Tell Me About Yourself:
“Tell me about yourself?” is traditionally one of the most common medical college interview questions. It’s usually the first thing you’ll be asked when you sit down. And it should be one of the easiest questions to answer — because you can anticipate and prepare for it — but, just as commonly, it’s one of the most anxiety-provoking and confusing questions. We are here to help you prepare for your medical college interview by providing a step-by-step guide for how to answer the question “Tell me about yourself” and giving you a sample response that can inspire your own!
Why do interviewers ask “tell me about yourself” in medical college?
Part of any application process is self-reflection and self-evaluation. What values are important to you? What drives and motivates you? Why do you want to be a doctor? How do other people see you? How do you see yourself? What is unique about you? This is really the type of information that interviewers are probing at when they ask you to talk to them about yourself. All too often, however, applicants interpret this question as “Tell me about your application” and either recite their CV or how they came to apply to a particular program.
It’s important to keep in mind that, if someone wanted to know about your professional background, they would be asking about that instead. You’ve already provided this information in your application. Paper applications allow you to demonstrate who you are as an applicant, but “Tell me about yourself” is your chance to demonstrate who you are as a person.
You shouldn’t feel like you have to completely ignore talking about your professional background. In fact, probably a great deal of your academic and extra-curricular experiences has shaped who you are as a person. Still, it’s important to balance your personal and professional sides; provide insight into the kind of worker you’ll be and the kind of colleague you are. You can structure your response in just this way.
“Tell Me About Yourself” Is Not a Trick Question
Let’s set the record straight – “Tell me about yourself” is not a trick question. Undoubtedly this question has some cons:
- It is too open-ended. You may be unsure of what you want to share about yourself and start rambling on.
- There is no right or wrong answer. Some may feel uncomfortable with its subjectivity.
- And probably the most frustrating aspect of this question is that nobody can provide you with the right answer. You are the expert on yourself.
In reality, this question is a great benefit to you. By asking you to talk about yourself, the interviewers want you to take the lead in the conversation. You must be in charge of your narrative. After all – it’s your interview. This opening is meant to make you feel comfortable and get the conversation going.
This way you start with the topic you know the most about – you. Not only is it one of the most common interview questions of all time, but it is also one that is most often used to break the ice. While it may catch you off guard to take charge of the interview right away, it is also your chance to take the reins of the conversation. Just think about it: you are allowed to take lead and steer the conversation in your preferred direction.
By providing a captivating and memorable answer, you can direct what further questions will be asked. Most likely, the interviewers know almost nothing about you outside of your application. In a way, you are presenting potential topics for discussion and unique bits of information that will make you stand out in the minds of the admission committee members. Feel empowered! This is your time to take charge. And be ready to take the interviewers down a prepared path. To do this, make sure to brainstorm your answer ahead of time.
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