Overview of Medical School Interview Process
The Admissions Committee is comprised of over 170 faculty, students, and community physicians. Currently 20 of this number serve on the Executive Committee (EXCOM). Each non-Washington WAMI state (Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho) has at least one representative on the Executive Committee.
Screening our Applicants
All completed applications undergo an assessment by two to three Executive Committee members to determine if the applicant should be invited to interview. Two assigned reviewers make independent determinations concerning the merits of an application. If there is disagreement between the first two reviewers, the application goes to a third who breaks the tie. Applicants with two positive responses will be invited to interview. Those who receive two negative responses will not be considered any further for admission.
Selected applicants will receive an interview invitation between October and March. Interviews are held in Seattle and across the WWAMI region.
- Washington residents may interview in Seattle or Spokane, depending on their preferred site for Foundations Phase.
- Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho residents interview in their home states.
- Applicants from outside the WWAMI region interview in Seattle.
- Applicants for Washington TRUST interview in Spokane.
- Applicants for Wyoming TRUST interview during the first week of interviews in Laramie.
- Applicants for Alaska TRUST interview in Anchorage.
- Applicants for Montana TRUST interview during the first week of interviews in Bozeman.
- Applicants for Idaho TRUST interview during the first week of interviews in Boise.
All applicants, no matter where they interview, are invited to visit the University of Washington’s Seattle campus on one of the Seattle interview days, join the
UW Campus tour and meet students and faculty.Please note
that all regional applicants are considered as a cohort, which means that they are compared to other applicants from that particular pool (Montana applicants are compared to other Montana applicants, for example). Starting in 2015-2016, Washington applicants who prefer to spend their Foundations Phase in Spokane will also be considered as a cohort. These applicants will interview in Spokane, and will be compared to other Spokane interviewees rather than to the entire Washington applicant pool. Interview assignments will be made based on the applicant's preference in the secondary application. With any questions, please contact the Office of Admissions at (206) 543-7212.
Interview Contact Information
Selected applicants will receive an interview invitation between October and March. All the states will use the same basic interview format, but there will be some differences in the schedule of activities at each location.
Seattle Interview Schedule
The interviews in Seattle are held weekly from mid-October through mid-March.
Some Washington residents and all of out of WWAMI region applicants will interview in Seattle.
- 8:00 Applicant 1
9:00 Applicant 2
9:30 Sign in
9:45 Welcome and Overview
11:00-11:30 Q & A Session
11:30-12:30 Lunch with current medical students
- 1:00 Applicant 3
2:00 Applicant 4
3:00 Applicant 5
4:00 Applicant 6
If you are interviewing in Seattle, please arrive in Suite A-300 of the Health Sciences Building 15 minutes before your interview if you are interviewing in the morning
OR prior to 9:30 am if you are interviewing in the afternoon. This will allow you time to check in.
Regional Interview Schedule
If you will not be interviewing in Seattle, please visit your state’s website listed above for more information. If your state does not have a website devoted to the interview process, you can use the email addresses above to ask on-site staff any questions you have about the interviews being held in your state.
All Washington TRUST interviews are held in Spokane:
February 1-4, 2016
Non-TRUST Washington interviews for applicants interested in studying at the Spokane campus:
December 3, 4, 7, 8, 2015 and January 7, 8, 11, 12, 2016
October 2015 - March 2016
Wyoming resident interviews are held in Laramie:
January 11-14, 2016
Alaska resident interviews are held in Anchorage:
February 1-4, 2016
Montana resident interviews are held in Bozeman:
January 4-8, and February 8-11, 2016
Idaho resident interviews are held in Boise:
January 11-14 and February 22-25
If you have been invited to interview, congratulations! The faculty, students, and staff of the University of Washington School of Medicine look forward to welcoming you to the School and introducing you to its programs.
You will meet with 3 interviewers simultaneously and the interview will last approximately 30 minutes. One of the interviewers is a member of the Executive Committee on Admissions (EXCOM) and will represent you during the decision making process. The Executive Committee member has access to your entire file, including previous applications. The other members of the interview panel may be faculty members from throughout the WWAMI region, medical students, or representatives from the lay community. These interviewers see only your current application - without your grades and MCAT scores.
Interview panels for candidates from Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho include one to two committee members from their state and one Washington member. This format can vary depending on availability of interviewers and reapplications (Re-applicants are screened and interviewed by committee members who have not seen the applicant’s earlier application(s).
Each interviewer rates you independently and submits his or her evaluation. The 3 interviewers then discuss their opinions and the EXCOM member submits an overall evaluation. If one interviewer has a significantly different impression from the others, you MAY be invited for a second interview with a different group of interviewers. All of these evaluations are subsequently available to the Executive Committee during the meetings at which decisions are made.
The interview is not rigidly structured. Members of the Admissions Committee know how much rests on this meeting, and many of them have gone through this process before you. They are not "out to get you," but want more in-depth information about who you are and how much you know about what you are getting into.
Specifically, the interviewers will try to determine the following:
- What has motivated you to pursue a career in medicine?
- How well do you communicate with others? This includes listening skills as well as skills in transmitting information to others.
- Can you put yourself in the place of a patient; are you empathetic?
- What do you know about the practice of medicine and issues in delivery of health care?
- How well do you think “on your feet” to analyze problems and present alternative solutions?
After your interview, you are welcome to send thank you notes, and grade updates to the Office of Admissions.
Please do not contact your interviewers directly.
Preparing for Your Interview
The following are questions to think about while preparing for the interview. Also. they may reinforce or make you question your decision to pursue a career as a Medical Doctor:
- What excites you about a career in medicine?
- What concerns you about a career in medicine and how do you get past your concerns?
- How did you decide that being a doctor was the right career for you?
- How have your experiences prepared you for a career in medicine?
- What personality characteristics do you have that will make you a good doctor?
- Can you express an idea or thought concisely? (in less than 1-2 minutes)
- Do you rephrase what someone has just told you to make sure you understood it correctly?
- Do you look for body language signifying emotional reaction such as agreement, disagreement, annoyance, happiness, fear, anger, excitement, disappointment, or despondency?
- Do you interrupt someone when they are speaking to you?
Knowledge of the Field of Medicine
- Can you imagine yourself in someone else’s position?
- Do you consider how someone else might feel about a situation given their experience, culture, and/or social context?
- Can you replace your hopes and plans for someone with their own hopes and plans?
- Can you understand, accept, and value someone else’s opinion when it is different from yours?
Analytical Thinking/Problem Solving
- What personal attributes do you consider most important for success in research?
- What do you consider markers of success for a physician?
- What personal attributes do you consider most important for success as a physician?
- What attributes do you feel are necessary to elicit hope and trust in patients?
- What medical error(s) have you seen and what did you learn?
- Why do you think community service is a category on the AMCAS application?
- If you were putting together a health care team, who would be on it?
- How is the role of the physician changing?
- What does it mean to be a professional?
- Choose one of the issues facing health care today and describe how you might go about addressing it.
- What do you think people in the US are most concerned about? How might this affect their health (or not)?
- If you had all the money in the world and could snap your fingers, what problem would you solve? How?
- You are on a committee to solve a particular issue. You disagree with the direction being set by the chair of that committee, and strongly feel that it is incorrect. What would you do?
- How do you resolve conflict at work, home, in the classroom?
- A patient brings you a very expensive gift. What would you do?
- A patient writes you a love letter. How do you handle this situation?
- You are called to the ER to see a patient that has a problem supposedly in your area of expertise. When you arrive it becomes obvious that this patient has a completely different type of problem. What do you do?
- You catch a fellow student cheating on an exam. What do you do?
- Describe a moral or ethical dilemma that arose out of an interpersonal relationship. How did you handle it?
- There is a new drug to cure a certain type of cancer, but it is extremely expensive. How do you decide who should get the drug?
An approach to Problem Solving during your interview|
The interviewers are looking for your approach to solving problems.
They want to know how you “think on your feet” and are as interested in your process as in your answer.
- Define the problem:
If you have been asked a question or been given a patient scenario, rephrase the question or situation to make sure you understood it correctly. If not, ask for clarification.
- What do you know about the problem? (tell the interviewers)
- What do you need to know about the problem before you can provide a reasonable answer? What information are you missing? (tell the interviewers)
- Gather the information you are missing as much as is possible during a relatively brief interview.
If the problem is within a doctor-patient role play, you can gather information from all those participating in the role play, the patient, the family, friends etc.
- Provide your answer or alternative solutions based on your understanding of the problem and the information you have gathered and show how these have influenced your decisions.
What else can I do on my interview day?
Attend a Class
Several course chairs welcome applicants to sit in on their classes. Classes begin 30 minutes after the hour and break for 10 minutes each hour from 20-30 minutes after the hour. Plan to enter and exit the room during these times to keep disruptions to a minimum, you will only able to attend the lecture sessions of classes.
Student hosts will meet you for lunch and will be happy to answer any questions you may have. There will also be contact information for current students in your packet, as well as the opportunity to stay with a current student -
see student host program.