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Been dying to ask this question

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by Pressforward, May 14, 2007.

  1. Pressforward

    Pressforward 2+ Year Member

    May 12, 2007
    ***Please read this****
    I have been wanting to post here for months but never could because of log in issues. I'm going to give the truth and nothing but the truth in this email about my schooling history. As predental majors who more than likely are doing quite well in your studies I hope to recieve the best suggestions and advice possible from what you all know.

    I am a 26 year old African American male college student currently attending a community college in Virginia. Well...lets back up a few: I've actually been attenting the community college for many years. I started when I was 19...yes 19. But at the time didn't know what direction I wanted to go in. Circumstances led me to this point I am at. One being that I worked full time the whole time I was in school. I could take a class here, another class there. But I flunked some pretty easy classes in the process because of just plain immaturity. I've taken Biology 102 (second level) 3 times! Grades, (D), (D)....(F)! I even flunked an acting course in which I didnt attend enough to gain credit. Yikes!!!

    However it wasnt until I was about 23 until I realized what I wanted to do with my life seriously, which is to become a dentist. I always wanted to for a while but I always got caught up in different things that led my attention away. Well...finally my grades progressed, I took harder courses and and have been recieving grades now no less than a (A)'s and (B)'s, but I still have to work full I'm not afforded the opportunity to go to school full time. Well, I have one more semester until my A.S. is finished then I'll transfer into my junior year at a University. Believe or not, I want to study BIO..with an interest in Immunobiology. I know I'll need that last BIO...which I'll have to recieve no less than an (A) considering how many times I've taken it. Chem, Pys and Bio...I know I can do well in. I beleive in myself. I know my GPA will have to be high as well as my Science GPA and I just bought a Kaplan DAT study guide.

    Bottom line...What are your suggestions for my future in the field of dentistry. I understand these are just your opinions, but your opinions do matter to me because it seems most students here are doing quite well. But in no literature I've read in any predental guide book ever seems to consider the student who takes longer to finish undergrad. I'd like to know where I stand and my chances compared to most others. Either way I won't give up. However, what options do I have?

    Thanks future Drs!
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  3. tooth decay

    tooth decay science officer 2+ Year Member

    Dec 1, 2006
    It sounds like a great inspirational life story. As it seems that you are only improving yourself academically and maturity wise, I do not think you will have any problems achieving what you set your goals to be. I think the schools that you apply to will be at least equally impressed. Keep up the good work!
  4. Nasem

    Nasem 2+ Year Member

    Aug 30, 2006
    Lansing, MI
    Look, it really doesn't matter what we think, no dental applicant is perfect, everyone has a few holes in thier game. some of us have huge holes and some of us have smaller.

    I trully think you stand a chance and I totally know what you mean when you say you work full time to support your self and go to school... its hard wanting to become a doctor / dentist and work full time. I have this same problem, I am doing a post-bacc and its VERY hard for me to work full-time and attend school but you know what..... This country is known for being the "land of opportunity" ... EVERYONE has an opportunity, its all about how much patience you have to withstand the competition beating you majority of the time....
  5. TexDDS

    TexDDS 5+ Year Member

    Jan 26, 2007
    Sounds like you got a plan. Now execute.

    I think dental school is where people like you shine. You overcome obstacles, grow in character and strength, and find the focus you need for success. Those are all assets that a dental school would be foolish to turn down.
  6. pre-dentalguy

    pre-dentalguy Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 7, 2006
    Seems you're on the right track now. Just keep up the hard work and you will progress just fine.

  7. lgwdnbdgr

    lgwdnbdgr 10+ Year Member

    Sep 18, 2006
    I think you are on the right track. I know two people at Stanford for grad school with similar stories. It's certainly harder, because you need to grab the admissions committee's attention. Once they take a close look, though, they'll realize that those Ds and Fs aren't representative of your abilities.
  8. djeffreyt

    djeffreyt Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 3, 2006
    I had a few Ds and Fs...those grades are now almost a decade old. It's not the ancient past that represents you, so if you're doing well now and retake the classes you need to retake and had bad grades in...shouldn't matter.

    I suggest you try not to let any of your prerequisite courses exceed 7 years in age before you apply as there are limitations on how old a pre-req can be before you apply. If $ is an issue, attempt to get financial aid or loans through your school. There are also many scholarships for minority students attempting to get an education. You need to look for the opportunities for free money, but they do exist and would allow you more freedom to take coursework.
  9. Pressforward

    Pressforward 2+ Year Member

    May 12, 2007
    I have to tell all of you, I thank you sincerely for the responses. I am encouraged even more to keep "pressing forward" and never give up on my dream. I understand I put myself in a tough, tough spot, but I've went years now wondering for sure if there was anyway that a potential candidate for Dental school would even have the chance to turn it around. I always wondered if schools would look at my steady progression. And even more, I wondered forever about the AMOUNT of credits taken per semester Ive taken and if theyd be frowned upon over and over again. If I'm correct don't dental schools review the amount of credits per semester? I've read that somewhere.

    I just want schools to see the old me, (the flunk artist) and then see the new me...the (A) and (B) student. Right now, (because of how foolish I was early on) my GPA is 2.56 (ending my sophmore year) and increasing. I'm just going to take a guess and assume my GPA better be at least a 3.5cum and a 3.5science before even considering to apply. And my DAT better be at least an 19. I've got to consider, I'm 26 now and I actually started taking college level courses when I was 20 (!)...but little by little.

    I'll review all the minority scholarships I can...I even thinking about quitting the day job I have now and working evenings so that way I can go to school full time inthe day....after all, that's all I care about.
  10. aggie-master

    aggie-master Scrub 7+ Year Member

    Apr 3, 2004
    I'd recommend that you keep doing what you've been doing lately. If you can continue to make only As and Bs for the rest of your undergrad degree I'm willing to bet that many dental schools out there will evaluate you on what done the last several years and forgive the bad grades early on.

    If you have can, consider cutting back on work when you are at a university. It might help you keep your GPA up when you start taking more difficult classes at a university.
  11. lemoncurry

    lemoncurry tequila mockingbird Administrator Dentist 10+ Year Member

    Aug 20, 2006
    Schools do look at your recent history, at least if they don't toss your app in the out box after taking a glance at your gpa. My history is slightly similar in that I have been bringing up a lower gpa from a previous stint at college 10 years ago.

    Sounds like you have the motivation and the maturity to succeed. Work hard, stay focused, kick ass on your DAT (aim for 20, not 19), get involved at a dental office. If your school has a pre-dent club, join. If they don't, try to start one.

    Start shadowing as soon as you can. Once you develop a rapport with the dentist, see if you can start volunteering in order to learn some of the behind the scenes stuff. A friend of mine told me she started just by learning how to sterilize instruments and that's all she did for a while but then slowly picked up other skills. Eventually she was able to turn it into a job as a dental assistant.

    Get your GPA above 3.0 and if your DAT is stellar, take a stab at applying. If it doesn't work or you think your grades still won't be good enough, you could consider graduate work. If you get an MS before you apply, that could only help you and help dispel any misgivings about a less than pristine GPA. If you're really interested in Biology, pursuing a graduate degree should be a positive thing.

    Try not to get too caught up in a personal timetable. You're still reasonably young and if you don't have family of your own, you can pretty much take as long as you need. As long as you're improving, there's no reason why you shouldn't apply eventually.
  12. Pressforward

    Pressforward 2+ Year Member

    May 12, 2007
    :) More great advice. Like I said before, I'd been trying to speak with some fellow predental, dental students! Good thing, Squidworth, (lemoncurry), that you mentioned speaking with, and becoming familiar with a dentist. My dentist, now, is a recent graduate of Louisville Dental School, and man is he jsut great. Matter of fact we began talking just weeks after he graduated. So he was working in a partnership at the dental office I go to. After he treated me we sat around and just talked while he was "between chairs". He told how loans worked out for easy it is to get to study for the DAT, he preferred ScholarWare, also that he is on the student admission board at the school!! He even gave me his cell # so we talk every now and again. I'm going to see about volunteering for him and shadowing him some more. My job makes it tough right now to shadow because I work day hours, (I'm emailing you all from work now). But I'll switch my job soon.

    Graduate work.
    I was considering graduate work, only if my GPA isn't at least a 3.4 overall.

    Thanks again for the input Docs! :)
  13. lgwdnbdgr

    lgwdnbdgr 10+ Year Member

    Sep 18, 2006
    Don't wait that long! I don't know how many credits you have, but you'd have to take twice as many more credits and get a 4.0 in all of them to bring your 2.5 up to 3.5.

    Get your cGPA over 3.0 -- that should protect you from an automatic rejection. Then, just worry about your record at your 4 year school -- that's probably all the admissions committees will care about. As long as you can get them to look at your application, they'll easily figure out that your grades from age 19-23 aren't representative of your actual ability and will discount that appropriately.
  14. Bocci Balls

    Bocci Balls 2+ Year Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    I went through the same thing. If I only knew what I know now!!! UGH!!! My overall is about a 3.0, but the last 80 credits or so I have about a 3.8! I would have been in this semester if I would have applied early enough. I think my story makes me unique.

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