When I found out that I had an interview at Western University I was beyond ecstatic. But then it hit me- I had no idea how the interview process, which accounts for 25% of the entire admissions process, worked. I immediately went to work – speaking with everyone I could. I received advice from students who were in the dentistry program at Western, as well as from those at other dental schools and medical schools. They gave me tips about how they prepared for their own interviews along with several sample questions that they had used for their own practice. As well, more than half of the people that I spoke to recommended that I speak to Dr. Robert Astroff.
I can honestly say that the preparatory help that I received from Astroff’s four-step interview preparation process made my interview experience at Western easier and less stressful. As per the recommendation of Dr. Astroff, I developed a list of several personal anecdotes based upon the seven competencies focused on in the CDA Structured Interview. This kept my thoughts organized, prepared and well-focused. Personally, I found the Mock Interview practice to be incredibly effective. It provided me with confidence and the knowledge of how to go about answering a question properly, while both answering exactly what is asked and linking it to the practice of dentistry, and throwing in as much information about myself and my personality as I could. Receiving constructive criticism and being told how to improve was especially beneficial to me as it helped me to get a better sense of how to apply myself and of what was being looked for.
After my sessions with Dr. Astroff, I would ask my family and friends to interview me. During these interviews I continuously practiced the strategies that Dr. Astroff provided for me. At any free moment I had, I would practice in front of the mirror, oftentimes voice recording my responses. Overall, this entire process was especially necessary because the interviews at Western University fall during exam time. Balancing interview prep and exam studying was difficult as both are incredibly important, but I found that the help and guidance that I received prepared me completely.
Of course, the interview day was incredibly nerve-wracking. However, I was surprised at how relaxed the actual interview was. Prior to the actual interview, we spoke to that year’s group of first year dental students who reinforced the notion that no one is out to see us fail. The best piece of advice that they gave us was simply to ‘be yourself’, and those two words guided me throughout the entire interview.
Dr. Astroff’s program was an invaluable experience. It provided me with an accurate representation of the interview itself and the skills necessary to succeed. In the end, to my own surprise, I can say that because of the immense support and guidance that I received, I found the interview process to be rather enjoyable!