Alex | Founder of Medfully
30 May 5 min read

Why This Medical School? Medicine Interview Questions Explained

❓ Why Is This Question Asked?

Since this is one of the most common interview questions, the admissions panel expects you to be prepared for it. Through your answer, you should demonstrate you have thoroughly thought out your reasons, that you have done your research and that you are passionate about joining their university.

🎓 Why Would You Like to Join Our Medical School: Points to Include

Why did you choose to apply to that specific medical school over another with similar entry requirements? Try to reflect on that decision, to make sure your answer is genuine (never try to satisfy the interviewers by preparing an answer you think they will want to hear - it’s easy to spot when someone is inauthentic and it’s always a red flag).

If you are lacking inspiration, we’ve created a list of excellent reasons, which will likely score you points (by no means an exhaustive list!):

  • Location (city, district, facilities surrounding the university, campus etc.)
  • Clubs & societies (or other opportunities for extracurricular development)
  • Course structure (early patient contact, division into preclinical and clinical years, integrated BSc etc.)
  • Elective opportunities
  • Teaching hospitals (make sure to drop names in your answer!),
  • Research facilities and many more.


✅ Answering the question: Top Tips

👀 Have a Look At The University Website: Ensure you know the highlights of the medical school, including the course structure, teaching hospitals, any additional modules, where teaching takes place etc. This will also help you prepare for potential follow-up questions. There is no need to know the tiniest details about each university, but do make some general notes - it helps to show you are excited about joining their institution.

🏈 Bring Up Your Extracurriculars and Link To Existing Societies at Their University*.*  The question is a great chance to show off your extracurriculars by mentioning what societies you would like to join or set up while at university. This allows you to set the direction of the interview (it can further prompt interviewers to ask you follow-up questions relating to your hobbies) and demonstrate you will be a valuable asset to them.

🚀 Check Out Medfully: Finding these tips insightful? Then you might as well benefit from our 70,000+ word interview guide written by doctors and medical students from top UK universities… And what’s best - it’s only one of many features of Medfully!

❄️ No Pressure To Be Original. For most candidates, there is only a limited number of reasons behind their decision to join medical school X, and most answers will likely partially overlap. With this question, the admissions panel usually wants you to get into the interview mood and check whether you’ve done the most basic research about their university. Therefore, it's perfectly alright if your reasons don't sound unique. Nonetheless, make sure your answers are, for the most part, unique to the university and not vague statements, which you could apply to multiple interviews.

❓ Be Prepared For Follow-ups. The interviewers may ask you probing questions based on your motivations to join their medical school to separate average and excellent candidates. For example, if you mention they are one of the few universities to offer prosections (as a way of learning anatomy), be prepared for a question to "distinguish between prosection and dissection."

🤩 Be Enthusiastic! Demonstrating how thrilled you are to join their university will speak much louder than words. Therefore, remember to keep a smile on your face while answering and show your excitement using your body language and hand gestures (on the flip side - don't overdo it!). To gauge how you come across, you can ask your friends or family members to ask you the question or record yourself in the Mock Video Interviews section.

❌ Common Mistakes:

🏋️‍♀️ Trying Too Hard To Impress The Interviewers. The fact that the university has notable alumni or sophisticated research going on will show you have done your research but may not necessarily be perceived as a genuine reason. Let’s face it - not many people have very specific research interests and few actually get to work with world experts during their course. Be realistic about what you can expect from your university experience.

🥱 Giving Generic Answers. Avoid giving statements, which you could apply to all medical schools, such as "excellent teaching hospitals". Try to be as specific as possible. If this applies to you, you can drop two or three names when talking about teaching hospitals or research institutions. Nonetheless, please don't make a list of it!

🔢 Relying Only On Reasons Which Apply To Many Schools. While it is acceptable to include some points in your answer, which apply to many schools (after all, some features overlap between medical schools), it’s good to strike a balance between unique and generic points. For instance, saying that the school offers an integrated course as one of your primary reasons won't be powerful enough, as the vast majority of medical schools offer that. Ensure that most of the reasons you choose are specific to the university (or at least don't apply to the vast majority).


🚧 How to Structure Your Answer:

  • Introduction: Provide a sentence of introduction by highlighting there are a few reasons why XYZ medical school really stood out to you.
  • Reasons: We would recommend you to stick to 2-4 reasons in your answer. Make sure you don't just list them but elaborate on each point. Try to diversify your motives, as it will likely score you more points. In the answer box, you can prepare talking points for each university you have applied to.
  • Conclusion: Summarise your main points to signal to the interviewer(s) that you have finished answering their question.

📚 Useful Resources:

Find the prospectus of the university or their website dedicated to the medical course. There, you will find some specific information about the course, teaching hospitals, societies, unique elements etc.

If you can, speak to medical students currently attending the university - there is truly no better source of information!

💡 Why This Medical School: Example Answer

(the way I would answer the question in a UCL interview)

Oh, there are so many reasons why I’d love to study at UCL. But if I were to choose the most important ones, then firstly the location.

The fact that UCL is located in central London means it is linked to large, world-renowned hospitals, such as the UCLH, GOSH and the Royal Free, which collect top experts from around the world. Also thanks to the fact that London is such a multicultural and diverse city, you can interact with a variety of patients and disorders as a medical student in London. And this exposure can make you a better doctor in the future.

The second aspect that really appeals to me about UCL is the fact that it is one of the few universities to offer full-body dissection. From what I’ve heard from other medical students and read up online, most unanimously agree that the active act of dissecting the cadavers ourselves is a very efficient way to learn human anatomy, whilst also learning about respect and teamwork.

Lastly, although teaching is a vital and inseparable part of medical school, personal development is something that brings me a lot of joy, helps me maintain a healthy work-life balance and also helps nourish my interpersonal skills, which can benefit me as a doctor. And from what I’ve heard and read up online, UCL is a place conducive to growth, with the variety of societies and SSCs that are on offer. I’d certainly like to join the RUMS Tennis Society and contribute my tennis skills to the team and maybe possibly help win the UH cup another year in a row.

So definitely the quality of teaching, as well as the opportunities for development and personal growth are the main factors that attract me to UCL.