Why do you want to be a doctor
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Why Do You Want To Be A Doctor? [How To Answer]

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The question of “why do you want to be a doctor?” comes up in casual conversations with your aunts, but it also appears in med school admissions. In fact, this question is by far one of the most commonly asked interview questions.

As simple as it may sound, this question bears a lot of weight. The interview panel uses this because it serves as a tool to peer into the minds of potential students and understand their motivations.

So, in this post, I’m going to show you how to find your answer to this ever-important question. That way, you can prepare, figure out your own motivations, and leave a mark in your interviewers’ minds!why do you want to be a doctor

Bonus: Want a full library of free medical school eBooks, video courses, and training? Click here to get access to your free med school advice library!

What Are Interviewers Looking For?

This question sounds irrelevant since your interviewers already have your resume with your MCAT scores and GPA. However, as I said before, the panel uses this question to understand your “why” — your drive or motivation. 

Since the medical journey is long and arduous, the panel wants to find which students are the most determined and dedicated to the profession. They are also looking for people with true motives and a clear understanding of the challenges they are about to face.

You can also use this question as an opportunity to show off your communication skills, confidence, and interpersonal skills — traits that are necessary for the medical field. With that said, let us talk about the kinds of answers you should avoid.

why do you want to be a doctor

Answers To Avoid

Generally speaking, it is best to avoid self-centered answers and vague responses. These answers are often overused and therefore less memorable. They could also have follow-up questions that will throw you off your game.

Most importantly, their answers can show you in a bad light and hurt your chances of getting into med school. If you have the following responses, then it might be best to look for different ones.

Bonus: Want a full library of free medical school eBooks, video courses, and training? Click here to get access to your free med school advice library!

Answer #1: I Want To Be Rich And Famous

This answer is perhaps the worst one you could give. All it does is raise a lot of red flags for your interviewers.

The medical industry is filled with professions that focus on helping other people. As such, it would be best to avoid responses like “I want to be rich and famous” and “I want to be in a position of authority.”

Being a physician or a surgeon indeed offers you an opportunity to garner financial stability, fame, and respect. Nevertheless, your panelists would not see this as a strong enough reason to motivate your pursuit and completion of the course.

Answer #2: My Parents Are Doctors

If one or both of your parents are doctors, then it can provide you with a lot of valuable exposure to the medical industry. However, this reason alone would not be compelling enough for your interviewers.

Giving this answer makes it look like someone made your career decision for you. It would be best if you strived to show your panelists that you made the decision independently and not because you are trying to earn your family’s approval.

Answer #3: I Wanted To Change Careers

Vague answers like this one do not answer your interviewers’ questions. Most likely, they would ask, “Then why do you want to be a doctor? Why not be something else?”

If you wanted to change careers and chose to pursue medicine, you should determine your exact reasons.

why do you want to be a doctor

Answer #4: I Like Challenging Myself

This answer is one of the most overused and least memorable ones. Just like the answer before, your panelists will look for your exact reason why. They would be right in asking that question because the journey to becoming a doctor is not the only mentally stimulating, science-based career in existence.

Answer #5: I Want To Help People

This answer shows your selflessness, but it comes across as vague. There are other professions where you can help people, such as law and social work, so why did you choose to be a doctor?

If this is your answer, try to think of why being a doctor is the best or the only way you can help people the way you want.

Bonus: Want a full library of free medical school eBooks, video courses, and training? Click here to get access to your free med school advice library!

How To Figure Out Your Answer

Now that you know which answers to avoid, you should now formulate your response. When making your own answer, you should focus on being as unique and personal as possible.

Cookie-cutter, clichéd responses are so forgettable that they hurt your chances of getting into medical school. Take your time to reflect, understand, and verbalize why you want to become a doctor in the first place. 

Here are some tips to help you come up with your own answer:

questions on motivation and personal insights

Tip #1: Retell Your Story

Try telling your story to yourself or your friends. Start with your very first encounter with the profession and lead up to your present. In doing so, you can help remember where the idea of being a doctor first piqued your interest and how that experience shaped you to this day.

Tip #2: Reflect On Your Experiences

Now that you remember your story, reflect on it to see if you get everything down. In addition, you should also determine which of your experiences cemented your desire to become a doctor.

Tip #3: Remember Your Strengths

Your story and interest in the medical field most likely made you more proficient in certain areas of your life. For example, you became more scientifically inclined, more passionate about helping others, or more analytical.

You can highlight these strengths once you say your answers in front of the interviewers.

Bonus: Want a full library of free medical school eBooks, video courses, and training? Click here to get access to your free med school advice library!

How To Answer “Why Do You Want To Be A Doctor?” (Step-By-Step)

So how exactly should we answer the big question? Follow these steps to craft a meaningful and winning answer.

things to remember when writing prescriptions

Step #1: Prepare

Preparation is the most crucial step in answering the question. Before you even arrive, you should be well-prepared to answer all the questions your interviewers have for you, especially this one.

Step #2: Establish Your Story

This step serves as an introduction. Here, you should focus on past experiences that got you interested in becoming a doctor. 

Once you get asked the question, you should respond honestly. Liz Ryan from Forbes says to “be honest, but not too honest”.

You can use your vague answers here. If your parents are indeed doctors, tell them how they got you interested in working in the industry. If you had past encounters with your science teachers or physicians, tell them why your interactions were memorable and how they helped you go down the path of becoming a doctor.

Opening up with an anecdote provides your interviewers with insight into your motivations and personality. However, do not spend all of your time talking about personal experiences.

Step #3: Highlight Your Reasons

Now that you established some context, you can delve deeper into more recent experiences that helped cement your desire to become a doctor.

You can talk about your previous employer, experiences in the healthcare industry, or that one seminar you attended. Whatever it is, you should let the panel know when you resolved to become a doctor.

Tell the panel how you came to that conclusion if your experience made you realize you want to help people

why do you want to be a doctor

Step #4: Show Your Experiences And Strengths

In this step, you can show the interviewers all the efforts you have made so far to further your career. It would be best to highlight your strengths briefly since your interviewers already have your resume in hand.

Nevertheless, if your strengths are directly connected to your reasons, then telling the panel how they all tie together can help them get the overall picture of why you chose to become a doctor.

If you worked in a hospital prior to pursuing med school, describe how it helped develop necessary skills. Talk about how your previous experiences showed you the challenges you could encounter in med school, and show the interviewers that you are prepared to face them.

By telling stories that highlight your strengths and dedication, you can show your interviewers that you are authentic and serious about becoming a doctor.

Step #5: Describe Your Goals For Pursuing Medicine

Now that the past and present of your story are established, you can proceed to talk about the near future.

Tell the panel why you are interested in committing your life to a career of service and selflessness. You can use this opportunity to tell them why the field of medicine is your choice of service.

The medical industry is an industry of helping patients out. In this section, you can tell them why becoming a doctor is the kind of career you are interested in.

Why do you want to help or cure patients? Why do you think this profession is the best way for you to make a change in the world?

why do you want to be a doctor

Bonus: Want a full library of free medical school eBooks, video courses, and training? Click here to get access to your free med school advice library!

I hope you found your answer to this ever-important question. If you do, leave it in the comments section below.

With that said, I wish you the best of luck in your med school interview!

If you want to practice how to answer other med school interview questions, you can check out this article where you’ll find answers to 25 common med school interview questions.

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Thank you so much for reading until the end!

Until the next one my friend…

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