You need to know what to bring to a medical school interview to maximize success. Your interview is one of the most crucial steps toward medical school admission. It’s a great honor to be invited to participate, getting the right med school interview advice goes a long way. We’ve taken a look at the top things to bring if you want to rock your next med school interview!
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What to Pack for the Day of Your Med School Interview
What should you bring to your medical school interview itself? You can put together a kit made up of your interview resources and your emergency preparedness items that we’re going to break out for you below.
Beyond just having your portfolio good to go, you also want to be prepared in case of an emergency that may arise on the day of your interview. We’ll have you packed and prepped for a few common emergencies so that you can keep calm during the interview and let yourself shine through!
One way to learn how to prepare for a medical school interview is by grabbing something basic like this padfolio. You can also get a portfolio folder from your university bookstore.
Your portfolio is where you’ll keep all of your interview materials. That way, everything is accessible in an easy-to-carry format.
- Look for a standard, professional portfolio.
- Store your important documents like your research, application, and resume.
- Keep a writing utensil on hand.
- Consider making multiple document copies just in case.
Your resume or CV should contain all of the information about your experience that you’d like to highlight during your med school interview.
If your resume contains any information you didn’t include on your general application, make sure you’re prepared to discuss it.
- Make sure you have multiple copies.
- Review it heavily before the interview to prepare.
- Be ready to speak about your experience.
- Find out how many copies you’ll need to leave with interviewers.
- Have solid references for your experience.
#3: Copies of Your Personal Statement
Your personal statement is your explanation of why you’ve applied to medical school. This is your chance to stand out from the crowd. You will be able to tell your story and explain why you deserve to study at this medical institution.
- Bring a copy for each interviewer.
- Talk about your life experience and the reason you’re applying to medical school.
- Follow guidelines for writing a personal statement.
- Be honest, thoughtful, and direct about your motivations.
Read our guide on How to Write a Medical School Personal Statement
#4: Abstracts or Articles You’ve Published
Many pre-med students do research and writing projects prior to entering medical school. If you’ve been part of any research projects, or you’ve done self-directed research, you should be prepared to talk about it.
- Have multiple copies in case your interviewers want a copy.
- Do mock interviews to practice presenting your research.
- Tie your presentation back into your personal statement if possible.
#5: Notebook with Questions
You’ll want a notebook to take notes. You should also prepare interview questions for your interviewers. An interview is a two-way conversation, and you want to make sure this school is right for you. Here are some questions you can ask, or look to for ideas, simply adjust for medical school.
- Use a notebook and pen that are easy to carry.
- Tailor your questions to the specific school.
- Try to compare this school to other medical schools you’re interested in.
- Get contact information to keep in touch with people you meet.
- Take notes throughout your interview and tour.
#6: Thank You Cards
A thank-you card lets the admissions department know that you care about the school. It also shows that you respect the time your interviewers took to meet with you. Bring the cards with you on interview day, but don’t give them to your interviewers immediately.
- Handwrite the cards immediately after the interview.
- This will let you recall specific details while the conversation is still fresh.
- Mail the cards to the Admissions Department.
- Thank each interviewer for their time, expertise, and attentiveness.
#7: Stain Removing Pen
Oh no! You just spilled some of your coffee on your crisp, white blouse while braking at an intersection en route to the interview. Perhaps ketchup dripped on your collar while you were grabbing a quick lunch at the campus. There are a thousand ways your clothes might become stained, especially if you’re wearing white or tan colors.
If you have a stain removing pen on hand, you’ll be ready for anything!
- Purchase a portable stain removing pen that can handle small messes.
- Store it with your other interview items.
- If you need to use it, do so quickly, before the stain sets in.
#8: Clear Nail Polish
You might be surprised to learn that clear nail polish can be used to help damaged tights. If there’s a run in your tights on interview day, you’ll want to protect your clothes from further harm. You can dab the edges of the run with clear polish.
While this won’t repair a run by itself, it will seal the opening so that it doesn’t widen. You can also use hairspray to prevent the tights from snagging on jagged materials.
- Keep a bottle of clear nail polish with you.
- At the first sign of a run in your tights, dab the fabric with the polish.
- Consider spraying hairspray over the run to keep it from snagging.
- Invest in a pair of tights that aren’t prone to runs like these.
#9: Lip Balm
Chapped lips are awful. They’re distracting, uncomfortable, and they make it difficult to speak. You’re going to be talking a lot during your interview, so it’s important to carry lip balm on you.
If you’re prone to chapped lips, you might want to invest in a long-lasting lip balm, like this from Burt’s Bees. That way, you won’t have to reapply it as often throughout the interview day.
- Keep a tin or stick of lip balm in your pocket.
- Use lip balm in the days leading up to the interview to prevent chapped lips.
#10: Breath Mints
A lot of people keep breath mints in their car to freshen up during the day. In the same way, use breath mints to freshen up right before your med school interview. Not only will they keep your breath from smelling, but they’ll also give you something to concentrate on if your nerves act up.
- Keep a tin of breath mints with your interview supplies.
- Choose whatever minty flavor you like best.
- Chew them after eating and before your interview.
- Don’t chew them during the interview, though!
#11: Traveling Toothbrush
Most people need to travel for their medical school interviews. Unless you live short driving distance of the med school of your dreams, you’ll have to pack for a trip. And even if you don’t need to travel, bringing a traveling toothbrush to interview day is a very good idea.
You can use it to scrub your teeth after you eat, which ensures you won’t have any gunk stuck between your teeth during the interview. Travel toothbrushes are smaller and more portable than full-sized ones, so adding this to your interview kit is simple.
#12: Band Aids or Mole Skin
Formal shoes aren’t comfortable and unless you regularly attend formal occasions, your interview shoes probably aren’t broken in. Band aids and mole skin can protect your ankles and heels from chafing and won’t require you to walk around in high heels for weeks leading up to your interview.
Not only is chafing painful, but it can lead to blisters and sometimes even bloody heels (this has happened to me before and it was mortifying).
- Wrap your ankles and heels in mole skin before putting on your shoes.
- If the shoes only chafe a little, put band aids in the blister area instead.
- Bring backups in case you need to replace them.
Knowing what to bring to med school interview is half the battle. Use a packing checklist if you’re traveling long-distance. If you’re flying, pack light and avoid checking a bag.
Checking a bag is a hassle, comes with fees, and leaves the potential for lost items (you don’t want to be buying a new interview outfit hours before an interview). If you keep everything in a carry-on, it will remain secure for the whole trip.
#1: Interview Outfit and Backup
Pick out your medical school interview attire and a backup. By having two outfits, you’ll protect yourself against potential mishaps.
Like any trip away from home, hygiene is important. Remember your toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant. If you’re not staying in a hotel that provides them, bring your own shampoo and conditioner.
Have some cash on hand instead of a card alone. Cash gives you some security in case you have any security issues with your card, and it also makes it easier to tip servers.
#4: Lint Roller
Even if you don’t have to worry about pet hair, clothes pick up dust and debris easily. Pack a small lint roller to keep your interview outfit neat.
A portable steamer can remove wrinkles from your clothes without the hassle of ironing. It’s a must, especially if you pack your clothes in a suitcase.
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#6: Traveling Iron
A steamer can’t fix deep clothing wrinkles. A traveling iron will let you remove wrinkles prior to your interview.
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#7: Umbrella or Trench Coat
Weather patterns are unpredictable. Bring a coat or umbrella to protect yourself if campus is rainy or chilly on your interview day.
#8: Backup Glasses or Contacts
You don’t want to become suddenly unable to see while away from home. Backup glasses and contacts protect you from that scenario.
#9: Ear Plugs
Baby next to you on the plane? With ear plugs, you can rest before your interview instead of losing sleep.
#10: White Noise Machine
A white noise machine serves the same purpose as ear plugs, especially if you’re in a hotel on a busy night.
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After Your Interview
Take a few moments to write down some of your impressions on your interview and after visiting the campus. Some prompts for doing so can be found here.
You also need to make sure that you get your thank you letter to your interviewers or to the admissions department within 24 hours of the interview.
Next, you should be preparing your medical school letter of intent that should be sent out to the school you intend on attending, should you be admitted. Read more on how to write a medical school letter of intent.
Knowing what to bring to medical school interviews can give you much-needed peace of mind.
Your medical school interview is a big deal, but it shouldn’t be a terrible stressor. With being packed and prepared, you’ve done all you can to be ready for the big day. Now all you need to do is let yourself shine! You’ve got this.
Did this article on what to bring to a medical school interview help you? Let us know how your interview goes in the comments below!