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Extra Curriculars and what dental schools look for

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by g0forkurself, Jun 21, 2008.

  1. g0forkurself

    2+ Year Member

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    Hi SDN,

    I'm a second year undergrad at Creighton University right now. My first year's GPA was okay(cum. ~3.5/3.6) and I'm working to build up a competitive and hopefully impressive application. I know that I'll have to raise my GPA (science, especially) but that's something that I have to do myself. Thus, I would like to ask the SDN forums what kinds of extra-curriculars are good on dental school applications? Right now, I have no work experiences but I am shadowing my dentist for 8-10 hours a week. I'm also involved in a number of clubs but am not currently holding any important positions. What I want to know is, what did you guys do/are doing for your extra-curriculars for dental school applications? And what kind of acitivites do dental schools usually look for? Much appreciated!

    Chris
     
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  3. lphiewok

    lphiewok ACFAS Member
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    hey chris,
    i am applying this year for the first time so i cannot really give you the best advice but this is type of things i've been hearing from people in this forum.

    research. apparently, dental school adcoms really love students with research experiences. i have not done research myself (although i worked at a pharmaceutical development company as research tech, it wasnt really a research). so if you can get a chance to do that, you should try to do lot of research hours.
    also apparently lot of people build close relationship with your research professors (since it involves more interaction than regular classes), so it can also help you with your Letter of recommendations in the future

    shadowing is also very important and good. lot of schools ask for dentist's letter of recommendation, so it's good to build that relationship with your dentist early as possible.

    volunteer works. find some places with volunteer works and build up those hours too.

    for school organizations, try to find pre-dental clubs or more health related clubs. although they are good for your resume i think joining something you really enjoy and dedicate your time is also an important thing.


    but yeah hope this helps you a bit and good luck preparing yourself
     
  4. bigstix808

    bigstix808 Mac Daddy Member
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    hey there chris...

    let me just point something out to anyone else that is a predent and trying to build a resume with attempts to try and impress dental schools with all kinds of fancy activities and so forth that they have NO interest in. i think while you are in undergrad you should concentrate on activities that you enjoy and are passionate about. trying to be the VP of a plant taxonomy club when you are really into microbiology might not look as good as if you were to be a simple lab assistant for a microbiology class/lab with no "official" title such as secretary/VP/historial/etc. follow your heart, not what the adcoms want. they can see right through all those people that have 165,443,343 activities on their resume that are all over the place from church softball to physics club to history curator from the local museum - and yet can not explain how ONE of them changed their veiw on the world/life/healthcare/etc. pick something that is dear to you and you'll have more luck with building a competative resume and you yourself with take more out of your experiences.

    i don't want to sound harsh, but your activities shouldn't define what you are, but be a reflection of who you are. :cool:
     
  5. lphiewok

    lphiewok ACFAS Member
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    yeah i actually agree with the guy above me.
    i think doing what you love the most is the most important thing, but make sure it's something that you can be proud of. i loved partying and not joining school organizations so i followed my heart for first 3 years (with getting lower GPA every semester) and I joined bunch of organizations in my last 2 years, after realizing that i need to actually try to like something else. So let's hope that you actually like research and pre-dental club so you don't end up being like me :p
     
  6. bigstix808

    bigstix808 Mac Daddy Member
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    i was in a hurry when i wrote that last response, but let me give you an example...

    my resume is filled with athletic accomplishments/scholarships/awards/etc. i also have a good amount of charity work. sure, i'm proud of the stuff that i've done, but i don't want to be defined by those feats. now something that i'm proud of that i did that really opened my eyes to more of the world was when i organized a 4-on-4 beach vball tournament for a local charity. i learned about the whole process of organizing a fundraiser, and i learned how great it can feel to incorp two things that you really love...i love sports, and i love giving to the people that NEED the help. i was able to hold a raffle for door prizes donated by local businesses, got free food/beer/etc from the local bar/restaurant scene, 3 courts to use from a local apt complex, and was still able to give 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place money prizes to the winners of the divisions.

    to me, doing that meant more than all the trail clean-ups, can food drives, and car washes i did to simply "boost" my resume. in fact, i plan on doing another tournament this summer, and if all goes well, it will be bigger than last years!!

    i think doing similar activities, such as the example i gave, will hold more weight than doing some pointless research that you will hate the whole time you are sitting there...looking at glycoproteins and southern blots when you wished you could be elsewhere. (not that i reccomend everyone go try to organize a fundraiser, its soo time consuming!!) but EC's are EC's...do what makes YOU happy!!
     
  7. g0forkurself

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    Yeah, I know exactly what you mean and that's what I want to accomplish. Though I wan't to build an impressive resume, I'm not going to force myself to do a bunch of stuff that I don't want to do. However, I think that it is unavoidable to do some things that are not exactly of your passion. I'll do some things that I like to do, but I also want to have some acitivites to show the DS that I am willing and ready to do what I have to do in DS, i.e. some things that will really impress them (though I'm not even too sure that's what they're thinking when they look at applications :p) Anyway, that's how I think as of now, feel free to disagree or point me straight if I'm wrong. Also, what kind of dentistry related things do you think I should do prior to applying? I'm pretty sure they won't be of my greatest interest but I think it's something that I want to try and do during my breaks or during the year. Furthermore, would it be too early to be looking into orthodontics if that's what I'm aiming for or should I just do general stuff? Again, thanks for the replies in advance!

    P.S. bigstix, I noticed that your screenname ends in 808 and you talk about beach volleyball. Are you from Hawaii?
     
  8. g0forkurself

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    Since you're talking about research, I'm assuming you're getting a masters? How would one approach about in doing research? I know I'm a biology major right now but I have no idea if research is something that I will be capable of doing in the coming undergrad years.
     
  9. bigstix808

    bigstix808 Mac Daddy Member
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    i too am finishing my masters this summer (submit everything on July 1st!!) if you're wanting to get your feet wet with it just find out what the professors in your bio dept are doing and ask if you can help be a lab tech or something. that is how i got started. im not real fond of it, but it can have its moments when the experiment you designed actually works for the first time..haha. sometimes you could even find a paying position helping in the lab. i actualy have an undergrad right now that is being paid by my major professor but she helps me a lot when i do my experiements and disections.

    virtually every dschool will want to see some sort of activity in a dental office (shaddow, work, assit, something). if you think you'll like ortho, then go shaddow one. make sure you get some work with a gen dent too because ultimatly that is what you will become out of school. if you find a dent you like, and shadow them long enough, they might even offer you a job in their office. now THAT is the ultamate predental EC you'd want to have!

    if you want to try something a bit more extreme, do some mission work with a dentist. i never got a chance to do this due to money and schedule conflicts, but its a great way to travel the world and help people all at the same time. some people even claim they got to do "surgical" procedures while doing so.

    but i think basically what i'm trying to say is don't force anything. if you enjoy something (traveling, outdoors, sports, computers, etc), try to find a way to incorp that into the realm of dentistry/healthcare/charity/etc. i mean, i've done a few things that i didn't really like, but i knew it was just one of those hoops that i had to go through on my trek to dschool. but believe me, those types of activities are far and few between on my resume.
     
  10. xiphoidprocess

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    Even if you just started joining organizations, I think you still have a shot in dental school. If you've put in your effort, it will be worth it in the end. You say you're applying for the first time this year? How's your application process going?
     
  11. Neuro178

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    Does anyone know how you'd go about finding mission work with a dentist? That sounds really neat! (Esp if it was a short trip..)

    As for undergrad research -- I'm currently researching in a neuroscience prof's lab for 40 hours a week, and I got that position by asking around. First, I shadowed a professor's lab, and she referred me to another professor since she was expecting a baby and couldn't take anyone this summer. Soo, now I'm researching in my neuro prof's lab and it's great! The work is very interesting, much better than my last summer at PetSmart :D. I'm also getting published within the next few months, and he'll be a great person to ask for a letter of recommendation. Someone said above that they make good references b/c they interact with you so much, and that is very true! My prof and I have become good friends, and I talk to him about dental school all the time. It has worked out very well for me, esp because I'm getting $3000 this summer for it!

    Just email profs, get your name out there ASAP!! I got this position in September '07 for the summer '08! Good luck :)
     
    #10 Neuro178, Jun 23, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2008
  12. bigstix808

    bigstix808 Mac Daddy Member
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    i know a guy that went through these guys

    but you can try this website too. www.missionfinder.org
     
  13. Neuro178

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    :D Thanks so much for your help!! These look like great sites!
     

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