Dismiss Notice

Interview Feedback: Visit Interview Feedback to view and submit interview information.

Interviewing Masterclass: Free masterclass on interviewing from SDN and Medical College of Georgia

Dismiss Notice
Hey Texans—join us for a DFW meetup! Click here to learn more.

Getting a Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry in just two years.. many challenges await me.. help?

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by CFKazu, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. CFKazu

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2015
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    23
    Status:
    Pre-Dental
    Hello fellow SDN forumers! This is the first time I'm seeking help from this forum, hopefully everyone can help me out!

    A little background about myself... Came to United States when I was 12 in 2010 (after finishing elementary school aka 6th grade). After finishing middle school in a competitive school district, I moved to a less competitive school district because of my father's work. In the two years I spent in high school, I found passion in math and science and were able to take 7 APs in sophomore year (including chem, bio, physics C, calc) and were able to get pretty good results (4 5s, 1 4, and 2 3s). With good grades and all the weighted points, I was ranked first among 1000 others (pretty large school). Because I am out of classes to take, I was advised to go to junior college by taking California High School Proficiency Exam.

    Between the sophomore year of high school and my year at junior college, I went to Boston University summer session to take general chemistry series and calculus series and took some online classes at junior college (~18 semester units total just in summer).

    In the year at junior college, my grades start to slip because of the tremendous course load I force onto myself (24 semester units per semester) and because I didn't take any break from school for a LONG time, and also because this is only my first year at college. I took ochem series, physics series, bio series, calculus III, linear algebra, and all the required GE classes in just a year.

    BCP GPA: ~3.1
    sGPA: ~3.3
    oGPA: ~3.5

    I still got accepted to UC San Diego in biochemistry and cell biology major. Right now I am taking 2 classes (genetics and metabolic biochemistry) in UCSD summer academy designed for transfers students. With the AP credits, I'm already considered a "senior" by UCSD, and I only need to take ~13 more classes to get a bachelors in biochemistry (which means only ~4 classes per quarter (16 units) which is considered light because of the crazy unit load I did before).

    Because of the crazy unit load I did in the previous year, I didn't do ANY ECs... no volunteering, no shadowing, nothing. I applied to volunteer at UCSD hospital so I can probably start by the end of the month, and I consider to apply for research in UCSD as well, and hopefully join a dental student clinic.

    Because of the lighter load, and because I start to get the hang of college courses (got 2 As last month), I'm determined to get As for the rest of my time at university, which can bring my oGPA to around 3.7~3.8, BCP GPA to around 3.5, and sGPA to around 3.6~3.7.

    I'm a pretty good test taker, so I don't really have to worry about DAT. Without any studying, I took a practice exam and get ~17-18 for the sciences and almost perfect score on math (I'm really good at math) which results in ~22 AA). With some studying and reviewing for sciences I think I can get ~24 AA.

    My plan right now is to graduate in 2016, and do something in the glide year. Applying for dental school in the summer 2016.

    Tl;dr: I'm current 17 years old in the last year of university, with subpar GPA currently, with no ECs whatsoever right now.

    Now the questions...

    Should I reconsider graduating next year? (ex: double major or minor and take one more year to graduate or do a masters program first before dental school)

    What should I do in the glide year? (ex: go to work? or post-bacc? or do some research? or get a masters degree?)

    What kind of ECs should I pursue consider the lack of time I have?

    What would dental school think when they see me applying? Would they forgive me for my low GPA because of the insane course load I took every semester? Would they forgive me if I start to show an upper trend in grades from now on?

    I don't really care about prestige of dental school, I just want to get into one because I'm interested in interacting with patients. What is my chance at dental school considering my age and my stats?

    I know my situation is pretty abnormal/nontraditional that's why I really need help since I can't really find similar cases online...

    Thank you for your time reading this and hopefully can provide some insights into my situation!

    edit: Just to clarify, all my dental school prerequisites are retaken even though I pass the AP Exams.
     
    #1 CFKazu, Aug 9, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2015
  2. Note: SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. .
     
    #2 SXCoronado, Aug 9, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 24, 2015
    CFKazu likes this.
  4. studentdent00

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2014
    Messages:
    424
    Likes Received:
    312
    the real tl;dr

    I'm the smartest person on the planet.

    On a more serious note, it sounds like most of the dental school pre-reqs were taken at a community college. You might wanna check with some dental schools whether they accept pre-reqs from a community college.
     
    #3 studentdent00, Aug 9, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2015
    SXCoronado likes this.
  5. CFKazu

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2015
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    23
    Status:
    Pre-Dental
    Thank you for your inputs! Main reason I'm considering graduating next year instead of taking one more year is because of the money. Taking one more year means 20~30k of tuition (family income is not low enough for financial aid), and if I work after graduating I can earn some money instead of spending more money. Would it be too late to do ECs while working? What are some EC options that I can do while working? Hm, if graduating next year is a really really bad idea I might actually consider one more year.

    :(.
     
  6. I'm trying to imagine seeing your application through the eyes of an admissions committee...

    My first instinct is to box you in as an overachiever who doesn't have enough experience to know what you want. I know that sounds judgmental, but admission committees have to spend all day comparing people and, thusly, boxing them in to some extent. I think you need some ECs to humanize your image, maybe something to really demonstrate your desire for patient interaction.

    Your situation is interesting. I would be interested in interviewing you, just to see what kind of person you are. If you have some ECs that give you stories to tell about people, that would really go a long way, I think.
     
    SXCoronado and CFKazu like this.
  7. CFKazu

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2015
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    23
    Status:
    Pre-Dental
    You're exactly right... I feel like I don't really know what I want anymore because I keep taking classes after classes and don't know what I'm really studying for. Hopefully I can start volunteering and research soon to actually feel the clinical setting vs. the research environment. If I realize clinical setting is not for me I might choose to pursue phD instead. What is your opinion though on when to graduate?
     
  8. CFKazu

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2015
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    23
    Status:
    Pre-Dental
    I also have the thought of studying abroad and do some research abroad to separate myself from the other applicants. It can also help me take some time off and enjoy life. What are you guys' thoughts on this? and how hard are the research programs abroad?
     
  9. PlasmaMembrane

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Messages:
    317
    Likes Received:
    330
    Just aim to do well. Estimating you can score in the top .6% is a long shot, even for someone as precocious as you.
     
    SXCoronado likes this.
  10. MolarBear93

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2015
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    73
    Status:
    Pre-Dental
    You're way too young. You need to see and do more before you decide. Spending 20-30K is not a joke but dental school can be anywhere from 50 to over 100K a year, so it's not a decision to take lightly.
     
    SXCoronado likes this.
  11. CFKazu

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2015
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    23
    Status:
    Pre-Dental
    Thank you guys for all the responses! The reason why I'm into dentistry is that my dad is a dentist. Back before I moved to United States, my dad owned a dental office for over 10 years. So since I was 5-6 I've been watching my dad work and find it fascinating. I'm quite sure dentistry is what I want to pursue.
     
  12. MolarBear93

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2015
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    73
    Status:
    Pre-Dental
    Dentistry runs in my family and I thought I wanted to go into a completely different part of the health professions field until the age of 20-21. I changed to dental very late and it just happened to work out, very serendipitously I might add. If you can afford to ( which you really can, given your age), please take the time to make sure.
     
    CFKazu likes this.
  13. CFKazu

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2015
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    23
    Status:
    Pre-Dental
    Yeah for sure. Aiming to join predental society once the school starts to really feel what it'll be like.
     
  14. About graduation and study abroad, etc... It seems you need more breadth, not necessarily depth. I think this seems important to you personally, and I think it would be important for your application.

    As far as how to do that... I think graduating next year and doing a master's degree doesn't seem right for you. It would only mean more bio/chem depth that you already have and more tuition. That's not to say you might not choose that route in the future, but I don't think it would add to either your personal growth or dental application as much as other options. So that leaves 1) taking that extra year of school and studying new things or 2) graduating and getting a job. I don't know for certain which is best for you. Both could be opportunities to learn more about different things and yourself.

    If you're more interested in fleshing out your dental application, I would say take an extra year of school. It's easier to get ECs through school connections, and it's easier to plan ECs around classes. You can also keep nudging your GPA. If you're more interested in learning more about yourself, I would say graduate, move somewhere new on your own, and get a job.

    For what it's worth, I got a pretty varied education... I studied my dream, got a liberal arts degree, studied abroad, etc. Those were all wonderful experiences, but I grew up the most after graduation... moving to new towns on my own, finding work, renting from weird people, relationships coming and going, wondering if I could pay rent, etc. It motivated me so much that I took all my prereqs in a year---51 credits in 14 months with a 4.0. I've repeatedly brought that up on this forum to try to share with people how motivating the world outside of school can be.

    It's been nine years since I was 17 and I really don't remember who I was back then. Since then, I've explored being a guitar teacher, film composer, sound tech, going into the military, brushing up on web development, medical school, law school, high school teacher, physical therapist, psychologist/therapist... I even got accepted into an Arts Management master's program before thinking better of it.

    But you seem sure---which is not impossible and it's not wrong. I wish I had just fallen straight into something.
     
    CFKazu and MolarBear93 like this.
  15. Typical Average Student

    Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2014
    Messages:
    1,430
    Likes Received:
    1,657
    Status:
    Dental Student
    I think it's pretty awesome that you're 17, I know someone that is in somewhat in the same situation. She graduated top 8 of her class, currently has a 4.0 in everything, even went on mission trips and volunteers a lot. She is supposed to graduate next year, recently took her DAT and got a 24, and is only 19 years old... Given that both her parents are dentists, she came into college with the ambition to become a dentist, after all the planning and everything she decided not to apply this cycle because she felt she was too young and not ready for dental school. She wanted to explore other careers and stuff.

    My advice to you is stretch your education out another 2-3 years (apply to dental school when you're 20+ years old). You have plenty of time to become a dentist or anything you want. Get a double major, study abroad, get a masters, take a semester break to work or travel. Point is, you're ahead of the curve, take your time.
     
    CFKazu and Pearl E. White like this.
  16. ajj70

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2014
    Messages:
    1,574
    Likes Received:
    804
    Status:
    Non-Student
    I would spend a year abroad, either through a formal study abroad program with your school or just traveling. Take some time to just breathe and relax. This isn't a race and you are going to burn yourself out. Then there are some practical considerations like being REALLY young compared to your classmates in dental school, not being able to go out with the crowd to the bars after a strenuous week, dating in dental school, etc. Get a job and work retail or something for a year, develop some people skills, volunteer for something over the next year, just grow up more--not to mean you are immature but graduating from college at 18 years old and then trying to go on to a professional program is just nuts.
     
    CFKazu and cacajuate like this.
  17. 510586

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2014
    Messages:
    1,071
    Likes Received:
    278
    Status:
    Dental Student
    Are her initials LT? Lol think I know her
     
  18. CFKazu

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2015
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    23
    Status:
    Pre-Dental
    Hmm after hearing all the recommendations, I really do think graduating next year is not such a good idea.

    At first I want to double major in math or physics, but because the physics series I took is for bio major, I would have to start from scratch for those majors. Right now I'm thinking about adding a chemistry minor (5 upper division chem classes) and a math minor (2 lower division math classes and 4 upper division math classes) because I have genuine interests in those subjects (I like math and physical sciences especially physical/inorganic chemistry). I will have around 22~24 courses to take in six quarters excluding summer session.

    I also want to do the BS/MS joint program at my university, which would give me a masters degree a year after my undergrad graduation. For that program, I would do a whole year (3 quarters) of independent research (~15 hrs a week) which would give me around ~500 lab research hours total in my last year of university. I will apply to dental school after my remaining two years of undergrad so my ECs would have ~500 hrs of research and 300~500 hrs of volunteering/shadowing.

    With these 2 minors and lab research I would have a lot of stuff to do in my last 2 years of university.

    Then in the glide year I would finish up the masters degree.

    How does that plan sound? :oops:
     
  19. doc toothache

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2006
    Messages:
    8,056
    Likes Received:
    2,186
    Status:
    Dentist
    Chronological age is less important than the maturity level, which is critical. Dragging your feet 2-3 years to finish your first degree at age 20(+/-) makes no sense.
     
  20. tooth knockn

    tooth knockn Treat others how you want to be treated
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    Messages:
    2,308
    Likes Received:
    966
    Status:
    Pre-Dental

    Take the DAT as soon as possible.

    Finish college as soon as possible.

    Apply next June.

    Next year, when you can tell your dad to let you work in his office. Or another dental office.

    .....

    Go to your local hospital and volunteer to get a quick view of reality.

    .....

    Just cause daddy likes it don't mean you will.

    .....

    Tutor other students, learn patience.
    Get $
    .......

    Be true to yourself.

    Know what you want, if you do not know, then explore....

    Hence working and volunteering.


    .....

    Think about your goals.... And life's goals....

    ......


    Don't day dream all day, act now.

    Pass it forward.



    Good luck
     
    CFKazu likes this.
  21. Weird question, but relevant I think to your predicament... if you were at a speed dating event and you had only a couple minutes to describe yourself, what kinds of things would you say?

    So you don't feel like you're on the spot, I'll start...

    I'm pretty agreeable---too agreeable some would say. When I get back to my room after school or work, I'm usually listening to music, podcasts, reading news, studying, or practicing guitar. I ride my bike daily to get outside and stay sane, and I love finding things to take pictures of. I'm accustomed to moving around, seeing new places, new people... I start to feel trapped if I can't escape. I'm at my funniest when I'm making fun of myself. I grew up going to Church every Sunday, but I can't remember the last time I went. My goals are to never stop getting better at guitar, raise a family, and eat Indian food weekly. Friends + food = as good as it gets. Tennis Shoes > Chuck Taylors. Crew neck > V neck. Fender > Gibson. Beatles > Rolling Stones. Wine > beer. Han shot first.
     
    MolarBear11 and CFKazu like this.
  22. CFKazu

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2015
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    23
    Status:
    Pre-Dental
    Hmm pretty hard to imagine this situation since I'm pretty much an anti-social guy. But.. here we go~

    I'm pretty much your average anti-social guy who is always awkward around people and hard to find a conversation topic that is not academic related. I mean, I do help others in science/math whenever they got stuck, but I don't normally go up to people and trying to find new people to talk to. When I get back to my room after school, I like to read yahoo news, and read forums such as this one, and planning my future. In my spare time, I also play piano and I do watch anime and play MMORPGs with my little brother who's four year younger than me a lot which many people find surprising because they thought I'm a complete bookworm. I don't study a lot (which partially contribute to grade drop tbh). I'm not really clear about my ultimate goals yet, but something like getting a good job which pays relatively well and maybe get married (not sure yet), and start traveling (I do enjoy traveling) with my family. I also want to continue pursuing my study maybe even after a professional degree.
     
    arkenstone likes this.
  23. Seems like your academic output is a big part of your identity. You've become voracious for academic completion, and you're going to go down that road regardless. It's who you are, and that's a strength.

    But I do sense a disturbance in the force. You mention that you're a bit anti-social or awkward. You also seem genuinely interested in interacting with patients. Sounds like, and this won't be a revelation to you, that part of you wants to leverage your academic prowess to get into a career where you can be more connected with people on a daily basis (and also have further academic options, if you want). That's a very civilized approach. But the problem I sense, and maybe I'm wrong... you honestly seem like you don't have much desire guiding you today. If you did, you would have fewer question marks for us. It's like you've already exhausted everything you should do for someone your age, so you've come to this very specific forum to see if we can muster any more "should's" for your unique situation. When, in fact, there might already something you want that you're avoiding... and you're filling that gap with academic speed.

    What I'm saying is... I know people who are anti-social and happy that way. You don't seem like that---because those kinds of people don't usually aspire to be healthcare providers. You've calculated a way to fix that a social gap in your life by planning a solution that's years away. And in the mean time, your Gas Tank of Desire® is empty. If you keep going along like that, you might find yourself in a graduate or professional program feeling even more anti-social.

    That little seed of desire---wanting to interact with patients---I would act on that now. It will be good for you, your application, etc.. win/win. For your ECs, you might consider one-on-one tutoring activities. Look for adult literacy or English as a second language volunteer programs in your area. Ask your professors if they know of ways you can tutor in math and science around the school. (Tutoring is also the easiest EC to schedule that I can imagine.)

    And I know the kind of schism you're talking about, where you often think only of more academic things to talk about around people. You've got a lot of time to grow and adapt, so try not to avoid uncomfortable situations. A cafeteria is the easiest place to practice politely asking to eat with people with a smile. Everyone is friendlier with a plate of chicken nuggets in front of them. (I was unhappily homeschooled through high school, and when I got to college... it was rough. But I've changed so much since then.)

    Tl;dr... instead of asking us what you should do, figure out why you don't have a list of a dozen things you'd love to do. Maybe it's because you've habitually trained yourself to avoid or put off those things. Start with interacting better with people, and you might start learning a lot of other things about yourself.

    You've got a lot going for you, regardless. I could be way off base here or just projecting some of my challenges on to you.
     
  24. ajj70

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2014
    Messages:
    1,574
    Likes Received:
    804
    Status:
    Non-Student
    You do realize that dentistry requires good social skills and interactions with people, not to mention the interview process that, if you don't do well in your interviews, your stats or background isn't going to overcome that. You might be better suited for a research career, PhD in something. Maybe take some career interest surveys online or see if your high school has some and just see if dentistry is really the place for you.
     
  25. studentdent00

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2014
    Messages:
    424
    Likes Received:
    312
    I wish people here were more careful with their word choice. It's true that good people skills can be beneficial in dentistry, but it is not absolutely required. A mediocre people skill will suffice. You don't need to be an extrovert to be a good dentist. I think what's more important is that you put your patients' interest first and that you know what you are doing with procedures. Having a flamboyant personality might make you a more likeable dentist, but that's not really your job as a dentist, is it? You are there to treat patients ethically and with the highest clinical standards possible.

    So all in all, don't rule out dentistry for the sole reason of being socially awkward.
     
  26. PlasmaMembrane

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Messages:
    317
    Likes Received:
    330
    He just flat out described himself as antisocial though. Not just "not outgoing", but antisocial. Makes me wonder why he wants to go into a profession with frequent patient interaction.
     
  27. hellofuturedentists

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2015
    Messages:
    2,215
    Likes Received:
    3,536
    Status:
    Dental Student
    Unsolicited advice: I think part of the reason you see yourself as anti-social is because you're 17 and in your last year of university, when the majority of people in your classes are in their early 20s. See if your university has an anime club, MMORPG club, piano club, or a new random club revolving around anything that interests you. Clubs are everywhere, and maybe they can help you ease in to better social interactions since that's another common interest you can talk about besides academics.
     
  28. People are complicated.
     
  29. ajj70

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2014
    Messages:
    1,574
    Likes Received:
    804
    Status:
    Non-Student
    Huge difference between being an introvert and anti-social.... No one said you need to be flamboyant but someone who actively chooses to be a loaner is going to struggle in the dental world.
     
  30. darknightzzz

    darknightzzz Membership Revoked
    Removed Account on Hold

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2014
    Messages:
    1,297
    Likes Received:
    921
    Status:
    Pre-Dental
    loner?
     
  31. RamsFan1991

    RamsFan1991 NYU College of Dentistry, Class of 2019
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2014
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    191
    Status:
    Dental Student
    While I agree that your primary goal should be to treat patients ethically and with the highest clinical standards, I think it is just as important and necessary to come across as a friendly person/people person. Dentistry is also a business, so you need to sell yourself as a person as well. Think about it, if you had two experiences with dentists of equal expertise and one was more friendly than the other, who would you go back to? Having shadowed at this one practice, where the dentist has been running it for 40 years, I found the reason he is so successful is because, though he comes across as quiet and doesn't talk much during procedures, he is very friendly and open with his patients before and after procedures. Patients in turn are very comfortable being there and trust him. Basically, I agree you don't need to be an extrovert to be a good dentist, but you need those social skills to be a successful dentist.
     
  32. Speaking of social skills, right after someone opens up about themselves is a poor moment to delve into a semantics discussion about their personality in the 3rd person.
     
  33. distressstudent

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    Messages:
    1,019
    Likes Received:
    891
    Status:
    Dental Student
    I PM'd you
     
    CFKazu likes this.
  34. CFKazu

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2015
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    23
    Status:
    Pre-Dental
    replied! thanks for the help~

    and to others, I don't really know the definition of antisocial tbh... I mean I do have one or two REALLY good friends back from high school and I enjoy hanging out with them. I'm unable to make much friends once I entered college/university though, It's not like I'm scared to interact with people, it's just that I feel like it's hard to approach them at times.

    edit: like, it's hard to find a common conversation topic with them. Might be because of my age and I don't really American culture well, so whenever they're talking about celebrity baseball blah blah blah I don't have much to say and therefore slowly drifts away from them.
     
    #33 CFKazu, Aug 11, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2015
  35. CFKazu

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2015
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    23
    Status:
    Pre-Dental
    -deleted-
     
  36. hellofuturedentists

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2015
    Messages:
    2,215
    Likes Received:
    3,536
    Status:
    Dental Student
    Scroll up a little and read what I posted to you. In college, there's a club for just about everything and it's super easy to find people with common interests. If your school has an activities fair at the beginning of the year, check it out! :)
     
    CFKazu likes this.
  37. CFKazu

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2015
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    23
    Status:
    Pre-Dental
    Yeah before I never really join any student organizations and school events.. I'll definitely try those out once school starts!
     
  38. hellofuturedentists

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2015
    Messages:
    2,215
    Likes Received:
    3,536
    Status:
    Dental Student
    Good luck!!
     
    CFKazu likes this.

Share This Page