How to behave on an interview: advice for the tour guides

April 14, 2008 at 11:32 pm (Applying to med school)

Previously, I’ve written on this blog tales of bad behavior by interview applicants. Examples include asking about the student:body ratio in the anatomy lab, challenging people about the school’s current ranking, and trying to lead the tour as a pre-med. This time I want to address those medical students who volunteer their time to serve as tour guides and lunch hosts: don’t be a jackass either.

I’ve taken a step back from giving tours due to time constraints in third year. I still try to meet with the applicants on a regular basis to discuss my experience here at the university and to answer any questions they may have about life as a student here. I always try to answer their questions honestly such as mentioning that we do a poor job of preparing students for the boards, that we waste a lot of time in Physicianship Training learning about things such as medical informatics and Medicare billing structure, and that while many opportunities abound at this university, students are generally left on their own to make use of those opportunities. I try to answer the applicant’s questions by highlighting both the positives and negatives so that they have a good generalized picture of what to expect should they matriculate.

You can imagine my frustrations then when I see medical students selling our campus as if it’s some kind of used car. I’ve seen numerous people say, “Our school lets students have lots of hands-on experience starting within their first month. You won’t find that if you go to Harvard or Yale, where you’ll just stand in the back of the room and not be allowed to touch the patient.” First, unless you’ve actually attended Harvard or Yale, don’t ever make a comparison between your institution and someplace else. Second, making these comparisons makes it seem as if you are trying to compensate for something. I am reasonably sure that the tour guides at Harvard are not going around saying, “Don’t go to State University because you won’t get the same kind of experience as you’ll receive here.” I don’t think that there is a person alive who would choose our school over Harvard if given the choice.

I also hate it when students feel the need to say that our school is a noncompetitive environment and that attending any other university will only be met with constant fighting with classmates. I repeatedly hear “I hear from my friends at other universities that students hide books in the library so that other people can’t study.” To this day, I have never met a medical student at another university who can confirm these rumors. Without exception, every one of my friends at other institutions has stated that their classmates are generally friendly and will freely provide their notes to the rest of the student body. I really don’t see what makes our students so special. I’m pretty sure that attending any medical school will result in the same experiences and the same knowledge.

Finally, don’t cuss in front of the applicants. I watched in horror as a graduating fourth year medical student dropped the F-bomb four times during an applicant lunch. He tried to present himself as some kind of jock or frat boy, but came across as a royal a-hole. I wouldn’t be surprised if none of those people end up coming here due to his disrespectful attitude.



  1. DrZeke said,

    Yeah…my jaw almost dropped. What I enjoyed more in that lunch was the 3rd year girls who decided it would be appropriate to have a show and tell moment with their “animal cracker penises” that they made while in class.

  2. halfmd said,

    Glory! Someone finally posted on this story. I wonder how many people have read this article over the past month have decided not to write in. For all of my medical student readers out there, how many of you have witnessed inappropriate behavior from your colleagues in front of the applicants?

  3. MichaelbrooP said,

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