Jul 24, 2016
12
0
Status
Non-Student
Hello folks,

I'm a 35 years old software engineer working in Canada. I have an undergraduate degree in computer engineering from India ('03; 7.45 CGPA) and Masters degree in operations research from uWaterloo ('07; ). Since then I have been working as a Software Engineer in the IT. I'm married, have a 4 yrs old daughter, earn decent salary. My wife has also been working in IT as business analyst.

During my masters years, I formed friends who were preparing for the dental school and through their talks/books, I realized that I should have really pursued dental school from the beginning. I wanted to switch streams then but couldn't due to various reasons (masters degree loan debt, applying for immigration, and later on full time job, marriage, etc). For last couple of years, I have been taking some online PCB and dental courses out of interest. Biology & Maths fascinate me and dentistry seems a place where both are needed and applied. With all that, I have been wondering for the last couple of months if I could try at least once for the dental school. I understand that it will not be easy. I will need to take all the prereqs (2 yrs), write DAT, contact profs for the recommendation letters, applying to schools which would all take about 3 yrs I guess. Following is the course of action I am thinking:

1. Contact all the dental schools in Canada, explain my situation and ask for the feasibility for me even thinking to apply.
2. If there is a yes, contact uOttawa or Carleton University (as I live in Ottawa) for the prereq courses and if I can take them in the evening with the full time job I have.
3. Try to take 3 courses each semester starting coming September and finish all in 4 semesters (2 each for English, Chemistry, Biology, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physics)
4. In parallel, find out places where I can do some shadowing and learning in process.
5. Write DAT in Feb '17
6. Apply for the schools

I did some rough cost analysis, and if I could finish the prereqs while working and get an admission, I would incur about $600K in total cost (4 x $100K yearly salary + $200K total tuition cost for four years), plus the hassles my family is going to have in that time. It is pretty huge figure, but it would bring to a field which I like (I could be more firm on this once I start shadowing) and better job satisfaction..

That's my story so far.. Thank you for reading my post and I would appreciate all the advices/opinions you may have.

Best regards
 
Jul 9, 2016
54
51
I will emphatically tell you to pursue this if this is really what you want. I am 27 and am applying to dental school right now, and I couldnt be happier with my decision (now praying I get in). You can do it. It obviously will not be an easy path, but hey, life isn't as satisfying if everything comes easy.

Goodluck!!!!!!!
 
OP
S
Jul 24, 2016
12
0
Status
Non-Student
Hi phillydon,

Thanks for your reply and encouraging words! I wish you all the best with your applications.. You will make it!

Wonder if you are applying to Canadian schools and have a non-traditional (with no prereq courses in your undergrad). I've been trying to reach admissions to different schools, but haven't been able to talk to anyone yet for some guidance.

If you didn't have prereqs, where did you take them? Community college or university? Evening classes?
 
OP
S
Jul 24, 2016
12
0
Status
Non-Student
Have tried both. First called (found most are on vacation), then emailed. However it is only the first day I tried plus people might be taking summer vacations. I'll keep trying for next few days, and post here what I find.

Any ideas on which courses I can take at uOttawa or Carleton, and if they offer any evening classes?
 
OP
S
Jul 24, 2016
12
0
Status
Non-Student
I was able to connect with UBC admissions. The lady was quite helpful and after listening to my situation, she said the following:
1. UBC doesn't care which year the prereq courses were taken. The grades don't expire in their system.
2. It is my responsibility to figure out if my undergrad/masters courses match their prereq courses. They don't assess pre application.
3. If any prereq is missing, I need to take it before the application.
4. I will need to take English prereq courses from a Canadian school. They don't recognize TOEFL, IELTS or English course taken abroad.
5. Minimum of 78% GPA is required (she didn't mention for undergrad or masters). I don't know where I stand with my 7.45 CGPA. She mentioned couple of sites to find the conversion, but I just forgot which ones.
6. Thoroughly visit their website for the fees, competition stats, how rigorous the program is, what to do with international degrees, etc
 
May 31, 2016
151
87
Ivory tower
Status
Pre-Dental
Can't really help you since I live in the States, but I heard Canadian dental schools are hard to get in, not to mention you are a nontraditional student. I applaud you for your courage to do a mid career switch. Best wishes


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
 
OP
S
Jul 24, 2016
12
0
Status
Non-Student
Thanks SrJulio!!

I'm still evaluating the decision whether to jump in. I understand that it will be a long and hard commitment if I do, so I don't want to just rush into it (I was a lot different 10 yrs back, did things without much thought behind.. I guess age/experience teaches you few things. :)
 

ncide

2+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2015
1,317
1,372
Status
Dental Student
What do you not like about software engineering? My youngest brother is pursuing the field and I held it in high regard. You can craft your own work or live a comfortable life working for a reputable organization.
 

lazyindy

7+ Year Member
Jan 2, 2011
854
747
New York, NY
Status
Dental Student
What do you not like about software engineering? My youngest brother is pursuing the field and I held it in high regard. You can craft your own work or live a comfortable life working for a reputable organization.
this.
If I had a great knowledge base of software such as OP, I would get creative and explore what businesses he could possibly start that serve a need. He could make A LOT more in software business than he ever could in dentistry.

OP, think hard about this and shadow some dentists in your area to get a feel of the everyday life of this field. good luck!
 
OP
S
Jul 24, 2016
12
0
Status
Non-Student
@ncide - Thanks for your input. Software engineering is cool, but not for all the time. What one studies at school, is usually very different than what one uses in practice (unless you are working with google or some cool startups in Silicon Valley). There are lay-offs every year, things becoming obsolete every 2-3 years, lots of continuous learning, high competition in the job market (I am talking about Canada only), limited growth potential both for the salary and designation (unless I do an MBA). I'm essentially doing the same as the guy who is 15 years senior to me or the guy who is 15 years junior to me. However there are positives like 8-4 job, decent income, 3 weeks paid vacation. If I've to continue with IT, I'll do an MBA. However business and biology both appeal to me, and both would need lots to commitment. An MBA degree would cost around $80K and 18 months, while DDS would cost around $160K and 4 years. So it is obvious that DDS/DMD is pricier and more involved, but I feel that it also provides better job security, better income, better time flexibility and better human interaction.

However I still need to shadow some dentists to figure if that is something I would like to do through the rest of my career. Money is a factor but not the most important one to me.
 
OP
S
Jul 24, 2016
12
0
Status
Non-Student
@lazyindy - Thanks for your suggestion! Yes, you are absolutely right on the shadowing part. Unless I do that, I cannot justify the decision. I'm thinking to take couple of courses (Chemistry I, Bio I) in parallel as shadowing would continue for some time and I don't want to miss the fall semester courses in case I like what I see during shadowing.

On a separate note, I have been involved in couple of startups as a co-founder for last 3 years and I can tell you it is the most difficult thing to do. I have doctors, dentists, engineers in my circle, but no one could come closer to an entrepreneur in terms of dedication, hard work, risks and challenges. Things may look rosy from outside, but running a business is very difficult and I don't think it is for me at this point of time. There are not many VCs here, acquiring clients is damn hard and most of the money is spent out of your pocket with no near future return.. :-(
 
Jul 23, 2016
55
15
Status
Pre-Dental
I am a 32 years old and have 2 kids and I am appling this cycle. It is not easy but hopefully will worth it. I always wanted to be a dentist but didn't get a chance until recently. I have a civil engineering degree and then I did a 4 years biology and 1 year master, I feel so excited about it and I will do my best and keep trying until I get accepted if I didn't get this year.
I tell you once you start prparing for it, time will fly. Good luck
 
OP
S
Jul 24, 2016
12
0
Status
Non-Student
@science luv - do you have undergrad from Canada? My overall gpa is 3.0 and 3.3 if I remove the worst year. I am not positive about schools accepting my application. :-(
 

DMDDDSHopeful

Achievement Unlocked: Dental School
2+ Year Member
Mar 25, 2016
1,193
1,502
Status
Pre-Dental
I was able to connect with UBC admissions. The lady was quite helpful and after listening to my situation, she said the following:
1. UBC doesn't care which year the prereq courses were taken. The grades don't expire in their system.
2. It is my responsibility to figure out if my undergrad/masters courses match their prereq courses. They don't assess pre application.
3. If any prereq is missing, I need to take it before the application.
4. I will need to take English prereq courses from a Canadian school. They don't recognize TOEFL, IELTS or English course taken abroad.
5. Minimum of 78% GPA is required (she didn't mention for undergrad or masters). I don't know where I stand with my 7.45 CGPA. She mentioned couple of sites to find the conversion, but I just forgot which ones.
6. Thoroughly visit their website for the fees, competition stats, how rigorous the program is, what to do with international degrees, etc
UBC?
 
OP
S
Jul 24, 2016
12
0
Status
Non-Student
@science luv - Don't know man... I have been talking to people either pursuing DDS or working as dentists. They all say that I might be over the admission criteria, but won't be able to get an interview call with my GPA. As per them plus the recent stats I checked, it has to be over 3.6 to qualify for an interview.

One part of me says to get the prereqs, write DAT, apply and wait.. while other says that there won't be a chance, so drop the idea..

I want to be a dentist, but I cannot leave my job for doing another undergrad with an admission (young family, mortgage, student loan, etc). Last few weeks just to evaluate the thought of applying for DDS have been miserable. I am not sure what I'm going to do....
 
Jul 23, 2016
55
15
Status
Pre-Dental
@science luv - Don't know man... I have been talking to people either pursuing DDS or working as dentists. They all say that I might be over the admission criteria, but won't be able to get an interview call with my GPA. As per them plus the recent stats I checked, it has to be over 3.6 to qualify for an interview.

One part of me says to get the prereqs, write DAT, apply and wait.. while other says that there won't be a chance, so drop the idea..

I want to be a dentist, but I cannot leave my job for doing another undergrad with an admission (young family, mortgage, student loan, etc). Last few weeks just to evaluate the thought of applying for DDS have been miserable. I am not sure what I'm going to do....
Have you considered applying to US schools? it can increase your chance significantly, I knoe it would ne quite expensive but it worths.
 
OP
S
Jul 24, 2016
12
0
Status
Non-Student
@science luv - US schools are too expensive. There is going to insane amount of debt in case I get the admission. Also I'm not sure if I'll be able to practice in Canada right away after the graduation, or there is going to further accreditation process here.

BTW which US schools do you think I would have a chance in?
 
Jul 23, 2016
55
15
Status
Pre-Dental
@science luv - US schools are too expensive. There is going to insane amount of debt in case I get the admission. Also I'm not sure if I'll be able to practice in Canada right away after the graduation, or there is going to further accreditation process here.

BTW which US schools do you think I would have a chance in?
I know Ohio university take many Canadian students. But many schools accept Canadians, but yes they are expensive
 

Panis et Circenses

2+ Year Member
Sep 29, 2015
603
713
@ncide - Thanks for your input. Software engineering is cool, but not for all the time. What one studies at school, is usually very different than what one uses in practice (unless you are working with google or some cool startups in Silicon Valley). There are lay-offs every year, things becoming obsolete every 2-3 years, lots of continuous learning, high competition in the job market (I am talking about Canada only), limited growth potential both for the salary and designation (unless I do an MBA). I'm essentially doing the same as the guy who is 15 years senior to me or the guy who is 15 years junior to me. However there are positives like 8-4 job, decent income, 3 weeks paid vacation. If I've to continue with IT, I'll do an MBA. However business and biology both appeal to me, and both would need lots to commitment. An MBA degree would cost around $80K and 18 months, while DDS would cost around $160K and 4 years. So it is obvious that DDS/DMD is pricier and more involved, but I feel that it also provides better job security, better income, better time flexibility and better human interaction.

However I still need to shadow some dentists to figure if that is something I would like to do through the rest of my career. Money is a factor but not the most important one to me.
$160K would be very cheap for a dental school.
 
OP
S
Jul 24, 2016
12
0
Status
Non-Student
Much lesser cost but super insane competition.. Especially for those who have low GPA. In fact I didn't even know that my GPA is considered low until I looked at the dental school admission stats. I thought that a high entrance test score (DAT which won't be easy either as I have next to nothing bio/chem/ochem/biochem knowledge) would offset the low GPA, but that doesn't seem to be case in Canada.
 

Alikhan9

2+ Year Member
Apr 20, 2016
204
45
Status
Pre-Dental
Are you not happy with your salary or what sparked your recent motivation to go into the dentistry field is it possible you just dont like the company you work for or are simply bored? Really assess of this is something you have to do you have a family to feed and your lucky to be in a situation where you a father are making decent money. Honestly it depends on you because you have to understand you have a kid. However said all this I am going to say this if this is your dream job just go for it and please watch this link. It might help you. Some people are not dreamers while working your desk job you can go to school in the afternoon take your prereqs and take summer classes as well finish as fast as possible and take the DAT and go from there.

 
Last edited:
Apr 9, 2017
6
4
Status
Pre-Dental
Thanks SrJulio!!

I'm still evaluating the decision whether to jump in. I understand that it will be a long and hard commitment if I do, so I don't want to just rush into it (I was a lot different 10 yrs back, did things without much thought behind.. I guess age/experience teaches you few things. :)

Hi, I am foreign trained dentist who is soon to move to canada with PR VISA.
Here in my country, I have already put in 9 years into dental education. And from the looks of it, I have to put in another 3-4 yrs to be able to get to the stage where I can actually practice dentistry.
My point is, perhaps you should think in terms of timelines as well. Because I think that is a major mental battle - the investment of time. And one doesn't realize it in the beginning. Of course, it also depends on your family's current financial situation and future plan.

Best of luck to you.
 

Faefly

2+ Year Member
Jun 21, 2016
1,983
1,143
Status
Dental Student
If it's your dream go for it!
I will go in person to talk to dental schools if need be.

You can do it and you will!
 

DancingBull

5+ Year Member
Mar 15, 2013
122
31
Status
Dentist
From only personal anecdotes of classmates, Canadian dental schools are exceedingly difficult to get into. One of my good buddies in school is from Canada. He went to school in the states with me and went back to Canada and retook the boards, and is now a dentist there. Consider this as a possible route as well.