hs2013

7+ Year Member
Dec 2, 2010
450
43
Status
First of all, as far as what goes on your application, is this pretty much all that's important?
Good GPA
Good DAT
Good LOR's
Shadowing hours
Volunteering hours

Is there really anything else that goes on a dental school application or anything else that I need to do?

Then to my main question, when should I start volunteering and shadowing a dentist? I am currently a freshman in college and will soon be starting my second semester.
 

paymaant

5+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2011
673
60
Washington DC
Status
Pre-Dental
First of all, as far as what goes on your application, is this pretty much all that's important?
Good GPA
Good DAT
Good LOR's
Shadowing hours
Volunteering hours

Is there really anything else that goes on a dental school application or anything else that I need to do?

Then to my main question, when should I start volunteering and shadowing a dentist? I am currently a freshman in college and will soon be starting my second semester.
Don't forget about your personal statement! I would start whenever you feel comfortable. As long as you have at least 75 hours shadowing by the time you apply. Volunteering should be more long term so the sooner you start, the better!
 

jeffity

7+ Year Member
Oct 23, 2009
2,536
258
Status
Dentist
Start today! Tonight! GPA/DAT rule all for the time being (maybe forever). Shadow and check out the industry before you do anything for your application. Dentistry or not, being involved is a good thing. Hopefully, you'll like it. Leadership, volunteering, research, knitting club. Whatever. All the ECs that are the icing on the DAT-GPA cake. Since your a young 'lil thing, you don't need to cram a bunch of hours of shadowing/volunteering/knitting into a couple of months. Start the marathon now. Volunteering looks better over time anyway. Start to build relationships with professors for potential letters. They're important. So at least learn the art of fake office hours. A personal statement is a part of it. Nothing you need to start yet, really. Making sure dentistry is your bright future before all of this. Consider the finances too. It's a good career, but it's the most expensive professional degree on the whole planet. Protect the GPA. That will close doors (or delay opening) faster than anything (legal, anyway). This is all I have for you.
 

y3nd0

Kitteh likes to stare
5+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2012
644
320
Status
Dental Student
Don't wait. Shadowing isn't too urgent (since 100 hours is pretty much all you need), but volunteering IS. You don't have a cap on how many volunteer hours you should do. I wasn't taking the path to dentistry too seriously my freshman year and didn't step outside the dorm to do any volunteer work. This bit me in the butt later during the middle of my sophomore year when I was scrambling to find a good place to volunteer at. I don't know what your specific plans are, but I know that my lack of initiative my freshman year made the difference between applying at the end of my junior year vs applying at the end of my senior year (I felt like I needed more volunteer hours and more dental experience).
 
OP
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hs2013

7+ Year Member
Dec 2, 2010
450
43
Status
Alright guys, thanks for the reply's. I think I am going to start looking at some volunteer opportunities for this coming semester and then try shadowing a bit in the summer.

One question though, there is a large free dental clinic in my area where you can volunteer but then again you also get to see dentists and even dental students from my local dental school doing work there, so should I count that as volunteering hours, shadowing hours, or both?
 

y3nd0

Kitteh likes to stare
5+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2012
644
320
Status
Dental Student
Alright guys, thanks for the reply's. I think I am going to start looking at some volunteer opportunities for this coming semester and then try shadowing a bit in the summer.

One question though, there is a large free dental clinic in my area where you can volunteer but then again you also get to see dentists and even dental students from my local dental school doing work there, so should I count that as volunteering hours, shadowing hours, or both?
Both. AADSAS doesn't distinguish between shadowing vs dental related volunteering. They have one section for "dental related experience" where for each activity, you can list your roles (so you can list both "volunteer" and "job shadowing" as your roles) and they have a separate section for volunteer/community work (things done outside of a dental clinic).
 

Glimmer1991

5+ Year Member
May 5, 2012
3,495
1,268
NC
Status
Dental Student
Throw research into the mix of important things. Though it isn't necessary, it can certainly help. If you aren't interested in it, though, I wouldn't beat yourself up about it. I sure as heck wasn't.

Also, I agree with everyone above--start volunteering now! It'll make your life a lot easier down the road.
 
Feb 25, 2012
508
111
Status
Dental Student
Seconding research. It's a huge + when applying to most schools, it can be quite interesting if you pick something useful, and you can make a great connection with your PI which should help you immensely in securing a strong letter. I genuinely advocate that bench research also reinforces book knowledge.
 

y3nd0

Kitteh likes to stare
5+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2012
644
320
Status
Dental Student
I'm seconding "not doing research unless you're interested". I hated doing (science) lab work because I was very disinterested in it, which made me terrible at it (hopefully won't correlate to dental lab). Only time I stepped into a research lab was to play with liquid nitrogen :p.