5 Tips To Ace Your Interview

by Julie Tran

This chapter is a free excerpt from The Best Book on Naturopathy.

Highlights

  • Tell personal stories that implicitly demonstrate the 6 naturopathic principles.
  • Know the specifics of the school you're interviewing for.
  • Be prepared to talk about your application materials.

1. Dress Like A Professional

Come in a business suit. Imagine that you’re going in for a serious corporate job. Interviewers want to see that you take them seriously. Don’t promote the common misperception that naturopathic medicine is for tree-huggers in Birkenstocks.

Phone interviews can work against you in the first impression department. I got a peek at my student file. There was a score for “Was this person professionally dressed?” Because they couldn’t see me over the phone, I didn’t get points for the professional dress component. If possible, go in for an in-person interview.

2. Demonstrate The 6 Naturopathic Principles

One of my friends had a successful interview at Bastyr University. He talked about his career as a teacher and connected his classroom experiences to a desire to continue educating people. Because he showed the “Doctor As Teacher” principle, he struck a chord with the interviewers.

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Highlights

  • Tell personal stories that implicitly demonstrate the 6 naturopathic principles.
  • Know the specifics of the school you're interviewing for.
  • Be prepared to talk about your application materials.

1. Dress Like A Professional

Come in a business suit. Imagine that you’re going in for a serious corporate job. Interviewers want to see that you take them seriously. Don’t promote the common misperception that naturopathic medicine is for tree-huggers in Birkenstocks.

Phone interviews can work against you in the first impression department. I got a peek at my student file. There was a score for “Was this person professionally dressed?” Because they couldn’t see me over the phone, I didn’t get points for the professional dress component. If possible, go in for an in-person interview.

2. Demonstrate The 6 Naturopathic Principles

One of my friends had a successful interview at Bastyr University. He talked about his career as a teacher and connected his classroom experiences to a desire to continue educating people. Because he showed the “Doctor As Teacher” principle, he struck a chord with the interviewers.

He didn’t explicitly mention the principles. He showed how he was already implementing naturopathic principles in his life (even though he previously worked in a completely different field).

3. Show Your Familiarity With The School’s Mission And Specialties

One of the first questions interviewers ask is “Why do you want to attend our school?”

At my University of Bridgeport interview, I said that the school looked like a perfect fit, but my primary motivation was location. I was completely honest.

I told them that I was looking for a completely new setting—I wanted to be a blank canvas and let the experience paint me.

I loved the idea of going to a big school with both undergraduate and graduate populations. I liked UB because it was a full university, unlike the other naturopathic schools, which solely offer naturopathic tracks.

I didn’t want to be at a school where everyone was studying the same thing and had the same life philosophy. UB also had a big international student population since it was on the East Coast. I wanted to get perspective from meeting a diverse student body.

This answer showed 2 things: passion and knowledge of the school’s specialties. I talked about what made UB different from the other schools. Mention specific details that you admire in the school. Is there a certain professor you’d love to work with? A class you’re excited to take?

4. Review Your Transcript & Resume

Your interviewer might know your transcript better than you do. Be prepared to talk about any class you’ve taken or any job you’ve had, no matter how insignificant it seemed to you.

My interviewer surprised me when she asked, “Why did you take Crime Scene Investigation classes before applying?” I was shocked that she had read my transcript so closely.

However, the question gave me the opportunity to talk about my interest in forensic science. Forensic science was not a prerequisite, but I took a few courses in it anyway. This was before the CSI TV show was popular, so my interviewer was really interested by this quirky passion.

I showed that I was a go-getter with intellectual curiosity. I talked about how I was passionate about pursuing my interests and jumped when I saw a chance to learn about something that fascinated me.

The question surprised me. But it also showed me how thoroughly the admissions committee reads applications.

5. Brainstorm Potential Questions & Practice Answering Orally

Here are some common interview questions:
  • Why are you interested in naturopathic medicine?
  • Why do you want to go to this school?
  • Do you know the naturopathic principles?
  • Did you apply to any other medical schools (not naturopathic)?
  • If you applied to traditional med schools, did you get in? If you were rejected, why are you coming here now?
  • What extracurriculars did you do? What did you enjoy about them?
With enough practice, you won’t break a sweat when you’re in sitting across the interviewer. You don’t want to sound too scripted, though! Interviewers want to see a real person, not a robot.
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