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High school student with Questions......

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by J Broadway, Jun 20, 2002.

  1. J Broadway

    J Broadway New Member

    Jun 18, 2002
    Well I will be a senior next year in high school, and will be attending a dental assisting program (vocational). I applied for that mainly to get a head start. I will be assigned a dentist to work under later on in the year. But my question is do you think this will give me some kind of advantage later on after I finish my undergrad?
    What courses should I look into taking that will help out alot in college? I live in OK, and around here everyone tells me that Univ of Okla has a very good dental program anyone know anything about their dental program?
    Basically I just want to know what can I do now that will help me in the long run.
    I am glad that I found this board because, I have lots of questions <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> .
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  3. racemic01

    racemic01 Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 14, 2002
    What undergrad are you going to go to? U of Okla? I'm sure their dental program is good (most state schools are).

    I can't comment much on your dental assisting program. I shadowed dentists, but unfortunately never got any hands on experience. Sounds like a great idea though. I'm sure working as an assistant would be a big advantage when applying to dental school. One question: are you going from HS directly into college and just work as an assistant in your spare time?

    Once you're in college the most important thing to keep in mind are dent school requirements. Usually this includes: 2 sememsters of general chem, organic chem and physics; 1 or 2 semesters of general biology; 1 or 2 semester of English; and maybe a semester of calculus, biochem, upper level bio (genetics, micro, etc) or some other other odd class. Best to check with U of Okla or whereever else you may want to apply.

    Now that you have requirements in mind, choose a major. A common question is whether dental schools prefer one major over another. No. You can major in whatever you want as long as you take the requirements. In fact, IMO dental schools like to see well rounder students so majoring in something other than bio or biochem may be advantageous. Major in what interests you and what you think you'll do well in. GPA is the name of the game. FYI, I majored in biochem. I knew I could get more A's in science than humanities, and biochem interests me.

    Specific courses? Besides the requirements you will also need Physiology (IMO) for the DAT and dental school prep. Other classes helpful are histology (cells & tissues), microbiology, and biochemistry, but this advice you won't need for another 2-3 yrs. Remember to take classes that interest you. Art, history, literature, poli sci etc.

    Other things to consider are community service, organizations and leadership, and research. For community service there are tons or organizations on campus devoted to this (Alpha Phi Omega) not to mention the United Way, Red Cross, or your church. Join an organizations that you enjoy. Look for leadership opportunity. All these things help. If you're interested in research ask your advisors or check with the advisors of the bio/biochem dept. If all else fails email around. For your first year it's hard to find a research job b/c you don't know anything. Often you can start as a dishwasher and work your way up.

    Good luck
  4. gryffindor

    gryffindor Dentist 10+ Year Member

    Feb 2, 2002
    Check out the Oklahoma Dental school website - <a href="" target="_blank"></a> - it's pretty informative on stuff about requirements and GPA for applying. That's good to keep in mind for college. And it's really cheap for in-state students!

    One suggestion I have is to call the school and see if they have any special accelerated programs between undergraduate colleges and the Oklahoma dental school. My dental school (Buffalo) offers these programs between certain colleges in NY state and the Buffalo dental school. They are intended for high school seniors like you who are applying to college and know they want to be dentists. It is pretty much a conditional acceptance to dental school right out of high school, provided you maintain a certain GPA. In NY, they don't make you take the entire DAT, only a subsection of the exam called the PAT. And you start dental school three years after college instead of four. If you know as a senior that dental school is your goal, you might as well find out if such a program exists at Oklahoma, then you wouldn't have to go nuts applying to dental school in college. I attended one of these programs in NY and looking back, it was a pretty good idea - I didn't have to take the DAT, I didn't have to apply to dental schools and spend tons of $$ and write a million essays, and I was able to do activities in college without having to worry about "will this look good on my resume". If I wanted, I could have stayed the fourth year in college as long as I kept up the required GPA, but it was more useful starting dental school a year early b/c now I can't wait to finish and start practice!

    Good luck to you!
  5. J Broadway

    J Broadway New Member

    Jun 18, 2002
    Thanks for the quick responses racemic and griffin. I will be checking to see if OU does have any accelerated programs. How many students are usually in one dental class? I really want to get a jump start on my freshman year of college. What can I do this summer as well as next and throughout the school year to really help me out? I homeschool now, so I have a good amount of time on my hands but, I also work. I may be paranoid, but I just don't want to make any mistakes my freshman year. I don't really know what to expect, I hear from some that college and high scool are comparable in the degree of difficulty (of course depending on how well one applies themself), others will tell me it's 10 times more difficult and of course some that say it's easier, which I find hard to believe. Are there any books out that would be useful now? Ok I will stop with the questions now.
  6. racemic01

    racemic01 Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 14, 2002
    I wouldn't worry too much about this summer. Read some good books. Just enjoy it. You could always shadow dentists. Keep in mind, as a general rule of thumb, you don't include activities you did in high school on your dent school application.

    College is tough, especially for students (like us) who are mindful of their GPA. It's quite a bit more difficult than high school, but you get used to it fast. Then it becomes natural. You may do well in classes like organic, biochem or physical chem, but they're certainly not easy. I'm sure the same could be said comparing undergrad and dental school. I wouldn't sweat it.

    I'd study as much college prep material as you can. If you haven't done so already make general chem your #1 class next yr. Get hold of a book and hit it hard. Many a pre-dent/med have their dreams smashed during the first or second semester of gen chem. If you've already studied this, go back and re-learn thermodynamics/thermochemistry and kinetics - the nightmares of many young students. Study physics. Study calculus. If you know those three subjects well by the time you finish high school you should do well in your freshman yr.

    Can't think of much else right now.
  7. Kung Foo

    Kung Foo Mad Scientist... 7+ Year Member

    Apr 28, 2002
    the edge of decay
    J Broadway - It sounds like you are a very focused pre-pre dent :D Don't lose that focus during the next few years!!! That's the most important thing you can do - stay focused and motivated, so you remember why you're taking all these crazy undergrad classes.

    GOOD LUCK!!!!!!

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