WindKP

7+ Year Member
Nov 24, 2010
51
59
New England
Status
Pre-Dental
Hi everyone,

I hope this is the appropriate place to post this, but here goes.

I am a 17 year old high school graduate (I graduated this past spring at age 16) and am currently taking classes as a local community college right now as a business/management major. I'm not going to be doing a full load at the community college and will be applying as a freshman to a four-year college for fall '11. This year is sort of an "inbetween" year as I didn't really want to jump into a real college as I am pretty young.

Anyways, I have literally wanted to be a pediatric dentist since I was six years old. One bad experience with a dentist made me decide that I wanted to be a 'good' dentist and here I am, about to enter college and becoming a dentist is still my dream.

I am applying to colleges in the new england area, mainly MA. College of the Holy Cross is my dream school and although I haven't yet heard if I am accepted yet, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be accepted there. If, however, HC doesn't work out, Assumption College is my back up plan. After four years there, I will be applying basically to all the dental schools on the east coast, though Tufts, BU, and Harvard would be my top picks as they are in the best location for me.

So basically, I'm looking for any advice on how you are currently doing your pre-dental program, and how you have gotten (or will be getting) into dental school. I know it's ridiculously competitive, so I'm going to need all the help I can get ;)
Also, I know Holy Cross is renowned for their medical school acceptance rates, but does anyone know about dental schools? Is Holy Cross held in the same regard in the dental world as it does for med school? What about Assumption college? I know your undergrad isn't as important as your grades, but I imagine you get more credit if you go to HC as opposed to some small state school.

And one other thing, what are your majors? I've heard from several docters not to major in biology or some science, as you will be entirely sick of science by the time you enter dental school and that you would be better off majoring in some liberal arts, like history or psychology to keep the GPA up and take the required science courses as electives. Not to mention that you will stick out as an applicant to dental schools if you major in like ancient civilization as opposed to the thousands of bio majors.

But I've also heard from a just graduated biology major, on her way to med school, to just major in bio because if you major in non-science, you will be basically doubling major in bio to get all the dental school pre-requisites completed. Both sides of the stories make sense, I was just wondering what worked best for you in your experience.

And I thinks that's it for now! Thanks in advance :)
 

dentalWorks

Nights Watchmen
7+ Year Member
Jun 25, 2009
5,646
158
Sterling Hts, Mi
Status
Dentist
So basically, I'm looking for any advice on how you are currently doing your pre-dental program, and how you have gotten (or will be getting) into dental school. I know it's ridiculously competitive, so I'm going to need all the help I can get ;)
Well, there is really no secret to it. Once you start at a 4-year school (Holy Cross or ANY other 4-year university), the standard is the same. Get in touch with a pre-medical / pre-dental adviser. They will give you a list of all the courses that ALL the dental (and medical) schools expect to see an undergraduate student complete..... The pre-dental courses are the same as pre-med, those are your biology 1 and 2, general chemistry 1 and 2, organic 1 and 2, physics 1 and 2 (it does NOT have to be calculus based physics), and English composition 1 and 2.... Of course with the sciences I mentioned, there are labs that you have to take as well.

My BIGGEST AND MOST IMPORTANT advice to you is to ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS keep your science and overall GPA at 3.5 or higher. I can't stress how important this is and how much life becomes easier when you have this.

Also, I know Holy Cross is renowned for their medical school acceptance rates, but does anyone know about dental schools? Is Holy Cross held in the same regard in the dental world as it does for med school? What about Assumption college? I know your undergrad isn't as important as your grades, but I imagine you get more credit if you go to HC as opposed to some small state school.
I honestly don't believe it matters where you go. The number one criteria for a strong application is GPA. It doesn't matter what school you go to or what major you go into.

And one other thing, what are your majors? I've heard from several docters not to major in biology or some science, as you will be entirely sick of science by the time you enter dental school and that you would be better off majoring in some liberal arts, like history or psychology to keep the GPA up and take the required science courses as electives. Not to mention that you will stick out as an applicant to dental schools if you major in like ancient civilization as opposed to the thousands of bio majors.
You can major in ANYTHING that interests you. It does not have to be science based. It can be history, psychology, mathematics, engineering, biology, chemistry, biochemistry, religion studies, etc etc. Anything you pick is fine as long as you keep that GPA in good shape.

But I've also heard from a just graduated biology major, on her way to med school, to just major in bio because if you major in non-science, you will be basically doubling major in bio to get all the dental school pre-requisites completed. Both sides of the stories make sense, I was just wondering what worked best for you in your experience.
Biology is a great major for pre-med / pre-dent. But it doesn't mean its the ONLY good choice. You gotta weight your options here, a heavy undergrad biology major will better prepare you for the sciences in dental school, but it can potentially hurt you undergrad GPA. Its not as easy as say, sociology, history, or art (no disrespect, just being realistic here).... however if your up to it, I say go biology, you'll just work a little harder, but it will best prepare you.

Good luck on whatever you decide
 

Maygyver

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jun 14, 2008
2,309
27
Status
Pre-Dental
First off, welcome to the forums!

When it comes to undergraduate choice, I always suggest people to first look at schools where they would be happy. To me, it seems like you should definitely go to Holy Cross; it is your dream school. Dental schools don't really focus too much on your undergraduate school. Yes, there are the extremes of the spectrum, but wherever you can thrive, is a good choice. Finding a school that you enjoy will make your transition easier, and make you, hopefully, be more active.

As far as major: This is a personal thing. It seems like you are a bright kid, so I would suggest you do a science major. After all, you are going into a science field, and your first 2 years of dental school will be packed with science courses. Personally, I love science and am in no way sick of it after 4 years. I don't think I would pick a science field if I would get sick of the material. Also, being a science major will give you the opportunity to participate in research in the field which is a big plus for many dental schools. (Yes, I know you can do research with a lot of majors...but still). Pick a major you will enjoy and it makes classes a lot easier, and hopefully cause you to be interested in research. Yes, a science major will be tougher than [insert nonscience major here] for the most part, but if you can cut it, it's a major plus. I have heard from a few non science majors that interviewers do bring up their lack of science classes some times. There are schools that like that diversity from majors, but I feel like I hear more responses from schools and interviewers about my science GPA and rigor of my courses than I have heard people say "we talked about my awesome sociology degree the whole time!"

A few tips: With being so interested and set in your goal, you are probably going to want to dive into building a strong application. I would suggest you wait a quarter before you get super involved in everything. Academics really are the major chunk of your application, and the adjustment to college can be a shock to even the brightest students. Make sure you get that under control before you start learning to manage your time to different clubs and activities. With that said, once you do have that under control, work on your application by shadowing, working, research, volunteering, and participating in extra curricular activities. As it becomes more competitive, not only do the GPAs and DAT scores increase, but so does the importance of a well-rounded application.

Good luck!
 

yappy

10+ Year Member
Jul 11, 2008
3,086
330
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Those other guys covered everything but listen to this one more time...

KEEP YOUR GPA HIGH!!! ABOVE 3.5!!!!!

Do this at all costs. Before you start college expect to study 2-3hrs per credit hour/wk. Build a schedule and follow it... even if you're just burning time. After the first semester if you made all A's then you may cut back if it was overkill. If you dont 4.0 your classes figure out why and improve (but you better not have fell below a 3.5 lol!). Do this and the process will be so easy and reduce alot of stress. You are at a great advantage knowing you want to do dentistry so early in your post-secondary academic career - dont screw it up.
 
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Seahawk

Nothing to do here
5+ Year Member
Jul 21, 2010
786
16
Status
Dentist
Find what major encompasses the most prereqs...the BA in chemistry from my school covers literally all over the prereqs. Only 20-28 hours left for the major after you subtract the prereq hours.


This leaves you time to take classes you want, and some that will pad your GPA!


to echo above: GPA GPA GPA GPA GPA GPA GPA GPA GPA.....GPA
 
Last edited:
Sep 14, 2010
211
1
Status
Dental Student
I'll reinforce what the others have said: keep the GPA above 3.5. The best way to do this is to treat your undergrad like it is your job. Be professional. Never late to class. Never skip class. Never miss homework. Dress decent. Be neat and organized. Come to class prepared and ready to learn. Work hard. Good luck.
 
May 10, 2010
53
0
Status
Pre-Pharmacy
I'll reiterate what people have said and say keep your GPA high from day one. Trust me, it's a lot easier when you get a high GPA freshman year(when quite honestly, your classes for the most part will be easier) than when you screw up freshman year and have to spend the next two making your GPA competitive.

That said, have fun. You're only in undergrad once, and you won't have the freedom and free time in dental school that you'll find in undergrad. Get involved, make some friends, and if going out is your thing, do a lot of that too. Make the most of it(as long as you can stay on top of your grades), because it'll fly right by.

Good luck!
 
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WindKP

7+ Year Member
Nov 24, 2010
51
59
New England
Status
Pre-Dental
Thanks so much for all the replies! All the information has been really helpful.

In highschool I was basically a straight-A student with trig and calc as my weakness (Bs). I loved my science courses, bio, chem, physics, and did really well with that so at least I have an aptitude for that. With the classes I'm taking at the community college, I don't have my official grades yet, as they won't post them till the end of the semester, but I'm almost positive I have straight As again. But, all these classes have been extremely easy for me, Intro the Bus, Accounting I, English Comp, so for next semester I think I'm only going to take one, maybe two, classes. Probably a calc and maybe a chem course. Unfortunately, as I'm sure you guys know, dental schools won't accept these credits since they were received at a two-year school, so these will be basically prep courses.

I'm no academic genius, at all, but I've done reasonably well on my SATs/ACTs, if that's any indicator, and I am extremely focused on getting into dental school and am truly passionate and excited about it. I don't know how much that actually matters in the big scheme of things, haha, but it will definitely count for something. ;)

Another thing in my advantage, I guess, is that I am not a partier, can't stand alcohol, would never take drugs, or basically fall of the wagon :laugh:. My education is way more important than that, and I'm really not into those sort of things.

Also, for the major, those of you who didn't major in bio or chem, did you find it more stressful attempting to get the credits for your liberal arts major, and get the pre-reqs for dental school at the same time? I would really like to major in some sort of business kind of major as I think that would be extremely helpful when I actually become a dentist and possibly run my own office. Not to mention it could be a helpful back up plan just in case I don't make it to dental school, and instead get my MBA or go to law school. And, it might make my dental school application stand out more so I'm not just another bio major with a 3.6 and a 21 DAT (no offense to bio majors, of course ;)) as we all know how incredibly hard it is to get accepted to these schools.

Buuut, then again I don't want to be overloaded by doing all my pre-reqs on top of my actual major. I may have a higher GPA as a business major, but that may actually be detrimental as my Science GPA may suffer...

Oh, and I am planning on getting a job with a dentist in my area. I probably won't work with him/her over the school year, but summer and breaks I'm planning on working a lot of hours with some dentist to get a feel for the job and show dental schools I have real-world experience. Did many of you do something like that? Maybe worked with a dentist who just happened to be on the board of some dental school? I've talked with a friend of the family who is a chiropractor and he said he worked and basically ran an office for a chiro all four years of his undergrad and that it helped hugely in his application process to chiropractor school. So that's something I'll have to look into...

Oh, and happy thanksgiving everyone! :)
 

dentalWorks

Nights Watchmen
7+ Year Member
Jun 25, 2009
5,646
158
Sterling Hts, Mi
Status
Dentist
Another thing in my advantage, I guess, is that I am not a partier, can't stand alcohol, would never take drugs, or basically fall of the wagon :laugh:. My education is way more important than that, and I'm really not into those sort of things.
Good for you. Having fun and enjoying undergrad is nice, but building a future for yourself is even nicer. However, I STRONGLY believe, that college-peer pressure will settle in, you WILL have fun in undergrad, you WILL go to some parties here and there, you WILL have an easy girlfriend, and most importantly, you NEED to keep your grades up while all this fun is happening.

Also, for the major, those of you who didn't major in bio or chem, did you find it more stressful attempting to get the credits for your liberal arts major, and get the pre-reqs for dental school at the same time? I would really like to major in some sort of business kind of major as I think that would be extremely helpful when I actually become a dentist and possibly run my own office. Not to mention it could be a helpful back up plan just in case I don't make it to dental school, and instead get my MBA or go to law school. And, it might make my dental school application stand out more so I'm not just another bio major with a 3.6 and a 21 DAT (no offense to bio majors, of course ;)) as we all know how incredibly hard it is to get accepted to these schools.
Let me tell you something, majoring in business is a great thing IF YOU LIKE BUSINESS. But don't do it because you think it will help you manage a successful dental practice. Becoming a successful practice owner is more like common-sense, you can't learn common-sense from college courses, its something thats usually learned by time-gained experiences or just pure interest+genius. No school in the world can teach you to run a private business. There are WAYYY to many emotional factors that come into play: when to hire/fire employs? what do you do when you have good working assistants but they don't get along with each other? what about stubborn patients? all these things seem minor, but they effect your business

Buuut, then again I don't want to be overloaded by doing all my pre-reqs on top of my actual major. I may have a higher GPA as a business major, but that may actually be detrimental as my Science GPA may suffer...
It seems to me that your naturally interested in biology. I would stick to something biology related.... OR maybe you can start the first 1-2 semesters in undergrad, and stay undecided, a major can sometimes creep up on you without even you noticing. You never know, you might pick something you are really passionate about that your over looking these days.

Oh, and I am planning on getting a job with a dentist in my area. I probably won't work with him/her over the school year, but summer and breaks I'm planning on working a lot of hours with some dentist to get a feel for the job and show dental schools I have real-world experience. Did many of you do something like that? Maybe worked with a dentist who just happened to be on the board of some dental school? I've talked with a friend of the family who is a chiropractor and he said he worked and basically ran an office for a chiro all four years of his undergrad and that it helped hugely in his application process to chiropractor school. So that's something I'll have to look into...
I highly doubt any dentist is going to hire you, fill out all the paper works, train you for a couple of weeks/months just so you can work there for 1-3 months. There is NO NEED to get a job with a dentist to see what he does. All you need is some shadowing hours. I would spend the first summer after your first year in college shadowing 1-2 general practice dentists. IMO, 50-150 hours worth of shadowing is ideal. Some people will tell you to shadow different dentists (specialists for example like ortho, oral surgeons, etc etc), I do NOT believe this is necessary. The route to dental school requires you to understand what general dentistry is about just in case you don't match into a specialty.
 

Maygyver

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jun 14, 2008
2,309
27
Status
Pre-Dental
Like Dentalworks said, don't forget to have fun in college. We all have fun different ways, so it doesn't matter how you do it, but make sure you enjoy your time in college.

I did actually work with a dentist for a couple summers and a winter break. It was a great time and it has been brought up during my interviews. If you can get a job it's really nice, but it's pretty rare.
 
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WindKP

7+ Year Member
Nov 24, 2010
51
59
New England
Status
Pre-Dental
Dentalworks - Thanks for the advice, although I am a girl so I don't think I will be having a girlfriend anytime soon, haha ;). But I totally get what you are saying. I definitely plan on having a great time in my undergrad; it's just that getting drunk out of my mind/hooking up with random guys/attempting midterms after a late night of partying/etc. just isn't my thing, haha.

As for the major, I'm probably going to be undecided for at least my first semester, then pick a major by soph. year at the latest. I do love the sciences, but I don't know if I love it that much, lol, I'll find out soon enough how much I can handle I guess.

And with getting a job with a dentist, I'll see how that goes. It would be nice to work for someone all year round, although not being able to have a car on campus for the first and second year, as well as juggling homework might be a bit difficult...I will definitely be shadowing a dentist soon, however.

And one question on the DAT, is there any point in doing any pre-studying for it, even if I haven't done any organic chem or whatever? I really have no idea about the layout of it, so I'm sorta lost on that point.
 

dentalWorks

Nights Watchmen
7+ Year Member
Jun 25, 2009
5,646
158
Sterling Hts, Mi
Status
Dentist
Dentalworks - Thanks for the advice, although I am a girl so I don't think I will be having a girlfriend anytime soon, haha ;). But I totally get what you are saying. I definitely plan on having a great time in my undergrad; it's just that getting drunk out of my mind/hooking up with random guys/attempting midterms after a late night of partying/etc. just isn't my thing, haha.

As for the major, I'm probably going to be undecided for at least my first semester, then pick a major by soph. year at the latest. I do love the sciences, but I don't know if I love it that much, lol, I'll find out soon enough how much I can handle I guess.

And with getting a job with a dentist, I'll see how that goes. It would be nice to work for someone all year round, although not being able to have a car on campus for the first and second year, as well as juggling homework might be a bit difficult...I will definitely be shadowing a dentist soon, however.

And one question on the DAT, is there any point in doing any pre-studying for it, even if I haven't done any organic chem or whatever? I really have no idea about the layout of it, so I'm sorta lost on that point.
oops, didn't know you were a chick..haha :laugh:, my bad

As far as the DAT goes, there are 3 sections that you can study for them whenever you like (even now isn't a bad idea). Math, Perceptual ability, and reading. If you can spend a couple of hours each week from now till the day you take the test, your going to do very well on them. Plus, it will make your actual science preparation easier cause you'll just be focusing on the sciences mostly.

Its up to you tho, this is not necessary, but if your looking to kill sometime, you can do practice 15-20 minutes worth of math every day. You'll get so good at it by time you take the test.
 

hopefullyadent

Removed
May 6, 2010
137
0
Status
Pre-Dental
pick the easiest major to get highest science gpa...work very hard and get a good gpa...join clubs but dont be so involved ur gpa drops..protect gpa at all costs

try to have only enough fun so u dont burn out - can be as simple as playing ball with friends or watchin a favorite tv show

dont drink and date..and youll avoid misery..

and dont be discouraged if ppl get higher grades than u...U DONT KNOW WHAT SCIENCE BACKGROUND THEY CAME FROM...doesnt mean they are smarter than u!!!!!!!!

good luck
 
Oct 24, 2010
35
0
Status
Pre-Dental
Grab onto a handle under your desk and hold on tight its gonna be a bumpy ride lol....but in all honesty just dont give up and keep going forward no matter how hard it gets. Good luck!
 

the toothfairy

10+ Year Member
Dec 8, 2008
24
0
Status
Dentist
Hi,

I have been a dentist for 22 years and I was a dental assistant for 13 .

I majored in Bio but if I had to do it all over again I would have majored in Physics.
Dentistry and Physics have alot in common. Especially if you want to go into Ortho.

Pediatric Dentistry for a woman is a wonderful idea. Even though I am a general dentist I see alot of kids and I have a lot of fun with them.

One major reason why the school that I went to accepted me was because of my extensive experience in the dental field. This is very important.

Another important factor is that you need to be mentally prepared to go to dental school. I wish I would have known that before I went.

If you have any questions just shoot me an e-mail at: [email protected]
 

MAR89

7+ Year Member
Apr 25, 2010
118
1
Status
Pre-Dental
Also, for the major, those of you who didn't major in bio or chem, did you find it more stressful attempting to get the credits for your liberal arts major, and get the pre-reqs for dental school at the same time?
I spent my Freshman year exploring everything I possibly could, everything except for the natural sciences in fact. I knew I wanted to be a French major, but let's be honest, there's only so much you can do with that degree :p So sophomore year I began to take Gen Chem, then following it up with Bio and Orgo through the next two years, and now I'm finishing up Physics, and it's easily doable. My Freshman year GPA was actually my lowest, in spite of the fact that the courses were all "easier" than the pre-reqs I took later on. Attribute it to acclimatization period to college, or what have you, but it just goes to show that the pre-reqs can easily be fit into your course load alongside another, completely unrelated major, even if you start them a year later. I was able to take at least one French course each semester in addition to all the pre-reqs, and didn't really feel overwhelmed. Strangely for me, I felt more at ease taking the pre-reqs along with all of the students a year below me; this is a completely psychological factor that surely doesn't necessarily apply to you, but taking Gen Chem as a sophomore, Orgo as a junior, and now Physics as a senior, in some way artificially lowered my own fabricated expectations for myself, and I think in the end it was all for the better. I could tell that I wasn't nearly as stressed as my younger classmates, and the entire process was far less tense than i think it would have been otherwise, had I started Freshman year. The premed environment on my Freshman floor was just awful...they were constantly stressing out over the next Chem exam. Perhaps seeing that in advance helped me to better anticipate what was expected of me in those courses.

In summary: I started the pre-reqs sophomore year, studied abroad one semester, and I'm currently finishing up my pre-reqs (Physics) and completing some upper levels (anatomy + genetics this semester, biochem, micro, and physiology the next). So I really did end up cramming the pre-reqs + upper divs into my last 3 years (or rather, 5 semesters taking into account my semester abroad), and came out just fine (I think :p). Of course I'm taking a gap year as I wasn't able to get my application together from France, but take away that semester abroad and a gap year wouldn't really have been necessary.

So don't sweat over the major. Follow the advice of everyone who's posted here and go for a major that interests you. I ended up with a minor in bio just from the pre-reqs and upper divs.
 
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WindKP

7+ Year Member
Nov 24, 2010
51
59
New England
Status
Pre-Dental
Thanks for all the responses. I really do appreciate it.

dentalWorks: That's good to know about the DAT. Can anyone recommend good DAT prep books/online courses for the beginning stages of prep? Something sorta basic, but good enough to familiarize myself with the format?

I have wanted to be a pediatric dentist for a long time, but now I'm not sure if it's worth the extra 2 (3?) years. It might be better to just be a general family dentist. I'm not looking to make crazy money like an oral surgeon or something, I really just want to be a dentist who can work with children somewhat often and make a suitable income enough to pay of my loans. I'm thinking of maybe partnering with an established practice, and eventually take over, or start my own practice. I would love to some day have a thriving private practice with multiple associate dentists covering different specialities/aspects. I'm just not sure if I want to specialize. And is there really that much of a difference in income with pediatricians vs. GPs esp. considering the extra years of schooling? I'll be working in the northeast if that matters.

As for the major, I'll see how freshman year goes, and concentrate more on my GPA, rather than my major. I just really don't want to get overwhelmed with ridiculously hard courses and set myself up for failure.
 

dentalWorks

Nights Watchmen
7+ Year Member
Jun 25, 2009
5,646
158
Sterling Hts, Mi
Status
Dentist