By: Sachi Mehrotra, UCLA School of Dentistry Class of 2019
Now that summer is over and a new academic year has started, there is a lot to do in order to prepare for your dental school application. Even though the next cycle is roughly ten months away, it’s never too early to start working on building your resume and gaining experience that will help you become a strong applicant. Here are a few tips to start the year off productively:
1. Track your achievements/extracurriculars
Make note of significant awards/extracurricular events that you participate in as you do them. This will make it easy to remember the dates and details of activities you participate in. When it comes time to fill out an application or resume, they will be nicely organized and documented.
2. Start shadowing dentists
Rather than cramming in all your shadowing hours in at one time or at one particular office, spread out your shadowing over a long period of time and at multiple practices if you’d like a comprehensive, well-rounded shadowing experience. I recommend doing 100+ hours, although schools vary with their requirements. Admissions committees tend to prefer long-term commitments and shadowing general dentists rather than specialists, but you can certainly shadow a specialist if you have enough general hours.
3. Plan for letters of recommendation
Even if you don’t plan on applying this cycle, keep in mind that letters from professors who know you well or whose class you excel in are generally pretty strong. If you do well in a class, ask the professor for a letter right after completion of the course, as opposed to asking them a year or two later when they might not remember you as well.
4. Brainstorm for your personal statement
You don’t have to write it months in advance, but you can start brainstorming. Keep track of significant ideas or experiences that shape you as a person that you’d like to incorporate into your statement. By the time comes to write it, you’ll already have a strong foundation for your essay.
Overall, the key to a successful application is being well prepared and well organized. Hopefully these tips are helpful and keep you motivated to have a productive year!
- Sep 27, 2016 Essential Back to School Checklist for Pre-Dental Students Sep 27, 2016
- Aug 26, 2016 How to Prepare for Your Dental School Interview Aug 26, 2016
- Jun 16, 2016 The Dentistry Advantage: Meet Ann Wong Jun 16, 2016
- Jun 3, 2016 3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Applied to Dental School Jun 3, 2016
- May 15, 2016 The Dentistry Advantage: Meet Sachi Mehrotra May 15, 2016