I just got home from my second medical interview at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio (UTSA). From reading about this institution, I was a bit wary about its quality of education; however, upon seeing all the opportunities dedicated towards cancer research and neurosurgery, I was forced to reconsider my preconceived notions.
Unlike my UTMB interview where there were two interview sessions consisting of two interviews (either both in the morning or both in the afternoon), UTSA held both its interviews in the afternoon. Similar to UTMB, I had the worst luck ever. In Galveston, my first interview had to be rescheduled due to the interviewer being ill. In San Antonio, my second interviewer had to be rescheduled for unknown reasons. Oh well, at least it’s over with and I’m home.
My first interview was with a fourth year medical student planning on pursuing an ob/gyn residency. She was also on the student panel earlier in the day, so I had a chance to converse with her. Little did I know that she will ultimately represent me to the admissions committee when ranking students. UTSA’s interviewers are only aware of our personal statement and undergraduate institution; therefore, applicants have to somehow verbalize their involvement in extracurriculars, research, etc. as they respond to the interview questions. Some things she asked:
- Briefly tell me about yourself
- If you have three tests and all those extracurriculars, how do you deal with everything?
- You sound like an exceptional applicant (she was flattering me), so please give me a few sentences which summarize everything you’ve just told me so I can present it to the admissions committee.
I really can’t think of too many questions she asked, because the interview was really more of a conversation. She herself is a student, so I felt comfortable asking her about the “inside scoop” at UTSA, and she presented a convincing argument in favor of the campus.
My second interview (the rescheduled one) was conducted by a psychiatrist who actually went to the UT Houston medical school and had her four year residency at Baylor College of Medicine. This brought up some interesting discussion regarding the differences between UT Houston and UT San Antonio, but what it boiled down to in her eyes was the feeling of “family” that only a small school like UTSA can offer. Anyways, I was a bit worried being interviewed by a trained psychiatrist analyzing every gesture, eye movement, and word choice… but it was really enjoyable. Some things we touched on included:
- Tell me about your parents (education, background, etc.)
- Explain why you graduated early from both high school and college. What’s the rush?
- What do you plan to do in your year off?
- How would you tell a seven year old that he needed brain surgery?
- Tell me about your research experiences, if any.
She went on to offer a lot of great advice regarding medical school in general. The idea of medical school being just a stepping stone while residency is where the true education takes place. How competition in medical school seems pointless, since we’re all working towards one goal. And how she thinks a well-balanced approach, as noted by the research experience and extracurricular involvement I brought to her attention, would be extremely advantageous to an aspiring student like myself.