Non-traditional pre-dental student here with a few questions.

DBarrett

New Member
Jan 11, 2014
9
5
  1. Pre-Dental
    I'm 25 and have always had an interest in Dentistry. However, I went in to Real Estate Investments right out of high school, became a licensed Broker, and founded/currently operate a very successful residential real estate investment company(currently working with $5 million in capital). I have to absolutely bust ass(12+ hour days, 6-7 days a week, tons of stress) in order to maintain this success, though...I don't want to do this for my entire career.

    I've learned a TON about business, investing, marketing, etc. I've also made all sorts of great contacts in the industry...I wouldn't change any of that for the world. However, I still have a big interest in Dentistry and the idea of eventually owning my own practice.

    I'll be finished with my Sophomore year of under-grad after this spring semester. My GPA is ~3.75, and I plan on maintaining/improving it over the next two years. I'm at the point now where I want to put the real estate on the back burner and throw everything I have at finishing under-grad and getting in to a dental school...It's kind of a now or never situation in my mind. I feel that if I don't pull the trigger now, I'll end up getting married/having a kid/etc and never do it.


    Anyways, I'm wondering if any of this back-story will help me during the application process? Will the fact that I'll be 27-28 when I finish my Bachelors have any negative effects? Also, I'm self-taught in CAD and have quite a bit of experience with 3-axis CNC mills and 3D printers...I know this stuff is going to become more and more prevalent in the dental field in the coming years. Will any of this be worth mentioning during interviews or in personal statements?
     

    rmw3

    Full Member
    Dec 23, 2013
    50
    23
    1. Dental Student
      I'm 25 and have always had an interest in Dentistry. However, I went in to Real Estate Investments right out of high school, became a licensed Broker, and founded/currently operate a very successful residential real estate investment company(currently working with $5 million in capital). I have to absolutely bust ass(12+ hour days, 6-7 days a week, tons of stress) in order to maintain this success, though...I don't want to do this for my entire career.

      I've learned a TON about business, investing, marketing, etc. I've also made all sorts of great contacts in the industry...I wouldn't change any of that for the world. However, I still have a big interest in Dentistry and the idea of eventually owning my own practice.

      I'll be finished with my Sophomore year of under-grad after this spring semester. My GPA is ~3.75, and I plan on maintaining/improving it over the next two years. I'm at the point now where I want to put the real estate on the back burner and throw everything I have at finishing under-grad and getting in to a dental school...It's kind of a now or never situation in my mind. I feel that if I don't pull the trigger now, I'll end up getting married/having a kid/etc and never do it.


      Anyways, I'm wondering if any of this back-story will help me during the application process? Will the fact that I'll be 27-28 when I finish my Bachelors have any negative effects? Also, I'm self-taught in CAD and have quite a bit of experience with 3-axis CNC mills and 3D printers...I know this stuff is going to become more and more prevalent in the dental field in the coming years. Will any of this be worth mentioning during interviews or in personal statements?

      I think the nontraditional background will look good on your application along with your business and technological savvy, but I think it's important to still develop your interest in dentistry to convince adcoms that this is what you really want. Have you done any job shadowing? And lots of dental students are nearing 30.
       
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      rmw3

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      Dec 23, 2013
      50
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      1. Dental Student
        Yes, I have done some shadowing...I hope to have at least 200+ hours with a couple different dentists by the time I start the application process.
        Well your gpa is solid so as long as you get a decent DAT score and get good letters of recommendation I see an excellent application that would certainly stand out from the rest!
         

        DBarrett

        New Member
        Jan 11, 2014
        9
        5
        1. Pre-Dental
          Thanks for the input. The competitiveness of the application process just has me a little nervous.

          I should do well on the DAT. I've always tested well in general, and I plan on putting some serious effort in to preparing for the test...So hopefully I can pull off a decent score.
           

          mds7

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          5+ Year Member
          Nov 15, 2012
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          1. Dental Student
            I'm a non traditional as well. I have two degrees in music I should be matriculating to into Dental School when I'm 27. The most important thing at this point to keep your grades up, and do well on the DAT. Definitely start volunteering now!!!
             

            WIinNC

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            Navy
            Jan 3, 2012
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            1. Dental Student
              I'll be matriculating in the fall when I'm 28. Some schools love to see non-trad applicants who ventured into another career before devoting themselves to dentistry. You'll have more going for you as well, since you were successful in your first career. For your personal statement, I would definitely mention your work ethic and the success that you've had and how you're leaving it all to pursue dentistry because that is your true passion. When you get your interviews, the schools will want to hear about your accomplishments, but see that you are PERSONABLE at the same time. I say go for it. As long as your OGPA/SGPA stay above a 3.4/3.3 and your DAT is at or above 19 with no section below 18, you'll have multiple interviews (assuming you apply smartly to 15+ schools).
               

              sjv

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                Thanks for the input. The competitiveness of the application process just has me a little nervous.

                I should do well on the DAT. I've always tested well in general, and I plan on putting some serious effort in to preparing for the test...So hopefully I can pull off a decent score.

                Keep GPA up, its solid right now, do well on DAT, shadow, etc. You're on the right track and being non-trad will definitely help you, having "life experiences" is a huge plus on your application.
                 

                techyguy

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                Jan 14, 2013
                315
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                1. Pre-Dental
                  Shadow some specialists, do a few MOM clinics (very important), and get some good volunteer work in. Go on some dental school tours, and get to know some admins in admissions from those schools, and whatever pre-health adviser at your current school who will be writing a committee letter.

                  I happened to meet one D2 student who was in real-estate, and I know several who are 28+. By the way, straight-A's, or damn close to it really helps. Your DATs should be very good. You know as well as anyone that undergrad is kiddie stuff, and the DAT barely scratches the surface of a hard couple weeks of work, so ace that stuff.

                  I'm a non-traditional student, too, but I'm still waiting to hear back from a couple schools after some interviews. When I do, obviously I will have cracked the code, and I'll want to share more. =)

                  edited to add: Do not shun your school's pre-dental or pre-health clubs. I also talked to 2 non-traditional candidates who had just learned that such clubs existed at our school roughly 6 months after they'd already finished all their pre-reqs. One of them had actually already applied and gotten rejected. Something like 80% of the people who got into our state school had a committee letter from our pre-health committee. I have no idea what's actually in those things, but they seem to help.
                   
                  Last edited:

                  techyguy

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                  Jan 14, 2013
                  315
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                  1. Pre-Dental
                    For your personal statement, I would definitely mention your work ethic and the success that you've had and how you're leaving it all to pursue dentistry because that is your true passion. When you get your interviews, the schools will want to hear about your accomplishments, but see that you are PERSONABLE at the same time.

                    My one regret about my personal statement is that I barely mentioned my "previous" career. I said I'd worked my way up from one end of the spectrum to another, but to a bunch of dentists, it may sound just as vague as the way I just described it. I've actually had a very enviable career arc in my field, and my Masters degree has helped land a couple highly sought-after jobs, but I kind of downplayed that.

                    I should note, the head of admissions at one of my state schools actually said, in our interview, after we'd all obviously made our life choices to get that far, that his crew prefers people with some life experience outside of dentistry, and prefers to create a class with diverse backgrounds. He said biology majors do tend to fill up the class, but they valued other backgrounds and experience more highly.

                    That's why I would suggest meeting with some admissions people at your local schools. Find out if they actually think about career diversity, and figure out how much you should play it up. I would think that your success would make you an enviable candidate almost anywhere, though.
                     

                    bgriff

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                    Apr 20, 2011
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                      Just finished interviews. They absolutely love seeing non-trads. The interviewers say they've been waiting to talk to me because its an interesting story. Think about this: the majority of students are all just graduated or still in senior year of college. Think back to how dumb you were back then compared to now. It's not only refreshing to interview someone with a more mature mentality, but most schools would say that having that mentality represented is vital to the continued success of their dental institution. Keep in mind that I'm not indicting the 21 or 22 year olds, but even the best 22 year olds will be a better person when they're 27/28.

                      Some schools with secondaries will directly ask you about your experience with spatial reasoning and hand skills. That's your time to shine.

                      It's one thing to follow a path that you or your parents set from high school. It's another thing entirely to find success in another industry, only to get up and leave on your own terms. You're either stupid as **** or an incredibly interesting person that will succeed. Good GPA and DAT scores take care of the stupid, so that only leaves the latter.
                       

                      WIinNC

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                      Jan 3, 2012
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                      1. Dental Student
                        My one regret about my personal statement is that I barely mentioned my "previous" career. I said I'd worked my way up from one end of the spectrum to another, but to a bunch of dentists, it may sound just as vague as the way I just described it. I've actually had a very enviable career arc in my field, and my Masters degree has helped land a couple highly sought-after jobs, but I kind of downplayed that.

                        I should note, the head of admissions at one of my state schools actually said, in our interview, after we'd all obviously made our life choices to get that far, that his crew prefers people with some life experience outside of dentistry, and prefers to create a class with diverse backgrounds. He said biology majors do tend to fill up the class, but they valued other backgrounds and experience more highly.

                        That's why I would suggest meeting with some admissions people at your local schools. Find out if they actually think about career diversity, and figure out how much you should play it up. I would think that your success would make you an enviable candidate almost anywhere, though.

                        I don't know if I'd advise doing it the way I did, but my PS was very focused on my accomplishments in the Marine Corps, and my desire to serve (in general), and didn't go too much into specific reasons for dentistry. Looking back, I'd probably talk a little more about my desire to practice dentistry, but still try to keep the specific examples of service and leadership in there that related to the Marine Corps. It really is a crap shoot and depends on what qualities a school wants to see in it's applicants (I'm sure we've all heard this plenty of times).
                         
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