Walshy

5+ Year Member
Apr 18, 2012
78
3
I am currently a college student with no intentions of joining a research lab. Will this hurt me when I apply to dental school?
 
Apr 26, 2012
150
2
Virginia
Status
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.
 
Apr 21, 2012
164
0
Status
Dental Student
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.
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?
 
Apr 26, 2012
150
2
Virginia
Status
Many schools don't have a requirement to do research. Some schools are more research oriented while others are more clinical oriented while others are more book oriented. It just depends. All schools look at research as a plus though. It's great to do research.

Research really helps your chances of admission because of the evolving nature of dentistry. Dentistry has so many different aspects built into it that we often lose focus on what dentistry is - science. For example, a dental student needs to know economics, marketing, a little bit of IT management, speaking skills, manual dexterity, etc. Back in the day, we didn't need to know how to effectively use Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter what have you. As a result, we're losing the scientific aspect(now this is only one summarized point on why research is appreciated). Remember, most adcom members are older and value good ole science.

The bottom line is, as with most admission to professional schools, research is a big plus. It's a great experience to do something you may not get to do again. By doing research you're adding to the bank of science. It builds your university. It helps your professors. It helps you. It's great material to talk about during your interview, and it'll often give you skills that will help you in D-school itself be it lab skills or attention to detail.
 
Mar 27, 2012
89
0
Status
Pre-Dental
we don't care as much about research as meds and grad kids

but having some always helps fill up your resume
 
Oct 26, 2011
58
1
Status
Pre-Dental
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
 

LBJ6

Permanence, perseverance and persistence
5+ Year Member
May 19, 2012
417
38
Bham, AL
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I didn't get a chance to do research. I wished I did, but I ended up working as a DA in a private practice. So, if i had more time to do research alongside, school, and work, I would have a more interesting application. But I do not believe not having research will decrease your chances...

I agree with everyone one this post. It is good to both for yourself and for the adcom to see, but not having it will not hurt you. :thumbup:
 
Jun 6, 2012
182
2
Status
having experienced two interview first hand at two different schools, I can tell you it depends on who is reviewing your application. School A did not ask me anything about my research and the other school interviewer did (this school had two interviewers and only one cared because he is a researcher himself).

The best thing to do is doing something or alot of things that can be related to a reviewer. I believe the best thing to do is dental assistant >dental research > volunteer > regular science research (in that ranking order).
 
Last edited:
Jul 21, 2012
689
55
Los Angeles
Status
Dental Student
I do agree that it is based on the reviewer themselves... Hoever, sometimes a dental school, in general, is a research dental school and having no research on your application can be a negative thing considering each school gets thousands of apps and if they had to choose between two similar students... why not take the one with more research experience?

Research will only help. Plus, it is its own section on the application... I would be scared to leave a whole section blank. :scared: At least be able to put somethinggggg there.
 

LaFleur

All flavor. No bite.
5+ Year Member
Jul 19, 2009
7,337
35
Status
Toothsayer, I'm not discounting what you're saying, but looking at the predental clubs I've been in (at two different universities) and where the kids got in and what they did as far as extracurriculars, I honestly think that research is not a big focus of dental schools or pre-dental students. It seems to me that pre-dental students are not that much into doing research, and this does not hurt them in the application process, even at schools that are supposedly research heavy or value research. Maybe I've only seen a skewed part of the population, but someone who is into research, like me, seems to be more the exception than the rule.

I think what the others are saying is true in that not doing research won't harm the application at all, but doing research can help you. Then again, I tend to agree with Jeffity that there are numerous things you can do to add value to your application that do not necessarily have to be research, and if you do research just to check that box, it'll show. People shouldn't be forced into activities that they don't enjoy doing, especially if not doing that activity won't harm the application and they can be focusing that time on something they enjoy--something they'll talk about with passion at the interview.

A lot of premeds do research, but that doesn't mean that they enjoy it, and you can definitely tell by talking to them about their research. I would much rather advise someone to do something they enjoy than tell them to do something that will "look good" and then have them talk about that aspect of their application on interview day with the same attitude I've seen from some premeds.

Not only that, but don't you want to be published?
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.

I believe very firmly that people shouldn't do research to get published. You do it to explore something you're interested in. I did research in high school and at the beginning of my college career, wasn't interested in the topics, and decided that research was boring. Then through taking classes I realized I really liked molecular bio/genetics and wanted to do genetics research. I did, and it was amazing. It was one of the most frustrating and rewarding experiences I have had. I've done other kinds of research to (clinical medical), and we have gotten a publication and poster presentations out, but that wasn't quite as exciting as the molecular bio/genetics research I did. Quite frankly, publications don't seem to mean anything for dental schools, as there isn't even a place to put them on the application. Therefore, this is not a reason for someone who doesn't want to do research to do research.

I guess what I am trying to say to OP is do what you're passionate about, but keep an open mind. Maybe you'll one day find you really want to do the thing that you thought you didn't like all along. I honestly think that doing what you're passionate about trumps checking boxes for the sake of checking boxes. The reason you're doing your EC's needs to come from within you.

I know that sounds corny and I honestly didn't understand it when people said that for a long time, but I do now. You have to follow what you're excited about. There are a ton of EC's you can do that look good on an application, if you're at a university that offers a comprehensive and diversified program of opportunities. If anything, I would say that students are spoiled for choice in this regard.

It's a great experience to do something you may not get to do again.
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.
 

LaFleur

All flavor. No bite.
5+ Year Member
Jul 19, 2009
7,337
35
Status
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
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.

You also don't have to do hard science research. Research within the social sciences and humanities can be just as rewarding for some people. I honestly think the experience is a lot more about the process than anything else. Humanities research is different from science/social science research, but I've seen people travel to far away places to study things and the experiences they came back with were incredible. If you don't want to do hard science research, but still want to do science-related research, I'd recommend looking into psych research or public health research.