in dentistry today?
  32. What is something you have done that shows you have compassion for others?
  33. What are your study habits like? How do you study?
  34. What is a cavity (or other things related to dentistry)?
  35. What leadership positions have you held? What did you learn from that position?
  36. If there is a weakness in your application what would you say it is?
  37. What leadership qualities do you have? Please give an example.
  38. What do you like best about dentistry?
  39. Would you offer free dental work to someone who couldn’t pay for it?
  40. What sets you apart from other dental school applicants?
  41. How many other schools have you interviewed at and which one have you liked most?
  42. How many schools did you apply to? Follow-up: Why did you decide to apply to so many schools?
  43. Why did you decide to apply so late in the cycle? (I was asked this question in one of my interviews. I applied early June but did not complete my DAT until August 28, thus making my application complete sometime early September. Let them know that I wanted to do well on the DAT the first time around so I took the time that I thought I would need)
  44. Please explain any poor grades that you received. (Don’t offer to talk about them unless they ask you.)
  45. We see that you took a ceramics class. Tell us about it.
  46. What types of books do you enjoy reading?
  47. What was the last book that you read?

These are just a handful of potential interview questions that I came across while preparing for my interviews. I will continue to add to the list as time permits. With that said, if you have additional questions that you came across on the Internet or in your interviews feel free to post them in the comments section and I will add them to the list!

By sharing additional questions everyone can be that much more prepared. Also, if you are struggling to come up with an answer feel free to voice the concern. It is not a great idea, nor ethical,  to copy someone else’s answer but I will be able to give some ideas in order get you rolling!