The following article was written by Jasmine Marcus who is currently a second year DPT student at Columbia University. PTGrad asked Jasmine to help PTGrad readers master the doctor of physical therapy interview. She did not disappoint! Jasmine provides great real life examples and advice that any DPT candidate can understand and employ to make their big interview into a successful face to face encounter…
My name is Jasmine Marcus and I would like to give a quick overview of my experiences with the DPT interview process. Only two of the DPT schools I applied to held interviews, but from what I have heard, they spanned the range of what most interviews are like. At one school, I had a 45-minute one-on-one conversation with a professor, and at the other, I was asked a few questions in a group of six other applicants. Most schools, from what I’ve heard, tend to interview students in slightly smaller groups, in addition to the standard tour and information session. No matter which type of interview you attend, here’s how you can prepare:
Know What to Anticipate
Once you’re fortunate enough to score an interview, find out what the day will be like. Will you go on a tour and information session? Will there be a chance to speak with current students? And will your interview be private, or with other applicants? Knowing what to expect will guide your preparations.
Be Ready for Common Questions
It’s likely that you’ll be asked to answer basic questions about yourself and your application, such as: Why do you want to be a PT? Why do you want to go to school here? Why did you pick your undergrad college and major? What do you see yourself doing in 10 years? Whenever I got bored driving to school during application season, I pictured someone asking me these questions, and imagined how I might answer. Not only did it help prepare me, but it also helped me learn a bit about myself. Also be able to ask some questions yourself since it’s pretty much guaranteed you will be asked, “Do you have any questions for us?”
Expect Some Surprise
In the group interview I attended, we were each asked different impersonal questions, such as “When was the last time you got angry?” and “What would you do if you saw a classmate cheating on a test?” It’s impossible to prepare yourself for every question like this, but that doesn’t mean you should worry if you get them. For questions like these, remember there is no single correct answer. The interviewer is just trying to gain some insight into who you are. For example, he or she doesn’t actually care about what ticked you off last week; instead the professor wants to know how you handled it.
A few days before the interview, write down some of the questions you think you’ll be asked, and hand them over to a friend or relative. While I knew in my head why I wanted to be a PT, or attend a certain school, I realized when practicing that some of my answers were overly wordy or complicated. Although it felt silly telling my boyfriend why I wanted to go to PT school, rehearsing (but not memorizing) gave me the chance to banish some of my awkwardness.
Relax, and Pay Attention
DPT programs don’t grant interviews to most applicants, so by the time you’re offered one, the hard part is already over. Typically, unless you demonstrate poor social skills or that you won’t be a good fit for the school, it’s likely that they’re going to accept you. Schools know that the majority of their interviewees will be admitted, so in addition to figuring you out, they’re also trying to sell themselves. Forget your nervousness for a little bit, and listen carefully to how the school presents itself. Also see what current students think of their program. Is this a place where you can see yourself putting down a deposit in a few weeks?
I would also recommend wearing a suit since that is what the vast majority of both male and female applicants I saw wore to interviews. So suit up, and get ready to show PT schools who you are. Good luck!
Before starting school, Jasmine hosted a college sports radio show in Israel. When she isn’t studying, you will find the former journalist writing or at the gym. You can follow her on twitter by using the follow me link below and read her physical therapy blog: PT to be in ’15 – Jasmine Marcus.
Thanks Jasmine for this excellent article on how to master your physical therapy school interview