Interview Day at VCU School of Medicine
We use the Multiple-Mini Interview (MMI) technique for our interview process
We use the Multiple-Mini Interview (MMI) technique for our interview process. The MMI was developed by McMaster University in Ontario for their M.D. program for nearly 20 years. Duke University and Virginia Tech Carillion have also implemented the MMI interview process.
The MMI process will consist of nine questions. The first question is a traditional interview question and will be asked by all of the interviewers. You will have 2 minutes to read the question and prepare your thoughts and 16 minutes for interaction with an interviewer. ONLY 16 minute interaction. Questions two through nine are designed to help assess an applicant's attributes in the following areas: responsibility, ethical and moral judgment, communication and management skills, problem solving and conflict resolution and teamwork. You will have 2 minutes to read the question and 8 minutes for interaction with an interviewer. ONLY 8 minute interaction.
You have seven days to schedule your interview from the time you received e-mail notification regarding this change in application status. Failure to schedule your interview before the deadline will result in withdrawal of your application.
You can find more information about the MMI on the MMI FAQ page.
If you need to reschedule your interview, you will be able to reschedule your interview using the â€œReschedule Interviewâ€ tool, located in the navigation bar on the Applicant Portal. Please keep in mind that you will only be able to reschedule your interview once using the Rescheduling tool. Also, in order to utilize this tool; you will be required to be seven days or more out from your currently scheduled interview.
If you are not able to attend your scheduled interview and wish to withdraw your application, please notify the Admissions Office ASAP by email and phone to cancel your interview and withdraw your application.
Please also be aware that failure to show up for an interview without notifying the office means that no additional interview will be offered. This policy is in place because candidates who fail to show up occupy an interview slot that could have gone to another highly qualified candidate. In addition our interviewers volunteer their time and energy to interview applicants. Please be courteous to withdraw in a timely manner.
Please arrive for your interview at the VCU School of Medicine Admissions Office, 1201 E. Marshall Street, 1st floor, Suite 1-200.
Overnight Accommodations: Prices are subject to change, please call and check with the hotel! Also, say that you are coming to visit the Medical College of Virginia Campus and that you are a student to make sure you get the discount. You must do this when you make the reservation. A list of local hotels and rates can be found at Accommodations.
Congratulations for getting an interview at VCU SOM!
Our generous medical students volunteer their homes, energy and time in the midst of their busy schedules. Hosting is provided one night and not during exam schedules and vacation periods.
We will try our best to place you; however, we cannot guarantee placement. Please complete this form as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for your visit. Host placements are assigned in order of interview date, please be patient. There are nearby hotels, you may also view the list of hotels.
Please note that hosting may not be available during the exam and holiday period.
Complete the Student Hosting Form with your information. You will receive an automated confirmation email. We will contact you with your hosts name and contact information.
If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to meeting you and wish you well in your medical school application process.
8:00 am - Check-In
8:15 am to 8:45 am - Welcome and Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI) Overview
8:45 am - Gather for MMI
9:00 am to 10:45 am - Multiple Mini-Interview
11:00 am to 11:45 am - Information Session
12:00 pm to 12:30 pm - Lunch
12:30 pm to 1:30 pm - Tour
Letters of Recommendation
Applicants should submit a minimum of three letters of recommendation (maximum of five)
Applicants should submit a minimum of three letters of recommendation (maximum of five). A letter packet is assembled and distributed by your school. It may or may not include a cover letter from your pre-health advisor or committee, but it does not include a committee evaluation. If the letter packet contains at least three individual letters, it will fulfill our requirements. However, if the letter packet includes fewer than three individual letters, you will need to submit additional individual letters to meet our minimum requirement of three letters. All letters should be submitted through AMCAS Letters of Evaluation/Recommendation Service.
We receive many questions about who should write letters of recommendation. We highly recommend you select writers who know you well and can speak to your qualifications for entering the field of medicine. Letters from family members and/or friends are discouraged. Learn more here.
- Letters must address personal experiences and characteristics that will help us to develop an overall portrait of you. A letter based upon direct interaction with you and addressing qualities such as maturity, empathy, character, reliability, interpersonal skills, and any special attributes or experiences will be the most helpful.
- Letters may be authored by individuals from an academic, clinical, employment, research, or volunteer setting. People who know you well and who can attest to your character and abilities based upon their personal experience with you will be the most meaningful.
- If you have taken time off between college and medical school, you should also send a letter of evaluation from a person who can comment about experiences during that period.
- If there are special circumstances or potential concerns raised within your application (ex: lower grades one semester, compelling reason for withdrawal from a class, minor institutional action), consider securing a letter that could validate or clarify the situation.
- Ideally, letters should be dated within one year of your application.
- We DO NOT provide a status message indicating receipt of letters of evaluation. If AMCAS has confirmed receipt of your letters, then we have them as well. It is not necessary to contact our office to ask if we have your letters.
- Unsolicited letters sent directly to the college outside of the AMCAS Letters service will not be reviewed, placed in your file, or retained in any form; they will be discarded.
Selection factors used to evaluate MD Program applications
What is the holistic review?
Holistic review is examining an applicant’s full application to determine how the applicant might contribute to Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine and as a future physician.
VCU SOM has adapted the AAMC Holistic Review Process E-A-M Model of evaluating Experiences, Attributes and Metrics. It’s our mission to select diverse class aligned with our mission and promote diversity as an essential element to achieving institutional excellence.
Are grades and test scores important in a holistic review?
Grades and test scores are important predictors of future academic and testing performance. However, academic metrics do not measure all the skills and abilities to be a successful student or physician. By utilizing a holistic review process, we evaluate academic metrics along with experiences and attributes to assess potential for academic and clinical achievement.
How is Holistic Review applied in the VCU SOM Admissions Process?
VCU SOM committee members uses a holistic approach to evaluate an array of applicant attributes, including academic excellence, personal characteristics, leadership, service to others, contribution to diversity (gender, race, ethinicity, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, geographic origin) and extracurricular activities.
Who's a Good Candidate for VCU SOM?
The decision to send a supplemental is based on AAMC Holistic Review Project E-A-M Model of evaluating Experiences, Attributes and Metrics and the 15 Core Competencies for Entering Medical School to determine how the applicant might contribute to VCU School of Medicine learning environment as well as to the medical profession as a future physician.
- Evidence of academic preparation for a rigorous medical school curriculum
- Dedication to serving others
- Ability to work in teams toward a shared goal or mission
- Excellence in an activity that shows commitment, drive and passion
- Competence for delivering quality care in a global society
- Understanding of the medical field and what it takes to be a physician
While academics is only a portion of what we consider, there are general figures typically expected of competitive applicants. We use a holistic review process to evaluate full application. The average GPA is 3.7 and average MCAT 508.
If your undergraduate GPA is less than 3.6, you may want to consider taking post-baccalaureate courses to establish a higher grade point average and to demonstrate academic potential. This would involve at least 16 or more credits of graduate or post-baccalaureate work, including upper level biology courses and repeating any science courses for which you received a low grade.
Still, applicants with slightly lower GPAs that have shown to trend upward are good signs for the admissions committee to see. Paired with solid non-academic variables, applicants may still find an opportunity to join the incoming class.
In addition to GPA and MCAT scores, the college evaluates a number of nonacademic factors. These include but are not limited to:
- Community service/volunteer work – medical/clinical
- Community service/volunteer work – nonmedical/nonclinical
- Physician shadowing
- Leadership roles
- Experience with people different from themselves
- Paid employment
- Military service
The Committee on Admissions does not prefer one major to another. Many applicants entering class will have earned traditional science degrees, but other students will have earned degrees in engineering, religion, art, music, psychology, political science, business and others areas.
We hope the general information provided below will help you to better understand our admissions process. Interviews are conducted August through March, and our admissions process is structured so that seats remain available for applicants who are reviewed and interviewed later in the application cycle. Applicants are not negatively affected by the timing of the application review or interview. It is very common for applications to be held for an interview decision, for comparison to the larger applicant pool that evolves over the year. Please do not call the office if your status has not changed; as soon as a decision is made, your status will be updated. Our staff has no information beyond that listed on the Applicant Portal status page. The office staff is unable to project when you will receive the next status update. Please use the Applicant Portal account to track your application status. Your patience is appreciated as we give individual consideration to all applications.
When we have received all of your application materials, the Admissions Review Committee will carefully evaluate your entire application. When this detailed evaluation is complete, one of three things will happen:
1. You will be invited to interview.
2. Your application will be deemed unsuccessful and will receive no further consideration
3. Your application will be placed on Hold for Interview Decision
It is very common to hold applications for an interview decision, for comparison to the larger applicant pool that evolves over the year. This may significantly delay a decision to extend an invitation to interview or reject the application. If your application is on hold for an interview decision, our admissions process is structured so that seats remain available for those applicants who interview later in the year.
All decisions made by the Review Committee are final.
Your patience is appreciated as we give individual consideration to all applications during this time.
Members of the Interview Committee are volunteers from the fourth year medical student class and faculty representatives who are physicians, investigators, administrators, or community representatives who interact with the medical students. Interviewers will explore the applicants motivation for seeking a medical degree, awareness and understanding of the medical profession, leadership, problem solving skills, understanding of medical ethics, and interpersonal skills.
Members of the Admissions Committee are volunteers from the fourth year medical student class and faculty representatives who are physicians, investigators, administrators, or community representatives who interact with the medical students. Members of the committee will review your entire application, including;
- AMCAS Application
- Supplemental Application/LORs
- Grades and GPA trend
- MCAT scores
- Interview evaluation
The Selection Committee reviews applicants weekly until all approved applicants have been presented. Applicants will be notified by the Applicant Portal of their final status: Accepted, placed on the alternate list, or not accepted.
Offers for admission are made on or before October 1 for the Early Decision Plan and October 16, December 16, February 16 and March 16 to fill the class for regular admissions. At the time the class is filled, an alternate list of applicants is compiled from which replacements are drawn for any vacancies which may occur in the selected class by the first day of orientation. Since selections are made in advance of actual attendance, all acceptances are made on condition of satisfactory completion of courses planned or in progress. It is expected that candidates will maintain acceptable standards of deportment. Students offered acceptance into a class are expected to respond within two weeks of the offer.
You will use the Applicant Portal throughout the application process to track the status of your application.
Please do not call the Office of Admissions to inquire about the status of your application, as the staff does not have access to any information beyond that which is posted on your Application Status page.
It is very common for applications to be held for an interview decision, for comparison to the larger applicant pool that evolves over the year. Please do not call the office if your status has not changed; as soon as a decision is made, your status will be updated. Our staff has no information beyond that listed on the Applicant Portal status page.
Submitting Additional Materials
DO NOT submit additional materials or updates. The college accepts additional information only when an applicant is placed in the alternate pool after interview or by Committee request. We believe that the AMCAS application you initially submitted is representative of your academic abilities and activities.
Unsolicited materials will be discarded.
The candidate must be able to observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences, including but not limited to physiologic and pharmacologic demonstrations in animals, microbiologic cultures, microscopic studies of microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathologic states, observe x-rays, cadavers, live human case presentations and patient interview, physical exams, using a variety of medical instrumentation such as stethoscopes, otoscopes, etc., rectal and pelvic exams, live surgical procedures, childbirth, on-line computer searches. A candidate must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and somatic sensation. It is enhanced by the functional use of the sense of smell.
A candidate should be able to speak, to hear, and to observe patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity, and posture, and perceive nonverbal communications. A candidate must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form with all members of the health care team. A candidate should be able to effectively communicate in settings when the time span available for communication is limited. Examples of areas where skillful communication is required might include (but are not limited to) answering written and oral exam questions, eliciting a complete history from a patient, presenting oral or written information to preceptors, attending and other members of the health care team, participating in fast-paced small and large group discussions, talking with patients and families about medical issues, interacting in a therapeutic manner with psychiatric patients, interacting effectively and compassionately in stressful situations with colleagues, other health care providers, clerkship administrators and patients.
Candidates should have sufficient motor function to attend and participate in all class and small group functions which are part of the curriculum, read and write, elicit information from patients b palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers. A candidate should be able to perform basic laboratory tests (urinalysis, CBC, etc), carry out diagnostic procedures (proctoscopy, paracentesis, etc.) and read EKGs and x-rays. A candidate should be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Examples of emergency treatment reasonably required of physicians are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the administration of intravenous medication, the application of pressure to stop bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways, the suturing of simple wound and the performance of simple obstetrical maneuvers. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.
These abilities include rational thought, measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, organization, memory, clinical and ethical reasoning, sound judgment and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physicians, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, the candidate should be able to comprehend three dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures. Examples include being able to recall, understand and synthesize materials presented in class and in meetings with preceptors and faculty, successfully passing written and oral exams, understanding ethical issues, interpreting test results, analyzing complicated physical situations such as cardiac arrest and determining the appropriate sequence of events for successful treatment, understanding methods for various procedures, exhibiting sound judgment in clinical settings, making concise and cogent presentations on data collected on a patient, and understanding how to organize and present on service, understanding how to work effectively both alone and as a member of a team.
A candidate must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his/her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients, colleagues and other health care professionals. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, and to learn to function in the fact of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, empathy, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities that are assessed during the admissions and education processes. The School of Medicine has a set of professional standards that all candidates are expected to meet once enrolled: http://www.medschool.vcu.edu/professionalism/. The evaluation of candidates seeks to assess their abilities to conform to the professionalism standards. Examples of professionalism standards are: showing up for required experiences on time and prepared, refraining from violation of the school’s honor code, treating faculty, staff and other students with respect, making an effort to understand prejudices and preconceptions that might affect patient and colleague interactions (especially in areas of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age and religious differences), developing successful working relationship with faculty, colleagues, and staff and accepting constructive feedback, respectful speech, professional dress and demeanor, respecting patient confidentiality, developing empathic listening skills, advocating for patients when appropriate, and using clinical and hospital resources appropriately.
Qualified students with disabilities can be accommodated and some accommodations may involve an intermediary or an auxiliary aid. However, these accommodations may not provide cognitive support, substitute for essential clinical skills or supplement clinical or ethical judgment. In other words, accommodations may not eliminate essential program elements. An example of acceptable intermediaries would include a sign language interpreter (provided they offer only translation and do not perform selective, analytic or interpretive functions). A deaf student would thus be able to listen, but would still be personally responsible for essential communication within the curriculum. An auxiliary aid might be that a paraplegic student would use a standing wheelchair or variable height table to examine a patient.
Any student who has questions about University accommodations, or wishes further information about meeting these standards may review the website for the Division for Academic Success at http://das.vcu.edu/ or may contact the office at (804) 828-9782.