Does a lousy GPA / class ranking mean no chance of specializing?

hajin

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I was a little lazy my first year of dental school. Couple C's, GPA not much over 3, ranking is sadly near the bottom of my (according to upperclassmen, pretty hyper-competitive) class. I already know the basic advice - bring up my GPA, get good extracurriculars, great letters of rec, all that. But, I have a more general question...

How much do residency programs really care about GPA?

Getting into dental school seemed to be a lot about the numbers, but for specializing I hear wildly different things about how much your stats do / don't matter. This seems particularly true if you're not going for something like ortho or OMFS. What do you guys think?
 

Big Time Hoosier

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Your stats will get your foot in the door. Without decent numbers, you will need something else to really stand out in order to make it through the initial application screening. You have time to make up some ground. A killer ADAT score will also be very helpful to you, as dumb as I think the test is. What specialty are you eyeing? As you're almost certainly aware, OMFS, ortho, and pedo are pretty competitive. With your rank, for endo, you'll certainly need full-time experience before applying.

Disclaimer: I'm a future specialty applicant myself, so my knowledge is based on what I've heard and seen from others mixed with a whole lot of common sense.

Big Hoss
 

theleatherwalle

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You will likely need to network, do research, hit the books, ect. I was in a similar boat, and I agree with hoosier that you will need full time experience before you apply.
 
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Craig_Sherwood234

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I was a little lazy my first year of dental school. Couple C's, GPA not much over 3, ranking is sadly near the bottom of my (according to upperclassmen, pretty hyper-competitive) class. I already know the basic advice - bring up my GPA, get good extracurriculars, great letters of rec, all that. But, I have a more general question...

How much do residency programs really care about GPA?

Getting into dental school seemed to be a lot about the numbers, but for specializing I hear wildly different things about how much your stats do / don't matter. This seems particularly true if you're not going for something like ortho or OMFS. What do you guys think?
Couple C's yields a bottom rank?
 
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hajin

hajin

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Couple C's yields a bottom rank?
Well, a couple C's and too many B's. Still, my grades probably wouldn't be as bad at another school. The competition here is bananas. Even on difficult tests, the class averages are depressingly high. Makes me miss my community college days... I was an unrivaled genius in that group. haha
 

Craig_Sherwood234

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Well, a couple C's and too many B's. Still, my grades probably wouldn't be as bad at another school. The competition here is bananas. Even on difficult tests, the class averages are depressingly high. Makes me miss my community college days... I was an unrivaled genius in that group. haha
You talk a lot about how your school is so competitive. Mine is extremely competitive. Which school do you go to?
 
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hajin

hajin

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You talk a lot about how your school is so competitive. Mine is extremely competitive. Which school do you go to?
Almost sounds like you want to... compete over which school is more competitive!!! I swear, dental students. Not everything is a competition, man!! Jesus. haha

Seriously though, I would rather not say. I will say that if my class rank were as good as my school's unofficial national rank, I would be pretty happy. I'm not trying to brag though. Honestly, in retrospect, I sometimes wish I were at a LOWER ranked, more laid back school. I mean, if you just want to be a general dentist, why endure crazy competition? And in terms of specializing, I'm not sure if battling a bunch of psycho overachievers for grades is the best place to be. Depends on how ambitious you are, I guess.
 
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Craig_Sherwood234

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Almost sounds like you want to... compete over which school is more competitive!!! I swear, dental students. Not everything is a competition, man!! Jesus. haha

Seriously though, I would rather not say. I will say that if my class rank were as good as my school's unofficial national rank, I would be pretty happy. I'm not trying to brag though. Honestly, in retrospect, I sometimes wish I were at a LOWER ranked, more laid back school. I mean, if you just want to be a general dentist, why endure crazy competition? And in terms of specializing, I'm not sure if battling a bunch of psycho overachievers for grades is the best place to be. Depends on how ambitious you are, I guess.
Lol. Why don't you state your school first before whining how difficult it is for you (i.e., getting C's and all).
 

cacajuate

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Well, a couple C's and too many B's. Still, my grades probably wouldn't be as bad at another school. The competition here is bananas. Even on difficult tests, the class averages are depressingly high. Makes me miss my community college days... I was an unrivaled genius in that group. haha

3.75 GPA puts you in the high 30s class rank in my class. I guarantee that your school is just like every other school.
 
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hajin

hajin

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3.75 GPA puts you in the high 30s class rank in my class. I guarantee that your school is just like every other school.
I'm not saying that there aren't exceptionally smart people in all schools. But is it really controversial to say that not everywhere is the same??

I had a good science GPA in undergrad, but I also went to a smaller state college. My competition was teenage moms who wanted to be nurses, not A+ med school gunners. Would my GPA have been the same if I had gone to some big university? Realistically, I'm gonna say no.

For some dental schools the average DAT score is around 18. I'm not trying to talk smack over here -- I'm sure those are great schools with some people way smarter than me. But you can't say the averages are meaningless. Obviously in a class full of people with high stats the competition is gonna be more intense.
 

Greyangel6

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I'm in no position to advise you (because I also have similar situation); however, my plan is to do some research (I'm currently assisting a 2nd year resident with their research), raise my clinical skills (just entered clinic so there're lots to learn), do AEGD, work few years, apply and re-apply to specialty until they take me (obviously every time I re-apply, I will have to better myself in some ways). :)
 
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Craig_Sherwood234

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I'm not saying that there aren't exceptionally smart people in all schools. But is it really controversial to say that not everywhere is the same??

I had a good science GPA in undergrad, but I also went to a smaller state college. My competition was teenage moms who wanted to be nurses, not A+ med school gunners. Would my GPA have been the same if I had gone to some big university? Realistically, I'm gonna say no.

For some dental schools the average DAT score is around 18. I'm not trying to talk smack over here -- I'm sure those are great schools with some people way smarter than me. But you can't say the averages are meaningless. Obviously in a class full of people with high stats the competition is gonna be more intense.
Lol.
 

Warran E. Namel

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Easy guys, DR. Craig Sherwood was a "Summa Cum Laude Recipient" apparently. And he's probably the expert on dental schools seeing as he will set foot in the door for the first time next month.
 

PhansterZ

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Which field do you want to specialize in? A strong upward swing in your GPA, along with activities that show your dedication to your field will give program directors a second glance at your application. Even with OMS, which is considered the toughest dental speciality to match into, I have seen people who are not in top 50% in class rank matching, because they did one or multiple internships and dominate the CBSE.
 

InformMe123

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the only i was wondering that might be hard to get into with low gpa is ortho cause i heard they won't even look at your application if your rank is below a certain level. anyone can comment on this? or is there a chance they still look at your app?
 
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First year is basic science. PD's look at those grades carefully. OMFS (especially 6 yr) scrutinize them. Ortho is still a top 5% club. Pedo is more wide open for lesser known programs. Still, the competition is fierce. Not enough seats for the number of applicants. Grades are generally the first cut. Upward trend in clinical courses not always enough. No amount of EC is enough to make up for poor grades. Grades = commitment on an application. Specialty PD's look for bright applicants who they feel will not only provide good clinical care, but will score high on the inservice exams and the boards, something they take very seriously. I am a PD. There are 3 specialty programs at my hospital.
 

DDSER1

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First year is basic science. PD's look at those grades carefully. OMFS (especially 6 yr) scrutinize them. Ortho is still a top 5% club. Pedo is more wide open for lesser known programs. Still, the competition is fierce. Not enough seats for the number of applicants. Grades are generally the first cut. Upward trend in clinical courses not always enough. No amount of EC is enough to make up for poor grades. Grades = commitment on an application. Specialty PD's look for bright applicants who they feel will not only provide good clinical care, but will score high on the inservice exams and the boards, something they take very seriously. I am a PD. There are 3 specialty programs at my hospital.
How would you view a Canadian applicant? Would their grades and cbse have to be exceptional to even be considered?
 

InformMe123

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First year is basic science. PD's look at those grades carefully. OMFS (especially 6 yr) scrutinize them. Ortho is still a top 5% club. Pedo is more wide open for lesser known programs. Still, the competition is fierce. Not enough seats for the number of applicants. Grades are generally the first cut. Upward trend in clinical courses not always enough. No amount of EC is enough to make up for poor grades. Grades = commitment on an application. Specialty PD's look for bright applicants who they feel will not only provide good clinical care, but will score high on the inservice exams and the boards, something they take very seriously. I am a PD. There are 3 specialty programs at my hospital.
What's your view on somebody who bombs the first year but decides to try harder from then on to get a higher gpa/rank even though still has lower gpa/rank compared to those who did well throughout school?
 
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My personal view is only that. My explanation above is very clear. Good exam takers will score highly on the never ending exams to come. Dental school graduation is never the end. I still take exams. Even an indisputable reason for doing poorly first year may not be enough.
With the amount of high flying applicants in the pool, why take any chances? In fact, I encourage all of my top 10% residents to go on to specialty training, simply because they can.
With that said, I have certainly seen applicants with lower stats get in to Ortho, OMFS, and Pedo. They have all been special circumstances, which are always confidential.
 
Sep 7, 2015
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Easy guys, DR. Craig Sherwood was a "Summa Cum Laude Recipient" apparently. And he's probably the expert on dental schools seeing as he will set foot in the door for the first time next month.
I'm not sure which is worse, his title or quoting himself in his signature. Pretty goddamned cringey.
 
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