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Any advice for a non-traditional applicant?

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by Logan72, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. Logan72

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    I graduated from college with my bachelor's in Bioengineering about 7 years ago with honors (GPA of 3.8 and science GPA of 3.9), took all the pre-reqs for dental school (Bio I&II, Gen Chem I&II, Organic Chem I&II, Anatomy and Physiology) except Biochem.
    Then got my Masters in the same field and after graduation got a job in medical research and have been working for a few years now.

    I have been studying the $50 Kaplan DAT book (is this the blue book that I keep reading about?) to refresh and get into the game again (I have forgotten a lot but am not totally clueless!).
    Here are some of my questions and I would appreciate any answers/advice that I can get:

    1. I keep reading the postings on the forum about taking the DAT in July and Aug. My understanding is that they are applying for early admission, is this correct?

    2 I plan on taking the DAT in mid Sept, so that, in case I don't do so well in the 1st attempt, I can take it again in 90 days (mid December), as most schools have deadlines in January. Do I stand a chance for a 2009 admission?

    Please let me know if you have any advice on study mateials and strategies etc.
    Thanks!
     
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  3. Epictetus21

    Dentist

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    Your stats are obviously stellar, and based on that alone you stand a very good chance of being accepted. The only thing I would be concerned with would be that some schools have a 5 year limit for how far back they will count prerequisite courses. I would think that as a non-traditional student with a masters and significant medical research experience they might overlook that, but I would call each school that you are thinking of applying to and ask them about your specific situation.
    To answer your specific questions:
    1. The people who are applying in June-August are not applying for early admission. They are applying early in the normal cycle in order to have a better chance of getting an interview, and consequently and acceptance. Most dental schools have a rolling admissions policy, so even with excellent stats, if you apply as late as December, the interview and acceptance slots may have already been filled by less qualified, but earlier applicants. That is why people are submitting their applications now.
    2. With your GPA a September DAT will be okay, as long as you don't totally bomb it. December is way late. I would shoot to have it done in August to give yourself the best chance, but if you don't feel ready then by all means, wait till September.

    The Kaplan book is a good overall review of the material, however, some say it is not detailed enough for the actual DAT. I would suggest getting the DAT Destroyer, and really hit it hard to understand both the specific questions and topics that it covers. Hope this helps.
     
  4. zebrafish

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    Good advice has been given. I too am a non-trad. I will be attending Tufts this fall. Apply in May even if you have NOT taken the DAT. The schools will start to review your app. and wait to see your scores. I would recommend Aug. for you first attempt. The DAT is not an easy test for us non-trads it has a lot of info that we have dumped out of our brains. The advice I wish I had received before taking the dat is to brush up on my histology and big scientific findings ie. dolly the sheep and details of the experiment. The PAT is MUCH MUCH more difficult than in the Kaplan books, be prepared. Best of Luck if you have anymore questions please feel free to message me.
     
  5. blankguy

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    1. Schools especially state schools will begin reviewing applications around August. The schools will grant interviews during the fall but they won't notify of the decision until dec 1st at earliest. Thereafter it becomes rolling admissions until the class is filled (could be feb/march).
    2. Take the DAT by late August. Mid september will be pushing it you want your file to be completed as early as possible without sacrificing good preparation for the DAT. You stand a good chance for admission for 2009 given your GPA.

    Get simulated computer exams from topscore and DAT destroyer. The DAT is computerized so it is best to simulate that.
     
  6. rose786

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    Good advice above.

    I 2nd the advice to take by late August. I would definitely go all out with your studying so you don't need to retake. Study hardcore with Destroyer, Topscore, Achiever, and supplement bio with a good review book like Cliff's AP Biology. Your gpa is stellar and and your dat will make or break your chances. Get in your app as early as you can. GL
     
  7. Logan72

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    I really appreciate all the insightful comments, they are very helpful.

    Does anyone have any advice on Kaplan classes? Will it help some one like me who has been away from school for a while?
     
  8. blankguy

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    Kaplan classes are prep classes specifically geared towards DAT preparation. If you are rusty on some of the classes maybe you'll need to refresh your memory (by either auditing or borrowing somebody else's notes). It's a preparation for how to do well on the DAT rather than providing basic knowledge. It's better to take a year off if you are rusty to refresh your memory rather than rushing and risk sucky DAT score if that is what you have to do.
     
  9. shawn_wac

    shawn_wac New Member

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    Getting your application in early is smart because you never know what can happen… they could lose transcripts, be slow processing stuff, or whatever else that might slow up your application… I think the deadline for most schools is around October, so getting them in early is just a smart move to cover your bases. In addition, the last thing you want to worry about while you are trying to cram in study time is filling out the d-school applications and writing your personal essay.

    I interviewed last year at San Antonio with just average DAT scores (AA18) and didn’t leave much room to retake the DAT in time for the first round of acceptances in December. I didn’t get accepted. Therefore, mid Sept seems a little late on the DAT because I know a lot of schools started interviews in August last year. I have heard of people taking the DAT after they interview, but if you bomb it I doubt retaking it in December will get you a spot in the 2009 class.

    In all, with your background and grades, it makes you appear like a good candidate. I am sure some schools would offer you an interview just based on your grades and past history alone without the DAT. Just note, you might need to take biochem. I know for some schools it is now required and for others it is an “elective”, but really they expect it.

    Good luck!
     
  10. Logan72

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    Thanks for the input! I am planning on taking the biochem in the fall (because of work I have to take it in the evenings which is only being offered in the fall). Will dental schools that require biochem accept a conidtional application if I show them that I am enrolled in the class and should complete it by December?
     
  11. blankguy

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    I don't see why not. People apply with prereqs in progress all the time. As long as the prereqs get done by the end of the application cycle you will be fine.
     

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