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Non-traditional applicant, need advice please

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by dd3236, Apr 12, 2007.

  1. dd3236


    Feb 28, 2007
    Hi, I'm currently 29 (turning 30 this yr) and am very interested in becoming a dentist. I have been reading tons of dental posts here over the past few months and have thought very hard about this decision. I am currently about 98% sure I want to do this but some plan on making a solid, FINAL decision in the next couple of months. I've noticed everyone on here is very helpful and friendly so I wanted to get your opinions on my situation...

    I graduated from UCI in 1999 with a 3.1 overall and 2.4 science (really bad, i know). I started as a bio major and after two yrs switched out to econ because physics and o-chem was just too hard (but really it was because I had no drive or motivation to study harder).

    I plan on retaking almost all of my science classes through UCI extension and even if I get straight A's, my science GPA will still be only about 3.1 after all the old and new science classes are averaged together.

    I've come to this decision to go dental because I've realized it's something that I really want to do. I really enjoy helping people. I've done two years of volunteer ski patrol (which requires an OEC certificate which is basically an outdoors version of an EMT) and in doing that I realized that I love helping people. Other obvious reasons though include the usual... the prestige, pay and respect is nice as well. I want to be able to provide for my family financially.

    In the near future I plan on seeing if I can volunteer somewhere dental related (any suggestions), shadowing some dentists, asking my dentist friends about their opinions, and also calling many dental schools and asking for their opinion. I have already talked to Noemi at UCLA but was not happy with her answer on whether I should even try. She basically told me that "in the past, applicants with less than a 3.0 have been admitted". I understand the need to answer this way because "anything" is possible, but I don't know if I want to bank 2yrs of my life doing science course and 10k in tuition and books on something that is pretty futile. Any thoughts? I'll even tkae flames if they're constructive... I just need some advice please.

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  3. goosestuff

    goosestuff 10-4, Chicken Feed, 10-4 7+ Year Member

    Nov 29, 2006
    Dr. Phil House
    Your post-bacc GPA is often considered separately from your undergrad. If you can, take a full load
    (ie gen chem over the summer than Physics, Ochem, and Bio at the same time Fall and spring). It shows you can still get a high gpa while taking a heavy course load. Makes up for undergrad, kinda. The problem is, often as a "mature" ;) student you still need to find time to work and bring home the bacon.

    Anyhow...go for it! and GL! :luck:

    Oh...on volunteering: if you can shadow a dentist enough and move into assisting - that's great experience, and if you don't get paid, you can count it as volunteering. If you do get paid, you can count it as work experience.
  4. Mysteree

    Mysteree Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Jan 24, 2006
    I think if you really do want to pursue dentistry, then just go for it. Re take those classes, make sure that you do well. If you're working right now and can only take one or two classes at a time then that will be taken into account. Don't take all classes together and tank your grade, that'll look worse. As for your age, dont' worry about it, I came to dentistry after having worked, and trust me that won't be held against you. Your undergrad gpa was a while do well now show that you've matured as an individual and as a student capable of handling a challenging load and I'm sure you'll be successful. And if I may make a suggestion, polling schools won't really help much, they'll give you their standard "official" answer. I'd suggest buying ADEA's book on dental schools that has their stats and you can make your decision based on that. Hope that helps, and good luck!
  5. Nasem

    Nasem 2+ Year Member

    Aug 30, 2006
    Lansing, MI
    Did you say your post-bacc GPA is different than the undergrad... like there is a section in your application that shows that? I thought your application is going to have the:
    Overall (with EVERYTHING, undergrand + post-bacc)
    Science (again, everything from undergrade + post-bacc)
    BCP (again same as above)

    I ask this because I finished my undergrad in '04 with a 3.01 over all and 3.1 Science.... right now I am taking my pre-dental reqs at MSU and will be done in May of 2008 and I am sure that my post-bacc GPA alone with be 3.6-3.7+, but I was under the impression that it will count all-together with my undergrad which will keep my overall GPA low (its hard to bring up a 3.01 GPA when you have taken 130 credits)
  6. goosestuff

    goosestuff 10-4, Chicken Feed, 10-4 7+ Year Member

    Nov 29, 2006
    Dr. Phil House
    No, technically your GPA is lumped together. But, organized by undergrad/grad, school, and semester (on AADSAS). That being the case, an upward trend or a major jump in quality of grades can be seen.

    Also, your overall GPA and your science ("BCP") GPA are separated. So, if you haven't taken too many BCP courses in your undergrad, your post bacc will boost your BCP well.

    It depends whether you are taking a post-bacc to supplement your undergrad or to replace it.
  7. Nasem

    Nasem 2+ Year Member

    Aug 30, 2006
    Lansing, MI
    ok, thanks for the info,
    and your right, I didn't take many BCP in my undergrad so my "new" BCP should look real pretty compared to my others....
  8. Dauber

    Dauber Big Baby Jesus 2+ Year Member

    Feb 15, 2007
    Good luck because you've got a long road ahead of you at age 30. Sounds like you're interested in the lifestyle more than anything.
  9. djeffreyt

    djeffreyt Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 3, 2006
    I think it is totally doable. If you retake courses at the same school, then your retake grade will probably be looked upon more importantly than your previous grades as it is the more recent and thus more effective measure of your ability to handle those courses.

    Also, a good score on your DATs will help to show that despite any lack in your GPA, you have the chops to cut the studying mentality that will be required for dental school.

    You've definitely got a chance, and there is never a way to assess how you will do until you try. If you find yourself bummed out by those classes again within a year, then don't keep going, but otherwise, go for it.

    As for age, you're far from the oldest...I'm going to be 28 when I start dental school, and a good friend is 37 and just graduated a year and a half ago. He has a family and had 2 kids while in school. He's currently doing very well at a decent sized practice in the outskirts of San Diego making something like 30% of his production each day and working 4 days a week. I think he made around $140-150K during his one full year of practice last year (pre-tax) and loves the lifestyle cause he has time to spend with his kids.
  10. pine88

    pine88 Warning: 2+ Year Member

    May 3, 2006
    These young'uns...think 30 comes right before 70 ;)

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