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bisulfite

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I'd rather shadow than do research/lab work. Would it look bad if most of my extracurricular time came from shadowing as opposed to research?
 

ice4804

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I think both are extremely important, and I would try to do whatever I could to ensure that I had done/have plans to do both before applying to dental school. If you can only do one or the other (not sure why this would be the case, but if it is), shadowing is probably the better option. It shows you have spent time in an actual dentist's office and know what it is like. You have that first hand experience and it shows that you know what your getting yourself into.

Again, if I were you I would try to figure out a way to do both, but if you can't, shadowing would be the way to go, in my opinion.
 
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Ramathorn

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I'd rather shadow than do research/lab work. Would it look bad if most of my extracurricular time came from shadowing as opposed to research?
I'm always amazed when I see people on SDN say they've done like 600 hours of strict shadowing. I honestly don't see the difference between doing 10 hours and 600 hours of shadowing. You can only learn so much by watching a dentist; most of the time you can't see what the dentist is doing. Once you get to dental school you guys will realize that 15% of the time the dentist can't even see what they're doing. And very few dentists will be patient enough to actually teach you anything. They have to make a living, and time is money.

That having been said, some schools will be more interested to see that you've done research than others.

In my opinion, do the research, and do a little bit of shadowing, enough to get a good letter of rec.
 

pmantz

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I'm always amazed when I see people on SDN say they've done like 600 hours of strict shadowing. I honestly don't see the difference between doing 10 hours and 600 hours of shadowing. You can only learn so much by watching a dentist; most of the time you can't see what the dentist is doing. Once you get to dental school you guys will realize that 15% of the time the dentist can't even see what they're doing. And very few dentists will be patient enough to actually teach you anything. They have to make a living, and time is money.

That having been said, some schools will be more interested to see that you've done research than others.

In my opinion, do the research, and do a little bit of shadowing, enough to get a good letter of rec.

I agree, I did some shadowing but have done way more research. I think it is essential to have exposure to the field of dentistry, but how much is enough. I found shadowing to be exciting and a good way to ask some questions and get some advice, but it is passive way to learn. In a lab you are expected to think criticaly, as well as think on your feet. Research is challenging especialy when it comes to writing of grants, and paper, figuring out how you screwed up.

On your app there is a research section, you definately don't want to leave a section blank, accept the spot for accedemic diciplinary actions. I also used a lot of my research experience for my manual dexterity section.
Disecting insect larva and loading protien gels with 5 uL Hamiltons syringes ect..ect..
 

bisulfite

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I think both are extremely important, and I would try to do whatever I could to ensure that I had done/have plans to do both before applying to dental school. If you can only do one or the other (not sure why this would be the case, but if it is), shadowing is probably the better option. It shows you have spent time in an actual dentist's office and know what it is like. You have that first hand experience and it shows that you know what your getting yourself into.

Again, if I were you I would try to figure out a way to do both, but if you can't, shadowing would be the way to go, in my opinion.


It's not that I can't do both. It's just that shadowing is so much easier to come by. Research positions are very limited and most of the one I plan to apply for require a length application process. I can easily find a good dentist through my dad to shadow. Getting real experience via shadowing a dentist is just much more interesting and exciting for me as opposed to working in a lab (where I'll probably just be performing menial work because of my lack of experience).
 

OregonDent

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Despite what other people have said I think that shadowing is more important. It does not hurt to have both, but the most commonly asked question at interviews is "Why dentistry?" Your answer to that question should be along the lines of experience. What they really want to know is if this person there interviewing really wants to be a dentist and not just another failed pre-med. 50+, or even 100+ hours of shadowing is should show them that.
 

Ramathorn

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I also used a lot of my research experience for my manual dexterity section.
Disecting insect larva and loading protien gels with 5 uL Hamiltons syringes ect..ect..
Yeah, i did the same.

Despite what other people have said I think that shadowing is more important. It does not hurt to have both, but the most commonly asked question at interviews is "Why dentistry?" Your answer to that question should be along the lines of experience. What they really want to know is if this person there interviewing really wants to be a dentist and not just another failed pre-med. 50+, or even 100+ hours of shadowing is should show them that.
Also, the thing that nobody has mentioned yet is that dental schools want to see that you've tried/experienced other careers. Scientific research (academic or private) is a career; and my research experience definitely made my personal statement awesome when I tried laying how I came to dentistry as a career. In my experience, one of the most important things admissions committees are trying to determine is that you're serious about dentistry - not that you're in it just for the money, or you couldn't get into med school.

Yes, you should have shadowing experience, but it's not much of a story to say "oh, when I shadowed that dentist it made me realize that was what i wanted to do with my life. "
 
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