eapleitez

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Sep 5, 2004
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Dental Student
Hello everyone, I don't post much, but I check in now and then.

I'm applying for the 2006 cycle this summer. I graduate from CSULB in May, and my GPA is ~3.2 with a science GPA ~3.0. Not too competitive, I know. Which has me a little worried. Right now I'm trying to get in as much study time for the DAT so I can take it right after graduation and just before I submit the AADSAS. I'm a Biology major with a minor in Chemistry. I've done pretty well on all my sciences, EXCEPT the two semesters of gen chem when I got a C in both classes. I should've studied harder back then for those classes. This kinda led into a C for first semester in ochem (and this was a second attempt, I withdrew the first time, ouch), but second semester I pulled in a B and scored 87% on one of those national exams (my instructor is giving me a recommendation for this, he says most of the nation averages around 50% for that exam). My study habits in chemistry have much improved and so far I have a high A in Biochemistry.

What else about me? Well I was born in El Salvador and came to the US when I was 3. I am now 25 and am a citizen of this country. I married my high-scool sweetie last year, but no kids yet. She told me to quit working so I can focus on school 100%, so I havn't worked since October. I don't have much volunteer experience, but I do have about 20 hours worth at the USC mobile dental clinics (they provide dental care to disadvantaged children). Also I go every Friday to shadow a dentist, and I have about 40 hours there, and will continue to go. The dentist there lets me practice using some of the tools. He even kept some teeth for me to set into stone and drill into. He says he's gonna have me fill them next time. I took a denture lab course and a tooth waxing course at UCLA. I am the vice-president of the campus pre-dental club, but it is so tiny (really only 4 members at this point) and currently everyone seems to be doing there own thing. Hmm, what else. I decided to pursue dentistry at 14, when I saw one actually working on a patient and thinking how awesome it looked. Past hobbies have included drawing, building models, gas RC, working on my cars.

So I'm kinda worried about my GPA and I know I have to really nail the DAT. I'm applying to all the schools here in California, and have also decided on BU, Temple, Nova, Tufts. I want to maximize my chances at acceptance. I know NYU is a large school, but Im leery of the stories and the cost. But I'll go anywhere I get accepted if I only get into one school. So should I apply to NYU? What are some other schools I should shoot for with my standing? I think I'm setting my max at 13 schools.

Also, I was a transfer student, and CSULB did not take all of my transfer courses. If I can have the AADSAS ignore the grades for those courses (I heard there was this option, right?) it will improve my GPA. Can I do that?

Sorry for the long, noobish post.
 

festac

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Feb 28, 2005
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Your story is very inspiring, put that in your personal statement of course with some fine tunning. Include ALL of your grades regardless how bad they might seem, dental schools will judge you on how motivated you are and mostly on how much you've recently accomplished, eg shadowing and volunteer work blah blah and sorry to say this, but more importantly on your DAT scores. Take your time, isolate yourself from any distractions and study like your life depends on it and you'll be fine. Between 10 to 15 schools is more than sufficient and at least a couple will take you so don't worry about getting in, if you make the right preparations then getting admitted will be smooth sailing. As to what schools to choose, you have a good start with CA schools, then maybe you might want to apply to other schools that borders CA, like UNLV, ASDOH, and Colorado. NOVA is an excellent choice and so is Louisville because they accept a large percentage of out of staters. SIU in Illinois isn't that bad neither, great school but the town is a dump but who cares, the other Illinois school is UIC and they almost NEVER take out of state residents because they are the only dental school in Chicago and they have a large pool of well qualified students so don't waste your time applying. Marquette is an excellent school and so is Case. Lastly apply to couple of schools you think might be out of reach like Columbia and Penn and also might want to try out Howard. Good Luck bud see ya in dental school next year.
 

niceteeth

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Welcome eapleitez ! My suggestion is look at the stats of accepted dental students in 2004 - ( http://dentalstats.tripod.com/03-04.htm ) . Match your GPA and set a goal for the DAT. Schools like UOP are more impressed with candidates who have high DAT scores especially on the PAT portion, so you're best bets are on these schools. I hope that helps. Good luck! :D
 

Tooth

Orthodontist
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Mar 11, 2005
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I wouldn't apply to any California schools if I were you. They're all way too competitive. While you are from El Salvador, you really weren't there very long so I don't think you can play the international card. I would definitely apply to NYU. Yah, they're expensive but they're not the worst. They actually have a very nice financial aid department. I interviewed there and they told me since they take out so much money for all the students, they get a 3% loan. That's incredible! Plus, you can always do the military. They'll pay for everything. I wouldn't apply to so many schools though. It's just really expensive when you consider all the interviews. I have a 3.43 overall GPA and a 3.1 science GPA. Not too impressive either. But I got interviews at NYU, CASE, Louisville, VCU, and an invitation to Temple that I turned down. The key is to apply the very 1st day that AADSAS will let you. Don't take the DAT yet! Study a little more during the summer and make sure you do good. There's a place on the AADSAS where you can say you'll be taking the DAT a little later. I suggest taking it in early July. They won't look at your application till mid-July at the earliest anyway.
 

crazy_sherm

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Jul 18, 2004
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California schools are competitive, but you should have a little easier time as a resident. I had the same GPA as you 3.2/3.0 and got into UOP and UCSF. It looks like you have already built up a good extracurricular background, so it'll come down to rocking the DAT. Try to get 21+ in every section.
 

jk5177

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Jul 28, 2004
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crazy_sherm said:
California schools are competitive, but you should have a little easier time as a resident. I had the same GPA as you 3.2/3.0 and got into UOP and UCSF. It looks like you have already built up a good extracurricular background, so it'll come down to rocking the DAT. Try to get 21+ in every section.
DAT is the key. That's all there is to it. GPA is important, but DAT is standardized, and they seem to emphasize that.

When you apply to schools. Consider that some schools have huge long-ass secondary applications: UCSF, UCLA, LLU. Meanwhile, some other schools don't even have secondaries: USC, UOP, NYU, Columbia. I think for the schools that doesn't have long secondaries, then... hey why not apply to them! It's the long secondary applications that really bogs down the process.

By the way, the schools I mentioned are the schools I applied, so... caveat here, there are other schools which I'm not aware of.
 
OP
eapleitez

eapleitez

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Sep 5, 2004
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Los Angeles, CA
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Dental Student
thanks for all the replies. I know that California schools are very competitive, but I'm applying to all of them simply because it will be much easier for me and my wife to stay here. But if we have to move, then we will move. That tip about schools with no secondaries was something I hadn't realized. I'll look into that.
 

J2AZ

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Do well on the DAT. Get your application in early even if you have not taken the DAT by May. Check out UCSF (likes a diverse student body), USC (you have contacts there), UOP (very good chance if you nail the PAT and apply early), AZ (play up your El Salvador heritage and the fact you speak Spanish), Creighton, Boston, Marquette, Temple, LLU (if you can get a letter from a pastor/priest etc), and a few other schools of your choice. The important thing is to apply early. From what Ive read on this board I would shy away from NYU