Committee Interviews-Health Professions Program - Carnegie Mellon University

Committee Interviews

The pre-health committee interview and the committee letter of recommendation it produces are important features of applications to medical schools, dental schools, some veterinary schools and some schools of optometry.  In fact, in the absence of a committee letter of recommendation, some medical schools will ask why an applicant did not provide one.  Carnegie Mellon provides pre-health committee meetings and committee letters of recommendation to all enrolled students and alumnae, regardless of any other characteristic of the applicant (e.g. QPA, test score, participation in program events).  In some cases, applicants may be counseled that delaying their application by a year or more may be to their advantage.  Very late committee interviews (August and later) for the current year will be held at the discretion of Dr. D'Antonio, since late applications are not necessarily in the best interest of the applicant.

The goal of the committee interview is twofold: 1) to evaluate the applicant’s potential for a career in health care in light of other Carnegie Mellon students and alumnae and 2) to mentor the applicant in interviewing through extensive feedback offered after the interview.  Committees attempt to make a holistic assessment of each applicant that includes all relevant aspects of an applicant’s background and history.  Information discussed in the interview is considered, along with materials provided by the applicant:

Materials required two weeks prior to a pre-health committee interview:

  1. All letters of recommendation with waiver form:  medical  -OR-  other health graduate programs
  2. A transcript (unofficial copy is acceptable) from all colleges and universities other than Carnegie Mellon
  3. A standardized test score report (unofficial copy is acceptable), unless Dr. D'Antonio has waived this requirement.  Relevant tests are:
    • Medical school – MCAT
    • Dental school – DAT
    • Veterinary school – GRE
    • Optometry school – OAT
  4. A résumé
  5. A personal statement in the format and length that would be acceptable for the relevant application service.

Carnegie Mellon Pre-Health committees are typically made up of three people:

  1. The Director of the Health Professions Program
  2. A faculty member or research advisor invited by the applicant
  3. A faculty member invited by Director of the Health Professions Program

Generally, committee meetings are held in the spring semester or early summer in the year the application is submitted.  Early meetings (e.g. February to April) give an advantage to applicants as they enable earlier committee letter production.  This provides some advantage in a rolling admissions process.  Some applicants, especially those in their junior year or those with lower QPAs, may also benefit from waiting for spring grades to be released in May.  Consult with Dr. D'Antonio if you are unsure of the best timing for your meeting.  In order to schedule pre-health committee interview, send a request to hpp-office@andrew.cmu.edu with the following information:

  • The desired interview timeframe
  • The name and contact information of a faculty member or research advisor who has accepted the applicant’s invitation to serve on the committee

Dress for the committee interview as you would for a medical school interview.

Women

  • Suit (skirt or pants)
  • Pantyhose or stockings
  • Button down shirt / blouse
  • Closed toes, short heels
  • Appropriate makeup & jewelry
  • Minimal or no perfume
  • Professional bag & coat
  • Notepad/portfolio

Men

  • Suit and tie
  • Dress shoes
  • Conservative colors
  • Well groomed
  • Minimal or no cologne
  • Notepad/portfolio

Following committee meetings, committee letters of recommendation are generally produced in the order of meeting occurrence.  The time required for letter completion depends on the time of year and the demands on HPP staff.  We have a goal of 6 weeks or less between committee meeting and letter upload, though some letters may take longer.