Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


The goal for pre-admission interview is to identify students who will be successful both academically and professionally. The traditional structured pre-admission interview has not been shown to be effective in predicting students’ success in academic and fieldwork performance. This article describes an innovative behavioral interview process during which applicants interviewed simulated clients as part of the pre-admission selection process. The goals of the pre-admission behavioral interview were to observe applicants’ behavior as team players, and to assess their interpersonal communication skills, capability to be reflective, and professionalism. During the behavioral interview, faculty interviewers assessed the applicants’ performance in the planning phase, the simulated client interview phase and the reflection phase. The behavioral interview was evaluated with a feasibility study using a mixed methods, single group exploratory design. Results showed that applicants, simulated clients, and faculty interviewers positively endorsed the behavioral interview. In addition, applicants found the behavioral interview less intimidating than a traditional structured interview, and appreciated the opportunity to interact with faculty and demonstrate their communication skills and ability to collaborate in a team. Similarly, faculty interviewers found the behavioral interview fruitful when observing the applicants “in action” and displaying their non-academic attributes, demonstrating potential to be successful students in the program. While being one of the stronger predictors, the behavioral interview scores only weakly correlated with the admitted applicants’ first semester Grade Point Averages. Further longitudinal evaluation may demonstrate the potential of the behavioral interview as a pre-admission tool identifying students who may be successful both in academic and fieldwork performance.


Kitsum Li, OTD, OTR/L is an assistant professor at Dominican University of California and is also a practicing clinician at Mills Peninsula Medical Center. She specializes in Stroke Rehabilitation. She earned her Doctor in Occupational Therapy from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. Julia Wilbarger, PhD, OTR/L holds a PhD in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Denver, Colorado. She has practiced as an OT in early intervention, the public schools, a children's specialty hospital and private practice. She is currently an associate professor at Dominican University of California in the Occupational Therapy Department. Shad St. Louis, MS, OTR/L is assistant professor of Occupational Therapy at Dominican University of California, San Rafael, CA and is also a practicing OT at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. He earned his MS in Occupational Therapy from Boston School of Occupational Therapy, Tufts University.

Declaration of Interest

We declare no conflict of interest related to this manuscript

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.