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DS after PhD with low undergrad GPA

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by TorontonianSK, Aug 20, 2015.

  1. TorontonianSK

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    Hi folks, before start talking..... please excuse my grammar - my first language is not English.

    since I know nothing about dental school, I would love to get any thoughts or advice from you!

    I am currently in 3rd year of PhD program and will have my thesis defense done by next summer (my supervisor wants to have it done even before but I would rather take more time to finish my project with better quality). My major is Public Health at University of Toronto in Canada and my thesis is about medical decision making. My undergrad major was biochemistry. I always wanted to become a Physician scienitst (like my supervisor) but my brother who is a dentist recommended me to look for something similar in dentistry field. and actually I found there is a dental public health specialist in the U.S. (there is no such thing in Canada as far as I know) After careful investigation on this career, dental public health specialist is the top choice for my career now.

    My concern is that I don't think I have good enough undergrad GPAs for DS.
    My undergrad GPAs are:
    sGPA:~3.1
    oGPA:~3.3
    BCP:>~3.0
    I don't remember my undergrad GPA clearly so those numbers might change but not much
    .
    and graduate GPAs are 3.88. (I don't have MS degree because I transferred from MSc in pharmacology to PhD in public health without completing MSc)
    My DAT scores are AA:20 PAT: 23 (this is Canadian DAT)

    I have 5 publications in decent journals and attended 4 peer-reviewed conferences for both oral and poster presentation. I also have some graduate student awards and hold scholarships including CIHR which is one the most prestigious government funded scholarship in Canada. I have 100+ hours of shadowing and volunteering as well.

    Can someone give me a realistic chance of getting into DS in the U.S. or any advice to improve my chances? (I am a Canadian citizen so which schools are more Canadian friendly?) I am definitely going to study dental public health program after DS but first thing is first - I will have to get into DDS or DMD first.

    Thank you so much for spending your precious time to read this long story. I will be very appreciated with any comments, thoughts or advices!

    (but don't get me wrong here, I am not pursuing my PhD to get into dental school.. Whenever I ask for some advice around me for dental school application, they always ask me back "why are you doing phd if you are thinking about DS?" This hurts me a lot because it makes me feel like I am wasting my time for doing PhD... :()
     
    #1 TorontonianSK, Aug 20, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2015
  2. ajj70

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    Your PhD grades will override your undergrad GPA. Not all schools in the US take the Canadian DAT so look into that. The public health background will be especially attractive to the AT. Still schools (AZ and MO) but I don't know what their policy is for international students.
     
  3. quigz

    2+ Year Member

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    Hi @TorontonianSK ! A PhD is certainly not a waste of time for the career path you are interested in, so don't listen to the haters. Plus, you are finishing your PhD relatively quickly, so you really haven't "wasted" any time at all.
     
    #3 quigz, Aug 21, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2015
  4. quigz

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  5. doc toothache

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    A higher DAT score would be expected from a Ph.D. applicant.
     
  6. XZeRO

    7+ Year Member

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    To put things into perspective, I've got similar stats, ~3.2 undergrad GPA and ~3.8 grad GPA, a PhD in biophysics in 3 years from a world renowned university, 1st author publications in top tier journals (Nat Med, Immunity, PNAS, and Biomaterials) and several scholarships totalling around 150-200k CDN$ just over the last 5 years (plus they paid my tuition). My Canadian DAT has an AA of 24, PA of 19, and a TS of 23 (24Ch, 23Bio). Mailed 7/16.
    0 interviews through AADSAS.

    My only consolation is that I have already been offered a spot in dental school come February 2016 in Sydney NSW. In the meantime I am consulting remotely for a firm based in China for $100US/hour. I've also been headhunted and offered a MSL position after graduating from my PhD with a top 5 pharmaceutical company, which I declined as I could not commit. A PhD is not a waste of time.

    Consider your options after dental school as well. Not only will you enter school with vast experiences, you will also have credentials that will stay with you for life. Picture this. 5-10 years after you graduate from dental school, you are involved in an accident that limits your physical ability to work. Your brain still works, you have a DDS/DMD and a PhD. You will have many, many options to stay productive.

    I have a mature non-trad friend who got accepted into US universities a couple of years ago and is now a working dentist. He wrote the American DAT and that is something you might want to consider if you want to apply to US schools. He firmly believes it is what made the difference, as he also applied with the cDAT a year prior and received no interviews. Similar situation - low ugrad GPA, high gGPA, did post-bac courses after working a number of years in geosatellite engineering. He had a cDAT AA around 24 (aDAT afterwards was 24 or 25). He ended up going to a canadian dental school.

    Biggest piece of advice. If you really want to do it, go do it. Don't hold back and surround yourself with supportive, positive people.
     
  7. quigz

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    I agree- take the American DAT! I overlooked that part when I read your post. Most US schools don't consider the Canadian one.
     
  8. XZeRO

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    Seems like it, even though they say they accept it.
     
  9. TorontonianSK

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    Thank you so much for your advice everyone! I am really appreciated with all of your thoughts and advice.
    but I just realized that U.S. dental schools (or AADSAS I should say) use different GPA scales and include all undergrad grades into calculation - Canadian schools usually take best 4 years and don't count summer course grades.
    So after quick calculation with all undergrad years included (I spent two extra years after graduation) my undergrad oGPA significantly went down to 2.87 and sGPA to around 3.0 (BCP still remained around 3.0). The main reason is because I was given two F as academic penalties due to late course drop during summer term.. (one full year English course and one full year kinesiology course - never knew this stupid decision at that time would give me a major drawback now..)

    With my grad course GPA (which is 3.88 from 15 half year courses), the oGPA increases to around 3.1 and sGPA to around 3.35. Do adcoms look at undergrad GPAs only or do they put more weights on oGPA, sGPA and BCP with grad course grades included?

    Also, I am planning to re-take the American DAT and realistically, I am aiming AA 21. or maybe higher hopefully! :)
    So with all these low numbers, do I still have a realistic chance? I want to hear the "reality or truth", so don't hesitate to throw some hard facts and words at me. and would you please recommend me which schools to apply if there are any..?

    Like always, thank you so much for your advice in advance!
     
  10. bc1002

    bc1002 Dr. Dedede DMD PhD
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    How did you get into a PhD program with such low undergrad GPA? Anyways, I think the degree may help your case or may not. It all depends on how adcoms think about your application. I would definitely try to write american DAT and get a high score, like above 23. Good luck!
     
  11. TorontonianSK

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    Like I said, Canadian schools don't count summer courses when calculating GPA. The academic penalties that led into Fs during summer really hurt my GPA. Two F's brought almost 0.2 down.
    Also, In last 2 years of my undergrad, I had over A- and solid research experience in undergrad so I could get into a MSc program first. Then, I could achieve good results in both project and grad GPAs (because I really liked what I was doing ) during the first year of MSc, so my thesis committees allowed me to transfer from MSc to PhD.
     
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  12. doc toothache

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    Notwithstanding grade distributions, cherry picking does help get high admission stats.
    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/canadian-ds-the-hoopla-over-high-admission-stats.568870/
    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/canadian-ds-the-hoopla-over-high-admission-stats-part-ii.910566/
    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/2011-canadia-ds-gpa-dat.907493/
     
  13. TorontonianSK

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    Hello doc toothache, I know that Canadian ds use different GPA systems and I agree it is really difficult to compare between Canadian GPAs and US GPAs. (My A- grades in last 2 years were actually 84% which would be A in US grade scales) but anyways, the numbers I mentioned above are the GPAs that I am expecting to see from AADSAS application.

    Do you think oGPA 3.1 and sGPA 3.35 with PhD degree have a shot at U.S. dental schools realistically? If not, what is your advice to make my application more attractive? (I can't do anything GPAs anymore..)
     
  14. doc toothache

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    If a PhD in science does not help, God help the rest of the applicants. As mentioned earlier you are expected to do a heck of a lot better on the DAT than a 20. (You will be hard pressed to find a US institution where 84% is an A.) The whole idea behind low undergrad gpa is that it leaves adcoms wondering if an applicant can handle upper level courses. A Ph.D. should put that reservation to rest, assuming your graduate courses are peppered with science courses.
     
  15. Hockeytalk

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    "brag" " relentless in claim of superiority" wtf?

    You have created some walls of text that Americans will never read and Canadians will laugh at.
    Listing and comparing grading scales is useless if you don't know what the course averages were, and no one releases this information, no one will collect and aggregate this information so why are you even bothering. Its hard to compare a 3.9 from one us school to another us school, why even bother trying to comment on one country vs another. This is like singling out a state with only one dental school thats a public state school with higher than average entrance gpas like connecticut or nebraska and then misrepresenting and cherry picking some data to say that kids in these states are bragging and claiming its so hard to get into dental school and their GPAs are just inflated.

    Factors like tuition costs can come into play which are also reasons why state schools in the us are more competitive. Canadian schools only look at gpa and dat, so it is expected that these narrower selection criteria would become more competitive.

    Another thing to contemplate here. Look at any ranking of pre secondary education in any subject. Canada is always well ahead of the US in these rankings. Is it hard to think for just a second that maybe things could actually be more competitive in Canada?

    I personally dont think its worth comparing and all of this is pointless.
     
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