Standout on Your Dental School Interview: Traits Schools Want

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A pre-dental student on her dentistry work experience placement in Tanzania If you have made it as far as a dental school interview, it’s time to pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Competition to get into dental school is tough. If you have been invited to an interview, it means the schools are interested in knowing more about you.

But it is not quite time to relax yet. A dental school interview can sometimes be the deciding factor on whether you get accepted or not. It may seem like a lot of pressure, but there are several ways you can stand out in your interview.

 

Understanding the Process

Your interview format may vary by school. Some dental schools hold group interviews while others conduct individual interviews. There can be pros and cons to both styles of interviews. During a group interview, you may feel some of the pressure is off, but it can also be harder to stand out.

Interviews may also be closed or open. A closed interview means the person who is conducting the interview has not seen you application. This is done to prevent bias.

You have no say in the type of interview you get, so be prepared to go with the flow. The most important thing is to answer your questions honestly and try to convey certain traits that dental school want.

Traits Dental Schools Are Looking For 

There are several traits that dental schools are looking for in candidates, such as those listed below.

Honesty: There is no bigger mistake on a dental school interview that to lie or misrepresent yourself. Always tell the truth. If you have something on your application that is negative, don’t make excuses. If asked about the issue, do your best to explain what happened and how you learned from the experience.

Detail Oriented:  Many dental procedures involve paying close attention to small details. The difference between a successful procedure and problems can be in minor details. When you are answering questions, try to highlight ways you are detail oriented.

A Desire to Help People: This should be easy to convey in an interview. After all, part of why you want to be a dentist maybe to care for others. You will likely be asked why you are interested in the dental field. Take the opportunity to explain your desire to help other people.

Strong Interpersonal Skills: If you are planning to be a dentist, it is helpful to be a people person. All throughout your interview you have the opportunity to show your communication skills. Smile, make eye contact, be friendly and if appropriate, interjecting a little humor may be OK.

General Tips

Although a dental school interview can be nerve-wracking, it can also be a positive experience. Remember an interview is also a time for you to learn more about the program. Take a deep breath, and keep a few suggestions in mind.

  • Be early
  • Dress professionally
  • Smile
  • Offer a firm handshake
  • Avoid controversial topics
  • Make eye contact
  • Be yourself
  • Don’t worry about appearing nervous, your interviewer was once in your shoes
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