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I fell in college, graduated, working. Now want to go to dent school? Possible?

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by BimmerGuy, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. BimmerGuy

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    Hey everybody! I’ve seen this forum before and always thought that it was an EXCELLENT resource for preDENT information and from briefly browsing around the forum lately I still maintain that same view.

    To start I’ve looked around quite a bit but feel like my question is a little outside the usual here and unique due to the situation I am in. Currently I’m 24 graduated from UNC Chapel Hill and for the past year and a half have been part of the “working world.” I received a BA in Biology from the school and was just a couple credits short of a minor is Phil (working on that now). Coming out of high school I was the kid with the 4.35 (3.85 unweighed or something), president of the medical careers class, got my CNA, did job shadowing, got my EMT just to get it, all kinds of activities outside of school, etc, etc. I went into college with 15 or so credits and focused on my target of going to med school.

    (For the sake of time below is both a “long version” and a “short version” of what I’m trying to get at.)


    Short Version: I went to college enthusiastic and wanting to attend medical school after college. Was a great HS student with a 4.35 gpa (3.85 unweighted) tons of extras, etc. I had personal issues after first semester freshman year (not looking for sympathy). Had to get a job at 25+ hours a week to put myself through. Lost sight of goals and future which led to my grades slipping to the point of my GPA being 2.8’ish overall and 2.5’ish for sciences (terrible I know). I met a girl in college who became my girlfriend of 3.5 years, she got into dental school and got me interested in dentistry. I was burnt out on school when I graduated, got a pretty good job, have national and global responsibilities in a company that is the 4th largest of its size in the world (so I actually have a respectable job in which all of my colleages at 35+), bought my own house, have only school loan debt and am “comfortable” but not entirely happy. I would ALWAYS look at my exgirlfriend’s dental school books and even loved playing with the wax and teeth when she brought them home, it always fascinated me and was a challenge. I think back to when I was 100% go on professional school and feel that is where I would be successful and able to help others. I slipped in college but realize now that it was wasted time and I missed excellent opportunities and have nobody to blame but myself.

    After being out of school I’ve missed that feeling I had when I would volunteer at the hospital and work with people like I had back then. My mom told me that there were two things that always made me happy: 1) when I would talk about medicine of any sort and the human body and 2) when I was with my now ex girlfriend (long story…). It sounds cliché to say I feel it is my calling but I can’t put it any other way. Thinking about the prospect gets me excited and I haven’t even left home plate.

    I have work to do though. My GPA is inexcusably low. I need to retake a number of biology, chem and a physics courses as well at take the DAT but I KNOW I can do it. I know I need to shadow as well. It will take time and will take a whole heck of a lot of effort but I feel it can be done in the next few years. Am I being unrealistic? Will any dental school accept a person who faltered during undergrad but shows they can redo the work and is proven responsible and aware through working?


    Long version (hopefully it isn’t too much of a bore): If you hear the sound of a train screeching to a halt, well you are hearing my college career at the beginning of the second semester of my freshman year. I went in enthusiastic, excited about my potential growth and future but instead kind of got turned upside down. The first semester was pretty good, just some adjustment but after that things kind of wound out. My parents got a divorce (tight family), stress got to me, my goals looked further out of reach and by my second semester I was basically on my own financially. I always worked on weekends in high school and during the summer but this time it was different, I HAD to put myself through school. I started interning with the company I am still with now (I was the intern they couldn’t get rid of for like 3.5 years) and everything seemed to be going alright.

    I know a LOT of people work when they are in school. It is necessary for a lot of people and for many it gives them an outlet outside of school. I started working just 10 or so hours a week but it quickly ramped up to 15, then 20 then 25+; some of it because of demand and some of it because of necessity. This however came at the cost of my grades. I’ll be honest I wasn’t as disciplined as I should have been, my interests, perception and goals slipped as did my grades. I went from being a motivated, goal driven person to somebody who “just wanted to get it done” but still felt guilty that I wasn’t working towards my potential. I burned out quickly with school and work was rewarding, provided some financial stability and I was engaged in work.

    At the start of my junior year I met a girl. She too was a bio major and we shared many of the same classes. We became best friends and eventually started dating. This was good in that we could study together but bad in that I became somewhat dependent on her for some classes. My grades did improve as did my outlook but I feel it was a too little too late. She was a diligent student whose goal was to get into dental school. I helped her with her studying for the DAT (I pretty much aced the perceptual ability sections on all her practice exams), took her to and from the Kaplan courses and was introduced to dentistry through her. She got accepted to two schools and attending one of them now.

    After I graduated I got a GREAT job (in which I consult for and have both national AND global responsibilities for a company that is the 4th largest size of its kind in the world and am well respected across the country from interns to Co-COO’s), took two weeks to Europe with my girlfriend and started my life. I make a healthy amount as a recent college grad and 3 month after graduating bought a nice house, payed off my car, and only had school loan debt. My then girlfriend and I practically lived together from that point forward and she exposed me to dentistry even more. I remember often picking up her books and just looking through them to see what was in there. I was always amazed at what I saw! More than that though was that I LOVED going with her to the cadaver lab to see bits and pieces of the whole process. I also remember the day she brought her articulator and wax supplies home. I spent like 3 hours with one stupid little molar (15 maybe?)! It came out looking like Zeus’ trident but I didn’t care, I loved that kind of hands on stuff! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little jealous of her at times. To be passionate about something like that and be involved in it was always incredible to watch.

    So why dentistry? Why me? Why now? Like I’ve said before the human body and more recently the mouth and teeth have fascinated me. Not only that but EVERY person is different! Each person is a new case each with unique needs. I was the kid who would sit down with legos on Saturday mornings with cartoons on building all kinds of things, insist on doing very detailed “hands on” things, I’d take apart every little thing I could get my hands on and would meticulously put it all back together .Even now I LOVE working on cars with different tools, solving problems and engrossing myself in finding solutions. The pace, experiences and working with people all really appeal to me, they always have. I LOVED shadowing when I was in high school and the culture that I saw. Since working I’ve realized that I’m not the kind of person who is totally satisfied sitting at a desk doing monotonous things from time to time, or being responsible to others in a corporate environment. I guess I’ve always wanted “more” from what I’m doing. Everybody has always told me I will “be my own boss” and I feel like being a dentist would really challenge and focus my abilities for the best.

    So I guess the point of why I wrote all this is to ask do you think I have a chance? My GPA coming out of college was pretty abysmal at 2.5 for the sciences like 2.9-3 overall and I have yet to take the DAT. I’m also going to take as many classes over as I can (couple bios, a physics and org chems) to get better grades and hopefully within a couple years I might be able to pull through. Does any of this sound unrealistic? Do dental schools “look back” on everything you did as an undergrad or will they take into consideration life changes and reformatting yourself to be an applied person? I’ve thought a TON on this and have decided it is really what I want to do so I hope it isn’t too late!

    Thank you so much!
     
  2. tetondent

    5+ Year Member

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    Your desire to become a dentist does not sound unrealistic at all. You can do it man!! Just from reading your post, I can sense your desire to be a healthcare professional. Like you said, just retake a few classes and ace them if possible, score 20+ on the DAT, and begin shadowing various dentists. Also, get involved in the community and volunteer as much as you have time for. With the exposure you already have to dental school through your ex girlfriend, it sounds like you will enjoy it and do very well. Good luck with everything and keep the faith! Before too long you'll be sitting in dental school doing your own wax models!!
    _______________________________________________________________

    VCU School of Dentistry 2013!!
     
  3. DROCKINDAHOUSE

    DROCKINDAHOUSE UTHSCSA c/o 2013
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    *Hmm...let me get out my reading glasses.

    Interesting story. Truth be told, I would say most people would ask you why the hell would you want to leave a profitable career to pursue a nearly unattainable one in dentistry?

    Remember, I said nearly. Your goal of getting accepted into dental school isn't impossible. It is unlikely with your GPA, but of course it goes without saying that if you were to perhaps complete a master's program and obtain a 3.7+ GPA you would stand a much better chance. Your life experience alone will make you a good candidate for any dental school class. Remember, most adcom members want students who come from various backgrounds and all walks of life in order to enhance the learning environment of each student.

    You can do it my friend. You will need to go back to school in some form or fashion and earn as many "A's" as possible in order to prove that you can handle an intense science curriculum. Also, your DAT will be of paramount importance. I'm sure by now you've figured out that a 20+ in each section is a quite competitive score. Good luck to you and God Bless.
     
  4. DROCKINDAHOUSE

    DROCKINDAHOUSE UTHSCSA c/o 2013
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    Oh and see my quote below my first post. Believe me, that mentality will help you every step of your way.
     
  5. pcakes

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    hey! sounds like a great personal statement maybe?!! haha very interesting. i think with your desire and dedication, a couple more classes to raise ur gpa or masters like drock said, and a fantastic dat, there's DEFINITELY a chance!! and also i dont think it's too late.. you're only 24!!! GOOD LUCK :D
     
  6. IdahoDoc

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    Wow good luck man, But it doesn't look like you will get in, not saying you couldn't but it just isn't likely. you are competing with students have kept their 3.8 GPA all through college and didn't retake any courses. As much as we wish the world is forgiving, it can only forgive so much. best of luck none the less.
     
  7. BimmerGuy

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    I appreciate the kind words and advice! I understand it will be an uphill battle all the way but if nothing else if I can prove to myself that I can get to the point of applying for admission and feel comfortable with it then at least I'd have achieved something for myself. I will definitely get more involved and start looking for opportunities. I already do some volunteering her and there but more can't hurt! Thanks again!

    Thank you as well for your response! Sorry for the "long read" I've been told I'm a prolific writer at times. I put in the details...

    To address your point of leaving my current job I wouldn't say that I'm totally unhappy at all really, it just isn't all that fulfilling. The pay is decent, I don't have anybody directly hovering over me, it is flexible and good benefits but that is only the stuff you can show on paper. I've just always felt more compelled and wanting of more challenge to be engaged.

    I know it will be tough. Trust me. I feel like I learned a ton in college and grew a lot, but as I said had some priorities unknowingly mixed up. After stepping back away from it and working and being involved in other things it has pulled on me.

    I will be sure to study like no other for the DAT as well as all for all the course needed. We'll see what happens. Thanks again!

    Great quote!

    I appreciate it. I never really thought about the whole Master's thing (getting into one would be a test in itself) but definitely something to consider. I know I'm young but I'm trying to set myself up now looking down the road; something I neglected to do before. This is NOT going to happen overnight but will probably take two years of dedication and time. I still have bills, I still have other responsibilities but if I can plan ahead then hopefully things will be alright! Thank you as well for your time and opinion!

    Thanks Idaho I appreciate your honest opinion. I agree that on the surface and from what I've written it looks like a hopeless case but that won't stop me. I have friends who got 4.0 GPA's in college but when you throw them into a working environment or take them out of the books and their elements they struggle where I would be comfortable. I realize that A LOT has to do with one's GPA and DAT scores but I'd think that who a person is weighs a great deal as well. Some of that is what draws me to a medical profession and dentistry in general. Yes, you need to know your stuff and be proficient in what you are trained to do but school doesn't teach everything, a lot is up to the person and their experiences. I may not have the scores (yet) but I think if i can show my determination, character and willingness to sacrifice for something I believe I can and will do then I know I can't hurt my chances.
     
  8. Rajan247

    Rajan247 Member
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    you could be a 60 yrs old and still have a shot if you have the pre-req's done and have taken the DAT.

    Its easy to say, "Hey guys can I do it?", if you really want to do it, just do it! Just realize that it will take time, sacrifice and lot of hard work.

    So the better question you should pose is What game plan you should have to get to your end result?

    1. Look at pre-reqs for schools you will think about applying, so you can take the right classes. Start with the basics (Biology, Chem, Ochem) etc. If you are wicked smart you can get away with maybe testing out of some of the intro classes.


    2. Lay out the next year or so, so you know which cycle you will be applying for, this helps you set goals and keeps you on track.

    3. Study your ASS off for the DAT!!!, get the best possible score

    4. Shadow a dentist, log your hours as most schools require this, and its helps when and if someone ask you, why the change of careers (This really should be #1, so you can truly say, yes I want to do this)

    5. Apply to schools, Wait Anxiously and dont fear rejection.

    Good luck and get to it. if you bust your ass you can easily make 2010 cycle
     
  9. JamesOSU

    JamesOSU Ohio State 2013
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    I would set up a meeting at your state school's admissions counselors. They can give you great information and an outlook on how best to be competitive. And it never hurts to have a personal connection with them throughout your ramping up to go to dental school, they'll probably be rooting for you! I had my 'reapplicant' meeting there after talking via email for awhile and they said 'its great to put a face to the name' and from then on I did most of my communications with them in person. It obv goes a long way ;-) See below
     
  10. Jake8

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    1) Don't quit the day job until you are starting dental school classes, as you never want to ruin a great thing until you are certain you have another path.

    2) As mentioned above take to admissions councilors, especially scheduling one on one meetings with them.

    3) Probably need to look into a masters. In your case you may be better fitted doing the master's over two years. I say this because 1) you have a stable and secure profesion to support you right now and 2) because you will have to acquire a lot of shadowing and volunteering before submitting your application.
     
  11. whlee84

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    if you truly love teeth and working with your hands, try dental hygiene school. you just can't recuperate with your low GPA, unless you get a 24+ on your DAT and re-take a bunch of courses and get all A's (which is possible)

    good luck!
     
  12. Livineasi

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    Umm...you're 24?!?!! You could have another two careers and still go on to be a dentist. I was a Sociology major and got my BA in 1998. I went on to spend 10 years producing television. About two years ago I started taking my pre-reqs for D-school at my local community colleges. At the beginning of this year I quit my well paying job and went back to school full-time and lived off my savings. I just got accepted to Indiana, Michigan, and Western University.

    My advice -- give yourself at least another year in the working world to grow up and decide if this is really what you want! Take a night class at a local college too remind yourself (and double check) that you like science and that you can do well again.

    anything is possible.
     
  13. BimmerGuy

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    Rajan thanks for the advice! To be honest from reading through what a lot of other posts I'm starting to feel alright about being a potential "non traditional" even if things look bleak right now. Your recommendations are spot on and will definitely be taken into account. Since I already hold a Bio degree I have taken a number of the course already but still have some others to take (and a couple to retake). I'm really not looking to rush right into everything right this minute and take 10 courses right now and neglect the rest of my responsibilities, but am goign to stretch myself. I'm going to be taking this semester to finish a couple misc courses (to finish my minor which actually are bio related) and will be taking a couple classes in the summer sessions and probably 2 each semeseter next year. If anything I'm going to be realistically shooting for the c/o '11 possibly '10 but that is probably too aggressive at this point.

    I fully plan to bust my tail for the DAT, the courses I'm going to be taking and work hard to see and do as much as I can in the field...Thanks again!

    Great advice and I'm already on it! I've contacted the advisor at the local school and they have been more than helpful and willing to meet with and provide recommendations to me! I agree that many times it is not exactly what you know (a lot of it is though!) but also who you know. Congrats too on your perseverence! I'm sure it went a long way to helping you reach your goal.

    Thanks Jake! I will NOT quit the day job until my feet find the floor of a dental school! Way too much risk right now quiting my job that I cannot afford. I'm relatively financially secure at the moment and my job is VERY flexible with my needs. I'm hoping and am optimistic that they will actually let me take time each week to take courses at the local university. I'm not going to lie, I am in a great position. Heck my previous boss (who was 26) was allowed to take EVERY other Friday off for two years to complete an MBA program. I think they also paid part of his tuition...

    Financially as well I feel that in a couple of years I will be in a good spot. Within two years I anticipate being close to debt free with student loans, have a decent amount saved up and when/if I get into dental school I'd have my house sold which should hopefully net me at least $30-40k for expenses. I'm trying to live below my means as it is to save more regardless of what happens.

    I'm definitely going to look into the master's programs at the universities around me. Part of me wants to do a masters and hopefully not worry about past classes, but another part of me KNOWS I didn't live up to my potential in certain undergrad classes and I'd like to take them over. We'll see what the local advisor says!

    Thanks for the advice. Dental hygiene is a great line of work and very respectable but I feel for myself personally that being a dentist would be a better fit. Also I'm the kind of person that if I "Go bear" I "Go grizzly" so if I'm going to commit myself to something I'm going to put everything into it. 24's and all A's can't be too hard ;)

    Thanks Livineasi! After looking through a lot of the posts in the forum I definitely don't feel all that old to be honest. Yes I'm sure the majority in here are traditional applicants but I've seen alot who aren't. I guess the things right now that is nagging me about my current position is that I can see the ceiling and a lot of clutter on the corporate ladder. Too much politics and not enough headroom. I'm anticipating being promoted to a business analyst position soon which will be quite rewarding, however I don't see that as opening too many doors but it might. No matter what I intend to stay in the work force up until the point that I set floor in dental school. I guess something else too is that I see too many people who are trapped and afraid to really go after what they want. I know I've been there and was there in college but now I see that although there is risk involved it will be worth it. If I don't try then I definitely know I won't reach that goal and then I'd know that and only have myself to blame.

    I'm already taking a course online through the local university that I've wanted to take for a while which I anticipate will bolster my GPA and get me back in a groove. It is weird, back in college I looked forward to taking classes at the beginning but that faded over time. Now I'm kind of looking forward to what is potentially out there!
     
  14. Elkoshi

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    I'd just like to add that if dentistry is your passion-go for it. But if you still feel interested in medicine, at this point a D.O. may be easier than a D.D.S/D.M.D. for one simple reason; if you retake the classes you did poorly in and ace them, an osteopathic medical school will only look at your second grade, whereas (please correct me if I'm wrong here) a dental school will average them. Best of luck!
     
  15. BimmerGuy

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    Elkoshi thank you for the suggestion! I think a career in osteopathic medicine would be great but honestly I don't feel it would be for me. The things that really got me interested and excited about dentistry is the hands-on and "art" I guess you could say of the practice. I'm a perfectionist (good or bad you decided) and LOVE working with my hands and tools in a number of ways. The mouth and health that is associated with it have REALLY intrigued me. I do appreciate the suggestion though thank you for taking the time to post up!
     
  16. doc toothache

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    At 60 there would be the added advantage of graduating and applying for SS at the same time.
     

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