Most dental schools require personal interviews with applicants to assess qualities such as self-confidence, interpersonal skills and ability to overcome challenges. This is your time to shine — and to ask questions about the school.
Every school’s interview process is unique. Talk to your pre-health advisor or contact the dental school directly to find out about the interview process.
How to Prepare
Know yourself. Explain your unique qualities that make you a good leader. Share your interests, including volunteer experiences or activities that have made you a well-rounded person. Balance honesty with being humble. Remember to mention the mentors who helped you along your way (and share what they taught you). It is likely that the interviewer will ask questions based on your submitted materials, so review them beforehand.
Know the interview type. Contact the school and ask what format the interviews are and prepare for that type. If you prepare for the right type of interview, you will be at an advantage. Mixed multiple interview (MMI), group or one-on-one interviews will require different preparation. Make sure to do a mock interview that matches the type of interview you're going on.
Know why you want to go to dental school. Be ready to clearly and confidently share why you are pursuing this profession in 2-3 minutes. Be sincere and passionate.
Additional resources to prepare:
Know why school ABC is the best place for you. You may need to do some heavy research to feel confident in this answer. If you picked this school because of its well-respected professors, innovative curricula or specialty training, you need to convince the interviewer why this is the place for you.
Know a few key issues in dentistry. Read ASDA's member magazine, Contour, and e-newsletters to understand what is going on in your future profession.
Know what to bring. Read the blog post "9 things to bring on an interview" for a list of interview must-haves you might forget to pack.
Dress to impress. Dress in business professional attire. Men should wear a suit or a coat and tie. Women should wear a suit or skirt and jacket.
Ask your own questions. Your interview should confirm which school is right for you. Ask the right questions to get the complete picture of what dental school is like.
Know your audience. Some of the extracurricular activities or volunteer projects that you’re passionate about may be emotionally charged or political in nature. Anticipate the reactions or questions these may elicit and prepare your responses with the interviewer in mind.
Be cognizant of your verbal and non-verbal actions. Interviewers are looking for responses that are articulate, honest, knowledgeable and show your personality. They also observe non-verbal behavior, such as the pace or volume of your speech, eye contact, posture, gestures, appearance (including if you are smiling) and fidgeting. Even though you may be nervous, respond with confidence, honesty and sincerity. Be aware of your eye contact and hand gestures.
Follow-up. Ask for a business card from everyone you interview with. Then send a thank you card (or e-mail) to each person. Let them know you appreciated the opportunity and ask any follow-up questions.
Find more interview tips in the guide “Getting into Dental School” (members only).
- Have you had any experience with dentistry?
- What differentiates you from the rest of the applicants?
- What other dental schools have you applied to?
- Have you interviewed at any other schools?
- What event has made the biggest impact on your life?
- We noticed you withdrew from a class, why?
- How would you rate your level of hand-eye coordination?
- Do you have any plans after graduation?
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
- How do you spend your free time?
- What would you say was the best day or experience you ever had?
- What would you like to improve about yourself?