‘Tis the end of the admissions season and all the applications are in for the January class. We have a rolling admissions policy here at Academy for Five Element Acupuncture so that students can apply and be able to plan for their first intensive with plenty of time. But there is always a flurry of applications at the deadline, students who were on the fence finally decide to take the plunge, life circumstances fall into place, etc. With that end-of-the-season flurry comes transcripts and letters of recommendation, and a number of interviews.
The last stage of our admissions process is a phone interview, and because so many of our students are commuting from other states, we conduct our interviews over the phone. (We’re not about to require our applicants from Alaska to fly down to Florida for the interview). And it happens every enrollment cycle, the same questions from nervous and excited applicants: how do I prepare for the interview? What do I need to do for it?
Interviews can be nerve-wracking. They’re often synonymous with interrogation and judgement. After all, this is the Executive Director of the school asking you questions, and her opinion counts. But while our Director is making a decision about your application based on the conversation, the interview isn’t meant to be an interrogation. It is, in fact, very much a conversation to determine the applicant’s level of commitment to this path. It’s one more way to see how ready you are to begin the program. And the more questions you ask, the more your investment shows.
The interview (as well as the admissions essay) is very much a way to tell your story. The “why” you applied. Above and beyond that, it’s a reminder for you, the applicant, why you want to become an acupuncturist. This is a point that I whole-heartedly believe cannot be overstated. Knowing why you’re embarking on this path will help you through the difficult parts. This is a graduate level program. When you graduate you will hold a Master of Acupuncture degree in your hands. Each intensive asks you to commit that much more of yourself to the work of healing: of healing yourself and your future patients. So, ask yourself why you want to commit yourself to healing, to Five Element acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. What brought you to this path, and why now? Knowing the answers to those questions is the only preparation you need to do for the interview. In fact, it’s the most important preparation you can do for the entire program. The clearer those answers are, the deeper your experience will be.
And for all of our current Five Element students out there, in the midst of pulse-taking, lectures, and observation hours, the same advice goes out to you. When you’re tired and bogged down in the details of study, remember why you started this journey. Go back and read your admissions essay, because the answers should be there.
Have a very happy holiday/winter break! I look forward to seeing everyone back in January.