P

Philip

Hey guys,

I have some questions about volunteering:
Where do you guys volunteer and is it related to the dental field? Is it consider useless to volunteer somewhere not related to the dental field? If you live in Southern California, please list some volunteer locations that are related to the dental field.

Thanks.
Philip
 

Fariba

Member
10+ Year Member
Jun 9, 2006
102
0
37
Los Angeles, California
Status
Pre-Dental
Philip said:
Hey guys,

I have some questions about volunteering:
Where do you guys volunteer and is it related to the dental field? Is it consider useless to volunteer somewhere not related to the dental field? If you live in Southern California, please list some volunteer locations that are related to the dental field.

Thanks.
Philip

If you live close to UCLA, then I would highly recommend trying out their volunteer program where you complete 80 hours of volunteer work throughout various parts of the Dental School clinics and offices. You learn a lot and you can make some great connections with students and professors. If you look on the UCLA website, you will be sure to find it.
 

djeffreyt

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jun 4, 2006
1,769
9
Dallas
Status
Dentist
Southern california is a big stretch of land...maybe a little more accuracy as to part of SoCal would help narrow down choices. USC has a wonderful outreach clinic program. I forget the name of the dentist who directs it, but if you call around at USC telling them who you are and what you want to do any why, I'm sure someone could point you towards the outreach director, and maybe he could set you up.

You can also volunteer in a dental office as well. They might make you do front office type stuff, but volunteering is volunteering, and at least you made the effort to try. Find a bigger office if you want a volunteer job that keeps you busy...maybe a multi-dentist family dental group. If you want a lot of one on one time and down time, try a small single or two person dental office.

If you are in San Diego, UCSD has a student run dental clinic set up by the predents at UCSD. google UCSD and Predental Society, and you'll find their webpage...or email me [email protected] if you are interested in finding out more.

I know LA has some community clinics for people who can't afford dental procedures, but I don't know where owhat the names are. I saw an ad for one once though...you could try asking them about volunteering. If you can't find them, try contacting the dental societies in LA and Orange County, someone there should know if there are any community clinics for poor or disadvantaged people.

Finally, you can do other stuff to. It doesn't need to be dental related. Sometimes just showing you have a heart to go with your brain is a good thing. There are plenty on SDN who will tell you your volunteer and community outreach stuff doesn't make any difference in the end, that dental schools don't care and just really care about the #s and your personality at the interview. I don't know...I'm up in the air as to whether it matters. But it would suck to get the UCLA faculty member who is in charge of clinic outreach in the Community as your interviewer, and he asks "so why haven't you done any volunteer work?" and you doon't have any real answer.
 

stussyhk

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
Jul 8, 2006
24
0
Status
i was also wondering if volunteering really makes a difference.
the guy above me said it makes no difference?
would it be better just to do some internships instead?

i was thinking of volunteering at kaiser hospital, but i can only do it during august, but wouldn't that make people feel that i have no dedication at all?
 

djeffreyt

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jun 4, 2006
1,769
9
Dallas
Status
Dentist
Hey...uh, I saw you posted this in two different threads....kinda, but I'm just gonna answer here. I volunteered at Kaiser eons ago, and they aren't big on one month volunteerism, and yes that does look a bit weird.

I didn't say volunteering doesn't matter at all. Some schools, like Arizona and UMASS, are really attracted to students with a truly altruistic background. So it depends on the school how much they choose to emphasize it. However, in general among dental schools...

(warning...generalization coming)

...whether you volunteer 50 hours total or 250 hours total, isn't going to make or break you as a applicant. Given two identical, separated, siamese twin applicants...down to personality and personal statement...then the added 200 hours might make a difference. The type of volunteering can also make a difference. Some schools might think volunteering at a homeless shelter for 500 hours isn't something they find interesting in candidates and would have preferred you volunteered 40 hours at a local dentist office. Some might think 40 hours at a dental office isn't really any time at all and might prefer you worked 150 hours with the red cross...who knows. All I know is that most of the friends who have gone to interviews have said that they didn't ask much about their volunteer experiences unless it really stood out (like they spent 2 years to set up the first grant-run, 800 chair, non-profit, dental clinic in Namibia)

However, some schools do have minimum requirements on dental observation hours. UOP says 20+, and others have other varying degrees of hours they feel you should have been exposed to dentistry, so volunteering in a dental office or clinic can be a good way to rack up observation hours that are required. I volunteer at offices and it works great. I couldn't imagine standing over a dentist's shoulder for 20 hours watching crown prep after crown prep. Instead I volunteer in the office and help out with filing, seating patients, sterilizing, x-rays, cutting trays etc. And when an interesting case comes into the office, the dentist grabs me and says "Hey Jeff, wanna see something kinda cool you might not ever see in dental school?" and sometimes he lets me assist even though he's then paying his assistant to just stand there and watch me do her job. I've easily racked up enough observation hours to satisfy any school and also learned a lot about the ins and outs of small dental practices to boot.

I realize this isn't everyone's case. A lot of predents grew up with close family friends who were dentists and have worked in offices all their lives, but I'm a career changer. I have no family in dentistry and had no prior experience in dentistry before deciding to become a dentist, so I just went out and started asking to help out to see what the field was like and help out my application as well. It's worked out cause now I have a paid job in a dental office...albeit a lot less well paid than my last career, but that job totally sucked ba;;s like a two dollar *****.
 

714guy

counting down till 5/2012
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Feb 26, 2004
236
1
36
Visit site
Status
Dental Student
hey if you're in OC check out S.O.S. (share our selves), they're located in costa mesa right next to Newport. I just started my dental volunteer today :D :D . Its the only FREE dental clinic in OC, so you help yourself and others at the same time.
 
OP
P

Philip

I live in Cerritos, at the border of LA and OC County and I'm going to be a junior this fall at UC Irvine.

Man, I'm getting rejected left and right. I called a couple westerdn dental offices, they all don't need volunteers. I did email UCLA about their 80 hour program last week before Fariba replied, but I didn't get a response yet. I also emailed USC and no response yet.

But if djeffreyt says it doesn't matter if the volunteer is dental related or not, I guess I will go to UCI medical center or Kaiser Permanente to volunteer, even though they both don't have dental facilities. BTW, djeffreyt, what was your volunteer position at Kaiser?

And 714guy, give me more info about Share Our Selves. Do they have a website or phone#?

Thanks.
 

714guy

counting down till 5/2012
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Feb 26, 2004
236
1
36
Visit site
Status
Dental Student
Philip said:
....I'm going to be a junior this fall at UC Irvine.

And 714guy, give me more info about Share Our Selves. Do they have a website or phone#?

Thanks.
UCI huh?? then you'll fit right in, I think I am the only one not from UCI there.

Heres the website http://www.shareourselves.org/