Ross University Blog

ADMISSIONS ADVICE: Steps for Success on Your Medical School Interview

August 12, 2015

RUSM Admissions Advisor Matt Fessler
RUSM Graduate Admissions Advisor Matt Fessler

The medical school interview is a crucial component of the admissions process, and can make or break your candidacy for medical school. Your credentials and accomplishments on paper have gotten you this far—now, the school is asking for the opportunity to get to know you in person. That’s a big deal.

We sat down with Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) Graduate Admissions Advisor Matt Fessler, who had some helpful suggestions on how to prepare and conduct yourself to ensure you will stand out in your interview.There are many factors that go into a successful medical school interview, but Matt identified three key ingredients: know yourself, know the school, and be professional.

Got a question for Matt? Send him an email!

1. Know Yourself

During your interview, it‘s important that you are able to thoroughly discuss your past experiences and accomplishments. “Anything on a resume, application, or other supporting documents is fair game to talk about in the interview,” he says. “And regardless of your qualifications on paper, if you can’t talk about yourself in an engaging way, you aren’t going to get very far in the interview. After all, we want to get to know you.”

It’s likely that you have years of educational, extracurricular, and professional experience under your belt, so it may be helpful to review your documents and resumé to ensure that your memory is fresh on any topic an interviewer may want to explore further. Just as important: that you’re able to delve into why you want to become a physician, and demonstrate an understanding of medical school and the field in general.

2. Know the School

One way to impress an admissions advisor, according to Matt, is by “demonstrating an in-depth understanding of the school.” Do research on the university and its academic program, and prepare to answer questions on why you want to go to your school of choice and what attracted you to the program. This not only shows that you are well prepared for your meeting with the admissions advisor, but also demonstrates a genuine interest in attending the program. If you don’t know much about the school to which you’re applying, the interviewer may not take your interest seriously.

Ross University Admissions - Interview Tips and Advice

3. Demonstrate Professionalism

The medical school interview is an opportunity to put your best foot forward, and professionalism in both demeanor and appearance is vital. Matt recommends you “dress to impress,” and believes it’s always better to overdress than underdress. Professional attire isn’t just suggested: it’s expected, and showing up to an interview underdressed can give a negative impression. 

“Be courteous, professional, and respectful,” he says. “And don’t forget to smile, shake hands, and make eye contact—these might sound like small things, but they can add up to equal a really positive medical school candidate.”

Be confident (but not overconfident!), and be careful when it comes to your personal life. “It's okay to tell personal stories,” he says. “But remember that there’s a fine line between what’s appropriate and what isn’t."

Action Steps: Before (and After) the Interview

In addition to the key elements above, it’s imperative that you practice your interviewing skills. Mock interviews, practicing with friends, or even practicing in the mirror can help you feel more comfortable and confident once it’s time for the official interview.

“When it comes to practice questions, ‘tell me about yourself’ is a great one,” Matt says. “Try using that as a practice exercise.”

Another piece of advice: Come with questions of your own, which is often expected in an interview. Matt recommends writing your questions down, which demonstrates that you came prepared. Some good topics to address include a school's curriculum, life on campus, what clinical training is like, and residency placement rates.

Once your interview is over, don’t forget to send an email or card to thank your admissions advisor for their time, and to touch on some things you learned and what you might look forward to as an enrolled student.

Matthew Fessler has been a graduate admissions advisor with RUSM for two years. As part of his ongoing responsibilities, Matt works closely with new first-semester RUSM students to help them successfully transition to the basic sciences program. He also advises both prospective and current students and interviews candidates for admission to the school. Email Matt at



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