When I applied to dental school, interviews were online. While my experience was a little different from what yours will be, there will definitely be things you can take away from this answer.
Once my application was submitted in June, and my DAT was submitted in August, I heard about my first interview on September 8th. From then on, I heard from multiple other schools over the next few months, including 2 invites to interview after December and decision day.
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when you are interviewing:
1) How did the school make you feel?
Some of my virtual interviews were done by this website called Kira. The questions are pre-recorded and you are given a certain amount of time, perhaps 30 seconds or a minute to answer. I really didn’t like this method because what does it say about the school that they don’t want to talk to us and they’re solely judging recorded answers? I feel most comfortable in the interviews when I can bounce off the interviewers, crack a few jokes, ask them questions, and turn it into a conversation more so than a Q&A. When you go on your interviews, ask yourself- does it feel like the school values me? Or do I feel like just another number?
2) What are the students saying- and NOT saying?
Most schools have general information sessions during the interview. For us on Zoom, schools had a PowerPoint, some videos, and they told us why we should pick them. The schools might also have a student panel where student ambassadors take questions. In my opinion, it says a lot about the school if they have a faculty present or not- if they’re secure in the answers the students would give freely or not. So when you ask your questions to the students, keep in mind what answers they dance around or are vague in- especially if faculty are present.
3) Keep in mind the most common questions asked
Each school had a different interview process. The interviews varied in length, between 15 minutes to an hour or even longer. I don’t think any of my interviews were only judged by one person: either multiple people were present, or systems were in place to be reviewed by more than one person.
However, virtually every school I interviewed with asked these two questions: Why do you want to be a dentist? Why are you interested in our school? It is good to have an idea of what you will say for these questions, so you do not come across as caught off guard or unprepared when asked why you want to be a dentist, for example.
That being said, my biggest advice would be to not memorize answers for interview questions, because interviewers can see right through it if it sounds like you’re reading off a script. Instead, you can try using a sense of humor, sharing anecdotes that highlight your qualities instead of explicitly stating them, and asking insightful questions back to make yourself stand out.
At the end of the day, remember that you’re at the interview for a reason: the school can see you have the qualities that will make you a successful dental student. Now it’s your time to seal the deal. You got this!