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Taking a year off to become stronger applicant or Apply this cycle?Graduating Senior!

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DentalSB2016

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Hey guys,
Im a graduating senior this upcoming June and have been pre-dental for the last couple of years. I am a Biopsychology major so I have taken all the prerequisites for dental school; Bio, Gen Chem, Ochem, Physics, Physiology, and a quarter of Genetics.

I currently have around a 3.2 GPA and have not taken nor studied for my DAT yet. I was thinking of studying immediately to be able to take the test in two months and apply this June so I only have to take one year off but I am not 100% sure that is the best idea. I have shadowed at one dental office for around 6 months and part of the pre-dental club on campus. I could apply this cycle and rush my application or.....

What I am thinking and would like some feedback and responses from others is to graduate college in June, take a month or two for summer/travel and then starting this upcoming September take an extension course in my hometown to boost my GPA, maybe a biochem or another science course (if anyone recommends any good sciences courses taught in the LA area) and concurrently while taking that course I will set up a 2-3 month timeline to study for my DAT and really focus on getting the best possible score I can.

Other than taking an extra class and studying for the DAT, I wanted to get a shadowing job or even a dental assisting job but it seems like you have to have a hookup with a dentist to be able to get a paid job. I have heard working in a dental lab looks great for an applicant which is something I am looking into. My question is what are some other things I can do to help make me a better candidate and help my chances into getting into dental school. My top priorities are studying for my DAT and boosting my GPA, but i know after December when I am done, I will have a lot of time until I apply in June and then again another year to wait for interviews.

Additionally I am looking to find a paid job rather than just shadowing so if anyone has some ideas on how to get paid while also gaining experience that would be great. Sorry for the long rant but I am just stressing out on what I am going to do with two years off. Cant wait to hear what everyone has to say. Thanks for the help in advance.
 

pgex2t

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Your situation is very similar to what mine was (are you UCLA psychobio by chance?). From what you've posted, your app so far doesn't sound too strong EC-wise. If you manage to score very well on the DAT (22+) and manage to write an excellent personal statement, some schools may be willing to give you a chance this coming cycle. If not, many doors will be closed to you. I'd personally recommend you to take a year to not only make sure to ace the DAT, but to become more involved in the community service areas (as well as shadowing a small variety of dentists). Do something meaningful for yourself while demonstrating to adcoms you care about your community (pretty important for CA schools esp. if you have a low cgpa and sgpa). Again, I'd place an emphasis on acing the DAT-some doors will open just purely based off that. Regarding paid work, my friends who get paid in a practice all found their gigs on craigslist.

Edit: grammar is hard
 
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MRZ8

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What was your overall GPA and science GPA in your last two years? I maintained 3.3 or 3.4 overall but shot up to 3.5 by acing my senior year before graduation. Day after graduation, I studied for 8 weeks and aced the DAT (my study tips in signature). After DAT, I applied.

This decision depends on your confidence and rests on when you want to get into dental school: after one gap year or after two gap years. If your extracurriculars are lacking and if your science GPA is <3.3, then I suggest you improve them this year and apply June 2017. This gives you solid time to take (or retake) the DAT.

A paid job does not mean a better job. Dental schools want to see a recommendation from a dentist you shadowed over a long period of time. Seems like you have that. Key to acceptance: ensure your application reeks of dental-related experiences. Be careful; you might need licensing in your state for a dental assisting job. You didn't mention recommendations; if you apply this summer, you'll need them, ideally from a pre-health committee if there is one.
 

sweetpeeas

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What was your overall GPA and science GPA in your last two years? I maintained 3.3 or 3.4 overall but shot up to 3.5 by acing my senior year before graduation. Day after graduation, I studied for 8 weeks and aced the DAT (my study tips in signature). After DAT, I applied.

This decision depends on your confidence and rests on when you want to get into dental school: after one gap year or after two gap years. If your extracurriculars are lacking and if your science GPA is <3.3, then I suggest you improve them this year and apply June 2017. This gives you solid time to take (or retake) the DAT.

A paid job does not mean a better job. Dental schools want to see a recommendation from a dentist you shadowed over a long period of time. Seems like you have that. Key to acceptance: ensure your application reeks of dental-related experiences. Be careful; you might need licensing in your state for a dental assisting job. You didn't mention recommendations; if you apply this summer, you'll need them, ideally from a pre-health committee if there is one.

Definitely agree with what has been said above. I took two gap years (grad in 2013 and applied in 2015). Time off was crucial for me to gain perspective & a handle on why dentistry, improve my GPA, DAT and ECs in general. Don't rush your application if you don't feel confident or ready. It will be a waste of money. If this is your dream, take your time!
 

DentalSB2016

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Definitely agree with what has been said above. I took two gap years (grad in 2013 and applied in 2015). Time off was crucial for me to gain perspective & a handle on why dentistry, improve my GPA, DAT and ECs in general. Don't rush your application if you don't feel confident or ready. It will be a waste of money. If this is your dream, take your time!
Thanks for the response. Since it sounds like you did something I am thinking of, taking two years off, what did you do once you graduated and up until the time you got accepted? What did you pursue to get a better handle on "why dentistry" and what ECs did you take on? Thanks
 

sweetpeeas

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Thanks for the response. Since it sounds like you did something I am thinking of, taking two years off, what did you do once you graduated and up until the time you got accepted? What did you pursue to get a better handle on "why dentistry" and what ECs did you take on? Thanks

I PM'd you
 

AbcessivelyCompulsive

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Your situation is very similar to what mine was (are you UCLA psychobio by chance?). From what you've posted, your app so far doesn't sound too strong EC-wise. If you manage to score very well on the DAT (22+) and manage to write an excellent personal statement, some schools may be willing to give you a chance this coming cycle. If not, many doors will be closed to you. I'd personally recommend you to take a year to not only make sure to ace the DAT, but to become more involved in the community service areas (as well as shadowing a small variety of dentists). Do something meaningful for yourself while demonstrating to adcoms you care about your community (pretty important for CA schools esp. if you have a low cgpa and sgpa). Again, I'd place an emphasis on acing the DAT-some doors will open just purely based off that. Regarding paid work, my friends who get paid in a practice all found their gigs on craigslist.

Edit: grammar is hard

Oh hey! I went to UCLA, too! And I was in a similar situation.

I ended up taking two years off, and I honestly think it was one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life. The extra time allowed me to ace the DAT, take a basic dental anatomy course, shadow dentists, travel (A LOT), and work to make enough money to fund applications + interview traveling.

For work, I currently work as a clinical research assistant and I tutor. Tutoring was very beneficial in studying the DAT because it reinforced everything I was learning. The test really isn't that hard. You could probably study for it within 4-8 weeks, depending on your study habits.

23 AA | 23 TS | 24 RC | 21 PAT

I'm excited for you!
 
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