Are you well rounded?

You can get all A's and still flunk life.  ~Walker Percy

Dental Schools love to see well rounded individuals. In fact, a well rounded individual is usually preferred to the individual who is solely academically strong. But, what makes a well rounded individual? First know that dental schools like to see that you have a diverse educational background and that you have taken a wide range of coursework. Contrary to common belief that in order to apply to Dental School you should enroll in the sciences, one can major in any course that they want to as long as the required coursework is completed (Click here for a list of required coursework). Next, be aware that they love to see students that are well involved in different activities. Get involved with different extracurricular activities; what do you enjoy doing? It may be sports, volunteering at your neighborhood health clinic or anything of the sort. You should also consider doing some research, as this allows you to gain an appreciation of the practical applications of knowledge gained in the classroom. Next, show involvement in the field! Dentistry involves superior manual dexterity skills and excellent hand-eye coordination. If you aspire to be a dentist, you must engage in activities that will develop these skills. The admissions committees at the different schools  like to see that you have been engaged in activities that  develop these skills prior to admission into Dental School. Activities that will help in this regard include playing a musical instrument (piano, guitar, flute), or producing three dimensional artwork (jewelry-making, ceramics, sculpture). Working in a biology lab performing fine detailed tasks such as dissections can also be a good way to develop manual dexterity skills, as can be working in a dental lab. In addition to this, you must demonstrate a growing knowledge of the profession, and show involvement in your community as this speaks volumes to your commitment to serve.


Anonymous said...

Patrice, that is interesting, the need to be well rounded. Everything in life involves getting people interested in talking to us, we can't succeed if we're boring or one-dimensional. Diverse knowledge really helps.


Senor T said...

Patrice, you're on point. At an undergraduate conference I heard some recruiters mentioned that they want a well rounded student rather than someone who has an excellent grade point average. There's nothing wrong with a good GPA, but, a GPA without out of class experiences is more of a handicap rather than a good.
For starters, a balance of in-class and extracurricular activities speaks volume.

Dr. Patrice Smith said...

You both are spot on. Everyone should aim to be well rounded individuals. It makes for better conversations, social life, etc. As for applying into Dental, Medical or any health care or graduate school, a lot of people make the mistake of thinking that once they have a high GPA they will automatically get in. That notion is absolutely wrong! I just wanted to make that very clear. Thanks for sharing your insights as well.

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