5+ Year Member
Jun 14, 2013
College Station, TX
Hey guys,

A small bit of background... I am currently in my senior year of undergrad preparing my application to enter dental school fall of 2015. I graduate in May and as of now I have no idea what I am going to do for most of my gap year. I'm looking to see the world, so right now I'm planning a long trip to New Zealand for around 2 months to take a solo backpack trip the spring of 2015. Is this an okay time to do this?

I plan on having my application sent out early this summer (2014). What does the time commitment look like after applications are sent out? Will I need to hang out in my college town waiting for interviews? Or is it okay to do some traveling? I would love to try to find an exciting job somewhere new. I have opportunities to work on a fishing boat in Alaska for the summer for example. Is it okay to go do something like that for the summer, or do I need to stay put waiting for interviews?

Sorry for the long post and random questions. Just trying to figure out what to do with my time.

Thanks for any input!
Oct 24, 2012
Resident [Any Field]
Take a look at when interviews began rolling in over the past few cycles, I think the earliest interviews this year were conducted around mid-August. Case and Nova were two schools that got a solid jump on the cycle. LECOM started fairly early, too. It's tricky, though, because having solid internet access is important; secondaries flow in haphazardly from June - August. Some have deadlines that you'll need to meet, others are open-ended. I wouldn't travel during this time - secondaries are time consuming and often require things that you won't have while backpacking abroad, even if you did have internet access (stamps, envelopes, printer, Post Office)

From August on, it'll be interview season - you'll need to be able to travel on short notice (UCSF, for example, let me know only about a week before my interview date and won't reschedule). The process is not cheap - I've probably spent over $2000 already on flights, hotels, food, rental cars, etc, and I've only been to five interviews so far.

Your best bet to travel with any left-over funds would be from December 2014 to May 2015, if you're lucky enough to have an acceptance on December 2nd from a school you want to go to. You might have an acceptance from a school that you'd settle for, but are still holding out for a post-dec interview at your state school. In that case, traveling might be a no-go.

So in summary - it depends on how much money you have, and what kind of response you get from schools early on in the process.
Aug 13, 2013
I applied when I was a senior as well, but I did not want to sit around or even work for year because I knew it would be harder for me to get back into studying. I chose to apply to Master's programs, but I chose one year rigorous programs that would prepare for dental school. Also, Just incase I don't get in this year, I would lose too much and sit around for another year. Also, if i have to apply again next year(I really hope not) I would be a more competitive applicant. That's my opinion, but I know other people that just took the year off!
Oct 17, 2013
I think it would be a great idea if you took some business courses (if you haven't already). After dental school, most graduates plan to open their own practice, and for that, it's always good to have a little bit of background on how to run a business. I have about three friends who are currently in dental school and they all minored in business because they knew that it would come in handy some day.