As mentioned before, there are two kinds of individualized interviews: faculty interviews and student interviews. While faculty interviews are clearly the more important of the two, student interviews should not be completely overlooked. They will not make or break you, but they may help to give you a little push over other, more socially inept applicants. While both types of interviews will basically be run in the same manner, there are a few important differences to be aware of.
First of all, unlike faculty interviewers, student interviewers actually want to be at the interview, and probably won't do things like looking at their watch while conducting the interview. They actually believe they are making a difference, so they enjoy the opportunity to be there. Use this to your advantage. Know that they tend to recommend accepting those interviewees with whom they connect with most, rather than those who are most qualified. Your goal should be to move past the "acquaintance" stage and directly into the "close friend" stage with your student interviewer. Feel out your interviewer's personality, and pander to it copiously. Med schools generally pick the same types of people for their student interviewers, so you should have no problem with this after the first few rounds.
Student interviewers are also much more idealistic than their faculty counterparts. This means that you need to act as if becoming a doctor is the greatest profession on God's green earth, rather than just one of many equally good options. A good way to handle this situation is to specifically mention a few of the negative aspects of the medical profession that you have heard about, and then immediately proceed to downplay and poo-poo them. This will prove to your interviewers that you are just as idealistic as they are and are therefore worthy to enter their medical school. Nothing will boost your value in their eyes more than having unrealistic expectations about what your life as a doctor will be like.
Student interviews are also your opportunity to find out about the more "fun" aspects of medical school, which is really just another opportunity to make student interviewers feel that you will fit in well in their school. Make sure to ask a lot of questions that center around student happiness and well-being, such as:
- What kinds of things do you do students here do for fun?
- What is the hardest aspect of this school?
- What made you decide to come to this school?
- How does this school compare to others, in terms of curriculum structure, administrative involvement, and overall student happiness?
- What are a few things that you would change about your school, if you could?
Remember that asking questions is nothing more than another way to impress your interviewers! Not having questions to ask is not a sign of strength; it is a sign of unpreparedness. Do not make the mistake of thinking that the answers to your questions are relevant in any sense of the word.