My day at Salus University (Penn. College of Optometry) began by taking a taxi ride from my hotel 2 miles down the road to the school. The taxi driver was actually a really sweet man who lived across the street from the school with his wife. He had shuttled applicants visiting from Oregon, Colorado, Illinois, Texas, basically every state in the US. He chatted with me the whole way there, so by the time I paid him a generous tip my nerves had disappeared.
This was my first interview. Therefore, I got to the school at 9am when we weren't suppose to check in until 9:15. I walked around the campus, checked out the blue pond with the fake swans (really cute!), and realized how peaceful the setting was! The building was in an odd location, more suburban, and looked more like a business office than school. However, the pond, gazebo, and fake swans made me feel comfortable. Almost tranquil.
Anyways, around 9:10 I couldn't take it anymore and walked into the main office to check in. I was the second applicant to arrive! There were 4 girls, including myself, and we all were wearing pants. Not really an inside scoop, but an interesting tid bit.
At 9:30 our interviewers picked each of us off and whisked us to a secret location. Mine was a room dedicated to pain and torture, but they referred to it as one of their interview rooms. Hmm, maybe I got that wrong? It was my first interview and I was starting to feel those nerves again.
The woman who interviewed me was really nice and we actually had a great conversation about traveling to other areas around the NE and entertainment in Philly. There was some talk about eyes and how I REALLY like them, but it was a very smooth transition. Apparently we got along really well because by the time I was lead back to the main office it was 10:25! I held up the group by having a long interview (which is a good sign for those of you preparing for interviews...), so we were quickly rushed through the financial aid meeting and our academic file review. The file review was really simple. You basically sit there and confirm what you have completed is correct and if there are any weaknesses in your file this is your moment to explain. After a quick water break, we were introduced to 2 student tour guides who we chatted with about student life over lunch in the cafeteria. I think all 4 of us applicants were starving, so this was great timing! After the lunch break and chats with the students, they took us on a tour around the campus that included the library, eye clinic (yes, it is a 10 minute drive away), the fitness center, student lounge, bookstore, lecture/skills labs rooms, and the cafeteria.
At the end of the tour we were finished! By that point I think it was early afternoon? Maybe 2-3pm? I spent roughly 6 hours at Salus and it was a great way to start off my month of interviews. The nerves were scary, but Salus did a great job of keeping us actively engaged with the experience. We weren't sitting around very much, so there wasn't time to be too concerned about what we had/hadn't said.
However, when I left the school I went right back to the hotel, jumped into comfy jeans and had a mixed drink in the lobby (they had a happy hour in the hotel!!! how awesome is that?)
This was slightly condensed since I can't remember every moment of the interview (it still seems like a blur almost a year later), but hopefully this gives you interviewees another perspective. I should note that this is only what I experienced and may not be what everyone else experiences. This post, along with my future school interview posts, is only here to give my perspective and not a definitive answer to what to expect. Do not limit your expectations of a school from one person's comments or you could end up more confused, disappointed, or frustrated.
With that note, I hope you enjoy! Next interview post will be on ICO!
Until Next Time,