MMIs- What You Really Want To Know
If you are reading this posting in preparation for an upcoming interview at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, congratulations! With today’s group of competitive applicants, getting an interview can be the most challenging part of the admissions process. Preparation (such as finding this post) can play a significant role in your interview performance at any institution.
I personally remember my interview day at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry pretty vividly. I have also served as an interviewer for the most recent group of applicants. Having viewed the process from both sides of the table I believe I can offer some helpful tips to help the interviewee approach the process with confidence rather than a sweaty, nervous wreck.
The first thing I would like to familiarize you with is the MMI, Multiple Mini-Interview, process. The MMI format is likely something very different than you will see at any other school. In this system you will have a sequence of short interviews with a different person in a station-to-station format. The interviewer at each station will be a student, faculty or staff member. Each station is precisely timed as the interviewee is asked to read a one page or less passage and discuss it with the interviewer.
So, how can you prepare for such an interview format? Well, first of all, the traditional cliché interview tactics of self-promotion with a slight dash of self-deprecation are not going to work in this situation. Each station is quite different from the next and only one or two stations ask anything personal of the interviewee. The stations are designed to analyze your ability to critically think. Each station’s subject matter typically has two sides that can be addressed. While you may have a very strong opinion about the topic you are discussing, the interviewer will also be looking to see if you address the other side of the argument. There are no right or wrong answers. I can’t stress this point enough. Many prospective students get hung up while trying to search for what the interviewer “wants to hear”. I can tell you personally that this awkward silence is something no one wants to hear. What the interviewer really wants to know is how you can converse about important topics to the field of dentistry. Can you hold a conversation? Can you listen to feedback and address it accordingly? Can you acknowledge another person’s viewpoint and provide dialog to support or contradict that viewpoint? These are all skills that can and should be practiced before your interview.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You have already read pages of comments on sites like predents.com and studentdoctor.net and have a pretty good idea of which topics you will see on the day of your interview. I would advise caution when reading sites like these. For starters, it is very easy to tell when an applicant has rehearsed a response. Unless you have the acting chops of Al Pacino, it will sound scripted. Second, the interview committee is well aware of these sites and uses a mix of old and new questions to prevent regurgitation (they may even spend more time trolling these sites than you).
I actually really liked the system of interviews that UofM uses. If you find yourself personable (which you should be as a prospective dentist), you will definitely benefit from the MMI format. Just be yourself!
-Alex George is a D3 who was makes an appearance in our “Best of” Video.. can you spot him? Hint: He’s wearing green! http://dent.umich.edu/featured-news/the-best-of