As the number of applications far exceeds the number of seats that are available within the College, to secure a place on your chosen course you may be required to take part in an online or face-to-face interview with a member of the RCSI Admissions team.
Irish and EU applicants are only required to undergo an Admissions interview if applying for:
- Mature Entry Medicine
- Graduate/Mature or Pharmacy Technician Entry to Pharmacy
- Graduate or Mature Entry Physiotherapy
Irish and EU School Leavers applying for Medicine, Pharmacy and Physiotherapy via the CAO do not need to undergo an Admissions interview. Similarly, Irish and EU Graduates applying for Graduate Entry Medicine via the CAO do not need to undergo an Admissions interview.
All non-EU applicants are required to undergo an interview as part of the RCSI application process.
What is an admissions interview?
An Admissions interview is an opportunity to provide detail in relation to your ambition to study Medicine, Pharmacy or Physiotherapy at RCSI. You will be asked for detail in relation to why you want to study and work in this chosen field. You may also be asked to provide some detail in relation to the steps that you have taken to ensure that this is the right career choice for you. We are also interested to hear about your general background and the forces that have shaped you into the person that you are.
RCSI is looking for enthusiastic and motivated students, who will thrive in their chosen course and in the international student environment that RCSI provides.
The interview process, along with some helpful tips on how to prepare for an interview, is outlined below.
Stage 1: Shortlisting
To create an interview shortlist, the Admissions Committee reviews and ranks candidates according to:
- Academic history (assessed through academic transcripts and references)
- References (academic and non-academic)
- Predicted grades (provided by the applicant and the school)
- A personal statement
- Extracurricular activities
- Personal achievements and life experiences
Stage 2: The interview
Reaching the interview stage is a significant milestone and candidates should feel proud that they have received an invitation to interview. Students who are called for interview are deemed to have supplied a very competitive application.
While most people may feel nervous about being interviewed, please be assured that we understand and our interviews are not designed to be difficult or to catch you out. There are no technical questions and no ethical questions. The interview is simply an opportunity for us to get to know each applicant a little better and an opportunity for you to display your insight, determination and motivation to study in your chosen discipline.
The College receives applications from over 30 different countries every year and it is not possible to offer interviews in every location.
As a result, two interview styles are offered: direct face-to-face interviews and online interviews.
- Face-to-face interviews are offered in locations where the number of candidates being called for interview is large. These interviews are normally held in hotel meeting rooms in major cities.
- Online interviews are offered using Skype or through a remote interview system called Sonru. The Sonru system records the interview which is then reviewed at a later date by members of the Admissions Committee. Online interviews allow RCSI to offer interviews globally without the cost and inconvenience of asking students to travel long distances to attend for interview during their busy academic year.
Regardless of the type of interview involved, here are some useful tips to maximise your chances of success.
- Plan ahead – Know in advance what type of interview you will be asked to attend; face-to-face or online. This will depend on your place of domicile, e.g. if are you located in North America, South East Asia or the UK you are more likely to be offered a face-to-face interview. If you are applying from the Middle East you are more likely to be offered an online interview. If you are invited to attend a face-to-face interview, plan how you will get to the location and ensure that you have all the necessary details, e.g. date, time, location, contact name, telephone number etc. If you are invited to attend an online interview, use the practice area to familiarise yourself with the technology and ensure that you don’t miss the deadline date for completion of the interview.
- Do your research – visit the RCSI website to review course information such as curriculum, structure and duration of the programme, postgraduate training requirements etc. and read the information about student life at RCSI. Being well informed about RCSI and life as a student in will greatly enhance your chances of relaxing and having a successful interview experience.
- Prepare for questions – Take the time to consider what we are looking for in a potential candidate, talk to other students (RCSI students, if you know any or other health sciences students) about their own interview experiences or their experience of life as a student. Review your personal statement and CV and try preparing for possible questions at the interview stage. You should, for example, know in advance why you want to enter your chosen profession. Be well informed on the programme itself, RCSI, and the realities of life as a healthcare professional.
- Practice, practice, practice – Have mock interviews with teachers, tutors, counsellors or advisors. If you need to attend an online interview, do practice runs of the online interview process and familiarise yourself with the system and how to answer the questions in the allotted time.
- Dress appropriately – It is not necessary to wear a suit and tie, a shirt and a smart pair of trousers or a blouse and trousers/skirt combination will suffice. Remember that the reviewers of your online interview will also have sight of you so please dress accordingly.
- Timekeeping – Arrive early to your interview location, or log in to Skype in advance of the scheduled time. If you are attending a face-to-face interview, we recommend that you are seated in the correct waiting area at least 15 minutes in advance of your allotted interview time.
- Body language – Don’t slouch, yawn, fold your arms or fidget too much. Stay calm, alert and sit up straight.
- Surroundings – If you are completing a video interview, be aware of your environment. Think of what is in view; declutter the background, check ambient light and avoid sitting with your back to a window. Also, check that the location is not prone to a lot of background noise, which could either distract the interviewer or you or both. An online interview is no different to a face-to-face interview and once you start you cannot stop so it is advisable to ensure that you are not going to be disturbed by interruptions or noise.
- Switch off your phone in advance of the interview taking place.
- Keep your cool – Your interviewer is there to get to know you, not trick you. We want you to be successful. If you are completing an online interview, imagine you are talking to someone in a face-to-face situation.
- Make notes – It might be useful to write down what you’ve learnt from the experience to assist in future interviews.
- Reflect on your performance – Be honest and decide what worked and what didn’t work and how can you improve on it.
- Don’t assume you’ve failed – Interviewers understand that this is a stressful situation and nerves can play a part. On many occasions candidates have come out of an interview certain that they had failed, when in fact they had done very well.
- Feedback – We are always happy to take feedback on our interviews so see if we can enhance the user experience. If you have undertaken a face-to-face or online interview and would like to provide feedback please send your comments to the RCSI Admissions Office.