Interview and MERP at AUC

It used to be that AUC gave direct admissions and only interviewed applicants whose applications they thought needed clarifications. However, as of 2013, AUC now interviews all applicants who they think are competitive. I think this was a good decision because it sets the admission standards higher, makes the school look better (especially since interviews are standard in all US med schools), and gives candidate another way to show the school who they are. So if you receive an invitation for an interview, it is definitely a good sign that the school thinks you may be a good candidate!

About 2-4 weeks after the interview, AUC will notify you whether or not they accept you. From your application and interview, if the school feels that you are not ready for medical school yet but have potential, they may invite you to enroll in the Medical Education Review Program (MERP), another new thing that AUC started offering in 2012 after I was admitted. MERP is operated by DeVry Medical International, and is the same program as that offered by Ross University.

MERP is a 15-week program that takes place in Miramar, Florida and starting in April 2014, also in Toronto via videoconferencing from the Miramar MERP campus for Canadians who are interested. During those 15 weeks, you take classes that prepare you for medical school. Classes include Anatomy/Histology, Physiology/Biophysics, Microbiology/Immunology, and Biochemistry/ Molecular Biology. If you pass the classes at MERP and pass the final exam, then you are given direct admissions into AUC. MERP does not replace first semester at AUC and the tuition for MERP is not covered by US federal student loans. For those who were not offered a conditional acceptance to AUC but are still determined to pursue medicine, MERP is a great opportunity and bridge into medical school for those who are offered it. I’m not sure what the pass rate is, and I don’t want to guesstimate or start any rumors, but those who pass MERP generally do well in first semester of medical school.

Routine interviews and MERP were both started after I got accepted to AUC, and so I don’t have any personal experience with either. However, I did have experience interviewing at other schools in the US and Caribbean, and was also able to gather some information about the AUC interviews from students that came after me. Don’t worry, you won’t have to fly to St. Maarten for an interview. Depending on where you are located, you may either do the interview in person or over the phone, at several different locations in the US. The interviews tend to be short, around 30 minutes. The questions they ask are fairly standard, like the interview questions you’ll get at other medical schools. Be prepared to answer questions like:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why medicine? Why doctor?
  • Why AUC?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What makes you stand out as a candidate?
  • What can you bring to the field of medicine?
  • What are your career goals/future plans in medicine?
  • How do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • Why the Caribbean?
  • Why do you think you were not accepted to a US school?
  • What do you like to do in your free time? What are your hobbies or special interests?
  • Tell me about ______ (something you did during undergrad, etc.). Be prepared to answer any holes or red flags in your application.

Treat the interview like a conversation. Show up on time. Dress to impress (business professional). Firm handshake. Eye contact. Smile. You know the drill. Most importantly, The purpose of the interview is for the school to better understand who you are, so be yourself. Best of luck everyone!



14 comments to Interview and MERP at AUC

  • Diana

    Do you know how they pick who to interview in person versus on the phone? My friend lives 3 hours away from me and yet she received a phone interview and they asked me to come in person.. Memphis to Maryland!

  • Tommy

    Should I wear a suit for the interview?

  • Vivian

    Hello Benji,

    I pray you and your family are doing very well. I hoped to begin AUC in May 2015, but I was just granted acceptance to AUC based on a successful completion of MERP which for me begins in April 2015. Basically, if I successfully complete MERP, I will begin AUC in August 2015. Please, can you tell me how the class size might differ, the availability of housing, and the effect on preparation time for Step 1 exam?

    • Benji

      Hi Vivian,
      My family is doing well, thanks. September class is twice the size as May class. There will always be housing available somewhere in the vicinity of the school, no matter which semester you start. No matter which semester you start on, you will be allowed to take up to one semester’s worth of time to study for the Step. Best of luck at AUC!

  • Herman

    Hello, thanks for your blog. It’s always nice to hear from someone whose is experiencing what I hope to be doing in the near future.

    Like Vivian, I too was hoping to get accepted to the Summer 2015 class but got MERP instead. If you know anyone whose has went through MERP, do you know how that paid for it? I contacted multiple lenders, such as Discover and Wells Fargo. They claim that student loans are only for degree and certification programs. If I can’t get loans I may have to apply to a different school and I really liked AUC and St Maarten.

    Thanks and have a great holiday.

    • Benji

      Hi Herman,
      I don’t know how people pay for MERP but I’m guessing it’s through a regular private loan. I would contact AUC for more info on this. Happy holidays.

  • Kayla

    Hey Benji!

    Thank you so much for this wonderful resource! I thought I wanted to attend SGU but after further research (including your blog), I feel like AUC is the perfect fit for me. I interviewed with Mr. Smith (I told him how much I enjoyed your blog!) and I think it went well..but of course it still has to go to the committee. I’m crossing my fingers that I get in and am able to attend this awesome school!

  • Kai Ackley

    Hello Benji,

    I just want to start by saying I really appreciate the time you put into making this blog! I am currently a second semester at AUC and went through the MERP program this past fall (2014). I got my interview at AUC early last year and got MERPed. Like everyone else, getting “conditional acceptance” to medical school wasn’t quite was I hoping for. But little did I know, the MERP program would give me such an advantage in medical school. During my time in MERP, I attended sessions on study techniques and test-taking skills. This rigorous 15 week program allowed me to master my own personal study technique and because of the program, I was much more prepared for AUC than any other student who was directly admitted into AUC. Although this program was quite challenging, my first two semesters here at AUC have been one big review of everything we learned in MERP and this has made the adjustment to the island so much smoother. I suggest to any prospective MERPER , especially now that the MERP program is reimbursing tuition to the people who do not successfully complete it, to not be discouraged by being MERPed and go in there with an open mind and crush it! I promise you that it is an excellent foundation for your future in medicine. I also want to clarify the pass rate for MERP, in the fall semester (2014) of MERP, my class of AUC MERPers had nearly a 70% pass rate. They do not have a certain number of seats, your success in the program is completely up to how much time and effort you put into your studies!

    Thanks Benji!

    • Benji

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience Kai! I am sure this will help a lot of people who have been offered MERP. I also really like the attitude that you took with you into MERP. I wish you all the best in med school.

  • mdv

    Is MERP a substitute for the pre med?
    Can you apply to AUC be accepted to the Merp program if you don’t have all the chem, orgchem, physics?

    • Benji Ho

      Hi MDV,
      MERP is not a pre-med program and cannot substitute for pre-med. You must have taken all your pre-med requirements prior to be accepted to AUC or to start MERP.

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