Ten things to do before applying to dental school

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A dentistry work experience student observing her mentor performing a routine procedure. If you are looking for a career in the medical field, which is rewarding, interesting and challenging, being a dentist may be something you want to consider. Dentists perform a variety of duties, such as screening for oral cancer, preventing and treating gum disease and performing oral surgery. Some dentists also specialize and perform more complex procedures. Working as a dentist can provide opportunities to ease pain, prevent disease and improve a patient’s overall wellbeing.

 

 

 

If you are sold on dental school, there are a number of things you should do before you apply.

1. Develop a strong academic record. Dental school is competitive. Although you do not need straight A’s necessarily, your grades need to be good. As soon as you start considering dental school, do what you can to keep your GPA respectable.

2. Take science classes such as biology, chemistry and organic chem. Regardless of your undergraduate major, you need to take certain science classes. Dental schools vary on requirements but plan on taking biology and chemistry.

3. Shadow a dentist. Not only will shadowing a dentist be a plus on your dental school application, it will give you a good idea what the day-to-day responsibilities of being a dentist are.

4. Consider your reasons for becoming a dentist. There are lots of good reasons for becoming a dentist, such as an interest in the medical field and wanting to help people. There are also some reasons, which are not as good including family expectations and doing it for the money. Take a good, honest look at yourself and decide if dental school is the best choice for the right reasons.

5. Devote time to prepare and take the DAT. Before you apply to dental school, you need to take the dental school admissions exam. Your exam scores play a role in whether you get accepted, so you want to do as well as possible. Give yourself at least a few months to prepare and study for the test.

6. Attend a pre-dental club event. If you have not been involved in any pre-dental club activities at your college, consider going to one event. It will give you the chance to talk to others in the field, network and get ideas and thoughts on different dental programs.

7. Talk to someone in dental school. If you know anyone in dental school, talk with them about what you can expect. Someone in dental school may provide you with insight you don’t get from the dental school websites or guides.

8. Become familiar with the application process. The dental school application process involves obtaining transcripts, getting letters of recommendation, writing a personal statement and more. It may be helpful to become familiar with the process before you are in the thick of it.

9. Compare dental schools. Give yourself plenty of time before you start applying to compare schools. You want to make sure you find the school that feels like a good fit.

10. Get organized. If dental school is a go, you have a lot to do. Get organized by making a timeline to help you remember what to complete and when. 

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