This is the first article of of a three-part series, "Logistics of the Medical School Interview"
By: Victor Lin, USC Keck School of Medicine
Congratulations! You have been invited to a medical school interview. What’s next? After confirming your interview date, the admissions office should send you information regarding the details of the interview day. This includes what time to arrive, where you can park, potential student hosts (more on this later), and more. Let’s go through the interview day step-by-step starting from the beginning in a three part series on the logistics of the interview.
If you live within driving distance of the program, then you’re in luck! You can just leave from your home on the morning of the interview and drive directly to the campus. Just how far is “driving distance” is up to you: if you can tolerate a couple hours of driving before having to spend a full day at the interview day, then you have a pretty wide radius for your driving distance. Otherwise, you can always drive in the night before and stay at a nearby hotel.
If you have to fly to your interview, that means you have to arrange airline tickets, transportation, and lodging for your interview. If you have not flown recently, then you may have to give yourself extra time for every step along the way. For airline tickets, I highly advise flying with Southwest Airlines. You get two free carry-on bags and you can cancel your flights without having to pay fees. The caveat with the latter is that your money is returned to you as credit for a future flight within the next year from the date the ticket was booked rather than money back to your credit card. However, you will most likely be attending multiple interviews during the application cycle, so the airline credits will most likely be used before they expire.
As for transportation, some prefer to use public transportation, others use ride-sharing services like Lyft or Uber. Personally, I chose to rent a car to have the flexibility of navigating to and from the airport and campus as well as exploring the nearby neighborhoods as I saw fit. Renting a car is more flexible than public transportation and less costly than ride-sharing if the airport is far from the campus.
In terms of lodging, many schools will voluntarily mention the possibility of rooming with a current student of their program. These “student hosts” are not officially affiliated with the admissions office and are offering their homes to prospective candidates free of charge. Out of common courtesy, you should bring your host a small gift to thank them for hosting you. Otherwise, this would be much cheaper than the alternative of renting a hotel or a home-sharing service such as AirBnB.
This wraps up the overview of getting to the interview. It might seem overwhelming at first to have to book flight, ground transportation, and lodging for every interview, but you will become a pro in no time after doing it for subsequent interviews. In our next article, we will go over the logistics of the interview day itself.
- Oct 27, 2016 Logistics of the Medical School Interview: After the Interview (Part 3) Oct 27, 2016
- Oct 17, 2016 Logistics of the Medical School Interview: Succeeding on Interview Day (Part 2) Oct 17, 2016
- Oct 4, 2016 Logistics of the Medical School Interview: Getting to the Interview (Part 1) Oct 4, 2016
- Sep 15, 2016 Mapping a Successful AMCAS Application Timeline for Medical School Sep 15, 2016
- Jul 1, 2016 The Medicine Advantage: Meet Victor Lin Jul 1, 2016
- June 2016