TX Hopeful

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Here is my dilemna. I just left a pretty seccussful career in November to immerse myself into studying for the DAT, and I did pretty well in January. Right now, my stats are:

B.S. in Chemistry 1998 (yep...30 years old)
Sci GPA - 3.27
Overall GPA - 3.21
TS/AA/PAT - 22/21/19
Average ECs
Some familiy members associated with dentistry somehow (RDH, RDA)
Fantastic performance in previous career that should generate great LORs.


So, my question revolves around where and how do I employ myself until I apply in May, interview, and gather acceptances (God willing). Option 1: I was thinking of just getting back into the work force and live life as it was status quo before taking the DAT. Option 2: My second thought was to find a job that has to do with being a research assistant, entry level chemist in a lab, etc. However, those jobs pay about half as much as if I were to go back to where I was working.

Do schools look more favorable on those who worked for a health center or laboratory, etc prior to entering dental school? My theory behind this is that it makes me a stronger cadidate and applicant by working in that environment and I'd be constantly developing manually dexterious skills. or given that I am 30 years old, and my application is alreayd somewhat competitive, does it really matter as long as I gainfully employ myself until matriculation?

Thanks for any help in advance...and I hope I didn't confuse anybody.
 

Sprgrover

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TX Hopeful said:
...So, my question revolves around where and how do I employ myself until I apply in May, interview, and gather acceptances (God willing)....

Congratulations on doing so well on the DAT! Don't worry, you'll get plenty of interview invites. Don't follow in my footsteps and apply to a lot of schools as you'll just be throwing money away. I am not in school at the moment as I wanted to take a year off, apply, and relax before jumping back into the fire. The topic of work did come up at a couple of my interviews, but it was never brought up in the sense of "what meaningful/profitable ways have you been spending your time?" Past work history was also brought up, but probably because I made a passing reference to it in my personal statement. All in all not much time was spent on the topic. My interviewers were more concerned about what I wanted to do in 5, 10, or 20 years down the road, what my temperment was like, and why my home university has blue turf in their stadium. In my opinion I don't think that your job during this next year will give you any great advantage over other applicants. It might help, but with your grades and stats - which will carry you far - it probably won't be a deciding factor. Remember, you'll be applying in May but you won't be starting school until August or September of 2006 so you'll have to worry about covering your expenses for at least a year and a half. Pursue what ever line of work that you will be comfortable with, can pay the bills, and if you are able to earn extra then that's even better. If you had a good time at your old position and it paid well I recommend that you return and start collecting that ol' paycheck and use 'em towards some vacations. Best of luck!
 

ducksoup

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Hello and congrats on your hard work! I wanted to comment on your situation because I was in a quite similar position a year ago. Let me briefly tell you my story. I graduated with a B.A. in journalism in 2000 and was doing quite well in public relations for two years, working for a major corporation. I even considered attending graduate school and was offerred admission at Northwestern. However, I knew that pr and journalism were not the right fit for me and I was unhappy, and after a lot of thought and research, decided to pursue dentistry (there is a lot more that went in to this "odd" switch, but I won't bore you with the details here). Nevertheless, I then spent the next two years taking pre-req's and studying for the DAT.

My stats were good but not outstanding:
Overall GPA: 3.5, science GPA: 3.6
DAT: 20,20,20

So last year I found a job at a dental laboratory (I just called a bunch of labs in the phone book to see if they needed help). I am so glad I decided to do this. The pay was crap ($9 an hour), but I gained great experience, and at every interview I attended, this was brought up and I was told that they were really impressed that I had this experience...PARTICULARLY because it demonstrated to them that I had a taste of the dental profession and knew that this was what I wanted. I think when you are a non-traditional student, you have to work extra hard to convince them that you are sure this is the path for you. How are they supposed to know that you won't change your mind again? I also shadowed a bunch of dentists in different settings (i.e. one about to retire, a military dentist, one just starting out, etc.) so that I could convince the dental schools that I knew what I was getting in to. Just something for you to consider.

Here is what ended up happening with me:

Applied: July
AADSAS #: 2XXX
Interview invites: UPenn, NYU, Maryland, Temple, OSU, BU (canceled), UOP (canceled)
Still haven't heard a word from: Columbia
Accepted: UPenn, NYU (scholarship), Maryland, Temple, OSU

So I guess what I am trying to say is that stats. are not everything. Why the hell would I have gotten invited to interview at places like UOP or UPenn if stats were all that mattered? Clearly, they look at the whole picture. My advice to you: work this year on improving the whole picture. It is worth the sacrifice of making less money. You will then be in excellent shape to really stand out and have your pick next year! Best wishes to you!
 
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ducksoup said:
Hello and congrats on your hard work! I wanted to comment on your situation because I was in a quite similar position a year ago. Let me briefly tell you my story. I graduated with a B.A. in journalism in 2000 and was doing quite well in public relations for two years, working for a major corporation. I even considered attending graduate school and was offerred admission at Northwestern. However, I knew that pr and journalism were not the right fit for me and I was unhappy, and after a lot of thought and research, decided to pursue dentistry (there is a lot more that went in to this "odd" switch, but I won't bore you with the details here). Nevertheless, I then spent the next two years taking pre-req's and studying for the DAT.

My stats were good but not outstanding:
Overall GPA: 3.5, science GPA: 3.6
DAT: 20,20,20

So last year I found a job at a dental laboratory (I just called a bunch of labs in the phone book to see if they needed help). I am so glad I decided to do this. The pay was crap ($9 an hour), but I gained great experience, and at every interview I attended, this was brought up and I was told that they were really impressed that I had this experience...PARTICULARLY because it demonstrated to them that I had a taste of the dental profession and knew that this was what I wanted. I think when you are a non-traditional student, you have to work extra hard to convince them that you are sure this is the path for you. How are they supposed to know that you won't change your mind again? I also shadowed a bunch of dentists in different settings (i.e. one about to retire, a military dentist, one just starting out, etc.) so that I could convince the dental schools that I knew what I was getting in to. Just something for you to consider.

Here is what ended up happening with me:

Applied: July
AADSAS #: 2XXX
Interview invites: UPenn, NYU, Maryland, Temple, OSU, BU (canceled), UOP (canceled)
Still haven't heard a word from: Columbia
Accepted: UPenn, NYU (scholarship), Maryland, Temple, OSU

So I guess what I am trying to say is that stats. are not everything. Why the hell would I have gotten invited to interview at places like UOP or UPenn if stats were all that mattered? Clearly, they look at the whole picture. My advice to you: work this year on improving the whole picture. It is worth the sacrifice of making less money. You will then be in excellent shape to really stand out and have your pick next year! Best wishes to you!

Thanks for the feedback from both of you. How were you able to support yourself on $9/hr, and how did you land that job with no experience in a dental lab? Was it at a VA?
 

ducksoup

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TX Hopeful said:
Thanks for the feedback from both of you. How were you able to support yourself on $9/hr, and how did you land that job with no experience in a dental lab? Was it at a VA?
1. How did I support myself? Well, my wife is getting her PH.D. and has a nice fellowhsip, cost of living in Columbus is cheap, and I have some savings.

2. How did I land the job? Honestly, I called about 13 dental labs in the phone book....one lady I spoke with said she was thinking about getting more help, so she said "let's talk." At the interview, she liked my "story" and said she was willing to train me. I did have to draw a picture of a tooth she had on her desk, to show that I have some ability with my hands (but believe me, I am no artist). I also mentioned that I build models in my spare time (a *slight* exaggeration) to emphasize my manual dexterity skills. But really, the work is not that difficult and you can be trained rather quickly. Also, I think generally people that work full time in dental labs make more than $9 an hour, but given my lack of experience, I was payed so little.
 

Painless

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for what it's worth, i totally agree with ducksoup. why dentistry?, and what does it mean to be a dentist? are HUGE questions. i was in a similar situation, got a job working as a surgical asst. for a guy who takes people with no experience and hires them till they get into dental school. it REALLY helped. your stats are great, so youll probably get in, but this kind of experience also helps you realize if this really IS what you want to do forever.
 

Red823

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First off...Congrats on your stats. SInce Sprgrover and ducksoup both gave you very solid advices there really isn't much more I could add to help but here's my 2 cents anyways:

I took off 2 yrs after graduating from undergrad to get a break from school and to prep myself for dent school apps. During this time I taught at my old undergrad school so as you can see, it really didn't have much to do with the dental profession. However, the time required for the job was adequate enough that I had plenty of time to do extracurriculars like shadow dentists, volunteer at red cross, and so forth. I guess my point is, if your old job is a job that doesn't necessarily take up all of your time, then you can still pursue dental-related things to gain more insight into the profession as well as beef up those EC for the adcoms AND also earn a good living to save for dent school.

Best of luck !
 

nothen2do

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hey red823, where are you planning to go next year? Ive seen you got into some mighty fine schools
 

Victoria1999

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TX Hopeful said:
Here is my dilemna. I just left a pretty seccussful career in November to immerse myself into studying for the DAT, and I did pretty well in January. Right now, my stats are:

B.S. in Chemistry 1998 (yep...30 years old)
Sci GPA - 3.27
Overall GPA - 3.21
TS/AA/PAT - 22/21/19
Average ECs
Some familiy members associated with dentistry somehow (RDH, RDA)
Fantastic performance in previous career that should generate great LORs.


So, my question revolves around where and how do I employ myself until I apply in May, interview, and gather acceptances (God willing). Option 1: I was thinking of just getting back into the work force and live life as it was status quo before taking the DAT. Option 2: My second thought was to find a job that has to do with being a research assistant, entry level chemist in a lab, etc. However, those jobs pay about half as much as if I were to go back to where I was working.

Do schools look more favorable on those who worked for a health center or laboratory, etc prior to entering dental school? My theory behind this is that it makes me a stronger cadidate and applicant by working in that environment and I'd be constantly developing manually dexterious skills. or given that I am 30 years old, and my application is alreayd somewhat competitive, does it really matter as long as I gainfully employ myself until matriculation?

Thanks for any help in advance...and I hope I didn't confuse anybody.
Congrats on your DAT scores.
I have a question...I have graduated in 1998 (major chemistry) and I want to go to a Dental school. I understood that I have to get at least a Master in order to go to a Dental school, just because I graduated few years ago. Is this true? I have a lot of research expirience (currently working at Caltech as a chemist). Do you think I should go directly and apply to a Dental school or I should spent 2 years getting a Master degree? :confused:
 
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Victoria1999 said:
Congrats on your DAT scores.
I have a question...I have graduated in 1998 (major chemistry) and I want to go to a Dental school. I understood that I have to get at least a Master in order to go to a Dental school, just because I graduated few years ago. Is this true? I have a lot of research expirience (currently working at Caltech as a chemist). Do you think I should go directly and apply to a Dental school or I should spent 2 years getting a Master degree? :confused:
I sure hope you don't need a Master's if you've been away from school that long. I've heard that some admissions committees may be skeptical if you haven't been to school in a while (6-1/2 years for me). But I'm hoping that my DAT scores will convince them otherwise.

So, I think you should apply to dental school depending on your scores, GPA, extracurriculars, shadowing, etc.
 

Red823

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nothen2do said:
hey red823, where are you planning to go next year? Ive seen you got into some mighty fine schools
hey nothen2do,

Looks like it's UCLA for me. Got that spot open for ya at UCSF ;)
 

Red823

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Victoria1999 said:
Congrats on your DAT scores.
I have a question...I have graduated in 1998 (major chemistry) and I want to go to a Dental school. I understood that I have to get at least a Master in order to go to a Dental school, just because I graduated few years ago. Is this true? I have a lot of research expirience (currently working at Caltech as a chemist). Do you think I should go directly and apply to a Dental school or I should spent 2 years getting a Master degree? :confused:
I don't think you need to get a Master degree to apply. I think the best thing is to get some more experience in the dental profession ie shadowing some dentists or even work as a dental assistant. I think the schools would want to see that you've done your research into the dental profession and now that it's the right choice for you.