Nailing your interview.
Students are often most nervous about the interview aspect of their application to university & if you are too, don't worry! We've all been there. There are a variety of things you can do to prepare yourself the best you can for your interview.
The Standard Interview is a discussion based on your personal statement and general knowledge about the dental profession. This gives you the opportunity to expand on any parts of your personal statement or your life in general that help you stand out amongst other candidates or that have given you key skills to help you through your dental career.
For example, it may be a good idea to mention that time you worked in your local soup kitchen, or did a sponsored swim.
You may also be asked to talk about what you saw on work experience and how you felt the dentist or the rest of the dental team handled certain situations. It might be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the NHS structure. Part of being a dental student and dentist involves keeping up-to-date on any changes within the NHS or new GDC guidelines. To give you a jump-start, here's a link to help introduce the current structure of the NHS.
Get to know your personal statement well before your interview!
Multiple Mini Interviews
Many dental schools have now implemented the MMI-style interview, in place of the standard face-to-face interview. These "multiple mini interviews" are quite a hit with some people and they are typically interactive. A typical MMI comprises a circuit of mini stations and candidates rotate from station to station. Just think of it as speed dating for dental students! At each station, candidates are asked to complete a task or answer a couple questions. MMIs can help schools identify applicants who have the qualities and potential to be a good clinician. They often test communication skills, critical thinking, your attitude and ethical beliefs among other things.
Tips for Interview Day!
You may want to familiarize yourself with the course structure or test drive the answers to some popular questions. Often, people buy "getting into dentsitry" books to help them prepare for interviews. Ask an older person from your school if they have any materials you can borrow! Also be sure that you pack all the materials they request of you and read the required documentation before attending the interview.
Get a good night's rest the day before! You don't want to be drained the day of your interview. A good night's rest will help you to be alert and ready to perform your best on the big day.
Looking our best helps us to feel our best. The typical style for dental school interviews is business casual. Guys, polish your dress shoes, and iron your slacks and shirts. You may even want to pop a blazer and tie on if you're feeling especially lucky! Girls, choose a nice dress or slacks or a skirt and a nice blouse. Remember it's important to be comfortable in whatever you wear! No need to wear your tallest heels!
Be on time.
Actually, be early. Arriving to the school 45 minutes before hand gives you the chance to find the department or room where you are supposed to sign in and gives you time to relax and breathe before you go into your interview.
The interview helps dental school administrators choose the people they think will make fine clinicians, and confidence is a key characteristic. Interviewers will understand that you are nervous, but they will look out for those who are able to put aside the nerves and get the job done! This is very important for a dental student or dentist when dealing with patients. So when you walk into the room or station greet the interviewer with eye contact, a firm handshake and stand with confidence. Don't forget to smile!