Aug 4, 2019
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I am currently a sophomore and I spent my freshmen year at a community college which did not have any extracurriculars. After transferring to a 4-year university the pandemic started and I made the decision to stay home (No clubs other than Pre-dental society). Volunteering opportunities are very hard to come by during this time and I only have a year left before applying to Dental School. However, I worked a lot throughout college (20 hrs during the semester and 35 hrs during breaks) will that make up for my lack of extracurriculars? Should I cut my work hour for volunteering? If I keep my GPA really high and do well on the DAT (21 AA) will I still have a good chance of acceptance? Will Dental school be more lenient because of the Pandemic? Thank you in advance for your insight!
 
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2thDoc11

2+ Year Member
Nov 19, 2018
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You’re a sophomore, you have plenty of time to get extracurriculars.. hopefully with the vaccine out everything will start up again and you’ll be able to get that volunteering in and join a club or two.. research is always good to add to your resume if there’s any summer opportunities for that.. for Volunteering, look at hospitals, clinic(I volunteered at a pediatric therapy clinic), soup kitchens, food pantries, blood drives, local zoo, library, anything that might interest you.. for shadowing try shadowing at corps as in my experience they stay open later so it’s easier to rack up the hours there then the daily 8-5 practices that usually coincide your school/work schedule..

i graduated in May of 2019 and I remember dreading taking a gap year but I’m on my second and I’m glad I did. gives you lots of time to get extra things done And make some extra money. I didn’t decide to pursue dentistry until october of 2019 and by feb/March 2020 I had over 100 hours of shadowing done.
 
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Carmencitas

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Dec 7, 2018
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Extracurriculars are just that, extra.

I have to disagree, you’re going to be compared to applicants who have years of ECs and I doubt adcoms want to admit an applicant with good grades who did nothing in college.
 
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Aug 4, 2019
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I have to disagree, you’re going to be compared to applicants who have years of ECs and I doubt adcoms want to admit an applicant with good grades who did nothing in college.
How many hours of volunteering isrecommended (100-200 minimum)? I will be joining clubs and other extracurriculars once I move back onto campus next semester.
 

Carmencitas

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Dec 7, 2018
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How many hours of volunteering isrecommended (100-200 minimum)? I will be joining clubs and other extracurriculars once I move back onto campus next semester.
I had ~80 hours of volunteering, 100 hours of shadowing a general dentist, 300 hours working in an Oral Surgery office. 200-300 hours in non-dental related clubs, some research. Never really was a part of any pre-dental clubs lol. Working is a good experience to have so you're on the right path. I didn't take a gap year and actually got the majority of my experience from the summer after Freshmen year to Junior year when I applied but I was always busy. You can most definitely do it, just need good time management!
 

amaze

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Jul 27, 2018
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My biggest advice is to find one activity (whether it be research, community service, performing arts, etc.) that you actually enjoy and can commit to for the rest of your time in college. It’s good to have a few (3-4) other activities that you spend at least one semester in to explore other things - but don’t stress about pouring years into those. Take them as opportunities to find new interests/hobbies.

This might sound cliche, but college is honestly a time for you to try as many different things as you can. It’s one of the rarest opportunities you’ll have in life to join fun student clubs, try out new hobbies, and take random classes (I loved taking philosophy and history classes!) to learn outside of the prescribed pre-health courses. It’s also the best time to invest in one interest/passion over a long period of time (hence my advice to have one activity that you do for a longer time) because of the structural stability college provides (as in: that activity is available to you each semester, zero prior experience is expected/needed to start, you have professors/mentors who can guide you to reach higher milestones).

I say all this as someone who is 4 years out if college, applied to dental school this past September with only 40 hours of dental shadowing and unimpressive DAT scores, and was fortunate enough to receive two acceptances on December 15th. Everyone’s path looks different, and that’s okay. There’s no one right way. I’m happy to share more, just ask away via DM.
 
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