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How To Prepare For Your Dental School Interview- tips from an interviewer

March 11, 2011
Thank you to Interviewers

Admissions Director Pattie Katcher and Faculty Interviewer Dr. Piskorowski

Considering how vividly I can remember my own dental school interview, and having had the opportunity to participate in the process as an interviewer, I thought the topic of “how to prepare for your dental school interview” would be an especially good one for me to write about.

The first thing you should know, is that the University of Michigan, School of Dentistry does things a little differently than most other schools.  (At least as compared with the other schools where I interviewed!)  MMI, Multiple Mini-Interviews, are a unique system at U of M, where you have a series of short, one-on-one conversations with several interviewers.  Closely timed, each applicant is asked to read a one page or less paper, then talk about it with the interviewer.

The first thing I would say to a prospective applicant is to be ready for this system!  Granted, it’s not the sort of thing you can prepare for ahead of time.  But you should know the basics of what you’re in for and don’t be surprised when it happens to you!  I know it sounds cliché, but the best advice is to just try to relax, take a few deep breaths and be yourself!

The topics themselves change year-to-year and are widely varied.  Most topics are dental or health care related but don’t require specific dental knowledge or background.  Again, this is not exactly something you can (or should necessarily) prepare for. Hopefully, by the time you get to the application process, you will have spent a good deal of time around dentists and learning about many of the issues facing the profession.

It is not important that you have a preconceived opinion about any of the given issues.  What I found, is that what matters is that you can formulate an opinion based on what you read and can articulate it in a clear and concise manner.

When I was being interviewed, I remember thinking over and over, “What answer are they hoping for?”  Don’t waste time thinking about that!   Having experienced MMI’s as an interviewer, I can tell you that this is really not what matters!   Doing well here is about being an effective communicator, prioritizing the points you want to make and being able to talk intelligently about these topics that don’t necessarily have a right or wrong answer.

You can research and get an a little better idea of what it’s like from other applicants on various website/forums such as studentdoctor.net or predents.com.  But I would caution you to take what you hear online with a grain of salt.  First of all, what’s written online isn’t exactly highly regulated (or necessarily accurate).  More importantly, you don’t want your answers to sound rehearsed.

Personally, I love U of M’s approach.  With each applicant being rated by so many different interviewers, you’re not at the mercy of how well you get along with any one person.  Your evaluation is more objective and a decent means to evaluate your level of knowledge and interest in the profession of dentistry.

I wish you the best of luck in your visit!

Kevin Lukis, D2, enjoys walking, playing hockey, cheering on the Wolverines and spending time with family and friends.  As an undergrad he majored in biology and went on to enjoy a 12-year career in dental technology sales.  He jokingly refers his decision to apply to dental school and become a dentist as his “mid-life crisis” done a decade early, since he can’t afford a cherry-red Lamborghini!

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