I decided to split the interview section into 2 parts. Part 1 is about prep for the interview and the things one has to consider before going to an interview: Compatibility to school, Costs, and Clothing attire. The 3 C's.
Ok, so you've decided to pursue Optometry, collected and submitted your organized materials, and are now starting to hear back from the schools you applied to. I know, you're trying to read this as quickly as possible because this is the time when you are PUMPED. Every moment spent checking for emails and wondering the outcome is agonizingly slow, yet surreal and too fast. Enjoy it! This is when your hard work begins to pay you back - with interviews!
It typically takes OptomCAS anywhere from 4-8 weeks to process your submitted material, so during that time relax and review the schools you applied to. Also, during this time you'll be completing the supplementary essays the schools will send you. The supplementary essays are a good lead in for reviewing the schools. The questions in these essays may be more specific to the school and ask you why you chose them or why you would be a good fit in their community. These are important questions not to take lightly, so do your research! What do you want from a school? What do you want to experience and give back while in a program? By answering these questions and doing the supplementals, you will be more prepared for when you hear back from the schools about coming for an interview. By that point, you should have a better idea if you are compatible with the school and whether it would be worth the money to go interview.
Now, you may be surprised by that last sentence. As you should be! If you are uncertain about a school, but have not yet been accepted anywhere or gone on an interview.... by all means, go! Yes, you will have to figure in the money (is it really worth it to spend up to $1000 just do an interview with a school you're uncertain about?), but in the long run it could just be a drop in the big bucket of expenses you'll pay for your education. Plus, the first interview is always the most nerve-wracking regardless if the school is your first or last choice. However, if you have gone on 3-4 interviews and get another request, you need to seriously consider how badly you want to attend that particular school. By that point you may have already spent up to $2000-2500, if not more. If through your compatibility research you determined this additional school seems like the perfect fit and the money is in your budget, it may be worth it. However if the school is one you're on the fence about and you would be going only to go on another interview, seriously weigh the options. Interview requests are selective and by getting an invitation from the school means they see something in you. This is a great sign, but not a guarantee for admission. You must decide if the school is worth the cost you will have to spend for a possible spot in their program. It may not, but only you can figure that out by doing research and weighing your options.
So, do your research on the schools! It will help you figure out if you're truly interested in a school's program. Also, think about the expense, but with the mindset of your determination of pursuing the Optometry profession and what expenses must be paid or willing to be paid to accomplish your goal.
In terms of the actual interview day? Dressing professionally is a given. For guys, nice slacks, dress shirt and tie is the minimum. Some invest in suits which is fine. For gals, it gets more complicated, but my view is this: dress professionally, but comfortably. Dress as yourself, but in the cleanest, nicest version. This can include skirts with blouses, maybe a tailored cardigan, slacks, button down top, professional suit, or whatever fits your personal style. Many girls struggle with choosing pumps or flats. Again, go with what makes you comfortable or what you deem more professional. You don't want to be walking around all day in a outfit you have to readjust every 30 seconds. I didn't want to worry about if my clothes fit me, when the bigger and more important concern was if the school was the right fit. I decided to invest in a few professional tops, but wore shoes and dress pants I already owned. This kept me within a safe budget and got to look professional while maintaining my comfortable personal style.
So, these are my 3 C's for the interview prep process. Next time I'll give details for getting through the interview day. Stay tuned!
Until Next Time,