wcombs

5+ Year Member
Sep 4, 2011
287
4
Gainesville, FL
Status
Dental Student
Hey guys,

I'm about to start writing my personal statement and there are definitely things I want to include, but as I review it in my head it sounds like I'm just throwing a pity party for myself which is absolutely NOT the message I want to convey. I hope you guys have some input for how I can write my PS and possibly still include these points.

1. I had a really terrible first year of college. Shortly before I left my hometown for my university my father killed himself and it had a significant impact on my grades. I completely murdered any chance at a high GPA by making Cs Ds and Fs that year. I took a year off and have held a 4.0 GPA since (I'm a senior now) but that still only translates to a 3.2 overall GPA. Thankfully I only took one science that year so my science GPA is a 3.6 and my BCP is a 3.8.

2. I had braces for 3 years when I was younger and didn't take the best care of my teeth and they are pretty badly demineralized because of it (white rings where the brackets were and along gum line). It has caused self esteem issues and I hope to have it taken care of before dental school starts to avoid judgement from my peers. Long story short, this is one of the leading reasons I'm so interested in dentistry and I want to let them know that without sounding like I'm a whiny baby.

Any advice on how I should construct my PS? There's obviously a limit on how much I can write unfortunately--I'm currently debating whether I should focus on how I've picked myself up off the floor and grown as a person following a tragic event or if I should take the opportunity to explain how my interest in dentistry stems from wanting to help people achieve the self confidence that comes with a great smile; something I know about from personal experience.

As the title suggests, the purpose of including either of these isn't to make them feel sorry for me, I just feel like I need to explain those grades and of course my interest in the field. I also worry they might think I'm taking advantage of a tragedy to get into dental school. What should I put in the PS? What should I save for the interview? Should I briefly mention one thing and then expect to explain it in the interview? Sorry to bombard with questions, I just hope someone can understand the situation :)

If it helps to know my stats, my overall GPA is a 3.2, science GPA is 3.6, BCP is 3.8. I have about 100 or so volunteer hours, work experience in a hospital as well as tutoring, some club involvement and I will do my first semester of research this fall. DAT scores are:

AA/TS/Bio/GC/OC/RC/QR/PAT
24/25/26/23/27/24/19/24

If you were me, how would you approach it? Also would anyone be willing to read the rough draft and give me some feedback? I should have a draft by Sunday. Thank you guys so much!
 
Jan 25, 2012
334
3
Status
Pre-Dental
Hey guys,

I'm about to start writing my personal statement and there are definitely things I want to include, but as I review it in my head it sounds like I'm just throwing a pity party for myself which is absolutely NOT the message I want to convey. I hope you guys have some input for how I can write my PS and possibly still include these points.

1. I had a really terrible first year of college. Shortly before I left my hometown for my university my father killed himself and it had a significant impact on my grades. I completely murdered any chance at a high GPA by making Cs Ds and Fs that year. I took a year off and have held a 4.0 GPA since (I'm a senior now) but that still only translates to a 3.2 overall GPA. Thankfully I only took one science that year so my science GPA is a 3.6 and my BCP is a 3.8.

2. I had braces for 3 years when I was younger and didn't take the best care of my teeth and they are pretty badly demineralized because of it (white rings where the brackets were and along gum line). It has caused self esteem issues and I hope to have it taken care of before dental school starts to avoid judgement from my peers. Long story short, this is one of the leading reasons I'm so interested in dentistry and I want to let them know that without sounding like I'm a whiny baby.

Any advice on how I should construct my PS? There's obviously a limit on how much I can write unfortunately--I'm currently debating whether I should focus on how I've picked myself up off the floor and grown as a person following a tragic event or if I should take the opportunity to explain how my interest in dentistry stems from wanting to help people achieve the self confidence that comes with a great smile; something I know about from personal experience.

As the title suggests, the purpose of including either of these isn't to make them feel sorry for me, I just feel like I need to explain those grades and of course my interest in the field. I also worry they might think I'm taking advantage of a tragedy to get into dental school. What should I put in the PS? What should I save for the interview? Should I briefly mention one thing and then expect to explain it in the interview? Sorry to bombard with questions, I just hope someone can understand the situation :)

If it helps to know my stats, my overall GPA is a 3.2, science GPA is 3.6, BCP is 3.8. I have about 100 or so volunteer hours, work experience in a hospital as well as tutoring, some club involvement and I will do my first semester of research this fall. DAT scores are:

AA/TS/Bio/GC/OC/RC/QR/PAT
24/25/26/23/27/24/19/24

If you were me, how would you approach it? Also would anyone be willing to read the rough draft and give me some feedback? I should have a draft by Sunday. Thank you guys so much!
Hello. First, I'm very sorry about your father. I can't imagine going through that and bouncing back the way you have. I think that should be more of the focus for your personal statement. If you feel like it's turning into a pity party (as you said), talk about it at the beginning but then shift the focus most of the rest of the statement to all the things you've done since going through what happened. You've been so strong since that it really shows what an anomaly that year was, which will be evident without having to say it. It sounds like you really were able to use it as a driving force, and your grades and DAT scores show that. I think you should finish with how your braces experience translated to the interest in the field and what you've seen during your experiences shadowing in the field that has reinforced that interest. I think you're going to be in good shape as an applicant. You have time to make this a strong personal statement. I'm just making general suggestions, but it really should be you putting it all together. Nobody knows you better than yourself. Best of luck. :thumbup:
 

jeffity

7+ Year Member
Oct 23, 2009
2,536
258
Status
Dentist
I think you can incorporate both into your statement. Talking about why you want to go into dentistry is obvious PS material. As for your tragedy, you definitely don't want to throw yourself a pity party. I'm sure that event changed you. Talk about that. I wouldn't go into details about grades. That focuses on negative. It might be easy to get carried away trying to explain, but I think you could probably keep this portion brief and still convey the message.

Not to be callous to your background or to make light of a personal statement, but your stats are ninja-like. Based on numbers alone, the question that comes to mind is why your cGPA doesn't quite jive with your scores and other GPAs. A peek at your statement would clear that right up without you having to explain details.
 

timwatley

7+ Year Member
May 5, 2009
629
18
OR
www.ohsu.edu
Status
Pre-Dental, Dentist
Sorry about your father.
I would center your essay around overcoming obstacles, growing as a person, and how you are now able to be an asset to the field of dentistry based on your experiences. I would definitely mention those things but don't center your essay around them.
 
I

iralex801

As everyone said, sorry about your father. The one thing I would suggest about writing about personal obstacles/hardships is make sure you emphasize about how the event made you grow better as a person. This way it won't sound like a pity party.

And BTW, you deserve sympathy for such a tragic event. Most people, including me, have not experienced such a tragic event in our lives yet. Props to you for being able to overcome a difficult circumstance and thriving after it. You are a perfect example where GPA/scores don't tell the whole story about someone.
 

dantemac

5+ Year Member
Jan 16, 2011
2,279
17
Philadelphia, PA
Status
Dental Student
I would love to read a draft of this personal statement and provide feedback.

As a general rule, background personal info should not take more than a few sentences. If you need a paragraph or two just to explain hardships and how you found dentistry as a career, you are streaming your conscience too much. While your back story may be very interesting, remember it isn't relevant to your current burning passion for dentistry. Focus on that said passion.
 
OP
wcombs

wcombs

5+ Year Member
Sep 4, 2011
287
4
Gainesville, FL
Status
Dental Student
Thanks you guys, this is exactly what I wanted. It's nice to have a few outside opinions to work with so I can play with some ideas. I'll try to get a draft ASAP :)