The Interview

interview

Admissions Committee

The Admissions Committee is comprised of over 200 faculty, students, and community physicians. Currently 21 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.

Interview Sites​

  • 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.
TRUST Interviews:
  • Applicants for Washington TRUST interview in Spokane.
  • Applicants for Wyoming TRUST interview in Laramie.
  • Applicants for Alaska TRUST interview in Anchorage.
  • Applicants for Montana TRUST interview 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). 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 Schedule

Selected applicants will receive an interview invitation between October and March. Interviews are held in Seattle, Spokane and across the WWAMI region. All the states will use the same basic interview format, but there will be some differences in the schedule of activities at each location. If you will not be interviewing in Seattle, please visit your state’s website for more information.


Washington

  • Spokane
    ​All Washington TRUST interviews are held in Spokane:
    February 5-7, 2018
    Non-TRUST Washington interviews for applicants interested in studying at the Spokane campus:
    November 20-22, 2017 and January 8-11, 2018

  • Seattle
    October, 2017 through 1st week in March, 2018

Wyoming

  • Wyoming resident interviews are held in Laramie (TRUST and non-TRUST):
    February 5-8, 2018

Alaska

  • Alaska resident interviews are held in Anchorage (TRUST and non-TRUST):
    January 29-February 1, 2018

Montana

  • Montana resident interviews are held in Bozeman (TRUST and non-TRUST):
    Februrary 12-15, 2018

​Idaho

  • Idaho resident interviews are held in Boise:
    January 8-11, 2018 (TRUST and non-TRUST)
    February 26 - March 1, 2018
    (non-TRUST)

The Interview

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.

“One of the greatest experiences I’ve had at UWSOM so far was the interview. I had been on a few other interviews prior to UWSOM, and each had their own defining moments where I gained insight to the institution I was hoping to be a part of. With that said, the defining moment for UWSOM and the driving force for me to choose to come here was the way my interview panelists made me feel during my interview."

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. You will learn the names of the committee members you will be meeting on the day of your interview.

Interview panels for candidates from Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho include two committee members from their state and one committee member from another site. This format occasionally varies 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)).

The interview is not rigidly structured, and questions are based on interviewer preference and specifics from your written application. A unifying factor of every interview will be a role play scenario, in which the interviewers pretend to be patients/colleagues/physicians, and you are asked to join in and work to come to a solution/agreement. You are not expected to have or use specific medical knowledge; the goal is to see how you talk to someone who is anxious, distressed, or needs help.

“In my UW interview I was pretty surprised when I was asked to role play the doctor as my 50-year old admission committee member played a 12-year-old girl. This emphasis on empathy, communication, and the doctor-patient relationship is unique to the UW interview. I have particularly enjoyed my classmates because they are excellent communicators, real people whom I would want as my doctors.”

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, body language, eye contact, as well as skills in transmitting information to others and communicating across difference.
  • 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 including social determinants of health?
  • How well do you think “on your feet” to analyze problems and present alternative solutions?

After your interview, each interviewer rates your interview 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. To learn more about what happens after your interview, please visit our Decision page.

Please note that you are welcome to send thank you notes, and/or grade updates to the Office of Admissions either via regular or electronic mail. We ask that you do not contact your interviewers directly.


Preparing for Your Interview

The following are questions to think about while preparing for the interview. They are also designed to reinforce or make you question your decision to pursue a career as an M.D.:

    Motivation
    1. What excites you about a career in medicine?
    2. What concerns you about a career in medicine and how do you get past your concerns?
    3. How did you decide that being a doctor was the right career for you?
    4. How have your experiences prepared you for a career in medicine?
    5. What personality characteristics do you have that will make you a good doctor?
    Communication Skills
    1. Can you express an idea or thought concisely? (in less than 1-2 minutes)
    2. Do you rephrase what someone has just told you to make sure you understood it correctly?
    3. Do you look for body language signifying emotional reaction such as agreement, disagreement, annoyance, happiness, fear, anger, excitement, disappointment, or despondency?
    4. Do you interrupt someone when they are speaking to you?
    Empathy
    1. Can you imagine yourself in someone else’s position?
    2. Do you consider how someone else might feel about a situation given their experience, culture, and/or social context?
    3. Can you replace your hopes and plans for someone with their own hopes and plans?
    4. Can you understand, accept, and value someone else’s opinion when it is different from yours?
    Knowledge of the Field of Medicine
    1. What personal attributes do you consider most important for success in research?
    2. What do you consider markers of success for a physician?
    3. What personal attributes do you consider most important for success as a physician?
    4. What attributes do you feel are necessary to elicit hope and trust in patients?
    5. What medical error(s) have you seen and what did you learn?
    6. Why do you think community service is a category on the AMCAS application?
    7. If you were putting together a health care team, who would be on it?
    8. How is the role of the physician changing?
    9. What does it mean to be a professional?
    10. Choose one of the issues facing health care today and describe how you might go about addressing it.
    11. What do you think people in the US are most concerned about? How might this affect their health (or not)?
    Analytical Thinking/Problem Solving
    1. If you had all the money in the world and could snap your fingers, what problem would you solve? How?
    2. 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?
    3. How do you resolve conflict at work, home, in the classroom?
    4. A patient brings you a very expensive gift. What would you do?
    5. A patient writes you a love letter. How do you handle this situation?
    6. 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?
    7. You catch a fellow student cheating on an exam. What do you do?
    8. Describe a moral or ethical dilemma that arose out of an interpersonal relationship. How did you handle it?
    9. 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?

    10. 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.
      1. 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.
      2. What do you know about the problem? (tell the interviewers)
      3. What do you need to know about the problem before you can provide a reasonable answer? What information are you missing? (tell the interviewers)
      4. 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.
      5. 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.

In Addition:


What else can I do on my interview day?

  • Attend a Class
    Depending on where you interview and what day you visit, you may be able to attend a class. On some days classes may not be available because students are taking a test, practicing in the anatomy lab, or are learning at the bedside. You will be informed on the day of your visit whether you will be able to attend.
  • Meet Students
    Current students will meet you for lunch and will be happy to answer any questions you may have. You will also receive contact information for current students. If you are traveling to Seattle and are interested in staying with a student host, see student host program.

    University of Washington Campus