“Queen’s University School of Medicine actively invests in providing students with the close-knit campus community that we’ve become known for,” shared Admissions Manager Kelly Moore.
With small class sizes of up to 100 students, teaching hospitals just a block from campus, and an actively involved student community, the School of Medicine has the foundation to create a dynamic, hands-on learning environment. What was missing for them was a way to ensure that the admissions process was helping them admit the applicants who were a good fit for this environment.
“That’s where Kira Talent comes in,” shared Moore.
“We’re not just looking at what we see on paper. We want to interact with these applicants, we want to see how they think and act on their feet.”
The best of both worlds
The School of Medicine at Queen’s University uses a combination of Asynchronous Assessments and Live Interviewing in Kira Talent in order to power a dynamic process that engages their applicants while saving the admissions team hours of scheduling work.
“Based on our file review we invite over 500 applicants to the MMI which we do in Kira’s Asynchronous Assessment platform,” shared Moore. “After reviewing their responses, we then invite around 300 of those applicants to a panel interview using Kira’s Live Interviewing.”
“Applicants selected to partake in the MMI receive an invitation with the date and time of their interview and a personalized link to the Kira platform,” explained Moore. “This allows them to register and access the practice questions ahead of time so they can get comfortable with the platform. At the set time of their interview, the MMI automatically opens and applicants have 1 hr and 45 minutes to complete their interview.”
“It was very important to us that the MMI in Kira looked and felt very much like the traditional in-person experience,” Moore continued. “In Kira, applicants progress automatically through our six stations, with two minutes to read the scenario, five minutes to respond, then ten seconds to read the follow-up question and two minutes to respond to that question."
This asynchronous format allows Queen’s the flexibility to build an interview that fits their process, while ensuring structure and consistency across all applicants.
“Kira provides equity and an even playing field for all of our applicants.”
“Everyone is going through the MMI at the same time, which creates a more fair experience for the applicants,” Moore explained.
The 25-minute panel interview serves as the final component of the admissions process and offers applicants the chance to speak face-to-face with a faculty member and a current student.
“With the combination of the asynchronous MMI and the live panel interview, we’re really getting the best of both worlds in Kira,” Moore shared.
Bringing more applicants to interview
“The traditional in-person experience did have a lot of benefits, but it's also incredibly time-consuming,” Moore shared. “In order to deliver a positive applicant experience in that format you need an admissions team that has the capacity to invest significant time into the preparation, and then you need a huge number of faculty and student volunteers to execute on the day. It takes a lot.”
“With the virtual platform we’re providing applicants with a very similar experience, but it’s much more sustainable for us, and much more accessible for them.”
With an overall applicant feedback score of 4.6 out of 5, Moore and her team are confident that these benefits are being felt and appreciated by their applicants.
“Getting to Kingston is more difficult than getting to Toronto or Montreal,” Moore explained. “Travelling, possibly across the country, for an interview is already a significant expense. For colleges and universities who aren’t located in major cities, travel is an even bigger barrier.”
“If applicants are invited to multiple in-person interviews they typically have to choose which schools they want to interview at because it’s highly likely they’re not going to be able to make it to all of the interviews,” added Moore. “So why would applicants even consider applying to schools outside of their area if they won’t be able to afford to travel there for the interview? Why spend money on an application when they know ahead of time they won’t be able to make it to the final step?”
“Having the interviews online opens doors to a lot of applicants who may not have seen your school as an option.”
“With virtual interviews, they have the opportunity to sit down and engage with the school. That helps them discover which program is the best fit for them, and it opens doors to a lot of applicants who didn’t see it as an option,” Moore continued.
“There are pros and cons to both methods, but the benefits of virtual outweigh the benefits of in-person.”
Creating an interactive experience online
“Included in all our interview invitations are links to videos about our campus, the community, and the Queen’s experience,” shared Moore. “On our website homepage, we have a virtual tour of our School of Medicine building and then beside that we have a virtual tour of the Queen’s campus.”
“Applicants who are able to come to campus can also book in-person tours and in the future, we’re looking at having an open house specifically for School of Medicine applicants,” Moore explained.
“If they want to, and are able to, come see us in person we’re always more than happy to welcome them,” she added. “But the way we have our process set up now with Kira, there’s absolutely no disadvantage to the applicants who don’t have the means to do that.”