The journey to becoming a dentist is filled with numerous milestones, and one crucial step is the dental school interview. This critical phase in the admissions process is not just an evaluation of your credentials but also a testament to your interpersonal skills and suitability for the profession. In recent years, a pressing question has emerged: Are dental school interviews conducted in-person or virtually? This article aims to shed light on the current trends in dental school interviews, taking into account the evolving landscape of education and technology.
Trends in Virtual and In-Person Dental School Interviews
Historically, dental school interviews have been conducted in-person, offering a direct, in-person opportunity for admissions committees to interact with pre-dental applicants. This format allowed candidates to experience the campus atmosphere and for interviewers to assess non-verbal cues. However, the advent of digital technology and the unforeseen circumstances brought about by the pandemic in 2020 have significantly altered this landscape.
As disclosed by the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), there has been a notable shift towards virtual interviews in recent years. This change was initially driven by necessity because of the pandemic, but has since evolved into a convenient, cost-effective, and accessible alternative to traditional in-person interviews. While there are some dental schools that have continued to host virtual interviews in 2023 and 2024, most dental school interviews have shifted back to in-person interviews.
Advantages of Virtual Dental School Interviews
Virtual interviews offer several advantages. They eliminate geographical and financial barriers, making the process more inclusive. It allows you to save on travel and accommodation costs and lets you schedule interviews more flexibly. From an administrative standpoint, virtual interviews allow dental schools to streamline the process and potentially interview more candidates.
Challenges of Virtual Dental School Interviews
However, virtual interviews also present challenges. Technical issues, such as internet connectivity and software glitches, can interfere with the process. Additionally, assessing a candidate's interpersonal skills and non-verbal communication becomes more challenging in a virtual setting. The lack of physical presence may also affect an applicant's ability to fully convey their personality and enthusiasm for the school.
Hybrid Dental School Interview Models
In response to these pros and cons, some dental schools are adopting hybrid models. For instance, the University of Michigan School of Dentistry offers both in-person and virtual interviews, depending on various factors like applicant preference and public health guidelines. This approach provides flexibility while maintaining the essence of personal interaction.
Preparing for Different Dental School Interview Formats
As a prospective dental student applying to dental schools, you should be prepared for both in-person and virtual interviews. Preparation for in-person interviews includes researching the school, practicing answers to common questions, and understanding the logistics of travel. For virtual interviews, technical preparation is crucial – ensuring a stable internet connection, familiarizing oneself with the video platform, and setting up a quiet, well-lit space for the interview. Regardless of the interview format, investing in formal interview preparation with dedicated interview coaches, including having former dental school interviewers coach you on how to ace your interview remains the most effective way to prepare. To get interview coaching from former dental school interviewers and admissions officers, check out this dental school interview preparation service.
In conclusion, the format of dental school interviews is evolving, with both in-person and virtual options being utilized. You should be ready to adapt to either format. The key is to remain flexible, well-prepared, and focused on showcasing your suitability for a career in dentistry.
Are you a prospective dental student preparing for your interviews? How are you adapting to the potential of both in-person and virtual interviews? Share your experiences and strategies in the comments below. For more insights and guidance on navigating the dental school admissions process, visit our dental school interview preparation page and stay updated with the latest trends and tips.
About the Author: Andrew Ghadimi, DDS
Dr. Andrew graduated from UCLA's School of Dentistry and served on the ADEA AADSAS Advisory Board, helping run the dental school application, AADSAS. He also served as the National Pre-Dental Liaison for the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), the same organization that runs the dental school application. While at UCLA's School of Dentistry, he also served on the Council of Students, Residents, and Fellows Board, as the Pre-Dental Chair for California. He has mentored and advised 300+ pre-dentals on their journey to dental school and helped pre-dentals receive over $1,000,000 in scholarships in addition to acceptances to some of the most competitive dental schools in the country, including Harvard, UPenn, Columbia, UF, UCLA, and many others.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to UCLA, UCLA School of Dentistry, ADEA, or any other organization.