How to Prepare for the Interview
What should I wear to an interview?
Business attire is appropriate for the interview day. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
What should I take to an interview?
Having a personal bag/backpack is helpful. You may bring items to touch up before the actual sit-down interview session in the afternoon.
What is the interview like?
The interview day is very exciting. It starts with informative meetings with staff. You are given a tour of the school, followed by lunch with current students. The actual interview is after lunch, where you will be interviewed by CPM faculty/staff.
Who will I be interviewed by?
There are several individuals who may interview you. Usually, the dean, associate dean, and faculty members will conduct your interview.
CPM and the City of Oakland
Where do students typically live when in their first year?
Students live in many surrounding areas of Oakland. In Oakland, students typically live near Pill Hill (the area where the campus is located), Telegraph, the Fruitvale District, and Jack London Square. Students also live in neighboring cities such as Alameda, San Francisco, and Walnut Creek. Other students commute from cities such as Fremont, Hayward, and Union City. Public transportation is available from all areas. There is a parking garage for students who commute. Student discounts are available for Clipper Cards if you take BART. There is a shuttle that runs from the BART station to the campus.
What is the best way to reduce the cost?
CPM offers many ways to help reduce costs. We will help you find affordable housing and help connect you with roommates. We encourage public transportation, which is readily available throughout the SF Bay Area and you are eligible for reduced-cost monthly Clipper passes. SMU has a free food pantry for all students.
What stood out to you when choosing CPM over the other schools? SMU CPM, which was founded in 1914, has many well-established, busy hands-on clinical rotations with outstanding clinical faculty and a high faculty to student ratio. CPM clinics are located in Oakland and San Francisco, diverse communities that provide access to a great diversity of patients. Many of the clinics are affiliated with podiatric residencies which give CPM students extra exposure to those programs. CPM is also a smaller program which means more faculty access and more personalized teaching and learning.
What do students do outside of school for social or community activities?
The SF Bay Area is an amazing place, with an abundance of world-class activities. The Oakland campus is surrounded by great parks, restaurants, museums, theater, music venues, sightseeing, sporting events, etc. Community service is also a big part of CPM, with volunteer opportunities almost every weekend and many weekdays.
What the commute is like from BART to the school and how seamless and safe is it? BART is easily accessible and quick to learn. Google Maps will tell you which train to take and what time each train will arrive at the station. To get to CPM you will take BART to the MacArthur station and transfer to a free shuttle for the final half mile to campus. To cover the cost of BART, you may purchase a Clipper Card at any BART kiosk. SMU provides a student discount making public transportation even more affordable on a student budget.
Is BART safe? Yes, BART is safe with its own police force who patrol each station and many trains. Nevertheless, as in any large city, pay attention to your surroundings and do not flash your expensive electronics, etc.
What is the overall safety of the area around school, Oakland, etc.? The area around the campus is safe. Like any city, there are areas that are safer and some areas where you need to be diligent. We are fortunate to have a parking garage that is very safe. The area around the campus is seeing significant development over the past few years. Within two blocks, you will find Sprouts grocery store, Starbucks, Chipotle, and Grocery Outlet. There are also campus security guards who help to limit the amount of non-student individuals from roaming onto campus. There are plenty of study spaces that are open until 10 p.m. and midnight and security can escort you to your vehicle if you do not feel like walking alone. Overall, it feels safe here.
What support is offered for students if they need help academically or with general advice?
SMU offers services that you can use such as academic advising/coaching, peer tutoring, and more. First-year students are also paired up with a faculty advisor, a third-year mentor, and a second-year mentor. SMU Student Service offers help in areas such as testing skills, study skills, and wellness. CPM has a faculty member who is dedicated to learning strategies and board preparation.
What kinds of clubs do you have on campus?
CPM has many clubs and societies including: surgery, wound care, public health, sports medicine, and many others. The school has clubs associated with ACFAS, public health, surgery, volunteer clinics, etc. In addition to academic clubs, there are intramural sports clubs. Students have the option to start their own clubs, too.
Where can I study on campus?
• Library (there are cubicles, study rooms you can reserve, and tables)
• Campus lounge
What is the relationship like between the underclassmen and upperclassmen?
CPM has very small class sizes (48 students) that creates a small community that makes it very easy for there to be a collaboration between underclassmen and upperclassmen as well as between students and faculty/staff.
First and Second-Year Related Questions
What's the best thing to use for taking notes in class?
All students take notes differently but most of us have found that an iPad or Microsoft Surface Pro allows you to take notes right on the PowerPoint slides while also being able to label pictures easily. Some applications used for note taking include Notability and OneNote.
How do people find roommates before meeting anyone in class?
CPM sets up a Facebook page for all entering students to allow them to get to know each before school starts. This becomes a platform for students to find roommates.
Are there opportunities for research?
Students can talk to their professors if they have ongoing research or look for research outside of campus that is associated with a hospital or organization. With the presence of the Motion Analysis Research Center, it is quite easy to find an ongoing project to join.
Where do students typically go for rotations starting their second year? During the second year, rotations are held on the SMU campus, at Highland Hospital in Oakland, at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, and at the San Francisco multi-service centers (homeless shelters).
Are students able to be involved in organizations in their first year?
You are able to take part in clubs, events, workshops, dinners, and more starting your first year.
Is there a dress code for first years?
There is no dress code for classes, however, there is a requirement of full-length pants, a shirt, and closed-toed shoes for labs. The school provides two pairs of scrubs, which is what most students wear to labs.
What is a typical first-year schedule?
First-year students have class Monday-Friday. Class will start around 8 or 9 a.m. and end around 5 p.m.
How many students per cadaver for anatomy labs?
The student to cadaver ratio is 4:1.
What is the faculty-to-student ratio?
We currently have a 2:1 faculty-to-student ratio. Among all other schools, we have the lowest ratio which allows for more personal interaction with faculty.