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Starting dental school "late" in life...

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by chester23, Feb 1, 2005.

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  1. chester23

    chester23 Remember to Laugh

    Feb 1, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Hi folks,

    I couldn't find a thread open specifically about dental school so I thought I'd start one. Sorry if you've all been through this before!

    I'm 23 years old and taking my science classes at my local community college. I'm a good student and have been interested in dental school for about a year. I have a kid, a full time job, and can only take one or two lab courses a semester.

    By the time I transfer to the university and finish my undergraduate work I will be about 26 or 27. I was wondering if there are dentists who read this forum, or students, who started dental school "late" and could contribute their thoughts? Is it more or less difficult to get in to a program when the great majority of the students are several years younger than you?

    What outlook do non-traditional dental students AND dentists have post-schooling? Is age really not a factor after all?

    Any and all insights would be huge. Thanks!
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  3. Tamala

    Tamala Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 25, 2004
    Washington DC
    Hi, I am not a Dentist (yet) , but I am in the same boat. I am 24( will be 25 in about 25 days) and I just started to take my pre-req at a community college. I am actually having a really hard time adjusting to student life again.
    I feel extremly old,as it is I won't start Dental school until I am 26. I just look at the opportunites, and realize, its better to do it sooner then later.
  4. Nora

    Nora Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 26, 2001
    Please rest assured that at 25 or 26 or even 27/28, you are more traditional than you may think (when it comes to age alone). I wouldn't consider someone beginning training in a professional program at that age being 'late' in life. There are people in their 30s, 40s and even 50s beginning medical/ dental schools and even other professional programs such as teaching and social work. Don't concern yourself with age too much; instead, make sure that you build a really strong portfolio with a solid GPA, strong DAT scores, and shadowing. before you know it, you'd be a dentist and making grown people shake in their boots ;) .
  5. chester23

    chester23 Remember to Laugh

    Feb 1, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Hey ~

    Thanks a lot for your replies. I suppose I'm more "traditional" than I've been thinking, but when I didn't *start* JC until I was 22, when "everybody else" seemed to have gone straight from HS... and when I've had a kid, I just figured I was a little more unique than the average joe... after reading the posts around the forums though, I see that's not the case.

    You're right that what's most important is to build a strong portfolio. You also mentioned shadowing and I was wondering if there are threads here on SDN or websites that talk more about that process? Do any of you shadow and how exactly does that work?

    Thanks lot ~

    ILUVEZRA Junior Member

    Feb 14, 2005
    I will be 41 and applying to dental school next year. If you think you are nervous....I go to the same university as my 22 year old daughter! I even asked her before I returend to school if she thought she could survive if I promised not to enroll in any of her classes! She agreed... :thumbup:

  7. chemie02

    chemie02 Junior Member 5+ Year Member

    Jan 6, 2005
    My friend just turned 28 this year, and she is set to start dental school this upcoming fall. She worked for a couple of years before deciding that dental school was the way she wanted to go. I don't think age made a difference at all since she ended up getting into all her top choices (including NYU, UCLA, etc) :)

    The main thing was she really made it clear on her applications why she wanted to go into dentistry and took the necessary classes after graduating at a cc to fulfill all her pre-reqs, shadowed a dentist, etc

    Good luck!!!

  8. albuquerquegirl

    albuquerquegirl Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 22, 2004
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    I'm 27 and will start dental school a couple of months before my 28th birthday.

    At first I felt akward about being a little older then a lot of the students. But it went away and I actually feel more confident now then I would have been at 22. (True, many people are very mature 22's), but personally I just feel more confident in my abilities (and limitations) and have experienced life a little bit more. I'm happier that I am older because I know dental school isn't going to pass me by. Having to wait helped me learn patience a little. I will truly enjoy everyday. I think I appreciate it a little more.

    Oh, by the way. During the interviews being older definitely helped. It's an asset, not a detrement.
  9. NoBraces

    NoBraces DS Survivor 2010 5+ Year Member

    Feb 27, 2005
    Hi all,

    I'm turning 27 in a few days and am taking steps towards applying for dental school next fall (I'll be 28). When I graduated from college I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, what career path to take. I had serious doubts about graduate school so unlike most of my peers I did not apply. I've work in academic research (botany and biomedical) since I graduated and found with utmost certainty that lab research/work is not for me. I tinkered with the idea of going to medical school. I've shadowed physicians and found that line of work is not for me. I do like being around people and helping people in any way that I can. It wasn't until a few months ago that the idea of going to dental school came to me. I realized with the help of my friend that major aspects of myself fit well with that career path. Now, I've found that the more I learn about the dental field the more I like it. I'm actually excited about taking the DAT :laugh:

    In retrospect, I'm glad I didn't jump into just any path after college (i.e. graduate school) and took a few years to go out and explore--to see what options are open to me. :)

    Follow your dreams!!
  10. jav316

    jav316 Member 5+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2005
    you really shouldnt feel old at all! Dentistry and medicine both have many students over the 22 yo range. (i think the average age is around 25 now). besides, in your 20s, a difference of a couple of years really is just not significant. concentrate on getting your grades solid and scoring well on the dat. i'm 25 (turning 26 this month) and am taking a prep course at kaplan. the majority of the students are juniors in college and five years younger than me, but there are a few people my age and older. it's not really an issue. good luck!
  11. spc213

    spc213 SDN Donor 5+ Year Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    There's a great thread on the Pre-dental site with lots of inspiring stories, called, "The 28 and older club..." Read it, you'll be encouraged, and you'll get the idea that you are not alone at all in starting school later in life.

    I start D-school this summer, at 38. I wish I'd figured it out sooner!

    Good luck!
  12. backToSchool

    backToSchool Junior Member

    May 30, 2006
    I'm in the same boat, 26 yrs old and just started to take my pre reqs for dental school. I totally agree with you - I'm glad that I didn't just go to grad school to get my masters in Anything, even though I was confused as heck as to what my career path would be. Instead, I worked for biotech/pharma companies for 4 yrs, worked intimately with clinical data, and realized more and more each day that I loved learning about medicine, and wanted to take an active role to help people and to make a difference in their lives. I just don't want to be in a cubical 40 hrs a week anymore!

    We all need to stop and smell the roses sometimes. The non-traditional "scenic route", though obviously not the shortest, allowed things to "click" for me and gave me time to learn more about myself and what I really wanted in life. Now that I've found something I am deeply passionate about, I feel that I am more focused than I have ever been before.

    I believe the key to success is being focused, determined, passionate and persistent. Don't let the bad times get you down. When starting something new, just remember that we all have to crawl before we start walking. Have you ever seen a baby stop trying to walk after falling down a few times?? ;)

    Best of luck to all, regardless of which route you choose :D

  13. njbmd

    njbmd Guest Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    May 30, 2001
    Gone Walkabout!
    Hi Folks,
    Welcome to our forums for Non-Traditional professional students. I tutored dental students when I was in medical school and I can tell you that there was a good variety of ages from 22 to 45 in my tutoring sessions. The dental school at my university started with a class of 80 that had a diversity of ages similiar to the medical school. They were able to graduate 98% of their class and no one over 30 dropped out.

    I would encourage you to keep pressing on if dentistry is your goal. It is never too late to have the career that you want. I found the dental courses very interesting especially the labs. I made some great colleagues and we hung together until graduation.

    Dentistry is a great profession and has loads of options. Good luck with your quest.

    njbmd :)
    Your moderator
  14. aggie.teacher

    aggie.teacher Baylor 2011 2+ Year Member

    May 26, 2006
    I'm 26 and will start dental school at 27. After teaching high school science for 4 years, I realized that it was time for grad school and dentistry, like many of you, is absolutely the best option for me. I've loved going back to school and it feels really good to know I've worked really hard and tasted success so far. I agree that now I really know what's important and what I really want out of life...way more than I did at 21. It's worth all the effort so far! :thumbup:
  15. boyuk


    Feb 26, 2007
    Hi, I'm looking into changing careers from IT into something more rewarding and seriously considering dentistry. Over the past months I've been meeting many dentists and dental students and learning more about the field. I'm 27 now and have an undergraduate degree in Business. I know I'll have to do a lot of work to complete all of the needed pre-reqs for applying to dental school since business school prepared me for, well, business and not health science fields.

    So, my questions mainly concern the needed pre-reqs for application and the DAT.

    Should I look into completing another full undergraduate degree, this time in something like biology? Or would it suffice to take just the needed science classes (bio, chem, anatomy, physics, etc)? Would community college classes be a detriment as opposed to classes at a 4 year university?

    Any information would be great. Thanks so much.
  16. acole27


    May 7, 2008
    Its amazing how confident you sound. I'm 22 and just graduated with a Honors Medical Science program with a 74% average at a University (not so great). Now, I'm worried that I'm going to need extra schooling to make up for it and boost my dental school application. However, I'm ashamed about the disappointment of my friends and family about me possibly staying back 2 more years. I'm desperate for advice on how to make this work. PLEASE
  17. nu2004

    nu2004 5+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2008
    Los Angecagoveland
    This thread is very old; the last reply was more than a year ago from someone who apparently did not stick around, and the reply before that is two years old!

    You should start a new thread in the Pre-Dental forum. You'll probably get more feedback there. Good luck!
  18. Azadeh

    Azadeh New Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 11, 2004
    Chester, I started late too and got into dental school in my late 30's, so no worries if you really want to do it you WILL,
    Good Luck and don't give up :)

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