Very Non-Traditional Applicant - Can anyone relate?

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May 10, 2020
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Hey friends,

I decided to return to the dental track after 12 years! I left the path during admissions cycle in light of some other opportunities I had. It was never a matter of not wanting to do dentistry, it was more “I’m going to put this on hold” while I do this other thing. Little did I know it would be this long on hold.

I’m currently retaking my prerequisites and am juggling all of the things that comes with being older in returning to school, including an established career, a family, other responsibilities, and of course, going to school. I have to admit, because I am not fully able to focus on school, because of these reasons - and won’t be until it’s time to prepare for the DAT in a year and a half’s time - I have a legitimate fear that after all if this, I am going to be weighted because of my decision to leave and come back - returning not as strong.

My precious science gpa was 3.50, and now is 3.0. I have a lot of room to and time to improve. I have not taken the DAT or any practice tests.

Has anyone returned to the dental past and got accepted? What were your stats? What’s your story?

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I got accepted to dental school at age 46. I was a dental assistant for 15 years and finally got fed up with arrogant 28 year old doctors who thought they were amazing because they had the title and thought I was nothing more than a “spit sucker”. What I saw was rough, crappy work from people that cared more for the money than the quality. For example we had a patient come in that had a newly placed amalgam filling. We took an x-ray and discovered he didn’t fully condensed it so it was practically surrounded by air. My boss was frustrated and made the comment, “You could do a better filling than that!” He was right.

I already had my BA so I took the prerequisites, took the DAT 4 times before I got a 19 AA, applied 3 cycles, and finally got accepted to my state school. People on SDN thought I was crazy. They talked about how I’ll barely get my loans paid off before I retire. They’re right. But I’m not doing it so I can live in a million dollar home and drive a sports car. I do it because I love the work and I want to be a doctor. My friends and family member are very proud of me and very supportive of what I’m doing. If it’s your desire to go to dental school then go for it!

If you have any other questions you want to talk about then just send me a private message
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Be sure to keep above that 3.0 (Ideally well above) and explain in your application/personal statement when you apply all of the things you were juggling in a positive light (i.e. I had w, x, y, z responsibilities and pushed through since being a dentist is my dream job because x, y, and z). Begin casually studying for the DAT now that way it’s less daunting when the time to test comes. Sections like the PAT and RC require strategies, so early exposure helps. Dental school admissions officers actually love non traditional students because they often have had to overcome life obstacles and have gained some level of maturity from it. Be sure to also highlight this in your personal statement. I was a nontrad but was not out of school for very long, my mom has a similar story to yours however!
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Im a non trad as well who had a previous career and non science major. Our path is a little different as I was only a few years out of school, no family, and went full time into school. Just wanted to say that dont get caught up with what you see here, put your head down and get through it and you can meet your goal. It will be tough in the beginning but once you get into the groove you'll be doing fine. I got accepted with a non traditional background and low gpa, but had to do a masters. It may be worth doing an official post bacc or masters and getting your pre reqs done once and for all. Thats the only thing I wish I had changed. It might be good to take a few classes individually and get back in the groove and then do an official program.

Good luck!
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Yes, I forgot about that. Hi polo pick brings up a good point. To make my schedule more manageable due to the fact that I was working full time while in school, I was only taking 1-2 prerequisites for dental school per semester to ensure that I could get A’s despite my work schedule.
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