As the month of October draws to a close many of you applying for this year’s cycle of OT schools will be going on or have already gone on interviews. Some schools do not have interviews but I believe many do. You have submitted your application either directly through the school or via the OTCAS. Now you are waiting patiently…or not so patiently, for any sign that your application has been reviewed. Then it happens, you receive an email or a letter. Your application has been reviewed and we would like to invite you for an interview on such and such a date. Congratulations you have made it one step closer!
Take a moment and celebrate this victory, your application made enough of an impression that the school wants to get to know you better! So you have them interested…now what? After your momentary celebration, panic may follow as you begin to contemplate all that the interview process entails. Remain calm! You have gotten this interview because something in your application made them take notice, they want to see what you have to offer. You are going to go to that school and show them how wonderful of a person, student and future OT you are!
It varies how long you will have from receiving your interview invite to the time of the actual interview. I received some where the interview was less than two weeks away and others that I had months to prepare for. The style of interview also varies by school. I had some that were one on one with the faculty, some that were in a small group and my personal favorite, the speed dating interview! What I mean by speed dating interview is one where you have anywhere between 5-10 faculty members from the school and you spend 2-5 minutes talking with each one. I feel like this is a great way to do it, as it allows for you to meet the faculty and for each one of them to get to know you, so you get multiple people weighing in on your final acceptance decision. In addition to the interview you may be asked to answer a writing prompt or complete a group activity. Most of the time the schools will let you know if you need to bring anything specific in your interview offer letter.
So you have accepted your offer to interview. Lets start with the basics. What should you wear? For women I would suggest a dress with a blazer or a skirt / pants with a nice shirt and blazer. Accessories are also good to complete the look, but not too big or over the top. For men I saw everything from suit and tie to just nice slacks, shirt and tie. If your interview is a decent distance away I would suggest flying or driving there at least the day before if at all possible. That way you are there and ready to go in the morning and there is minimal concern with traffic. If you can make it a multi day trip I would highly suggest you do so. Take time to see the area the school is in and get a feel for it, after all this may be your home for 2+ years in a very short time.
The interviews I attended included a campus tour, activity or writing sample and the actual interview itself. The campus tour really requires no explanation, so I will move onto the other elements. The activities often involve you working in groups. Even if you hate group work do your best to be a team player. This is the time the faculty uses to assess how you will work with your classmates and in future employment situations. Be polite, offer ideas and work together with your group and you will do just fine. As for the writing sample, the schools are not looking for a novel. In fact most of the schools have a page / paragraph limit. They want to get a sense of your writing style. So they will give you a prompt to answer and it varies with each school. Be eloquent, make sure if it is multi paragraph that you have a intro, conclusion and connect the ideas between the paragraphs. The prompts are not complicated, don’t stress yourself out, they just want to get a feel for your style and technique.
The interview can be a bit intimidating, but you can do it! They will ask you questions, but the best part about it is, it is all about you! There is no need to study, because you know all the answers! If they ask you a difficult question, it is okay to pause for a moment to consider the question, but remember you have all of the answers! This is your final opportunity to impress them, so if you have done things since you submitted your application do your best to seamlessly work that into the interview. Pay attention when they introduce themselves and if you can find a commonality in interests try to make that connection or show interest in that subject during the interview. Make sure to be aware of your body language, remain open and interested at all times. Above all, just be the best version of you that you can be!
Below are some of the interview questions I have encountered. If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below and as always, best of luck!
- Why did you choose OT?
- What are your hobbies?
- How do you handle stress?
- What would you do if you were upset or disagreed with another student / co worker?
- Why did you choose to apply to this school?
- What are your favorite books?
- Who is a role model / someone you look up to?
- What area of OT, if any do you want to specialize in?
- What are some of your passions outside of wanting to be an OT?
- What are your strengths / weaknesses and how are you working on improving them?