So you applied to schools, you’ve gone through the daunting months of waiting to hear back – checking your email 148 times a day… And now you’ve been invited to interview!!! Woot woot! This might be the most exciting yet most nerve-wracking day in your whole life. This is your chance to seal the deal… and put the icing on the cake… So how do you do that exactly? I can’t promise you admission to your top school of choice. But below I have listed some tips for interviewing that will hopefully steer you in the right direction and help you feel much more composed come interview time.
Do not go into the interview blind. Confidence and an organic approach are key, yes, but to do zero prep work is just not smart. This is NOT the time to “wing it”. Look over your admissions essays and highlight the key points you made. This is your chance to reiterate your strengths and shine the limelight on what makes you unique. Why did you apply to this school in the first place? Know that answer! How is this school different than all of the others and why do you want to go there? If you’ve never even read the mission statement or welcome page for the school you’re interviewing with – you may want to do that ASAP. Also think about why you are pursuing this career. If they ask “Why will you make a good nurse?” you better not be stumped!
Think about these simple yet tricky questions and gain confidence in your answers. If you can answer “Why?” with confidence and clarity, you’re off to a great start.
Jot down notes
Get some killer key points about yourself down on paper and make a point of mentioning these during the interview. This could be anything from your stellar 4.0 GPA in undergrad (although, highlight “work ethic” and “dedication” rather than touting your excellence) to your life changing experience as a doula in South America (and express WHY it was life changing!). Don’t make the list too extensive – maybe 3-4 points that you personally want to be sure to mention. If there isn’t an opportunity to mention all of them, don’t worry. They have your essays and info in front of them. This is more or less an opportunity to help you stay on track and ensure you don’t get out of the interview thinking, “OMG I cant believe I didn’t mention I was in the Peace Corps!!!”
Don’t be shy
This is not the time to be overly humble about your successes and aspirations. Do you want to start your own private practice one day? Tell them that! Want to work abroad in disaster relief? Mention it! Are you an advocate for health policy and pro-choice?? TELL THEM! The ambition, drive, and ability to stand for something unique is what will make you stand out. Don’t go off on a political rant… but if you are a die-hard feminist and you chose this career to fight for birth control rights, let that advocacy shine girl (or guy;)!!
Don’t over think it
Be yourself. Be friendly, be open, and most importantly be honest and passionate. The easier it is for this conversation to flow (whether on the phone or in person), the more intrigued they will be by you. First and foremost, the admissions committee wants genuine, driven, real human beings as candidates for their program.
**A note about phone interviews**
Yes, phone interviews feel much more impersonal than in-person interviews. But try to treat it the exact same way. I highly recommend showering and getting dressed professionally before the interview. Sometimes you can just hear it that someone is in their PJ’s still laying in bed with morning breath. Not the time! Make sure you are somewhere with near perfect phone service and no screaming children around. Be conscious to not speak over the interviewer and allow there to be a few seconds of silence here and there. Speak clearly and confidently and you’ll do great!