Kurk

2+ Year Member
Feb 18, 2016
663
216
Status
Pre-Dental
I'm on my campus's volunteer EMS squad but have been holding back from serving because I'm a freshman getting used to college.

I'm not sure when I should start because it's going to take away from my time and sleep.

I also have a low-income dental clinic on call whenever I want to shadow/volunteer there.

I plan to graduate in 3 years via summer semesters so I'm guessing I should start doing this now?

How many volunteer hours should I aim for in EMS? They're overnight shifts and I commute an hour away from campus to bathe, etc. The thought of being sleep-deprived isn't too appealing so I'm not jumping on this until I should.
 
8

845302

In three years! Does that mean you're going to take a gap year? I'm not sure if it's worth cramming all that work for a bachelor's into 3 years. And if you're thinking of applying your 2nd year... You're going to have to work your *** off..

As for your question, start as soon as possible - especially if you are planning on applying your 2nd year. If you can find another place (closer to home) to volunteer other than the EMS opportunity, I would go for it, even if it is less exciting than the EMS opportunity may be. It seems like you value sleep a lot.

I personally started volunteering, researching, shadowing and getting into pre-dental clubs etc. after winter break of freshman year. But then again, I took 4 years to finish undergrad.

-Fyz
 
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Apramana

5+ Year Member
Jul 16, 2014
116
92
I would highly recommend prioritizing your GPA over all else, as that's the most difficult, and expensive, to improve upon if you start to move in a less optimal direction. Ideally, doing well in your classes would also allow you to do well on the DAT.

In addition, focusing on your classes, and participating as fully as possible in activities like office hours, will help you get fantastic letters of recommendation from your professors for dental school. (If your school has any type of career center, often they have a letter service, where professors can submit letters that can be saved for later use.) Ideally, I would recommend asking for letters shortly after finishing the class with an amazing grade and relationship with the professor. The professor can then write the letter when you are most memorable to them, and submit the letter to the letter service to be kept for later use.

Conversely, if no letter service is available, it looks like Interfolio allows us to collect confidential letters for free:
How do I collect and send my letters? | Help for Medical and Dental School Applicants | Support

I would recommend asking all of your professors, after excelling in their classes and participating in office hours, for confidential letters that you can save. Just before applying, you can assess which professor you had the best relationship with, ask them to update the date and contact information (if necessary) on their letter, and use that updated letter in your application. (Or use the letters to help your school's pre-health committee compose their committee letter, if that's how your school does things.)

Furthermore, you can also set up a study group for each of your courses, and make sure that the students struggling during professor office hours, and the professor, are aware of it. These efforts would likely translate to leadership experiences for your application, and also demonstrate teaching experience and ability, which professional schools seem to value in their applicants. I would think your professors would appreciate your efforts to help your fellow students as well, which would be reflected in their recommendations.

Hopefully, excelling in your classes and participating as fully as possible won't take up all of your time, and you can also work on the volunteering and shadowing aspects of your application.

I would aim for the shadowing requirements of the school with the highest minimums, say, 200 hours with five different general practice dentists, in a variety of care settings (private practice, community clinic, homeless clinic, etc.) to make sure you have as many of your bases covered as possible when you ultimately apply. This is something that can be done during the summers, too, except you're planning on taking classes then, which are often far more accelerated and involve more of your free time. Non-academic summers could also be used for research, working, or gaining volunteer hours, so you might want to re-evaluate cramming in all the classes you can during your summers.

As one prominent career-changer on the medical side has frequently commented:
"The light at the end of this tunnel is a train. It's moronic to rush to get through the journey quicker, when the journey itself is much of the value/fun. The goal isn't to get to a career first. One guy gets there at 30, another at 35 -- so what? Heck, I will have had two careers in the time some had one -- what do I win? Nothing, because it's not a race."
The need to be a physician as young as possible

Other than shadowing, I would spend the bulk of your time volunteering with underserved communities. Healthcare professions seem to value compassion and service, especially to those with the greatest levels of need.

However, as I mentioned, volunteering, shadowing, working, and research can all be easily accomplished after graduating, whereas the GPA, letters of recommendation from instructors, and, to a slightly lesser extent, DAT score, will be more difficult, time intensive, and costly to improve upon if there's a deficiency when you're done with your undergraduate experience and the prerequisites, and preparing to apply.

Here's a wonderful dissertation by @DrMidlife, a successful reapplicant, for what to focus on in a medical school application:
DrMidlife's reapplication dissertation

In addition, here's what admissions officials at medical schools value most highly:
A Compilation of Essential SDN Wisdom

I would recommend focusing on the "Highest Importance" row, above all else.

While I understand that you're currently focused on dental, and not medical, I think these resources help considerably in assessing what your highest impact activities are at any stage of the process.

As I mentioned, while you're taking classes, grades, office hours, and letters of recommendation are likely most important. Consistent volunteering in underserved communities can be started with 1-2 hours per week, on a weekend, in a variety of settings. At the end of your three years, if you spent 40 weeks doing this each year, you'll have 120-240 of consistent, volunteer hours to apply with, in addition to, hopefully, some leadership experiences resulting from long-term commitments with your volunteer organizations.

However, right now, I think the most important thing to remember is that any grade that's not a 4.0 is a step away from dental school, and any office hour missed is a missed opportunity to interact meaningfully with a potential academic letter author.

The EMS experience might not be the best use of your time, as medical school admissions officials don't seem to consider it very highly:
"EMT/paramedic experience is ok , but does not replace shadowing or volunteering." [What are my chances?]
"EMT is a glorified cab driver. And no, it's not service."
[My post on the NonTrad forum wasn't getting any replies so I am bringing my peasant butt here]

In addition, EMS work isn't really a dental-related experience, so it's probably going to be viewed even less favorably by dental admissions officials.

In your case, shadowing at the dental clinic up to the highest minimum requirement for shadowing hours (say 200 hours), and then spending the rest of your time volunteering at said clinic, might be the best use of any free time you have away from classes, office hours, and taking care of yourself.

Volunteering at the dental clinic will also help you get a stellar recommendation from the dentist(s) you may shadow there.

Medical officials seem to consider shadowing as a minimum requirement to be met. However, since shadowing is mostly for the benefit of the applicant, to get a better sense of the career, and so it's definitely not viewed as favorably as volunteering or other types of community service, which are focused primarily for the benefit of others. So I would recommend meeting the minimum requirements for shadowing, and then focus the rest of your free time on volunteering or other service-oriented opportunities. (Like Americorps, which is "paid volunteering." I believe there are many paid summer research programs that you could also participate in.)

Most importantly, do not lie, cheat, steal, or otherwise engage in any behavior that could cause you to be officially sanctioned or charged with a crime. Permanent records of poor behavior like these are often application killers, and take many, many years, to recover from to a point where one can expect to have a competitive application. In addition, you might also have difficulty getting licensed as a professional, or getting clinical privileges during training. Thus, I would recommend not taking such a very significant risk.

I hope that helps :) Good luck in your efforts.

---
Edit: Wow. That turned out to be far longer than I had anticipated.

TLDR:
- Don't lie, cheat, steal, or engage in behaviors that could cause any type of official, permanent sanctioning, as this can often be a rather permanent application killer.
- Focus on one step at a time, and focus on the activities that are likely to be of most importance, based on the evidence. At the prerequisite stage, that is likely excelling at classes, and getting excellent grades and letters of recommendation. Deficiencies in extracurricular activities can be easily remedied once the prerequisites are done. A poor GPA or a poor DAT score are often much more difficult, costly, and time consuming to remedy.
- Trying to rush things can make for a weaker overall application, or a more challenging experience in ultimately gaining acceptance. The consensus seems to be that life should not be viewed as a race, so the road to healthcare professional should not be viewed as one, either.
 
Last edited:
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Incis0r

I LOVE Dental School
5+ Year Member
Aug 10, 2014
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I would highly recommend prioritizing your GPA over all else, as that's the most difficult, and expensive, to improve upon if you start to move in a less optimal direction. Ideally, doing well in your classes would also allow you to do well on the DAT.

In addition, focusing on your classes, and participating as fully as possible in activities like office hours, will help you get fantastic letters of recommendation from your professors for dental school. (If your school has any type of career center, often they have a letter service, where professors can submit letters that can be saved for later use.) Ideally, I would recommend asking for letters shortly after finishing the class with an amazing grade and relationship with the professor. The professor can then write the letter when you are most memorable to them, and submit the letter to the letter service to be kept for later use.

Conversely, if no letter service is available, it looks like Interfolio allows us to collect confidential letters for free:
How do I collect and send my letters? | Help for Medical and Dental School Applicants | Support

I would recommend asking all of your professors, after excelling in their classes and participating in office hours, for confidential letters that you can save. Just before applying, you can assess which professor you had the best relationship with, ask them to update the date and contact information (if necessary) on their letter, and use that updated letter in your application. (Or use the letters to help your school's pre-health committee compose their committee letter, if that's how your school does things.)

Furthermore, you can also set up a study group for each of your courses, and make sure that the students struggling during professor office hours, and the professor, are aware of it. These efforts would likely translate to leadership experiences for your application, and also demonstrate teaching experience and ability, which professional schools seem to value in their applicants. I would think your professors would appreciate your efforts to help your fellow students as well, which would be reflected in their recommendations.

Hopefully, excelling in your classes and participating as fully as possible won't take up all of your time, and you can also work on the volunteering and shadowing aspects of your application.

I would aim for the shadowing requirements of the school with the highest minimums, say, 200 hours with five different general practice dentists, in a variety of care settings (private practice, community clinic, homeless clinic, etc.) to make sure you have as many of your bases covered as possible when you ultimately apply. This is something that can be done during the summers, too, except you're planning on taking classes then, which are often far more accelerated and involve more of your free time. Non-academic summers could also be used for research, working, or gaining volunteer hours, so you might want to re-evaluate cramming in all the classes you can during your summers.

As one prominent career-changer on the medical side has frequently commented:
"The light at the end of this tunnel is a train. It's moronic to rush to get through the journey quicker, when the journey itself is much of the value/fun. The goal isn't to get to a career first. One guy gets there at 30, another at 35 -- so what? Heck, I will have had two careers in the time some had one -- what do I win? Nothing, because it's not a race."
The need to be a physician as young as possible

Other than shadowing, I would spend the bulk of your time volunteering with underserved communities. Healthcare professions seem to value compassion and service, especially to those with the greatest levels of need.

However, as I mentioned, volunteering, shadowing, working, and research can all be easily accomplished after graduating, whereas the GPA, letters of recommendation from instructors, and, to a slightly lesser extent, DAT score, will be more difficult, time intensive, and costly to improve upon if there's a deficiency when you're done with your undergraduate experience and the prerequisites, and preparing to apply.

Here's a wonderful dissertation by @DrMidlife, a successful reapplicant, for what to focus on in a medical school application:
DrMidlife's reapplication dissertation

In addition, here's what admissions officials at medical schools value most highly:
A Compilation of Essential SDN Wisdom

I would recommend focusing on the "Highest Importance" row, above all else.

While I understand that you're currently focused on dental, and not medical, I think these resources help considerably in assessing what your highest impact activities are at any stage of the process.

As I mentioned, while you're taking classes, grades, office hours, and letters of recommendation are likely most important. Consistent volunteering in underserved communities can be started with 1-2 hours per week, on a weekend, in a variety of settings. At the end of your three years, if you spent 40 weeks doing this each year, you'll have 120-240 of consistent, volunteer hours to apply with, in addition to, hopefully, some leadership experiences resulting from long-term commitments with your volunteer organizations.

However, right now, I think the most important thing to remember is that any grade that's not a 4.0 is a step away from dental school, and any office hour missed is a missed opportunity to interact meaningfully with a potential academic letter author.

The EMS experience might not be the best use of your time, as medical school admissions officials don't seem to consider it very highly:
"EMT/paramedic experience is ok , but does not replace shadowing or volunteering." [What are my chances?]
"EMT is a glorified cab driver. And no, it's not service."
[My post on the NonTrad forum wasn't getting any replies so I am bringing my peasant butt here]

In addition, EMS work isn't really a dental-related experience, so it's probably going to be viewed even less favorably by dental admissions officials.

In your case, shadowing at the dental clinic up to the highest minimum requirement for shadowing hours (say 200 hours), and then spending the rest of your time volunteering at said clinic, might be the best use of any free time you have away from classes, office hours, and taking care of yourself.

Volunteering at the dental clinic will also help you get a stellar recommendation from the dentist(s) you may shadow there.

Medical officials seem to consider shadowing as a minimum requirement to be met. However, since shadowing is mostly for the benefit of the applicant, to get a better sense of the career, and so it's definitely not viewed as favorably as volunteering or other types of community service, which are focused primarily for the benefit of others. So I would recommend meeting the minimum requirements for shadowing, and then focus the rest of your free time on volunteering or other service-oriented opportunities. (Like Americorps, which is "paid volunteering." I believe there are many paid summer research programs that you could also participate in.)

Most importantly, do not lie, cheat, steal, or otherwise engage in any behavior that could cause you to be officially sanctioned or charged with a crime. Permanent records of poor behavior like these are often application killers, and take many, many years, to recover from to a point where one can expect to have a competitive application. In addition, you might also have difficulty getting licensed as a professional, or getting clinical privileges during training. Thus, I would recommend not taking such a very significant risk.

I hope that helps :) Good luck in your efforts.

---
Edit: Wow. That turned out to be far longer than I had anticipated.

TLDR:
- Don't lie, cheat, steal, or engage in behaviors that could cause any type of official, permanent sanctioning, as this can often be a rather permanent application killer.
- Focus on one step at a time, and focus on the activities that are likely to be of most importance, based on the evidence. At the prerequisite stage, that is likely excelling at classes, and getting excellent grades and letters of recommendation. Deficiencies in extracurricular activities can be easily remedied once the prerequisites are done. A poor GPA or a poor DAT score are often much more difficult, costly, and time consuming to remedy.
- Trying to rush things can make for a weaker overall application, or a more challenging experience in ultimately gaining acceptance. The consensus seems to be that life should not be viewed as a race, so the road to healthcare professional should not be viewed as one, either.
I miss the free time I had in college.
 

Apramana

5+ Year Member
Jul 16, 2014
116
92
I miss the free time I had in college.
... but you "LOVE Dental School" :) Here's to hoping it's not that rough.

There's an incredible amount of amazing information on SDN, which you certainly contributed to. I'm just hoping to pay some of that kindness forward to help SDN remain the wonderful place that it is.

Many thanks to all those who choose to positively participate, particularly those whose free time is very limited. SDN would not be the same without its community, especially the health professionals and health professional students who choose to meaningfully contribute.
 
OP
Kurk

Kurk

2+ Year Member
Feb 18, 2016
663
216
Status
Pre-Dental
I would highly recommend prioritizing your GPA over all else, as that's the most difficult, and expensive, to improve upon if you start to move in a less optimal direction. Ideally, doing well in your classes would also allow you to do well on the DAT.

In addition, focusing on your classes, and participating as fully as possible in activities like office hours, will help you get fantastic letters of recommendation from your professors for dental school. (If your school has any type of career center, often they have a letter service, where professors can submit letters that can be saved for later use.) Ideally, I would recommend asking for letters shortly after finishing the class with an amazing grade and relationship with the professor. The professor can then write the letter when you are most memorable to them, and submit the letter to the letter service to be kept for later use.

Conversely, if no letter service is available, it looks like Interfolio allows us to collect confidential letters for free:
How do I collect and send my letters? | Help for Medical and Dental School Applicants | Support

I would recommend asking all of your professors, after excelling in their classes and participating in office hours, for confidential letters that you can save. Just before applying, you can assess which professor you had the best relationship with, ask them to update the date and contact information (if necessary) on their letter, and use that updated letter in your application. (Or use the letters to help your school's pre-health committee compose their committee letter, if that's how your school does things.)

Furthermore, you can also set up a study group for each of your courses, and make sure that the students struggling during professor office hours, and the professor, are aware of it. These efforts would likely translate to leadership experiences for your application, and also demonstrate teaching experience and ability, which professional schools seem to value in their applicants. I would think your professors would appreciate your efforts to help your fellow students as well, which would be reflected in their recommendations.

Hopefully, excelling in your classes and participating as fully as possible won't take up all of your time, and you can also work on the volunteering and shadowing aspects of your application.

I would aim for the shadowing requirements of the school with the highest minimums, say, 200 hours with five different general practice dentists, in a variety of care settings (private practice, community clinic, homeless clinic, etc.) to make sure you have as many of your bases covered as possible when you ultimately apply. This is something that can be done during the summers, too, except you're planning on taking classes then, which are often far more accelerated and involve more of your free time. Non-academic summers could also be used for research, working, or gaining volunteer hours, so you might want to re-evaluate cramming in all the classes you can during your summers.

As one prominent career-changer on the medical side has frequently commented:
"The light at the end of this tunnel is a train. It's moronic to rush to get through the journey quicker, when the journey itself is much of the value/fun. The goal isn't to get to a career first. One guy gets there at 30, another at 35 -- so what? Heck, I will have had two careers in the time some had one -- what do I win? Nothing, because it's not a race."
The need to be a physician as young as possible

Other than shadowing, I would spend the bulk of your time volunteering with underserved communities. Healthcare professions seem to value compassion and service, especially to those with the greatest levels of need.

However, as I mentioned, volunteering, shadowing, working, and research can all be easily accomplished after graduating, whereas the GPA, letters of recommendation from instructors, and, to a slightly lesser extent, DAT score, will be more difficult, time intensive, and costly to improve upon if there's a deficiency when you're done with your undergraduate experience and the prerequisites, and preparing to apply.

Here's a wonderful dissertation by @DrMidlife, a successful reapplicant, for what to focus on in a medical school application:
DrMidlife's reapplication dissertation

In addition, here's what admissions officials at medical schools value most highly:
A Compilation of Essential SDN Wisdom

I would recommend focusing on the "Highest Importance" row, above all else.

While I understand that you're currently focused on dental, and not medical, I think these resources help considerably in assessing what your highest impact activities are at any stage of the process.

As I mentioned, while you're taking classes, grades, office hours, and letters of recommendation are likely most important. Consistent volunteering in underserved communities can be started with 1-2 hours per week, on a weekend, in a variety of settings. At the end of your three years, if you spent 40 weeks doing this each year, you'll have 120-240 of consistent, volunteer hours to apply with, in addition to, hopefully, some leadership experiences resulting from long-term commitments with your volunteer organizations.

However, right now, I think the most important thing to remember is that any grade that's not a 4.0 is a step away from dental school, and any office hour missed is a missed opportunity to interact meaningfully with a potential academic letter author.

The EMS experience might not be the best use of your time, as medical school admissions officials don't seem to consider it very highly:
"EMT/paramedic experience is ok , but does not replace shadowing or volunteering." [What are my chances?]
"EMT is a glorified cab driver. And no, it's not service."
[My post on the NonTrad forum wasn't getting any replies so I am bringing my peasant butt here]

In addition, EMS work isn't really a dental-related experience, so it's probably going to be viewed even less favorably by dental admissions officials.

In your case, shadowing at the dental clinic up to the highest minimum requirement for shadowing hours (say 200 hours), and then spending the rest of your time volunteering at said clinic, might be the best use of any free time you have away from classes, office hours, and taking care of yourself.

Volunteering at the dental clinic will also help you get a stellar recommendation from the dentist(s) you may shadow there.

Medical officials seem to consider shadowing as a minimum requirement to be met. However, since shadowing is mostly for the benefit of the applicant, to get a better sense of the career, and so it's definitely not viewed as favorably as volunteering or other types of community service, which are focused primarily for the benefit of others. So I would recommend meeting the minimum requirements for shadowing, and then focus the rest of your free time on volunteering or other service-oriented opportunities. (Like Americorps, which is "paid volunteering." I believe there are many paid summer research programs that you could also participate in.)

Most importantly, do not lie, cheat, steal, or otherwise engage in any behavior that could cause you to be officially sanctioned or charged with a crime. Permanent records of poor behavior like these are often application killers, and take many, many years, to recover from to a point where one can expect to have a competitive application. In addition, you might also have difficulty getting licensed as a professional, or getting clinical privileges during training. Thus, I would recommend not taking such a very significant risk.

I hope that helps :) Good luck in your efforts.

---
Edit: Wow. That turned out to be far longer than I had anticipated.

TLDR:
- Don't lie, cheat, steal, or engage in behaviors that could cause any type of official, permanent sanctioning, as this can often be a rather permanent application killer.
- Focus on one step at a time, and focus on the activities that are likely to be of most importance, based on the evidence. At the prerequisite stage, that is likely excelling at classes, and getting excellent grades and letters of recommendation. Deficiencies in extracurricular activities can be easily remedied once the prerequisites are done. A poor GPA or a poor DAT score are often much more difficult, costly, and time consuming to remedy.
- Trying to rush things can make for a weaker overall application, or a more challenging experience in ultimately gaining acceptance. The consensus seems to be that life should not be viewed as a race, so the road to healthcare professional should not be viewed as one, either.
Wow, thanks for the very insightful response! I don't really want to do the EMS if I risk hurting my gpa but at the same time I spend a thousand dollars on a course. My backup plan is to go into law so maybe it'll give me some experience if I pursue medical malpractice.
 

Apramana

5+ Year Member
Jul 16, 2014
116
92
Wow, thanks for the very insightful response! I don't really want to do the EMS if I risk hurting my gpa but at the same time I spend a thousand dollars on a course. My backup plan is to go into law so maybe it'll give me some experience if I pursue medical malpractice.
You're very welcome. Thanks for the positive feedback.

If you were to have to repair your GPA, your DAT (or MCAT) score, or sit out an application cycle because your application still needed more improvement, that could very quickly cost more than a thousand dollars, and potentially much more. Again, I don't think it should be a race, but a ballparked year of lost, median dental or medical income was about $178,000 or $210,000, respectively, in 2016:
May 2016 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates

So looking at it solely from the monetary perspective may not be the best choice. However, if you really want to pursue EMS, by all means do it. Professional schools will likely be around for far longer than we will be, so please allocate your time accordingly :)

As an aside, I believe you have also mentioned elsewhere that the interpersonal aspects of healthcare careers might be somewhat challenging for you. The free, evidence-based resources on positive psychology through UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center:
Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life

... as well as their free website devoted to how to put these resources to best use:
Greater Good in Action

... have helped me a great deal in managing my own interpersonal interactions. I hope that you find them at least as worthwhile should you choose to pursue them, and they sure beat having to invest in a psychology degree that only has the potential to introduce this information ;)

Like most things, the ability to increase our potential for positive interpersonal interactions seems to respond well to deliberate practice.

If the EMS stuff is volunteer, then volunteering or shadowing with a medical malpractice firm or attorney might get you more medical malpractice experience for your time commitment, and it would also help you determine if law school is a worthwhile option for you. Trying to tangentially gain insight into the legal profession, or meaningful experience related to dentistry, through EMS volunteering seems a little roundabout.

However, as I said, if you really want to do the EMS stuff, please do it. You can do things that aren't fully in line with your professional goals; it's your life, after all :) . I would think most admissions professionals appreciate nuanced applicants, and not just those that seem surgically shaped for the career :) It's also good to think about how you can weave your activities into a coherent story as an applicant, however, so nice job working on that already.

Again, I hope that helps. Please have a great night, and best wishes in your efforts and journey. :)
 
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Big Time Hoosier

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My backup plan is to go into law
Unless you get into Yale, Harvard, or Stanford, I'd definitely think twice about law school. And even then I'd discourage it. You need to inform yourself about the absolutely ridiculous saturation of lawyers and abysmal job prospects. I had a top 10 law school try to recruit me, even told me they'd wave the LSAT, but it took all of an hour of research to realize that was going to be a very costly decision. No thanks!

Big Hoss
 
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Faefly

2+ Year Member
Jun 21, 2016
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Dental Student
I would say start volunteering next semester and during summer. Since this is your first semester, you want to make sure your gpa is good enough; volunteering won't mean a thing if your gpa is low because you volunteered 2000 hours.

Ideally, you want to volunteer to help others, but you can't hurt yourself in the process.
 
Last edited:

caffeine jitters

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Apr 1, 2017
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The beauty of starting to volunteer sooner rather than later is that you have more flexibility in your schedule. For example, if you have a big test coming up you can decide to skip your service for that week. Conversely, if you're scrambling to get hours toward the end of undergrad, you can't really afford to skip a week here and there.
 
OP
Kurk

Kurk

2+ Year Member
Feb 18, 2016
663
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Pre-Dental
Unless you get into Yale, Harvard, or Stanford, I'd definitely think twice about law school. And even then I'd discourage it. You need to inform yourself about the absolutely ridiculous saturation of lawyers and abysmal job prospects. I had a top 10 law school try to recruit me, even told me they'd wave the LSAT, but it took all of an hour of research to realize that was going to be a very costly decision. No thanks!

Big Hoss
I'm only doing dentistry for the money whereas with law I genuinely enjoy it. I would be fine making less than six figures as a lawyer.
 
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caffeine jitters

2+ Year Member
Apr 1, 2017
631
681
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Pre-Dental
I'm only doing dentistry for the money whereas with law I genuinely enjoy it. I would be fine making less than six figures as a lawyer.
Then strive for law if you believe that is where you will be happiest. If you ask anyone who has obtained some level of success (however you define it), they will tell you to do what makes you happy - not what makes you the most money.

I also challenge you to consider the huge opportunity cost associated with becoming a professional. Dental school is one of the most costly professional schools to get into and attend. Do you really think the income associated with being a dentist will negate the fact that you don't actually find happiness within dentistry?
 
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amariesa

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Oct 1, 2013
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I'm only doing dentistry for the money whereas with law I genuinely enjoy it. I would be fine making less than six figures as a lawyer.
LOL. Side note, up your ability to be socially aware and read the room (like you are talking to people who genuinely want to become dentists and are trying to integrate and you tell them the only reason youre competing with them is for the $$ and your real passion is in law anyways). Read the room.
 
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OP
Kurk

Kurk

2+ Year Member
Feb 18, 2016
663
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Pre-Dental
So you don't enjoy dentistry??? :/

-Fyz
Well I'm good with my hands; I'm still going to pre-dental day next week to know for sure. I've just been hearing that "you don't need to be a doctor to drill a hole in a tooth and fill it" so I'm very skeptical for the future. I would hate working as an associate for any long period of time. Corporatization can suck it.
 
Mar 6, 2013
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1,757
Fhloston Paradise
Status
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Well I'm good with my hands; I'm still going to pre-dental day next week to know for sure. I've just been hearing that "you don't need to be a doctor to drill a hole in a tooth and fill it" so I'm very skeptical for the future. I would hate working as an associate for any long period of time. Corporatization can suck it.
Go law then. if you have to ask SDN how to solve even the most menial of life's challenges, how do you expect to employ people, who need to support families of their own, as a practice owner?
 
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Kurk

Kurk

2+ Year Member
Feb 18, 2016
663
216
Status
Pre-Dental
You'll probably end up working as an "associate" at a law firm anyway if you choose law school. On top of making a teacher's or car mechanic's salary
yep but at least I'll enjoy the work.
 

artist2022

yes, I'm a girl
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2+ Year Member
Dec 25, 2016
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Dental Student
yep but at least I'll enjoy the work.
Then. why. are. you. continuously. posting. in. the. dental. forums. of. SDN?! Bye

Seriously by all means if you'll be happier doing law, do law. Just make up your mind and stick with it, and instead of posting too much about ridiculous things, use the search function to find reasonable answers to your questions.
 

Apramana

5+ Year Member
Jul 16, 2014
116
92
LOL. Side note, up your ability to be socially aware and read the room (like you are talking to people who genuinely want to become dentists and are trying to integrate and you tell them the only reason youre competing with them is for the $$ and your real passion is in law anyways). Read the room.
Aside from the people who may choose to get offended enough by his motivations to lash out, I think @Kurk does himself a great service by being honest on SDN. It's a semi-anonymous community, so I believe he has little to lose, and a great deal to gain, if he can avoid the costs; in time, money, and sacrificed opportunities; of pursuing dentistry if he's solely interested in it from the monetary perspective. As we've discussed, pursuing dentistry for the money does not seem to be enough overcome the significant challenges of the educational and professional pathway based on the current realities of the dental profession. In addition, I think he would do himself a great deal of good to be honest in public as well.

If the dentists he shadows, or even the dental schools he explores, can help counsel him on the significant pitfalls of pursuing dentistry primarily for the financial benefits, I think he does himself a great deal more good by being honest than if he were to strategically keep his motivations to himself, only to realize after all the effort, sacrifices, and costs are expended that he made the wrong choice for himself based on his unchallenged presumptions.

I agree, however, that being socially aware is important. In my opinion, telling those in the dental field that he thinks their job is abhorrent except for the financial benefits, and perhaps deliberately criticizing them for their own motivations, is much different than being honest about his motivations and presumptions in an attempt to explore whether or not they are accurate. I think the latter is far better than being strategically misleading, especially since being honest might keep him from unnecessarily wasting his time trying to get to an outcome that he may not actually want.

Unless he decides to edit his posts in this thread to be more inflammatory, I don't think he really came across as offensive before others decided to start attacking him. If you think he's trolling for some reason, however, by all means, from the SDN ToS:

"Kill trolls quickly. If you find a member that is clearly trolling, do not engage them (that’s what they want). Instead, please report their post. If you engage with a troll, you may receive a warning and/or more serious repercussions, such as a temporary or permanent ban."
Forums Terms of Service & Website Online Service Agreement - Student Doctor Network

Importantly, you could also just put him on ignore if you find him that offensive, which is probably the right choice since his questions, even if they seem juvenile, would likely serve to help others who are also very early on in their health professional pursuits.

Also from the ToS:
"Harassment and flame-wars burn everyone. Be courteous. Just ignore those members that can’t discuss topics professionally. Remember, the academic healthcare community is relatively small; don’t behave in a manner which might get you into trouble now or in the future."
Forums Terms of Service & Website Online Service Agreement - Student Doctor Network


To deliberately ignore him: click on his name, then click on ignore. Problem solved.

The dental forums seem to be developing a reputation for being high maintenance for the moderators, however, so less flagging and more ignoring might help lighten the load for them:

"Per capita drama is Dent and Pharm; we get more reports from those by far compared to the number of users there."
https://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/sdn-poster-graveyard.1211967/page-8#post-19305294

I hope that helps.

Thanks for all that you choose to do to help make SDN a fantastic community. Please have a great day.
 
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OP
Kurk

Kurk

2+ Year Member
Feb 18, 2016
663
216
Status
Pre-Dental
Then. why. are. you. continuously. posting. in. the. dental. forums. of. SDN?! Bye

Seriously by all means if you'll be happier doing law, do law. Just make up your mind and stick with it, and instead of posting too much about ridiculous things, use the search function to find reasonable answers to your questions.
I don't want to regret this decision later. I am a cautious person. The thing I fear most is my personality changing later in which case it'll be too late to turn back. If there is any hope of me being persuaded back to dentistry I'd rather stick with it. That being said, if the 40 hour work-weeks, autonomy, and good pay face any chance of being lost to corporatization you can count me out. I'm afraid that dentistry might merge with medicine some day as it becomes more accepted that oral health contributes to holistic health.

Basically everything this guy said scares me:
if he can avoid the costs; in time, money, and sacrificed opportunities; of pursuing dentistry if he's solely interested in it from the monetary perspective.
right on the money.
 
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OP
Kurk

Kurk

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Feb 18, 2016
663
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Pre-Dental
If anyone cares my original plan was to kick ass, specialize in endodontics, and then do some public defender work on the side to satisfy my conscience.
 
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SmileItsLife

2+ Year Member
Jan 4, 2017
436
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Pre-Dental
I don't want to regret this decision later. I am a cautious person. The thing I fear most is my personality changing later in which case it'll be too late to turn back. If there is any hope of me being persuaded back to dentistry I'd rather stick with it. That being said, if the 40 hour work-weeks, autonomy, and good pay face any chance of being lost to corporatization you can count me out. I'm afraid that dentistry might merge with medicine some day as it becomes more accepted that oral health contributes to holistic health.

Basically everything this guy said scares me:

right on the money.
Why is that a bad thing? Also do you really think that'll happen in the foreseeable future? I know that it is already quasi accepted since a lot of diseases are associated with gum disease...
 
OP
Kurk

Kurk

2+ Year Member
Feb 18, 2016
663
216
Status
Pre-Dental
Why is that a bad thing? Also do you really think that'll happen in the foreseeable future? I know that it is already quasi accepted since a lot of diseases are associated with gum disease...
I think it means less small practitioner practice because of all the added regulations and more insurance headaches.
 

SmileItsLife

2+ Year Member
Jan 4, 2017
436
275
Status
Pre-Dental
I think it means less small practitioner practice because of all the added regulations and more insurance headaches.
Okay.... no one likes bureaucracy.... but think about the bright side. If it ever merged with medcine(I'm doubtful though), then dentists could move around the US easier since you would have a national license instead of a state one.
 
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Apramana

5+ Year Member
Jul 16, 2014
116
92
Thanks for sharing the video. Way to do your homework.
49:20 "It's not about the money, folks." It seems like there's quite a consensus.

If anyone cares my original plan was to kick ass, specialize in endodontics, and then do some public defender work on the side to satisfy my conscience.
@Law2Doc has written in the past on the challenges of attempting to juggle a healthcare career and a legal career. It seems to be very challenging to do both, as they each seem to require one's full attention to do well. Here's one of his comments on a JD/MD, and I would highly recommend searching for the rest:

Huge waste of time and money. There are many many threads on here as to why this is the case. Used to be websites as to why this was a pointless combo too. You won't find a job where you can use them both and will need to choose. You won't get paid more for having both. It will be harder to get law jobs because they will assume you are going to leave for medicine and some segment of medicine is suspicious of lawyers so it might actually give you fewer options.

Schools offer the dual degree to make money but their grads for the most part don't get better jobs, they just end up doctors. The health policy path value is dubious. You can get these jobs without both degrees. You certainly don't need this combo to do medmal or be an expert witness.

It's one thing for career changers to end up with both degrees after switching from one path to the other, but to choose to get the combo at the outset smacks of someone trying to put off a career choice, not doing something smart career wise.
What justifies a JD/MD

I believe Law2Doc had a successful law career first, and then switched to medicine. He seems to be very satisfied in his medical career, and he also seems to be a little more optimistic about the legal profession than many on SDN.

Even during the best market, the BigLaw firms preferentially hired the top 10-20 law school grads, plus the top grads from law review at regional law schools. This hasn't changed much -- you had to be a superstar to get into BigLaw then, and you still do now. What has changed is that law schools across the board have seen their placement percentages drop. Used to be that at a good (but not top 20) law school, 95% would get decent jobs. Now it's more like 60-70%. That's a very big deal, but people are exaggerating when they say odds are zero. Don't buy the hype. It's just a really bad market with a lot of people playing things up as worse than they are. Yet those of us plugged into this world know people who continue to find work. Of course if you end up at the bottom of your class in a relatively average school, you probably won't be working at a law firm.
JD/MD Candidacy and Worth

Thus, if law seems to be your passion at this point, that might be worth pursuing first. Doing everything you can to get into a top tier law school seems like it pays off more than gunning for a big name dental school, especially if your real interest is in law, but I would encourage you to do your own research and collaborate with others more knowledgeable about the field than I am :)

Based on that video you shared, it seems like you could do a world of good for our community in healthcare malpractice, which would likely be the JD path. The pressure for healthcare practitioners to cut corners for profits seems to be becoming more significant, and profit-driven healthcare corporations may contribute to this. Thus, it might be better to be the one prosecuting those issues as opposed to the one at risk of perpetuating them.

Mert Aksu, the JD, DDS you shared in the video, might be a worthwhile potential mentor to reach out to about your aspirations. It seems like he has the degrees you are considering, so he's probably pretty familiar with which degree might be of best use for you, if the degree combination would be worthwhile, and what pathway you might follow based on your interests.

You could try reaching out to his assistant for potential leads, perhaps:
Leadership | University of Detroit Mercy

I hope that helps.
 
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amariesa

5+ Year Member
Oct 1, 2013
254
249
Aside from the people who may choose to get offended enough by his motivations to lash out, I think @Kurk does himself a great service by being honest on SDN. It's a semi-anonymous community, so I believe he has little to lose, and a great deal to gain, if he can avoid the costs; in time, money, and sacrificed opportunities; of pursuing dentistry if he's solely interested in it from the monetary perspective. As we've discussed, pursuing dentistry for the money does not seem to be enough overcome the significant challenges of the educational and professional pathway based on the current realities of the dental profession. In addition, I think he would do himself a great deal of good to be honest in public as well.

If the dentists he shadows, or even the dental schools he explores, can help counsel him on the significant pitfalls of pursuing dentistry primarily for the financial benefits, I think he does himself a great deal more good by being honest than if he were to strategically keep his motivations to himself, only to realize after all the effort, sacrifices, and costs are expended that he made the wrong choice for himself based on his unchallenged presumptions.

I agree, however, that being socially aware is important. In my opinion, telling those in the dental field that he thinks their job is abhorrent except for the financial benefits, and perhaps deliberately criticizing them for their own motivations, is much different than being honest about his motivations and presumptions in an attempt to explore whether or not they are accurate. I think the latter is far better than being strategically misleading, especially since being honest might keep him from unnecessarily wasting his time trying to get to an outcome that he may not actually want.

Unless he decides to edit his posts in this thread to be more inflammatory, I don't think he really came across as offensive before others decided to start attacking him. If you think he's trolling for some reason, however, by all means, from the SDN ToS:

"Kill trolls quickly. If you find a member that is clearly trolling, do not engage them (that’s what they want). Instead, please report their post. If you engage with a troll, you may receive a warning and/or more serious repercussions, such as a temporary or permanent ban."
Forums Terms of Service & Website Online Service Agreement - Student Doctor Network

Importantly, you could also just put him on ignore if you find him that offensive, which is probably the right choice since his questions, even if they seem juvenile, would likely serve to help others who are also very early on in their health professional pursuits.

Also from the ToS:
"Harassment and flame-wars burn everyone. Be courteous. Just ignore those members that can’t discuss topics professionally. Remember, the academic healthcare community is relatively small; don’t behave in a manner which might get you into trouble now or in the future."
Forums Terms of Service & Website Online Service Agreement - Student Doctor Network


To deliberately ignore him: click on his name, then click on ignore. Problem solved.

The dental forums seem to be developing a reputation for being high maintenance for the moderators, however, so less flagging and more ignoring might help lighten the load for them:

"Per capita drama is Dent and Pharm; we get more reports from those by far compared to the number of users there."
https://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/sdn-poster-graveyard.1211967/page-8#post-19305294

I hope that helps.

Thanks for all that you choose to do to help make SDN a fantastic community. Please have a great day.
The sad thing is I dont think he's trolling. IMO, we're talking about what color to paint the walls when the house is on fire. He comes off having anxiety, maybe on the spectrum, and neurotic behaviours (Im nowhere near a therapist so IDK, just my opinion) so instead of feeding into it, if we actually care, we should push him towards a therapist (like being neurotic enough to post if he bites his nails and if a cold in freshman year would prevent him from being a dentist??).
 
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