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Previous med applicant, I have a chance?

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by msdent123, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. msdent123

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    Hi everyone, I am currently two years out of college and work in a hematology medical research lab at Harvard Med. I made a tough decision a few years ago to take the MCAT and apply to medical school instead of dental school and ended up scoring poorly on the MCAT and not getting in to medical school. I have spent a lot of time since then with an uncle of mine that is a dentist and I currently spend one day a week shadowing at a local dentist office in Boston, which should amount to over 100 hours before I would be applying to schools. I won’t go too much into the decision making process, but I am very confident that I will have made the right decision this time to apply to dental school.

    I studied for the last few months and took the DAT and got AA: 20 TS: 21 PAT: 19 and graduated from college with a 4.0. In addition to that I have published 4 papers (1st author on one and 2nd on the other three), was the captain of varsity tennis team in college and have volunteered for over hundred hours in a few different settings.

    I do not foresee myself quitting my current job, mostly because it pays the bills, keeps me in Boston, still find it to be a productive and rewarding thing, and do not want to try to find a new job in this current economy, but am looking for suggestions as to what I can do on top of this. Is my shadowing at a dental office the best thing that I can be doing? Is it enough? If not, do you have any better ideas?

    If anyone has had a similar experience and can offer any insight that would be great. I was wondering what of this information the Dental Schools will ask for? That I took the MCAT? If so, will they want to know scores and dates?

    I know that in a perfect world I would not be in this situation in the first place, but seeing that I am, any help that you have to offer is much appreciated.
     
  2. needa20

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    i took the mcat several years ago too. but i am not using dental school as a med school back up.

    It does ask on your AADSAS application and some other secondaries if you have taken the MCAT. I was honost and answerd yes.

    Just make sure that you fully explain it on your application or personal statement that this is not a med school back up.

    good luck and God bless
     
  3. Stephie3

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    yes, aadsas does ask if you've applied to medical school before or something like that.

    i think ad coms do frown on people who apply to both medical and dental school, because it doesn't show a total dedication to being a dentist. i was at a group interview and they asked us what would you be if you couldn't be a dentist. one girl replied that she would be a medical doctor. and both interviewers were like "did you apply to medical school too???" so i got the impression they dont like that.

    perhaps if you're really interested in research, develop an interest in oral/dental research. you've already done research, so that would be a good thing to emphasize at your interviews.

    if you are interested in doing like a DDS/PHD thing, perhaps that wouldn't be as frowned upon since you've already done a lot of research.

    i think when i got an interview at UB they encouraged people to apply to their DDS/PHD program.

    why not develop an interest in dental research and be able to talk about what you've been reading up on about dental research at your interviews? i think that would be a good way to go about it if you really want to go to dental school. plus, since you've already published stuff, you're probably at least decent at research (lol i'm a disaster at research! but applaud ppl who can do it)

    good luck :)
     
  4. Stephie3

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    p.s. that's kind of scary about the MCAT! i had a 4.0 too and similar DAT scores, so i'm glad i never had to experience the mcat because i freak out about reading long passages and answering tone questions and graphs and stuff like that
     
  5. AggieDDS

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    Welcome aboard! We need more medical school rejects.

    edit: I honestly doubt someone with a 4.0 would give up on his/her goals after one setback (i.e. doing bad on MCAT).
     
    #5 AggieDDS, Jan 2, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2009
  6. dent2009

    dent2009 YEEE BOI
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    i doubt adcoms would hold it against you that you applied to med school. Now you just have to explain your story in the personal statement without sounding like dent school is your backup. BUT if you REapply to med school while applying to dent school, then i'm sure adcoms would frown upon that. Your #s alone should get you some interviews so i wouldn't worry too much.
     
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  7. joonkimdds

    joonkimdds Senior Member
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    I think your GPA and DAT scores are excellent. We can't do anything about the past(Med) but we can only make our future brighter :D
     
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  8. Black Teeth

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    Very interesting scenario. Shadowing a dentist is a great start. But participating in dentistry is even better. Try getting work as a dental assistant or a hygienist. Participating in dentistry really shows a greater commitment than shadowing. It's the next best thing to getting a better understanding of dentistry without being a dentist. You can even volunteer at a dental school. At my dental school, there are many undergrads who volunteer in the chart room or the sterilization department. It gives them good exposure to a dental school, dental students, and to the field of dentistry in general. Many of the volunteers really impressed me by how much they have learned about the dental tools we use.

    As for the other issue, there is nothing wrong with exploring medicine before deciding on going to dentistry. Lots of dentists were in that situation, myself included. Actually, I once asked my classmates and about more than half of them were pre-med at one point. Many of them took the MCAT. We were all asked that infamous question, "why dentistry and not medicine?" Exploring medicine before going into dentistry never stopped any of my classmates or myself from getting into dental school. You just have to provide a good explanation for the career path that you choose which unfortunately, is easier said than done. To help you out, ask youself this question, "Is dentistry really all that different from medicine?" Research that topic a little bit and you'll discover the answer to that infamous question, "Why dentistry and not medicine?". I hope that helps you out. Good luck with everything.
     
  9. doc toothache

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  10. guslik

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    I think that finding dental assistant job is more realistic task than finding hygienist job. It would be impossible to become a practicing dental hygienist without a proper (minimum of 2 years) degree and RDH license. It is weird to hear such suggestion from the dentist, assuming that people in the dental field know the difference between dental assistant and hygienist training. I completely agree with the rest of the post.
     
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  11. Black Teeth

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    You are absolutely right that a practicing dental hygienist requires 2 years from a program for a license and I am fully aware of that when I suggested it as an option. And that's the point. MSDENT123 was looking for options other than shadowing and I gave him some. I disagree with you that being a dental assistant is the more realistic option. It's true that in many states, you can learn to be a dental assistant on the job without going to a program. The option of being a dental assistant or a dental hygienist is BOTH realistic. I think what you mean to say is that being a dental assistant is the EASIER and QUICKER option. MSDENT123 is only a few years out of school. He/ she has the time to become a dental hygienist if he is willing to put in the work. He/ she is already considered to be a non-traditional applicant and so some advice that is normally applicable to traditional applicants already does not apply to MSDENT123. On top of that, a licensed dental hygienist has a very good income and certainly has a significantly higher pay than a dental assistant. Although MSDENT123 has stated that he/ she is not looking for another job, this is information that needs to be mentioned because it could change his/ her mind. Furthermore, many dentists these days are handing off tasks to dental hygienist to perform that dentists have traditionally done themselves in the past such as polishing fillings and metal restorations, removing sutures, etc. In other words, the responsibilities of a dental hygienist are expanding and that was the other point I was trying to make. Since the function of a dental hygienist is expanding, it gives a dental school applicant an even closer simulation of what it is like to be a dentist. That having been said, the "participation" level in dentistry is much greater than that of a dental assistant and dental adcomms know that all too well. I think most people on SDN are aware of how competitive it is to get into dentistry these days. And that is exactly what it is…one big competition. A dental applicant needs to make his extracurricular activities look even better than the next applicant. An applicant can shadow a dentist. He/ She can even be a dental assistant which most people off the street can be as well. But how is that going to make the dental applicant any different than the thousands of other dental applicants on predent.com who have done the same thing? Sure…lots of people get in with just shadowing and being a dental assistant. But then again, there are JUST AS MANY if not more applicants who have shadowed and/ or worked as a dental assistant that don't get accepted into dental school. Why not make yourself the most attractive applicant you can be rather than rolling the dice and taking the chance of getting rejected and re-applying year after year? Moreover, MSDENT123 only recently applied to medical school and did not get accepted. Regardless of how awesome he answers the question "why dentistry and not medicine", he will have a difficult (although not impossible!) time convincing admissions people that he is not using dentistry as a back up. He/ she needs to put as much distance from his attempts to attend medical school as most he/ she can. Being a dental hygienist may help to do that. So what I'm trying to say is that taking the easier and quicker path is not always the best way and will probably make a dental applicant look like a clone of every other applicant. You have to keep in mind that the level of pre-dental extracurricular activity that worked to get myself and my classmates into dental school will probably not be enough today. There are always going to be those applicants every year that will push the envelope in terms of dental extracurricular activities and as a result, they will raise the bar for everyone else. Ask any dentist with 20+ years of experience what he/ she did to get into dental school and you'll probably discover that they did very minimal compared to what I did when I applied to dental school. In turn, what I did to get into dental school back then is probably considered minimal compared with what applicants should do today. With dentistry getting more difficult to get in, applicants should be prepared to go that extra mile if dentistry is truly the career path for them. I agree with Doc Toothache on many issues put forth on SDN. But he/ she uses statistics which by thier very nature are a reflection of past trends and not future trends. So as far as dental admissions is concerned or anything in the dental field in general, things that worked in the past become less applicable as time passes. The person that can anticipate how things WILL BE is way ahead of the curve. I hope I answered any questions that you may have.
     
    #11 Black Teeth, Jan 3, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2009
  12. guslik

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    Thanks for clarifying the dental hygienist pass of career for the OP. I agree that DH is a great profession (and the points you made) and, after your explanation, OP will understand that in order to get a dental hygienist job it will take more schooling and effort. With his great stats he/she will have no problem to get accepted into competitive dental hygiene program. In your first post it sounded that dental hygienist job can be obtained as easily as dental assistant job. Once again, thanks for thorough and clarifying second post.
     
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  13. doc toothache

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    If your stats are what you are claiming them to be, it is difficult to understand why you are so jittery about applying to ds. It appears that you have covered all the important bases. You may be called upon to justify your previous love affair, which should not present a problem since you will be neither the first nor last person not to show up at the altar. Shadowing a few gps and possibly some specialties should round up your credentials fairly well. Any consideration of leaving a job which appears to be in the realm of a marketable degree to chase a position as dental assistant or hygienist makes about as much sense as going back to CC to get an AA degree.
     
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    #13 doc toothache, Jan 3, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2009
  14. msdent123

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    Thank you guys very much for your advice and encouraging words. I will take all this into consideration in the next couple weeks and hopefully come up with a good plan for the next year!
     
  15. Dentgirl09

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    Gluck... I'm sure you'll be fine. :):):thumbup:
     
  16. Ranelar

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    The reading comp on the MCAT was much easier than the DAT imo. The passages on the DAT go on for 20 paragraphs, the MCAT has ~5 short paragraphs.
     
  17. eternalxdemon

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    Just make sure when you apply in june you apply early!!!! the earlier the better!!!! :) good luck! :thumbup:
     
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  18. lhtran07

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    I was in the same situation this past year...but with less stellar stats.

    Graduated in May 2007, took the MCAT, applied and was rejected from med school. Currently working in a path lab as a pathology assistant going on 5 yrs now. I had decided on reapplying in 2008 and worked to improve my application by retaking the MCAT and participating in a summer program called Medical Explorations.

    Long story short...I'm very very very glad that I was not accepted to med school. I would've been miserable. I never knew what it really involved until I did Medical Explorations and worked with med students, residents, attendings, and private practice MD's. Ugh...absolutely horrible! Most of the MD's were overworked, spent more time charting than they saw patients, so many of them encouraged me to get out while I still could....go to D-school instead they said. So I took their advice and started shadowing dentists in August. Switched over from studying for the MCAT and took the DAT instead.

    Got a couple interviews in Dec and was accepted to UTmem a week afterward. So with your stats, I'm sure you'll have no problem snagging a spot somewhere.

    However, I was grilled at my UT interview about why I decided to switch to dent instead of re-applying for med. But as long as you're genuinely passionate about dentistry as a career and are honest...you'll do fine. I only shadowed for 50 hours but that was enough for me to know which career path I wanted, and the adcoms at the interviews thought it sufficient.

    If you have previously taken the MCAT and applied to med school....I believe d-schools know about it so I'd be honest about it.
     
  19. indpndntrd

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    Is it possible to volunteer at a dental school?
     
  20. 202781

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    In terms of passages on the DAT vs passages on the MCAT, the length does not make it hard, it is the passage itself and the questions that are asked from it. Questions on the MCAT are often abstract and require thought while questions on the DAT are concrete and usually only require one to search back and the answer will simply be what they have read (again not all the time but most of the time). Likewise on the other sections of the DAT, you answer questions that are concrete and come from memorization of a bunch of material. On the MCAT one must be able to see a completely new idea or formula or process and using his or her knowledge of things that they have studied to solve the problem at hand.

    I HATE when people compare the two professions saying that those that cannot cut it in med school just go to dental school or podiatry school, because that is not the case MOST people go to dental school because they are facinated by the profession. That being said... I think you would be hard pressed to find many people who actually think dental school is more difficult to get into, or more difficult than med school in general.
     
  21. cjpark84

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    I took the MCAT in 06, did well, applied to med school, decided not to go to med school, then applied to dental school. The first time I applied to dental school I didn't get in anywhere even though my scores were good. I think having applied to med school negatively affected my application. Second time I applied I did much better.

    In short make sure that you show to the adcom for dental schools that you are sure about the switch to dentistry. Don't think that a well written personal statement explaining the switch would be good enough. You need to show it through your experiences. (i.e. work at a dental office and get a letter of recommendation from them) That should help a lot. Good luck!
     
  22. NyCzPeter

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    Yea thats true. These days to think that dental is a backup for med is a tough stretch since dental admissions is becoming really tough. Instead of comparing DATs to MCAT scores seeing as they are two completely different exams, just take a look at average GPA for admissions. The average for dental schools is only slightly lower. a 0.1 to 0.15 difference depending on your sources

    Just take a look at doc toothache's link. The mean for last year was a 3.54 and I believe a pre med told me its about a 3.6ish for med schools
     
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  23. doc toothache

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    Med schools enrollees have slightly higher mean gpa (3.65 vs 3.54) while for dental schools the applicant/enrollees ratio is slightly less favorable (2.38 vs 2.61).



    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=521462
     
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  24. AggieDDS

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    Is that med school figure including MD and DO schools?
     
  25. doc toothache

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    For 2005 ratio for DO was 2.1 and gpa was 3.54.
     
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  26. NyCzPeter

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    hey thats like the same stats as dental schools
     
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