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Undergraduate courses that may help in dental school. Would appreciate any insight!

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Dent34

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Hello, I am about to receive a biology undergraduate degree this May, and haven't yet applied to dental school (will be doing that this summer). In order to stay on scholarship and an insurance plan I needed to stay enrolled full time at a university throughout next academic year. I figured I might as well take courses actually applicable to Dental School, and would greatly appreciate any insight from students past and present on which courses would be the most advantageous. The options are, as following:

Clinical pharmacology
Pathophysiology
Medical Terminology
Principles of Dietetics and Nutrition
Molecular Cell Biology
Endocrinology
Pathogenic microbiology
Developmental Biology
Immunobiology
Neurobiology

Would greatly appreciate any insight!
 

Typical Average Student

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Ranked based on what I believe will help the most:
1) Medical Terminology (definitely)
2) neurobiology
3) developmental bio
4) molecular cell bio
5) endocrinology
6) immunology

The rest won't help much. Also to give you an idea, these undergrad upper level bio courses will only help you about 10% of the first year, everything else you learn in dental school will be new and at a much more advanced level. Although I would really stress taking medical terminology especially if you have not been exposed to clinical lingo during undergrad, it'll help you understand case studies and such.
 
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LaughingGas

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Medical term
Clinical pharm
Principles of Dietetics,etc.
Pathophysio
Endo = immuno = pathogenic micro
neurobio
develop
molec.

As above user said, it will have very little overlap with dental school, since depending where you end up going, they can teach you different subjects and focus on different things.
 
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jda02624

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For me, I think medical terminology and pharmacology would have been most helpful. I would also suggest a basic business or accounting class as well. That will be very helpful because you are basically setting yourself up to be a small business owner and you get very little, if any, of that information in dental school. Even if you never plan to own a practice, you have to understand the business end of dentistry in order to protect yourself financially. Honestly, a lot of the other science stuff will be covered ad nauseam and there will be plenty of things you will have to memorize that you will never use again. That stuff will be important to get you through boards and gives you a basis for future reference, but starting a foundation in the business-end of dentistry would be just as beneficial to you, in my opinion. Don't get too crazy with these classes, btw, enjoy your time before dental school. You'll be wishing you had enjoyed that time once you start!
 
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Dent34

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Ranked based on what I believe will help the most:
1) Medical Terminology (definitely)
2) neurobiology
3) developmental bio
4) molecular cell bio
5) endocrinology
6) immunology

The rest won't help much. Also to give you an idea, these undergrad upper level bio courses will only help you about 10% of the first year, everything else you learn in dental school will be new and at a much more advanced level. Although I would really stress taking medical terminology especially if you have not been exposed to clinical lingo during undergrad, it'll help you understand case studies and such.

Really appreciate the input! even from a longhorn :laugh: but seriously, congrats on admission there, that couldn't have been easy.

Are you basing this off of personal experience in dental school, or just from what you have heard? Saw you were class of 2020, could there potentially be some classes that you just haven't gotten to that some of these classes might form a solid foundation for?

Was really hoping for a tiny bit of a cushion in d school however that may be lol, especially in those didactic courses that I hear residency programs look keenly at.
 

Dent34

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For me, I think medical terminology and pharmacology would have been most helpful. I would also suggest a basic business or accounting class as well. That will be very helpful because you are basically setting yourself up to be a small business owner and you get very little, if any, of that information in dental school. Even if you never plan to own a practice, you have to understand the business end of dentistry in order to protect yourself financially. Honestly, a lot of the other science stuff will be covered ad nauseam and there will be plenty of things you will have to memorize that you will never use again. That stuff will be important to get you through boards and gives you a basis for future reference, but starting a foundation in the business-end of dentistry would be just as beneficial to you, in my opinion. Don't get too crazy with these classes, btw, enjoy your time before dental school. You'll be wishing you had enjoyed that time once you start!

Haha greatly appreciated!! I will have to look into one of those classes. I just figured I would maybe get a little bit of a head start on that memorizing process so dental school would be perhaps a tiny bit less painless haha, maybe get a little bit of that out of the way before matriculation. Thank you.
 

Typical Average Student

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Really appreciate the input! even from a longhorn :laugh: but seriously, congrats on admission there, that couldn't have been easy.

Are you basing this off of personal experience in dental school, or just from what you have heard? Saw you were class of 2020, could there potentially be some classes that you just haven't gotten to that some of these classes might form a solid foundation for?

Was really hoping for a tiny bit of a cushion in d school however that may be lol, especially in those didactic courses that I hear residency programs look keenly at.
I'm a UH Cougar by heart. :cool:

If you've taken an upper level bio class in undergrad, you won't remember much of it (I completely forgot orgo the day after I took the DAT lol) unless you apply whatever you've learned through research or practice... and hopefully it'll stick. Even if you do remember what you've learned after several months/years, it would not help much. For example, everything you've learned in undergrad biochemistry will only help you for the first week, the rest will all be new and more focused on systemic and dental aspects. You won't need to memorize mechanism and all the complex pathways like in undergrad.

That's why I feel classes like medical terminology, medical Spanish, business/accounting, communications, ethics, and public speaking will go much further in advancing you as a dentist.
 

Faux

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Should just take the year off and go travel or something. It would be waste of time to take something, imo. Around the world cruises are surprisingly economical. Go on one of those and you'll learn and value far more.
 

BenignDMD

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Should just take the year off and go travel or something. It would be waste of time to take something, imo. Around the world cruises are surprisingly economical. Go on one of those and you'll learn and value far more.


I agree, unless you are taking classes to boost GPA for admission to dental school.
 

dentistreason

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Should just take the year off and go travel or something. It would be waste of time to take something, imo. Around the world cruises are surprisingly economical. Go on one of those and you'll learn and value far more.
I agree, unless you are taking classes to boost GPA for admission to dental school.
Just wondering, why is this a common/correct belief? I came from a rigorous highschool to a state university and am doing much better than my peers because I was challenged more in the past. The transition was smoother and my study habits were better. Why would taking a heavier/difficult load or relevant classes not help much in the college->grad school route?
 

Faux

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Just wondering, why is this a common/correct belief? I came from a rigorous highschool to a state university and am doing much better than my peers because I was challenged more in the past. The transition was smoother and my study habits were better. Why would taking a heavier/difficult load or relevant classes not help much in the college->grad school route?

From the few courses I did take, they didn't really correlate. And if they did, I barely remembered anything. Not many times in your life where you're going to have such a huge gap of "free" time like that. I had a 3.4 in my fall semester with only biochemistry under my belt, and even that wasn't exactly helpful. Theres time to study. If you take the undergrad courses, they'll either be too general, too detailed or you'll just forget it. Thats just the nature of dental school and the time gap we're talking about here.

If your grades are fine, which they seem to be. Let off the gas a bit and go enjoy yourself. You've worked hard. My premed advisor told me to go enjoy my year off and I did exactly that. Made a lot of beautiful memories with a beautiful girl. I wouldn't have changed anything.
 

SweetWater54

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Just wondering, why is this a common/correct belief? I came from a rigorous highschool to a state university and am doing much better than my peers because I was challenged more in the past. The transition was smoother and my study habits were better. Why would taking a heavier/difficult load or relevant classes not help much in the college->grad school route?

I think you are correct in saying that the more rigorous the course load the more successful you are likely to be as you move on to your next level of education. Unfortunately, dental schools care about their incoming class stats more than how rigorous their courses were. I'm sure they take it into account, but a high gpa will trump a more rigorous undergrad education any day.
 

BenignDMD

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Just wondering, why is this a common/correct belief? I came from a rigorous highschool to a state university and am doing much better than my peers because I was challenged more in the past. The transition was smoother and my study habits were better. Why would taking a heavier/difficult load or relevant classes not help much in the college->grad school route?

Oh, I don't mean take BS classes for a year to keep GPA up. Rather, I mean that if you have the option of not having to take any classes then that is what I would do, and yes, travel. If I had to be enrolled I agree that you might as well take a grad/undergrad course that may prepare you for dental school, again, just not an extremely packed course load. Enough for me to be full time and on scholarship.
 

dentistreason

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I think you are correct in saying that the more rigorous the course load the more successful you are likely to be as you move on to your next level of education. Unfortunately, dental schools care about their incoming class stats more than how rigorous their courses were. I'm sure they take it into account, but a high gpa will trump a more rigorous undergrad education any day.
So if you have decent stats and are taking a gap year like dent34 or something, would you recommend challenging yourself more with heavier loads or taking relevant upper level classes? In the context of performing better in dental school only.
 

SweetWater54

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If I were in dent34's situation and had to take classes to maintain a scholarship then I would choose the easiest classes possible that would still look good and be related to dentistry in some way. For example, I wouldn't take ballroom dance 101, but I would take a course like diet and nutrition or something similar that would be an easy A to boost your gpa but also related just enough to where you could justified choosing it.

An even better situation would be if your stats were already good enough and you could use your gap year to work as a dental assistant/lab tech and volunteer or something along those lines and not take any classes at all. This would show the schools you are serious about wanting to have a career in dentistry much much more than any class could.

Or you could do a combo of the two, take the easiest courses possible and then work part time as a dental assistant
 
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