My Commonwealth Medical College Interview Experience

by Jason
(Pennsylvania)

Here's how my interview went at The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC).


First of all, I did all of my homework and research on the school while completing my secondary application because they're looking for a very particular type of student.

TCMC wants candidates to their medical school who are going to practice primary care medicine and stay in a 16 county region of northeastern Pennsylvania if at all possible.

Practically everything about the school is focused on achieving this objective.

I knew going into the interview that it was going to be laid back where the school just wanted to get to know me as a person and see if I was a good fit for their school. I have a friend who is a M2 at TCMC and he gave me this advice which certainly was the case on interview day.

So I arrived on campus and went to the admissions office where there were already about 10 students already gathered and talking amongst each other. My interview group was very social and as far as I could tell everyone got along very well with each other.

After making brief introductions we were all sent to our interviews. Each interview would last 30 minutes and you would have an individual interview with a current medical student and then with a faculty member.

My first interview was the medical student one. It was extremely low key and I believe the student only had access to my secondary application to TCMC.

I'm pretty good in interviews and ours was more of a conversation than an interview as how my interviewer stated that's how they run their interviews. I definitely was on board for that and also liked how it was not supposed to be stressful at all.

It was an interview of: do I like this person, could I see him as a member of TCMC and would he be good interacting with patients, faculty and classmates? This is the best way to describe the goals of the student interview.

Next it was time to move onto the faculty interviewer.

This was supposed to be pretty straight forward and non-stressful for the most part.

Although, I did received a fair amount of questions which I thought were pretty tough. One question in particular was, "Everyone who I interview tells me they want to come here because they want to practice primary care, but when I review the matches during 4th year a lot of students are entering specialties...tell me what I should do to solve/remedy this problem?"

Yes, I got questions of that caliber along with what I believe to be the two biggest issues that physicians currently face?

And I was asked to pretend I was the Secretary of Health for the State of Pennsylvania and what would I do to recruit more primary care physicians to northeastern Pennsylvania?

There were other questions thrown in the mix as well which didn't require as much mental power as the ones I just mentioned above. And I felt more as though I was being grilled then getting to know who I was as a person.

But hey, I'm not complaining I felt as though I gave some good responses and then when I told the other interviewees how I responded they were in agreement that my answers were great. They all mentioned how their faculty members were not tough like mine at all.

So apparently I had the toughest time out of the whole group during my faculty medical school interview.

After interviews we all met up as group to have a meeting to go over the curriculum. The Commonwealth Medical College uses a longitudinal curriculum where you see patients during first year.

But third year is very interesting because all of your clinical rotations are NOT blocks. Instead you do them all throughout the year.

Meaning one day you could have surgery, the next emergency medicine, another psychiatry and so on. Therefore, you get a good mix of everything and it allows you to follow patients as how they would actually navigate the healthcare system.

This will be something to get used to but apparently it works because TCMC has some of the highest board scores in the nation.

After the presentation of the curriculum it was onto lunch.

Followed by lunch there was a tour of the facilities. I was surprised that one stop included the cadaver/anatomy lab something which I wasn't expecting. But I guess you have to realize it is medical school and anatomy lab is going to be very important.

Also no one in our group was apprehensive about seeing the bodies in the lab and since this was into the second semester the bodies were fairly well dry and decomposed to some extent and pretty much altered due to all the dissecting which had taken place the previous semester.

Finally, there was a financial aid meeting and a chance to get last minute questions answered too.

If you need financial aid for medical school begin working on your FAFSA application and start looking up scholarships and grants because it's very expensive.

You want to take out the least amount of loans as possible.

And that was my Commonwealth Medical College interview experience.

Only disappointing aspect is you have to wait about a month before you find out the admission decision. Your application will be sent back to the full committee along with the scores you received during your interviews.

Then everything in your application will be reviewed the committee will make one of three decisions:
1. Admit
2. Reject
3. Defer.

If you're deferred your application will be rolled into the next review session when the committee meets and they will make one of three decisions again on your application.

But once final decisions are made at the end of April you no longer have the opportunity to be deferred, instead you will be waitlisted if you are not outright accepted or rejected.

Waitlisted is no fun because you can be pulled off of the waitlist at anytime up until the first day of medical school classes in August.

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