hlsong

2+ Year Member
Jul 20, 2016
2
0
Status
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hi everyone! Hope you are well at this unprecedented time! I am new to SDN and I have a lot of questions since my case is a little special.. I would love to get some advice from you.

I am an immigrant from China and did my first two years of college in China with a pretty low GPA in engineering (about 3.5, might be even lower but with uptrend), then transferred to the UK for the next two years to finish my undergrad in B.Eng with a 1st Class Honors (equivalent to a 4.0 GPA?). I went to graduate school right after, at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) and received my MSc. degree in Engineering with a 3.85 GPA in 2016. I didn't get a job as an engineer. Instead, I've been working as a buyer for 3 years and I realized I want to become a dentist. I've never taken any biology and chemistry, only some engineering related math and physics with low grades. Since these courses were taken in China, I found it hard to convert to US equivalent GPA and I worry that the schools won't recognize them so I plan to retake all of the prerequisites at a local public university/college. I am now a green card holder, so I am eligible for in-state tuitions which would be a huge relief.

My questions are:

1. Should I be concerned about my degrees? Since I didn't complete my 4 year bachelor's degree in the USA or Canada, does my degree in the UK count as the minimum credit hours required by medical/dental schools? Maybe my graduate degree (30 credit hours) can help? If this is a concern, what should I do?

2. Should I quit my job? Is it worth it to quit my job and 100% focus on the prerequisites, or should I take the slower route to keep my job and attend less courses at nights? My job is 7am-3:30pm in the office. I make almost $70k before tax. I am 27 years old and would like to get into dental school by 30.

3. DIY or structured post bacc program? If I quit my job, I won't have any income and could move to anywhere in the USA to do a structured post bacc program. Is it worth it to spend the extra $$$ and relocating cost to attend the post bacc program in a different city? My current city does not have structured post bacc programs.

4. How to find shadowing? People say shadowing should be the first step, but I found it hard since I have limited network, especially with the COVID-19 lockdown. I am stressed about not able to find shadowing opportunities. What are the best ways to approach to request shadowing? I've tried to reach out to my own dentist but didn't get a response.

5. Do I need to retake TOFEL? I've taken this test a few times and would really hate to take it again because I didn't get my bachelor's degree in the USA/Canada. My previous TOFEL score was 97 but expired in 2016.

6. What are my odds of getting into a dental school? This question might be too early since I haven't taken the prerequisites and DAT, but I would really need some faith since my stakes are high compared to the traditional pre-med / pre-dental students. I have had this thought of changing my career to medicine for many years but I was intimidated by the high standards in admission to dental / medical schools in the USA.

Thank you for the time to read this post. If you have any comments or advice please let me know!
 

hlsong

2+ Year Member
Jul 20, 2016
2
0
Status
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Just realized that I joined SDN in 2016. I recalled I was debating on changing my career to medicine back in 2016 when I was about to graduate from UM with my master's degree. I've had this mind for 4 years and every-time I see my dentist or PCP I would admire them and regret for not choosing medicine in the first place. Working from home due to COVID-19 has enabled me to put more thoughts on my career so I would like to give it a shot!
 

GreenDuck12

5+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2014
1,813
1,773
Status
  1. Medical Student
1. Should I be concerned about my degrees? Since I didn't complete my 4 year bachelor's degree in the USA or Canada, does my degree in the UK count as the minimum credit hours required by medical/dental schools? Maybe my graduate degree (30 credit hours) can help? If this is a concern, what should I do?

- Typically, international degrees are not sufficient for admissions to US based programs without supplementary courses completed in the US. You should look into specific requirements listed at dental schools you are interested in. Some schools list a 60 credit minimum completed in the US, others significantly more. From what I've heard from friends with international degrees, there is a process that some schools have to "vet" an international degree to determine what its equivalent would be in the US. That being said, not every school offers this, and they still needed to take classes in the US. Unfortunately, your graduate degree may not factor in very much as the subject matter is different.

2. Should I quit my job? Is it worth it to quit my job and 100% focus on the prerequisites, or should I take the slower route to keep my job and attend less courses at nights? My job is 7am-3:30pm in the office. I make almost $70k before tax. I am 27 years old and would like to get into dental school by 30.

- Entirely up to you. You have to balance two competing priorities: completing the prereqs quickly while not saving money or completing the prereqs more slowly while saving money. If money isn't a concern for you but age is, then you have your answer.

3. DIY or structured post bacc program? If I quit my job, I won't have any income and could move to anywhere in the USA to do a structured post bacc program. Is it worth it to spend the extra $$$ and relocating cost to attend the post bacc program in a different city? My current city does not have structured post bacc programs.

- Again, entirely up to you. Structured programs will get you through your prereqs quickly but come at a significant cost. You have to determine if that cost is worth it to you. However, you may need to look into the requirements for structured programs as some of them may require a degree from the US (I'm not sure about this but it is something to look into).

4. How to find shadowing? People say shadowing should be the first step, but I found it hard since I have limited network, especially with the COVID-19 lockdown. I am stressed about not able to find shadowing opportunities. What are the best ways to approach to request shadowing? I've tried to reach out to my own dentist but didn't get a response.

- You've got time to get this taken care of. I would be surprised if any shadowing is happening right now due to covid. I wouldnt let a lack of shadowing hold you up at this point.

5. Do I need to retake TOFEL? I've taken this test a few times and would really hate to take it again because I didn't get my bachelor's degree in the USA/Canada. My previous TOFEL score was 97 but expired in 2016.

6. What are my odds of getting into a dental school? This question might be too early since I haven't taken the prerequisites and DAT, but I would really need some faith since my stakes are high compared to the traditional pre-med / pre-dental students. I have had this thought of changing my career to medicine for many years but I was intimidated by the high standards in admission to dental / medical schools in the USA.

- There isn't really a way to gauge if your chances are high compared to the traditional applicant because you havent completed the things that are necessary for a comparison to be made. If you perform well in your classes, meet the minimum entry requirements for courses completed in the US/earning a degree if necessary, and do well on the DAT, then your chances would be no worse than other applicants in a similar situation.
 
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