Tips for Getting the Most of your Health Career Committee Interview

How can you have a successful Health Career Committee Interview, resulting in a strong recommendation letter?

Planning for your Interview

  • Not everyone is required to have a committee letter.  Students who are interested in nursing, physical therapy, and occupational therapy can benefit from going through this interview process even if they plan to use only individual recommendation letters for professional school application.
  • Since we want to capture your college experience, time your interview to be the semester before you plan to apply.  If you interview early (ie, sophomore year) and then gain other meaningful experiences, the option is open for you to re-interview during your senior spring.
  • Only students who are going to graduate in December or be abroad in the spring should interview in the fall.
  • Students interested in veterinary school, dental school, physician assistant programs and medical school definitely benefit from using the committee letter generated by this process to support their application.


General Materials Preparation Advice

  • Start to prepare your materials early.  Many students prepare at least 2 months in advance of their interview.
  • Use your resources.  Both Dr. Karin Heckman and Dr. Jane Kring, the Pre-Health Program and Health Careers Committee Co-Chairs, are happy to meet with you to answer any questions you have about the required materials or the interview process.
  • Get some feedback on your resume!  Ask family and friends to read it through or make an appointment at the Center for Career Excellence.
  • Make sure to write professionally when preparing your materials and dress professionally for the interview itself.  You want to best represent yourself, so use this as a practice interview for health professional school.


Recommendations and Waiver Form

  • Ask for your recommendations either in person or with an individualized email to the potential recommender before you put their name down on your waiver sheet.  Be sure to share a little bit about yourself in the conversation or e-mail, including your activities on campus, your goals including the professional program you plan to apply to, and the process for submitting their recommendation.  (Recommenders will receive an email to complete a Qualtrics survey where they will enter their comments and rank you on professional characteristics.)
  • When you’re completing your interview waiver form, check the box stating that you waive the right to view your recommendation.  This shows that you trust your recommenders and that you don’t have something you’re trying to hide.  (Your recommendation letter will state whether you did or didn’t waive your right to view the letter’s contents.)
  • Choose recommenders who know you from a variety of roles, who have a variety of personalities, and who taught you in advanced coursework.  Be sure to include at least three science faculty.  (It is okay to include members of the health careers committee.)
  • After you’ve chosen your recommenders and handed in your waiver form, please remember to follow up by reminding the recommenders when the recommendation is due.  Ms. Shanda Beamer in the Biology office can tell you which recommendations are complete after they are due.


Experience Descriptions

  • Our letter tries to capture your college experience, so high school experiences are not very relevant.  Remember that a college experience doesn’t have to be specifically focused on health care to be important.  Any experience in which you’re interacting with others helps you build skills that are relevant, so you’re encouraged to include all your significant college experiences.
  • Try to highlight the aspects of your experiences that developed skills you will need in health care roles, such as leadership, communication, collaboration, attention to detail, etc. 
  • Try to show what you did instead of telling.  Use descriptive language.  For example, don’t say “I’m a compassionate person.”  Give us an example of you displaying compassion.
  • Everyone has similar experiences, but the take away points are different.  Emphasize how you impacted others, and how your experiences impacted you.


Personal Statement

  • This aspect of your materials should answer the question of why you want to pursue a particular health career.
  • Work to develop a theme that is carried throughout your personal statement.  Especially focus on connecting your introductory and concluding paragraphs.
  • Use the WORD Studio and ask your friends and family for revision suggestions.  This takes time and reflection to do well.
  • Submit a polished version, so that the feedback you receive from your interviewers is valuable and relevant.


Evaluation Rubric

  • This shows many of the aspects of your application that health professional schools will consider.  Please rate yourself based on what you know by circling the boxes that best describe you.