Months before you start

It's February, and I'm already thinking of how I can prepare for the rigorous curriculum of Dental School come August. Despite the many advices to RELAX for my "free" couple of months before DS, I can't help but trying to get a head start. I suppose it's natural to feel that way? hmm...
Most Dental Schools have a similar or identical curriculum. First year usually consists of Biochemistry, Gross Anatomy, Physiology, Radiology, Microbiology, Occlusion, Histology, Embryology (phew!!), to name a few. With all this stuff that I will need to squeeze inside my cerebrum, why not start making space for them now? I might even get some chuckles for this, arched eyebrows or even some eye rolling. For some, trying to get a head start on some of these might prove to be an exercise in futility - which is okay! but for others, it might be beneficial. Starting early will slightly prepare you for the first couple months, okay maybe weeks of school. You will be familiar with some of the terminologies used so that you don't sit in class, looking around clueless.
Yes, the months before starting school can be quite hectic. For some, it might mean a new city, or a new state. If this is the case you will have to do some research on the places you would like to live, keeping in mind proximity to school, cost, the neighborhood, etc. THEN you will need to set aside time to travel to that new place to go apartment hunting. Of course, there is the pressure of coming up with a quadrillion dollars to pay for attending the school. Whichever route you take, scholarships, loans, fellowships, the military, out of pocket (do people actually do that??) it is stressful! and as if that is not enough, the school has it's own requirements that has to be completed by a certain time.
However, no matter how stressful pre-dental school gets, it is still very exciting! It's exciting to start a new chapter in your life, it's exciting knowing you are only a few more steps away from accomplishing your goals. It's exciting to move to a new place, exciting to meet new people - the people who will become family over the next four years. Excited for those sleepless nights; burning the mid night oil to make sure that you make the grade to stay in and see your way through DS. It is all exciting! and I can't wait to start!

How about you? what is your pre-dental school game plan? are you as excited as I am?

Who's Writing Here? Meet the Author

Hello friends, In case you were wondering who was on the other end of your screen, I am Patrice, author of this, the Stu-DENT Diaries blog, that's me to the left. Currently (see date), I am a pre-dental student. Been through the horrors of the applications, the DATs, the rejections... Now I eagerly await the start of Dental School in the Fall of 2010.

I was inspired to chronicle my journey of being a Student Dentist because of my experiences. As much as there may be a vast amount of information out there about the different processes of getting into and through Dental School, it all might prove to be overbearing and a lot to sift through to identify what can really work for you. This is why this blog was created. It offers a first hand approach to the different processes that one goes through to get into and through dental school. Most, if not all the information you will find here are from my own experiences.

To be a dentist has always been a dream of mine. I remember as a child being intrigued and awed by how the little devices worked, by how a denture was made; how putting a gooey substance in one's mouth came out being solid and in the shape of the persons dentition, by seeing a picture of my tooth on the little black squares known as films, the sounds, the smells...  Not surprisingly, I ended up starting my college career by enrolling in a Dental Hygiene program, the only dental related program at Northern Caribbean University (NCU), the liberal Arts college in my home town Mandeville, of my home country, Jamaica. However, the scope of a Dental Hygienist proved to be a bit limiting for me. I wanted to be a dentist. In my quest to be a dentist, there were limitations that hindered me from taking that next step. I needed the pre-requisites for Dental School. After completion of the DH program, I migrated to the U.S and enrolled in a small Liberal Arts college that is part of the City University of New York (CUNY). Though the school didn't offer a pre-dental course, I used biology as a spring board as it offered and included the pre-requisites needed for dental school. Along the way, there were many encouraging professors that not only acted as mentors but offered opportunities for research, which I readily took advantage of.

Now, five years after beginning my DH program, I am on my way to starting Dental School this Fall semester. I see this as a journey in which I would continue to chronicle each week. Hopefully, in the process I can inspire someone to not be like me, but, to be much better, because they will learn from my mistakes and experiences.

If you would like to also add your story, please, feel free to leave a comment or visit the forums.

So you want to go to Dental School? Well, Apply then!

Applying to Dental School can be a tedious and intimidating process. This sometimes is due to students having many questions about the process that they are unable to get answered through their undergraduate pre-dental advisors. This post should answer the basic questions about the application process. If there are still questions after reading this post, please feel free to ask us in the forums.

 Dental Schools usually require a four year degree. Once you have completed at least three years of your academic career and are ready to apply into Dental school there are a few things you need to know.
First of all, it is important to send applications in early. This could possibly turn into an early interview and hence early acceptance. You should consider gathering all the necessary information and documents prior to the start of the cycle. Try to get a head start on the personal statement as this will save a lot of time during the application process.

It is a good idea to start your application as soon as the cycle opens so that you can send it out early. This year, the cycle opens June 1.

Most dental schools in the United States require that you apply through ADEA's (American Dental Education Association) application services, AADSAS (Associated American Dental Schools Application Services).  Your application will ask you for several pieces of information. Besides the typical biography and background information, your application requires:

1. Education Information including Secondary School and Colleges attended, along with the different college level coursework taken (which you have to manually list). Your DAT scores are also to be listed within this section.

2. Professional Experience - This section requires a list of your different achievements. You will need to provide information on the different awards, honors, and scholarships you have or are receiving. You will also need to list your volunteer, extracurricular and community services, Additionally, you are required to list your work, research and dentistry experiences.

3. Personal Statement - You are required to write a personal statement. The personal statement is a brief biography of yourself outlining your accomplishments and your reason for wanting to pursue a career in dentistry. You may contact me if you wish to have a look at my personal statement (just to get the idea).

4. Letter of recommendations - recommendation letters play a big role in your application. Get these from your Professors, dentists or anyone who knows of your accomplishments and potentials.

5. Dental School Designations - You must carefully choose the schools that you think are right for you.

6. Payment -  AADSAS charges a processing fee. This amount varies with the amount of designations chosen.
Note that schools charge an additional supplemental application fee. This fee varies with each school.

 PS: The Pre-Dental Guide is a handy book that may be beneficial to pre-dental students. I would recommend you getting this book.


For more information on the application process, visit the American Dental Association (ADA) or the American Dental Education Association.

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