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How I ace my CRNA school interview.

SRNA   (38,956 Views | 35 Replies)

CRNA 1984 has 8 years experience and specializes in Nurse Anesthesia.

2,800 Profile Views; 20 Posts

These are the strategies that worked for me. If you have any additional advice or just want to share your interview experiences, please fill free to post them below. I would love to read about them. :nurse:

I Didn't Underestimate How Important the Interview Was

The interview is the make it or break it point of your application process. I use this time to really showcase myself to the CRNA school, and made it a point to show them why I deserve a spot in their anesthesia program. If you have been granted an interview then that means the school likes who you are on paper. Now it's time to get them to like you who you are in person. CRNA school interviews can be brutal, so you're going to have to really prepare. For every 7 people that apply to CRNA school there is only 1 spot that is available. Most of the other applicants will have good work experience, strong reference letters, high GPA/GRE scores, and their CCRN certification. The competition can be tough, so don't underestimate the interview.

I Did my Research

I wanted to know everything about the interview, the date, what time to be there, what to bring, how long it will last, where it is and how to get there. This is so important because if you can't make it to the interview or don't bring required material, you have just done a whole lot of work for nothing. Every time I received an offer to interview at a school I would go online to see if I could find out how the school interviewed their applicants. You can find this information on various forums, blog articles, etc, but most of the information is pretty scattered. When I was researching Texas Wesleyan University, I found that it was a pretty intense interview that you had to prepare for. This is what it said to expect, "This is as far from a meet and greet interview as you can get. You should expect to spend 45 minutes answering in depth clinical questions regarding, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, Chemistry, and actual anesthesia topics." (Source: CRNA School Search). I am glad I found this out before I went, because every bit of it is true. The entire interview was clinical based questioning with MAYBE 3 personal get to know you type questions. It can't be stressed enough, do your research!

I can't stress enough how important it is to know how each school interviews their applicants. How you prepare for the interview depends on the type of questions they ask. Is the school known to ask more get to know you type questions, or do they focus on clinical based questions which can be very intense? I know from experience that LSU has a pretty laid back interview with only a few clinical type questions, whereas Texas Wesleyan is very tough and is about 45 minutes of hard questioning. Having my CCRN and CMC certifications was a huge help to me at the TWU interview. I am glad I never have to go through that again, LOL.

I Actually Practiced for my Interview

My biggest fear was that I would have a poor showing at my interviews and kill any chances of getting an offer from the school. So, I told myself, It's time to prepare! I pulled out my CCRN and CMC study material and start studying. I think that the CMC study DVDs that are offered through the AACN website prepared me pretty well for the cardiovascular and respiratory related questions that were asked during my interview. The single best thing I did was I practiced practiced practiced! I actually had someone read me interview questions, and then I would practice answering them. I made sure to go over both clinical and non clinical type questions. This made it easier for me to recall the answers during my interviews. I sat down and made a list of all the possible non clinical type questions I could think of. After that I filled in my answers. I probably read over this list a hundred times, but by the end I could recite each answer by memory. When it came time for my interview I probably received 5 of the same questions that I had written down. It was hard to keep a straight face as they were asking them, haha!

I Was Dressed to Impress

One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they don't dress appropriately for the interview. I went out and purchased a new suit. A suit is not over dressed and is an absolute MUST HAVE! Please don't show up in slacks a dress shirt and tie. Sure you'll look nice, but this is not appropriate for this type of interview. It sends a message that you do not care enough about getting into school to dress professionally. Another good idea is to purchase a small black leather business-like binder to take with you to the interviews. I placed copies of everything that I had sent in with my application. You never know when you might need it.

I Wasn't Afraid to Ask Them Questions

Before my interview, I made a list of three questions I wanted to ask them. I felt like this would show them how much I cared about my education, and that I was motivated to learn. Here are the ones I used: What resources are available to students during the program, such as office hours, student aids, tutors, etc.? What is your faculty to student ratio? If I am accepted to your program, what can I start doing now to prepare myself? Before you ask any questions, make sure that they haven't already been answered via video, website, staff, etc. This will make you look like you weren't paying attention.

Always Remember They Know More Than You

I knew at some point during my interview I would be asked a question that I didn't know the answer to. So, I had no expectation of being able to answer every single question. The people doing your interview will most likely be professors in the CRNA program, so they WILL know more than you. Don't try to trick them or ramble on with a question that you have no idea about. This will only make you look bad. If I didn't know the answer to one of their questions, I would just say, I'm sorry, but I don't know the answer to that question. Then I would ask them if they wouldn't mind telling me the correct answer so that I could learn. The point is, don't put too much stress on yourself. Some answers you will get right, and others you will get wrong, that is all part of the game.

Everyone Loves a Few Appropriate Jokes

A big thing schools look at is how you interact with others. They want well-rounded applicants with a strong work ethic and a good personality. I made sure to be myself during my interview. I made a few appropriate jokes that showed them I had a good personality and people skills. I am not saying to have a pre planned knock knock joke, but if the chance arises during the interview, don't be afraid to step out of your shell a little bit.

"Please feel free to share any advice or interview experiences you have had!"

These are just a few things that I did to be successful in my interviews. I applied to 3 schools, interviewed at 2 of them, and received offers from both. The trick is prepare, prepare, and prepare some more! If you take the interview seriously and practice you should do well. My other post on here "10 things that got me accepted to CRNA school" is good to read if anyone has questions about the application process.

I wish the best of luck to all of you!

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aerorunner80 has 8 years experience as a ADN, BSN, MSN, APRN and specializes in MSN, FNP-BC.

585 Posts; 13,965 Profile Views

Thanks for the tips! I'm hoping to get interviews at two schools this fall.

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CRNA 1984 has 8 years experience and specializes in Nurse Anesthesia.

20 Posts; 2,800 Profile Views

You're very welcome. What schools are you applying to if you don't mind me asking?

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24 Posts; 1,309 Profile Views

I appreciate this post a lot! I applied to TCU this summer, just waiting to hear back about whether or not I will be invited to interview. If so, I will definitely be applying some solid points from this post.

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aerorunner80 has 8 years experience as a ADN, BSN, MSN, APRN and specializes in MSN, FNP-BC.

585 Posts; 13,965 Profile Views

I applied to Iowa but got denied. I have applications in at Bryan Health Sciences in Lincoln Nebraska and Clarkson College in Omaha NE.

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CRNA 1984 has 8 years experience and specializes in Nurse Anesthesia.

20 Posts; 2,800 Profile Views

kyllae11 said:
I appreciate this post a lot! I applied to TCU this Summer, just waiting to hear back about whether or not I will be invited to interview. If so, I will definitely be applying some solid points from this post.

TCU has a great Nurse Anesthesia program. A lot of my friends and coworkers graduated from there. One of the biggest factors that determines if you'll get an interview from them is your GRE (Graduate Record Exam) score. They tend to like applicants who score above average on this test. Having the CCRN helps, but they don't put as much importance on it as somewhere like TWU.

TCU has a pretty laid back interview process. You may get one or two clinical questions, but the majority will be more "meet and greet" questions such as, "Why do you want to be a CRNA?" or "What made you choose TCU's anesthesia program?" All the applicants there that day will be split into two rooms. When it is your turn to interview, you will meet with 5-7 faculty members, usually professors, who will ask you questions. (Source: TCU School Review). You are also given the opportunity to ask them about the program. (Just make sure they haven't already answered it, that'll look bad)

I have also been heard that they really frown upon applicants who think they know it all. My roommate in CRNA school said that his friend had an AMAZING application, but was too cocky in the interview, and it resulted in the school not offering him a spot (A lot of work for nothing). The main thing is to just be humble. If you get an offer to interview at TCU, that means they are already interested in you. It's your job not to change their mind.

Best of luck, and let me know how it goes!

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CRNA 1984 has 8 years experience and specializes in Nurse Anesthesia.

20 Posts; 2,800 Profile Views

aerorunner80 said:
I applied to Iowa but got denied. I have applications in at Bryan Health Sciences in Lincoln Nebraska and Clarkson College in Omaha NE.

I'm sorry to hear about your application to Iowa. Did they offer you an interview? On a lighter note, congratulations on your two upcoming interviews, thats always good news. I know the class sizes at Bryan College of Health Sciences are pretty small (around 20). The good news is they don't interview a large number of students either (less than 100). That means you won't be competing against very many people for a spot in their anesthesia program.

You will probably get to meet with current RRNA students during your interview. Current students are always a great source of information. Make sure to ask them questions about the program. This a good way to get study tips, advice, etc. When it comes to how they interview their applicants, they do things a little different. The school uses a series of interviews with multiple faculty. (Most schools just have one interview with a set number of faculty) One session will probably be more "get to know you" questions, while the other session will focus on your clinical knowledge. As far as what to expect at Clarkson College's interview, I won't be much help. I just haven't heard anything about it.

CRNA school is an amazing journey with a huge rewarding career at the end. Stay motivated and good luck at both of your interviews!

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CRNA 1984 said:
TCU has a great Nurse Anesthesia program. A lot of my friends and coworkers graduated from there. One of the biggest factors that determines if you'll get an interview from them is your GRE (Graduate Record Exam) score. They tend to like applicants who score above average on this test. Having the CCRN helps, but they don't put as much importance on it as somewhere like TWU.

Thats good to know! I scored a 320 on my GRE, so I was hoping that was going to help me sort of stand out and get an interview. I also have my CCRN and CSC as well. But I will definitely go in there and be humble!

Just hope I can go in there and leave with them still wanting me, assuming in invited to interview. Thanks again for the awesome advice. Will definitely keep you updated!

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CRNA 1984 has 8 years experience and specializes in Nurse Anesthesia.

20 Posts; 2,800 Profile Views

kyllae11 said:
Thats good to know! I scored a 320 on my GRE, so I was hoping that was going to help me sort of stand out and get an interview. I also have my CCRN and CSC as well. But I will definitely go in there and be humble!

Just hope I can go in there and leave with them still wanting me, assuming in invited to interview. Thanks again for the awesome advice. Will definitely keep you updated!

Looks like you are doing everything right. Your GRE score and having both the CCRN/CSC will help you out a lot, so you shouldn't have a problem getting an interview. It would be nice if TCU asked more clinical based questions, because that would allow you to use your knowledge from your CCRN/CSC. Most applicants won't have the CSC, so the fact you have yours will give you an edge on them for sure. I think you'll be in CRNA school before you know it, and then the fun starts, LOL.

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I am very encouraged now after talking with you a little bit. I thought I had a decent shot at getting an interview with my scores and grades and all that, but I didn't want to overestimate myself haha.

But I can't wait until I actually start CRNA school, I think it will be a lot of fun. Tons of studying and hard work, granted, but I love science, so I think I am geared toward this.

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CRNA 1984 has 8 years experience and specializes in Nurse Anesthesia.

20 Posts; 2,800 Profile Views

kyllae11 said:
I am very encouraged now after talking with you a little bit. I thought I had a decent shot at getting an interview with my scores and grades and all that, but I didn't want to overestimate myself haha.

But I can't wait until I actually start CRNA school, I think it will be a lot of fun. Tons of studying and hard work, granted, but I love science, so I think I am geared toward this.

Yeah CRNA school is sort of a love-hate relationship, haha. You'll get into the groove pretty quick once you start. For the first year you'll have your nose in a book pretty much 24/7, and be dying for the chance to see a real patient. For me, clinicals was a blast. I still remember my first intubation, artline, spinal, epidural, trauma, central line, and a million other experiences that you get to have. CRNA school is an exciting time there's no question about it.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to post this information! I am currently in the process of applying to numerous schools across the US. To be honest, I am a bit concerned about my GPA of 3.25. It wasn't due to my grades in nursing school, but more so of my first semester of college. Do you believe schools will take into consideration my progression throughout college? I would say I did pretty well in my nursing program (3.5gpa?). Didn't really strive for that "A" as I had no intention at the time to be a CRNA. I really believe my GPA has no reflection of who I am as a nurse today. I've been in the ICU for almost 2 years and have my CCRN and CMC certification and am motivated more than ever to want to pursue a career as a CRNA! The schools I have applied to are those that do not require a GRE (University of Kansas, Bloomsburg, National Univ. of Fresno). I plan on taking my GRE by the end of the year. Have you heard of others getting in with a similar GPA as mine? Thank you for your response!

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