Preparing For the Interview
BEFORE THE INTERVIEW
Congratulations on getting the interview!
You're probably very excited and a little overwhelmed at the same time, especially if you've got multiple interviews lined up. Deep breaths... you're one more step closer to becoming a GC! Here are some common questions during the planning process:
Where will I stay?
It's important to plan how you'll be traveling to the interviews and where you'll be staying. Ask your school where the hotels are nearby and if they have any discounts for students who are interviewing. Plan out ahead of time how you will get between your interview and where you plan on staying.
Some schools can even set you up to stay with a current student who lives in the area. It's a great way to save $$ and get to a better feel for the program. Airbnb is also a good option when you're on a budget (just make sure it's where you can get a good night's sleep). Plan ahead for possible travel delays! Interviews are February through April, and depending where and how far you need to travel, a spring snowstorm or other weather event can derail your travel plans. If it works in your budget and your schedule, it can make a world of difference for your stress levels if you have some breathing room in the event of travel delays or flight cancellations.
What do I wear?
When in doubt, go with business formal. Women usually wear a dress suit, pant suit, or dress pants with a blouse and cardigan. Men usually wear a full suit and tie or a nice blazer. Bring layers so that you can adjust as needed if your interview space is warmer or cooler than you expected. Wear what you feel comfortable in, and feel free to show your personality through fun colors and accessories etc. but remember, first impressions are important!
DURING THE INTERVIEW
Common Interview Questions:
Why do you want to become a genetic counselor?
Why do you want to attend this specific school?
Tell me about yourself!
Is there anything in your academic record you'd like to address?
What does a genetic counselor do?
How do your experiences make you an ideal genetic counseling student?
It is usually helpful to do a mock interview as it's different hearing your answers in your head versus out loud. Even talking through answers out loud by yourself can help you realize how it sounds when you answer a question.
Some programs may present you with a genetic counseling scenario and ask how you would react, or what the important considerations are.
- Be prepared for questions related to your personal statement, as interviewers may ask you to elaborate on themes or events that you’ve mentioned in it. If you wrote it many months ago, a quick read to refresh your memory may be in order!
Think of some questions to ask the interviewer at the end - it's a chance to make sure their program is a good fit for you!
Likewise, think of some questions to ask currents students as you'll likely meet some.
Take notes on your impressions throughout the day so you can refer to them later.
- Especially if you interview at multiple schools, this can be very helpful when Universal Acceptance Day arrives and your memory of the schools you visited has blurred together.
AFTER THE INTERVIEW
You made it! Before you try to forget about it all...
Send out (email is fine) thank you notes to your program director(s) and/or interviewers, thanking them for the interview. There are many resources available online with tips for writing thank you notes following an interview if you feel unsure of what to write or how to format one. If you’re sending thank you notes or cards in the mail, consider bringing cards and stamps with you on the interview trip and dropping the card in the mail before you leave town, or writing the card on your trip home so that everything is fresh and the card arrives soon.
Check out some blogs of students who have gone through the interview process (such as this student-run blog).
- If you had ranked you favorite schools before the interview, look at it again. Has your ranking and opinions about the school changed since the interview? If you interviewed at more than one school and haven’t ranked them yet, decide how you would rank the programs in preparation for Universal Acceptance Day. It's good to do this early while you have the visit fresh in mind. This spreadsheet may be helpful in organizing your thoughts and decisions.
- Treat yourself! Interviews can be draining and wear you down, especially if you attend multiple interviews. Is there a landmark you can visit nearby before you leave town from your interview? Or, make sure to treat yourself when you get home. You deserve it.
As you wait for Universal Acceptance Day ( a day where offers are sent out across North American programs), remember to relax and practice self-care!
If you've received an offer on Universal Acceptance Day, congratulations! We hope our website contributed to your success! ;)
If you've been wait-listed, don't be discouraged!
- Unmatched applications that have been waitlisted, but not accepted to a program, can contact schools on this list to see if they have empty spots in their program after the acceptance deadline passes. Be prepared for an additional application process, as some of the schools may require you to submit application materials or attend an interview as part of this process.
- Make sure you contact program directors or admission directors at the schools you interviewed with to ask how you can improve your application for next year. This can be very helpful in planning how to be a stronger applicant for the next application cycle.