I am currently a dental student at LECOM. I want to help hardworking pre-dental students have a better chance at being accepted.
Becoming a More Competitive Dental School Applicant
I mentioned in my last article what was definitely required by many, if not all dental schools. However, if you want to stand out more compared to the rest then here are a few strategies to consider before applying.
- It is necessary to portray to the admissions committee that you are ready to handle a full science course load. This is important because in dental school you don't just take 12-15 credits a semester it's more like 30+ a semester. This can be accomplished in two ways. One way is to do very well in those prerequisite classes that I mentioned in the last article. The second way is to take many upper level biology classes such as histology and physiology. Not only taking these classes, but receiving good grades in them as well. The most competitive applicants do both of these throughout there undergraduate years.
- Focus on extracurricular activities which could include volunteering, clubs, leadership roles, shadowing, internships, and research. These are very important because it shows that your a well rounded person. Also if your being compared to other applicants who may have slightly better grades this may be the extra boost to put you ahead of them. So part taking in these extracurriculars shows that you don't just study all the time, but that you give back to your community and part take in school clubs. This also shows that you can get along and work with others which is an important quality. Another important quality is leadership. Therefore get involved with a club and take a leadership role such as president or vice president. In addition, during summer breaks look for internship opportunities in a dental office or lab. This will show that your very interested in the dental field and eager to learn more. If you are not able to find an internship position look for research opportunities at your school or another local school with one of the faculty members.
- Visit the dental school you're interested in applying to. Set up a date that you could come in and take a tour with a student and possibly have a chat with the admission representative. This not only solidifies the fact that you want to go there, but that you took initiative to see the school and learn more about it. Compared to other applicants who have applied but have never even seen the school. This allows you to get your foot in the door and make a good first impression upon the admissions committee.
- Start looking for a job, but only if you can handle everything before this. It is key to make sure you have achieved the previous strategies first. If you have done this then try to find a working position in the health field if possible. This would allow you to show that your a hard worker and that you know how to balance and manage your time.
- Start looking for and applying for scholarships. This will not only save you money in the short term, but also allow you to fill up your resume with these awards. It's a sign of maturity that your taking responsibility for your finances. Next time I will go over how to prepare to take the DAT and get the best possible score. Please leave any comments or questions you have and I will get back to you.