Really? I had no idea! Is this most schools? Or just some? I do research, but I didn't think it was that big of a deal....this cheers me up. Kind of. But I don't want to go into research while in dental school. So does that mean my research counts for nothing? Are they just looking for students interested in doing research while in dental school?OP, Research is actually a big focus of adcom these days. We have a problem in dentistry. This was actually just published in the AAO this month. There is a notion of "training" dental students as opposed to teaching. Dentistry is akin to trade school. We need more of a science and research focus back on dentistry. The main reason being - dentistry becoming more complicated. We're losing the science aspect quickly. This is a big problem in dental academia.
If you can't do research then that's ok, but I would highly advise you do research. It won't make you or break you, but it will certainly help you. It doesn't have to be dental research or even related(bone regeneration, tissue engineering, genetic research, anthropology etc.). Just show that you're interested in achieving a greater good and you enjoy science. Research can be very fun and rewarding. Plus, it's a great place to find letter of recommendations.
Not only that, but don't you want to be published?
Consider doing research. It will surely help you.
Additionally, even if you do research, this does not guarantee a publication. There is no guarantee of publication--ever. Sometimes your results don't work out the way you expected or don't work out at all, and there is nothing to publish. Sometimes you're on a project at the wrong time and it doesn't get published in time. I have found that you have to be on the right project at the right time in order to get a publication before or while you're applying to dental schools. Additionally, if you're getting published you will certainly have to pull long hours and work very hard. For ex, while in college I was pulling 20+ hours of research a week, and my study didn't work out the way it was supposed to so I didn't get published. In my lab, at a big research university, we had 5 undergrads working there for 1+ years who graduated in 2012, and only one person is getting published from that lab this coming year. It doesn't mean we didn't all work hard, but the other projects weren't at the point of getting published yet.Not only that, but don't you want to be published?
It's a great experience, yes, unless you don't like it and aren't willing to commit to it fully, which is what I see more often than not by students who are doing research as a way of "checking that box" so to speak.It's a great experience to do something you may not get to do again.
You could focus on your studies and do it later, either your junior/senior years or during a gap year (if you take one). The one advantage of waiting to do research is that you can actually make connections with professors and know what kind of research you want to do and why. I didn't start my research until late, but at that point I knew which professor I wanted to work with, had taken 2 classes with him, and he made space for me in the lab specifically, after telling me that he had no room at first.When is the latest one can do research...I mean does it have to be in your sophomore/freshman year..or could I just foucs on my study and then do it later