Another year of virtual interviews: What pre-meds need to know

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Another year of virtual interviews: What pre-meds need to know


With the increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths due to the highly contagious SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant, pre-meds should plan to continue the practice of conducting admissions interviews online during the 2021– medical school application cycle 2022

For some, this will be the third round of interviews to be conducted at least partially online, and this has allowed the process to be refined for the benefit of applicants and admissions officers.

“We started doing this at the end of the 2019-2020 cycle,” said Dr. John D. Shriner. He is the Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs at Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OUH-COM).

“I tell candidates we’ve been doing this long enough to know that everyone would like to be in person so you can put your best foot forward,” he said. “We don’t think things are compromised. We are still getting what we need from those interviews to attract the right people to our medical program.”

OU — one of 37 member schools of the AMA’s Consortium for Accelerating Change in Medical Education — recently began conducting interviews for this application season. For those who want to know what to expect, Shriner offered his insight.

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As is the case with the decision to conduct virtual rather than in-person interviews, the decision to conduct structured campus visits is made on a program-by-program basis. OUH-COM conducts smaller visiting days of approximately 25-40 admitted students at each of our campuses during both the fall and spring seasons.

“Everything will be done in a very safe way with reduced risk,” Shriner said. “We aim to have accepted students come to campus in measured numbers. It’s an opportunity to meet faculty and staff, albeit socially distanced, and create some community. It’s not required, but it’s understandable if applicants want to tour the facility and get a feel for a school they’re potentially attending for four years. Of course, this programming may change if the growing pandemic forces us to suspend campus visits.”

It’s important to make sure you’ve sorted out the technical side of the equation, as well as having your selling points and questions in mind.

“Candidates shouldn’t let that intimidate them, they shouldn’t feel as if the virtual interview is any less important,” Shriner said. “It’s as impactful as it is personal. Do your best and make the most of it.”

Get tips and tricks for virtual medical school admissions interviews.

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Last cycle, OUH-COM set a school record for applications received, posting an 18% year-over-year increase. They are not alone, apps were everywhere in what some called the “Fauci effect”.

Only about 10 percent of OUH-COM applicants last year were invited to interviews, according to Shriner. Knowing that an invitation to a medical school interview is a relatively rare opportunity, he encourages interviewees to make the most of it.

“People still need to realize that it remains very competitive to get into medical school,” Shriner said. “Last year, our incoming class had an average number of schools applying [of] 9.5 schools. Students still cast a wide net and know that getting into medical school is as competitive as ever.


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