Advice for Premeds

A blog about the medical school admissions process

How to Talk to School Representatives at the Medical School Career Fair

by Janet Snoyer in Medical School Fairs 2 Comments
Advice for Premeds: Medical School Fairs

Now that you’ve thoroughly prepared for the medical school career fair, the only thing left to do is get there and work it! To keep your nerves calm and your energy up, stay focused on the task at hand: meet representatives from the schools you are interested in and build a connection with them so they remember you. Here’s the process in short: make eye contact with a representative, shake hands, ask about them, ask about the school, thank them, hand them your information, move on.

Get There Early

Get to the fair early or at a time when it’s likely to be less crowded. You will want to avoid crowded tables and instead visit tables with fewer students so you can actually talk to the representative.

Pick a Practice Table

To familiarize yourself with the process and practice your technique, your first table visit could be for a school that you have little to no interest in attending. Do a bit of research for this school so you have something to talk about. You will feel more confident when you do not want something from the school.

Start Networking

When you get to the table, introduce yourself. Get the representative’s name and use it during your conversation. Explain why you are interested in the school. Mention an interest or program that makes you a good fit for the school. Do NOT hand your card and resume over yet.

Now is the time to ask two or three distinctive questions that cannot be answered by the school’s website. Ask appreciative questions that encourage a positive answer from the representative, whether it is about their work, their interaction with medical students, or the experiences of medical students at their school.

  1. First, you could ask a question that no one else would ask about their work. Read their nametag to learn what the representative’s role is at the school. If they are an admissions officer, you could ask them what they do to make interview day comfortable for the applicant. Ask them what students at the school tell them they love most about the school. If they are a diversity affairs officer, you could ask them how they have seen students show their inclusiveness once they are at the school. What kind of special projects has the diversity affairs office done to ensure a more inclusive class?
  2. Next, express your interest in a special program at the school. Ask questions you have about the school. For instance, ask them to tell you some ways that students get early clinical experience at their school.
  3. Finally, ask if you can leave your business card and resume with the representative after you have had a brief but enjoyable conversation. The interaction should be short but sweet, leaving both parties wanting more.
Keep Up The Good Work

Move on to the next table and do it again! Remember to take care of your needs so you can stay friendly and energetic while you are at the fair. Bring a snack and stay hydrated. When you leave the fair, congratulate yourself on completing an important step in the admissions process.

Photo by jesse orrico on Unsplash.

2 thoughts on “How to Talk to School Representatives at the Medical School Career Fair

  1. Dear Madam or Sir,
    I hope you are doing well. On my supplemental application, I have been asked to share any challenges that impacted my application (due to Covid-19), beyond the commonly experienced disruptions. This question is optional. I did not face any financial or social challenges as I receive full scholarship and live off-campus with my parents. My research project was disrupted, but I started researching only 2 months prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. So, it did not affect me alot. I am thinking to write “Fortunately, I didn’t experience the challenge indicated by the prompt.” Or should I come up with something? Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanking you,
    Mustafa Khan

    1. Dear Mustafa,

      Your response is appropriate – they will appreciate someone who did not experience major setbacks and is confident to say so. If the pandemic affected your ability to get adequate research or clinical experience prior to applying, this would be the place to explain any impacts to your planned activities and experiences.

      Best Regards,
      Elyse and Janet

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