One of the questions that is commonly posed during the medical school interview is “Why do you want to go to this school?” While the obvious answer for many pre-medical students is “because it is a medical school!”, the more appropriate answer is one that demonstrates the applicant has some knowledge and particular interest in the school itself. In a perfect world, an applicant would have their choice of medical school, but with the reality of the competitiveness of admissions, applicants often don’t have a plethora of acceptances to pick and chose from. However, during the interview it is still important to convey why you are interested in that school and how it will complement your future ambitions.
To be prepared for this question, avoid providing a generic answer such as “there are lots of research opportunities” or “the community service program looks good.” The optimal approach is to provide an honest answer on how the school will suit your interests. To do this, do some research about the school prior to the interview and determine what they offer that is appealing to you. Do you like technology? Well this school offers a curriculum that is interactive-iPod based. Do you have an interest in primary care? This school offers a longitudinal primary care mentorship beginning the first year of medical school.
The best answer is to give specific examples of opportunities that the medical school offers to show that you recognize what makes them unique and that you will be happy if you get accepted there. Medical schools want to know that you will fit in and contribute to their student body, so if they don’t meet your interests, it may not be the best school for you. Although you may feel that you’ll go anywhere that sends the coveted acceptance letter, seek out each school’s opportunities that motivate and excite you. After all, you are unique and harbor distinct qualities, you want to be sure you will fit in and the medical school will fit you.
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