Aug 25, 2017
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hi everyone, I am an undergrad student currently (sophomore). I am in the first semester of my sophomore year, and I currently have a 3.87 GPA with a major in biology. I have 56 volunteer hours as a counselor for a camp for kids with JRA, and I am volunteering currently at Ronald McDonald House. I have always thought that med school is what I want to do. However, I have never really given dentistry a fair shot. So, I am wondering two main things. 1) with my gpa and volunteer hours as of now, am I on the right track if I decide to pursue dental school instead?

2) what exactly is being a dentist like (I know that's broad but any info will help) ? As far as salary, work hours, work environment, bonuses, debt from school, etc etc.

Thanks.
 
Mar 6, 2013
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1,757
Fhloston Paradise
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Dental Student
Shadow a dentist and find out! Keep the GPA where you are, and be consistent with volunteering. Try to do something unique to stand out from the crowd, whether you end up picking medical or dental school. You're only a sophomore so you have all the time in the world to decide.

Don't be a dentist if you can't be a businessman. There is a huge opportunity cost one needs to pay. People are going into half a million dollars of debt with the notion that working as an associate will keep them financially secure.
 

Pirateslifeforme

2+ Year Member
Nov 9, 2016
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Pre-Dental
You will never know until you shadow a dentist and find out. Talk to your dentist, befriend him, and ask him about the things you mentioned. You will only learn by experience, there are certain things regarding dentistry that you cant just "look up." You will just have to find out yourself! Good luck.
 
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D3
2+ Year Member
Jun 6, 2015
640
1,072
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Dental Student
I am in the first semester of my sophomore year, and I currently have a 3.87 GPA with a major in biology. I have 56 volunteer hours as a counselor for a camp for kids with JRA, and I am volunteering currently at Ronald McDonald House.
You're already better off than where I was at your point. That's a great GPA and a base of volunteering hours to build off of. Just make sure to stay committed to a volunteer position. Schools like consistency with volunteering rather than a few hours at a bunch of different places. Shadow a dentist and you'll find out if you would like it. Talk to as many different dentists as you can to get an idea of what the field is like.

what exactly is being a dentist like (I know that's broad but any info will help) ? As far as salary, work hours, work environment, bonuses, debt from school, etc etc.
There are many different paths you can take with dentistry. You can be an associate, open your own practice, work in underserved areas, do dental research, teach dental academics, do military dentistry, etc. Most people take an associate position right out of school. Then they either do that the rest of their career or go into private practice after paying down loans and gaining experience.

Some dental schools can cost you anywhere from $400k past $500k, so the likelihood of someone buying and running their own practice after school is real low. Do some research on how much debt certain schools can put you in and see if that aligns with your expectations for a career in dentistry. Many pre-dents (myself included) saw dentistry as an opportunity for a great salary, nice lifestyle, and autonomy over their work experience. Massive debt changes that picture a bit.
 
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D3
2+ Year Member
Jun 6, 2015
640
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Where do you get this number from? I'm assuming that's with the cost of living too but even then it's high.
@Big Time Hoosier gave a few examples. There's lots of debt threads on this forum too. And then on top of posted tuition numbers, you have to take into account interest on those loans which starts accumulating as soon as you take them out. Many of my classmates have undergrad debt to throw on top of that as well.
 
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