Recent college graduate wondering what I need to do outside of DAT

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New Member
Dec 5, 2023
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Hi everyone! I graduated early in December 2022. I was a premed and ultimately decided not to pursue a medical degree a couple of months after I graduated. It was in October when I first began shadowing a dentist and realized I could see myself being a dentist. That being said, I'm incredibly behind in trying to do everything for May applications. I currently have a little over 50 shadowing hours (combo of 3 with gen, 2 ortho, 2 peds), but little else has been done since I decided in November that I believed that I did want to commit myself to this.

I currently watch an elementary school student Monday-Friday, so I work very odd hours, which has made trying to find an internship/job in the dental field difficult. I am there 6:30-8:30am/4:00-7:30 pm. I understand this job is impractical, but I work for a single mom who cannot afford to move to where she works and would have to sell her house if I decided to leave the job for normal hours. I am also considering working as a receptionist for a pediatric nurse practitioner 2 days a week. I am on edge because I will be studying during my free hours and this takes 2 days away since I’ll be working 6:30am-7:30pm. I’d love to hear opinions on if this job is worth taking or if I need to find something in the dental field instead. I know the NP and have a great relationship with her, but if it will not help my application, I do not know if I will do it, although it is patient interaction.

I also have been out of school for 4 years, so I am unsure what to do for my letters of recommendation. I took my core classes during covid, so it was difficult to form meaningful relationships with my professors through the screen. I’d love to know your advice on what to do since the 3-4 year gap and covid courses are making me concerned that my letters of rec will fail to be strong. In addition, because of covid the first 2 years of college, it was difficult to find internships. I also do not have all the experiences traditional students had in undergrad. Because of covid I could not find an internship freshman year, sophomore year I was able to shadow in a radiology office, junior year I volunteered in an urgent care for over 200 hrs. Involvement wise, I was Panhellenic delegate of my sorority junior-senior year. I also was part of a CI dealing with psychological research in elementary school girls for 1 year. I am worried these are not enough for my application, and am dedicated to trying to make up the missed time I spent not participating in pre-dental activities.

I’d love some guidance on what you think I must focus on and if I need to be looking for a dental office job instead!

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Shadowing and working in a dental environment. Become a dental assistant and get yourself certified in X-rays and sterilization. Practice on hand skills and working with gloves, masks, and face shields. You gotta love doing this, and following an NP won't help you take the committed plunge to dentistry so much. Go all in.