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Advice for a pre-dental noob

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by supergumbo, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. supergumbo

    5+ Year Member

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    Hey everyone. I am an undergraduate senior who has explored options in the medical field (pretty late, I know). I was pre-med for that span of time. Anyways, I have a great interest in pursuing dental school and then becoming a dentist.

    Since I'm a senior, I obviously have to apply at least next year. However, I'm very unfamiliar with the dental application process. I've looked at sites with general requirements and so but I don't have much of an idea how to be competitive.

    I'll have to take an extra year, so what would you recommend someone in my position to do at this time? I haven't shadowed a dentist so I could do that. However, I've tried to and it was tough finding any dentist that was willing to let me do that. I want to show the admissions office that I'm interested in dentistry. I haven't taken the DAT yet, so I'll get on that. My gpa also is a shaky 3.43 so I'm not sure how competitive it will be. Would it be a good idea to do a 4+1 program or a masters in public health (or any masters)?

    Sorry for so many questions. Things would be so much easier if I was still a junior or below. Any help is appreciated. Thanks. :)
     
  2. supergumbo

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    So..any advice?
     
  3. Ranelar

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    Do you have any research experience? Email professors and join a lab as soon as possible (paid if you can, because you probably don't need credit). Then you can continue working after you graduate, and your job will actually be something dental schools like to see. Your GPA is not horrible as long as you do well on your DAT. Combine that with research experience and you have a decent chance of getting in somewhere. I don't like the idea of an extra year or two of college (post-bac or a masters you'll never use) unless you're sure you can significantly increase your grades. Otherwise you're just accumulating more debt and wasting your time. At least if you do research you can support yourself to some extent. It's what I'm doing now.
     
  4. sl2obel2ts

    sl2obel2ts i like tomatoes
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    i dont think u have to do masters. my gpa is around yours (0.03 lower than urs). i was a super senior when i got interested in dentistry. first thing u should do is shadowing a dentist. and then do all the extra stuff like volunteering and research. you dont have to worry about the dat yet. you can take it by early july and still be fine. :) good luck!!!

    In my case, I started shadowing a general dentist in nov of last year, started volunteering at clinics around jan of this year, got a research job at a dental school this jan as well. applied may, took dat end of june, got into my top choice on dec 1.

    one advice i can give u is to read some stuff on sdn from last year. really good stuff, dont get addicted though.
     
  5. 98user

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    research is a great idea, but more importantly is to get some dental experience. you need to change the major from pre med to predent. dental schools are very sensitive about the medical school thing, alot of people put dental school as a back up option if they don't get into medical school, and if they sense that you are doing that, they will refuse you. anyway, if shadowing is not working, then tell them you want to "volunteer" at their clinic and help out.. maybe then you can get to know the doctor and observe some things. also choose offices that are not so well off, in impovireshed areas, they are more open to accepting volunteers and you get more experience. also some offices are willing to train you as dental assistant and work afterward. (that is what i did) connections also important to make this easier. your GPA is the average of dental students, if you want to be more competitve, then take more biology classes, that is the best thing you can do, the more biology classes you have the more competitive you are. when you graduate, don't take time off school, dental schools don't like that. start your master's degree. and apply for jobs after graduation (in your major)
    the DAT is very important, i needed alittle more than two months to study for it, best if you do that before july.
    apply and submit your application in june, the earlier the better, don't get any scores lower than 17.
     
  6. Ranelar

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    I actually went cold turkey on SDN for over a year because I realized that reading this site caused huge rushes in adrenaline and significantly increased my heart rate. Too many people saying, "Get 20+ on your DAT" (90th percentile) and "CAN I HAZ DENTUL SKOOL WIT 3.5 GPA? OMGBBQ IT'S SO LOWWWWW". I didn't start reading and posting again until I was accepted :p

    3.34/3.18 18/19/21 got me in, people with worse stats get in. Your chances are better with higher stats, but don't stress yourself out about things you can't change.

    Edit: Personally, I don't suggest volunteering for a year. You're not gonna learn much after 200 hours in my opinion (frankly, I think 50 is enough, and it's what I did). If you're doing it as a paid job, that's completely different, but if you're not paid then you're wasting your time.
     
  7. supergumbo

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    Yeah, research is something I'm thinking of. However, I'm looking for applying next year right away so I'm looking to do things that will immediately get me brownie points by dental schools. Maybe I can shadow a dentist the spring semester (my course load isn't that heavy). The problem is letting the schools know what I'll be doing for that year off (which I might do research or an extra year of school). Anyways, thanks for the replies. Really appreciate it!
     
  8. supergumbo

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    Yeah, some of the stuff in here is scary. I guess that's good in pushing you to do your best. :laugh:
     
  9. supergumbo

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    I hear ya. I want to show them I'm not a pre-med looking at their program as a back-up. That'll be tough since my school doesn't have a pre-dental thing per se (the pre-meds apply to dental schools). My gpa should increase since I'm taking easy environmental bio classes next semester (just to finish off my credit requirements). I guess the only thing I can do is find a way to volunteer at a dentist office. Thanks, your post really helped.
     
  10. DocVT

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    what got you interested in dentistry if you haven't started shadowing a dentist yet or have no dental experiences?
     
  11. supergumbo

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    Being a pre-med, I became more disinterested with becoming a physician. I liked the aspect of using scientific knowledge and applying it in a clinical aspect. However, becoming a physician and being one can be very grueling and you truly have to love doing it in order for the job to be worth it, not mentioning the amount of time and money spent to even become one.

    However, I still wanted to work in the clinical field, just not as an M.D. physician. So I researched, and I loved what dentistry had to offer. It made more use of knowledge from my neuroscience major (cranial nerves and all that), school was for 4 yrs, and from the technical aspect of working with tools (i know, a predictable answer but it's true). Also, the job does not appear to be as stressful as a primary care physician (and I don't really mind working with bad breath and teeth :laugh:).

    Yeah, my reasons seem a bit shallow, but we all have to start from somewhere. Now I just need to have some experience in a dental office to see if my feelings still stay the same (or increase).

    Becoming a dentist is my first option with being an M.D. being way down there in the second.
     
  12. PDizzle

    PDizzle PreDents.com
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    Not shallow at all! 90% of anyone you ask will state most, if not all, of those reasons for becoming a dentist. Throw in: Buckets of $$ , having 3 day weekends for the rest of your life, high degree of autonomy and a good sense of accomplishment and job satisfaction by helping people and thats about 99.9% of the reasons.
     

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