What to do when the medical school Admissions Committee interview heats up
Q: I read your review of So You Want to Be a Doctor, and have a question about how the interviewer screamed at your classmate and told him he was too stupid to be a doctor. I've heard others talk about the Admissions Committee interviewer screaming at them, too. If this happens to me, how should I handle it?
Answer by Kevin Pezzi, MD: Begin by thanking your lucky stars. Surprised? I'll explain. If an interviewer truly thought that you were too stupid to be a doctor, he wouldn't bother saying that. He'd ask a few perfunctory questions, thank you for coming, and show you the door.
I'll now let you in on a little Admissions Committee secret: When an interviewer says that you're too stupid to be a doctor, it's called a challenge. He is challenging you to prove him wrong. In fact, he wants you to prove him wrong. He may have some doubts about your less-than-perfect record, but hey, most applicants have less than perfect grades, MCAT scores, or time spent saving orphan whales. He wants to see if you can think under pressure (a vital skill for doctors) and intelligently present a compelling case for yourself. If you can't do that, why should he go to bat for you when your application is discussed by the Admissions Committee?
Doctors must possess self-confidence and the ability to handle tense situations by responding in a professional manner even when the others involved are screaming, profane, or even threatening. If you've read my True Emergency Room Stories book, you will see how out of control patients and families can become. Incidentally, the book is now free but used copies of it have sold for over $80 on Amazon. The current edition is even better than the original because I included more details and added follow-up to some stories that is arguably even more interesting than the original material.