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Non-Traditional Military Pre-Dental, Need Advice!

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Shinton56

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Hello all!


So here is some background on me:

I am 27 years old and currently an active duty Air Force dental technician Staff Sergeant. I have been in for over 5 years and have assisted in all dental specialties and am a prophylaxis technician to provide supra-gingival dental cleanings. I think it's safe to say I'll have plenty of shadowing experience.

I just got my B.S. in Psychology last fall with a 3.8 GPA (but really a 3.2 cumulative GPA). The thing is, is that I really haven’t completed many of the dental school pre-requisites; I’ve only taken Chem 1 & 2. Since I have about 10 classes to go, I’m going to start taking all pre-requisites at a local community college. Due to my work schedule, I realistically won’t be done until end of fall term 2018.

My question is, will me taking undergraduate classes after I’ve completed my bachelor’s hurt me, especially if I won’t be a degree-seeking student at the time? Also, would taking ALL pre-reqs at a community college hurt me as well?

Also, I plan on taking a local Kaplan course to prepare for the DAT so I can get a 20+ score when applying to dental school gets closer.

I plan to use the military HPSP to pay for tuition and go back into the Air Force as a dentist.
 

cheesyfries

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I think if you ace your pre-reqs at the community college and kill your DAT then you'll be fine. A strong science DAT should ease any doubts that CC pre-reqs were less intensive and with your experience in dentistry you are a great candidate! Good luck!
 

schmoob

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Hello all!


So here is some background on me:

I am 27 years old and currently an active duty Air Force dental technician Staff Sergeant. I have been in for over 5 years and have assisted in all dental specialties and am a prophylaxis technician to provide supra-gingival dental cleanings. I think it's safe to say I'll have plenty of shadowing experience.

I just got my B.S. in Psychology last fall with a 3.8 GPA (but really a 3.2 cumulative GPA). The thing is, is that I really haven’t completed many of the dental school pre-requisites; I’ve only taken Chem 1 & 2. Since I have about 10 classes to go, I’m going to start taking all pre-requisites at a local community college. Due to my work schedule, I realistically won’t be done until end of fall term 2018.

My question is, will me taking undergraduate classes after I’ve completed my bachelor’s hurt me, especially if I won’t be a degree-seeking student at the time? Also, would taking ALL pre-reqs at a community college hurt me as well?

Also, I plan on taking a local Kaplan course to prepare for the DAT so I can get a 20+ score when applying to dental school gets closer.

I plan to use the military HPSP to pay for tuition and go back into the Air Force as a dentist.
It will not hurt you. You are AD, so adcoms know you are in a different situation. Don't worry about that. After you take the majority of your prereqs, start studying for the DAT. DO NOT WASTE MONEY ON KAPLAN. Study using the reliable methods, Chads, destroyer, bootcamp.
Best of luck and I hope you get it!
 

Shinton56

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It will not hurt you. You are AD, so adcoms know you are in a different situation. Don't worry about that. After you take the majority of your prereqs, start studying for the DAT. DO NOT WASTE MONEY ON KAPLAN. Study using the reliable methods, Chads, destroyer, bootcamp.
Best of luck and I hope you get it!

No Kaplan huh? The dentists that I've spoken to haven't taken it, but apparently there are raving reviews.

Question: There's not really an issue if I decide to take the DAT WHILE I'm still taking pre-reqs right? Like if I take the DAT near the end of next year while I'm taking say Physics 2 and Organic Chem 2, that should be fine?
 

averageasian

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    ideally you should have taken Bio and organic 1/2 before the DAT, stuff like physics can wait for after. Remember you need labs for bio and organic as well. I would try to not take them at a community college since many schools do not accept prereqs from community colleges. While more expensive, taking your prereqs at 4yr college will allow you to apply to many more schools.
     

    schmoob

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    No Kaplan huh? The dentists that I've spoken to haven't taken it, but apparently there are raving reviews.

    Question: There's not really an issue if I decide to take the DAT WHILE I'm still taking pre-reqs right? Like if I take the DAT near the end of next year while I'm taking say Physics 2 and Organic Chem 2, that should be fine?
    I highly recommend not taking it. Its expensive and not all that great. The dentists you work with may be pre-chads/destroyer/boot camp era.
    And as noted, you can take the DAT before completing all the prereqs. Dude, you can even apply and get accepted to dental school before finishing your prereqs (I did). You just need to have the majority of them done and be able to complete then all before matriculation.
    Also, it's a big deal and PITA to apply for HPSP, even on AD. You're going to have to go to the recruiters and join the military all over again, even though you're AD. Because you're enlisted, you will still need a commissioning physical (DD2807 & DD2808). You will even need your birth certificate, social security card, and you will need to fill out another SF-702 (the really Long security clearance form). So you've got lots of work to do. I also recommend applying to all branches. I know your heart is in the AF, but they may not take you. If they do, go. But if not, have the Army and Navy as backup.

    @wezleesun` is giving good advice for a traditional applicant. If possible, take the classes at a 4-year. But I know you work during the day and finding a school nearby that will give you the prereqs you need is tough. If a CC is your only option, then do that, you'll be fine. You are not held to the same standard as someone who is a full-time student with no job.
     
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    Shinton56

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    I highly recommend not taking it. Its expensive and not all that great. The dentists you work with may be pre-chads/destroyer/boot camp era.
    And as noted, you can take the DAT before completing all the prereqs. Dude, you can even apply and get accepted to dental school before finishing your prereqs (I did). You just need to have the majority of them done and be able to complete then all before matriculation.
    Also, it's a big deal and PITA to apply for HPSP, even on AD. You're going to have to go to the recruiters and join the military all over again, even though you're AD. Because you're enlisted, you will still need a commissioning physical (DD2807 & DD2808). You will even need your birth certificate, social security card, and you will need to fill out another SF-702 (the really Long security clearance form). So you've got lots of work to do. I also recommend applying to all branches. I know your heart is in the AF, but they may not take you. If they do, go. But if not, have the Army and Navy as backup.

    @wezleesun` is giving good advice for a traditional applicant. If possible, take the classes at a 4-year. But I know you work during the day and finding a school nearby that will give you the prereqs you need is tough. If a CC is your only option, then do that, you'll be fine. You are not held to the same standard as someone who is a full-time student with no job.

    Wow, thanks for all the info. You seem to have been through the process. Are you prior enlisted by chance? If I am accepted into a dental school 2 years deep into a 4 year re-enlistment, it's probably not unheard of to get an early conditional release? Also, I should begin talking to all service recruiters as soon as I've been accepted into a dental school right?

    I'm definitely going to checkout out those DAT resources you mentioned also.
     

    schmoob

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    Wow, thanks for all the info. You seem to have been through the process. Are you prior enlisted by chance? If I am accepted into a dental school 2 years deep into a 4 year re-enlistment, it's probably not unheard of to get an early conditional release? Also, I should begin talking to all service recruiters as soon as I've been accepted into a dental school right?

    I'm definitely going to checkout out those DAT resources you mentioned also.
    Definitely not unheard of. Depending on how cool your CO is, you should be able to get a conditional release since you will be commissioning as a reservist. Lots of them love to see an enlisted troop work their way into a predoctoral program, and will support you. Not all, but most. Keep your CoC in the loop. Even if you're accepted 2 years into a 4 year contract, chances are you'll matriculate at least 6 months later. Hopefully they will even give you enough time to get OTS, BOLC, ODS, etc knocked out of the way. The reason it SHOULDN'T be a big deal is because even though you're getting released from AD 2 years early, you're signing on as a reservist for 4, with an additional 4+ of AD afterwards. They know they've got you for a while.
    I recommend talking to the recruiter well before your acceptance. Remember, the FY opens in October and dental admission decisions are released Dec 1st. You will want to have a completed package well before then. Plus if you have any medical issues, you want time to address them and get any waivers. When December 1st comes and you are offered a seat, you want to put that into an ALREADY COMPLETED package to send up to the board. Remember, the earlier you submit your app, the better your chances. This goes for dental school AND HPSP. I recommend once you submit your dental school application in June, go to the recruiter so you can start your HPSP packet. Its going to be a long process and a huge pain, but once you get to where you want to be, it will all be worth it. This is what separates you from those not willing to put on the effort. The juice IS worth the squeeze.
    Keep the questions coming if you have more, I am happy to help in any way.
     
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    Shinton56

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    Definitely not unheard of. Depending on how cool your CO is, you should be able to get a conditional release since you will be commissioning as a reservist. Lots of them love to see an enlisted troop work their way into a predoctoral program, and will support you. Not all, but most. Keep your CoC in the loop. Even if you're accepted 2 years into a 4 year contract, chances are you'll matriculate at least 6 months later. Hopefully they will even give you enough time to get OTS, BOLC, ODS, etc knocked out of the way. The reason it SHOULDN'T be a big deal is because even though you're getting released from AD 2 years early, you're signing on as a reservist for 4, with an additional 4+ of AD afterwards. They know they've got you for a while.
    I recommend talking to the recruiter well before your acceptance. Remember, the FY opens in October and dental admission decisions are released Dec 1st. You will want to have a completed package well before then. Plus if you have any medical issues, you want time to address them and get any waivers. When December 1st comes and you are offered a seat, you want to put that into an ALREADY COMPLETED package to send up to the board. Remember, the earlier you submit your app, the better your chances. This goes for dental school AND HPSP. I recommend once you submit your dental school application in June, go to the recruiter so you can start your HPSP packet. Its going to be a long process and a huge pain, but once you get to where you want to be, it will all be worth it. This is what separates you from those not willing to put on the effort. The juice IS worth the squeeze.
    Keep the questions coming if you have more, I am happy to help in any way.

    Thanks for the info again! I talked to the AF Dental Corps education officer and he gave me some info about AD members. Turns out, they have about 8 4-year HPSP dental scholarships that are reserved only for Active Duty, ROTC, USAFA each year. Lest year only one scholarship was utilized and the year before that only one was utilized. Also, he said separating early shouldn't be an issue unless it's a critically-manned career field (denal asst is not). So my goal right now is making sure I ace all pre-reqs and start preparing for the DAT.

    You said June next year is when I should start applying for dental schools. As I mentioned before, I'll still be taking pre-reqs until the end of December, which you said shouldn't be an issue. the thing I'm worried about is taking the DAT before I taken organic chem 2 or physics 2. Do you think that'll hurt me, or as long as I've taken all Bio and the first half of chem/physics I should be okay?
     

    schmoob

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    Thanks for the info again! I talked to the AF Dental Corps education officer and he gave me some info about AD members. Turns out, they have about 8 4-year HPSP dental scholarships that are reserved only for Active Duty, ROTC, USAFA each year. Lest year only one scholarship was utilized and the year before that only one was utilized. Also, he said separating early shouldn't be an issue unless it's a critically-manned career field (denal asst is not). So my goal right now is making sure I ace all pre-reqs and start preparing for the DAT.

    You said June next year is when I should start applying for dental schools. As I mentioned before, I'll still be taking pre-reqs until the end of December, which you said shouldn't be an issue. the thing I'm worried about is taking the DAT before I taken organic chem 2 or physics 2. Do you think that'll hurt me, or as long as I've taken all Bio and the first half of chem/physics I should be okay?
    There is no physics on the DAT so you're safe. You'll be fine. You're on the right track, ace those classes, study for your DAT, AND you'll do just fine. Just make sure you keep those EPR's looking good and have some extracurricular stuff in there. You want to be a well rounded candidate for Dental School and the AF.
     
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