Sitting on the other side of the interview table was a surreal experience. For me, it was simply a busy lunch period squished into the middle of my packed class schedule. For the applicant staring at me expectantly, this may have felt like a pivotal moment. I resolved to do my best to treat the short time we shared with respect so that I could learn as much as possible about my interviewee while exemplifying UCSF values in my own conduct. It was an honor to have my feedback be considered as part of the selection process for the incoming class, along with faculty interviews and the holistic application review process.
Now that my involvement in this interview cycle is complete, I would like to share a few tips that I observed made applicants really shine!
- Be proud of your story! Hearing about where you grew up, the most important influences on choosing a career in dentistry, your educational history, your past jobs, and more help us to understand who are and what led you to be here today. Sometimes you may be tempted to skim over parts of your story because they may not seem “special” enough. If a simple shadowing experience in a dental office is what convinced you to become a dentist, tell us the whole story about what energized you and inspired you.
- Give us the full answer! If we ask you about an experience, go beyond the what and tell us why it was important and how you grew from it. For instance, if we ask about research involvement, tell us more than what the project was about or your findings. Tell us how being involved with research will make you a better dental student, maybe by improving your time management or collaborative skills, or that you are inspired to continue research projects.
- Show resilience! We know interviewing is a stressful experience, but if you show us that you are able to roll with the punches with a positive attitude, it tells us a lot about your character and how you will behave under stress. Don’t let an awkward moment shatter your confidence for the rest of the interview.
Good luck to anyone in the process of applying!
Katie Dileo – Class of 2022