Volunteering in dental clinics is one of the most rewarding experiences predental students can have. The work can show you the clinical side of dentistry and also expose you to challenges you might face in practice.I started volunteering at a local dental clinic as a way to help low income and uninsured children. (The ADA wrote an article about the Kids’ Community Dental Clinic in 2014.) Volunteering here for more than a year taught me a lot about how to advance my career in dentistry. Here are some of the key concepts I learned:
Dentistry is a teamwork-driven field: we must learn to collaborate productively despite differences in our working styles. After all, the relationships between dentists, patients and employees are all important. Being in a profession where you work closely with people can be rewarding, but also challenging. Learning how to work with all types of people can prevent conflict, reduce stress and help your team achieve a common goal. So where do we start building these skills long before we put on those white coats and see patients of our own?
While I was studying at a coffee shop, I happened to meet a dentist. After chatting for a bit about his experiences in private practice and public health, I asked him if he had any advice for a current dental student. Without hesitation, he said, “It’s important to have a mentor who is willing to teach and guide you.”
Out of the many relationships that are created and maintained in the dental world, I believe that mentorship is one of the most vital and rewarding relationships. A mentor can teach and provide insight to the mentee that isn’t found in the classroom or a group setting. Having someone who is already doing what you’re working toward is beneficial throughout your journey. This one-on-one relationship allows the mentor to provide personalized advice for their specific questions or worries.
As we all know, getting into dental school takes a lot of time, money and hard work. We all have varying amounts of experience assisting and doing community service and research. We have to have a good GPA and DAT score. But applying as an international student or foreign-trained dentist presents its own set of challenges. Schools often look for more diversity, but sometimes it can be hard to present ourselves as effectively on paper as we can in person.
How can you stand out? Here are some tips to help make yourself more competitive.
You’re running a 5K and you’re a quarter away from the finish line. You’re out of breath, you’re exhausted and you’re in desperate need to refuel. You veer off to the side of the path to catch your breath. This is the same scenario you face with taking a gap year. Is it right for you?
When I was faced with the idea of taking a gap year, I was reluctant and unwilling. For me, getting into dental school was the finish line and it seemed so close.
Read on to find out what changed Priscilla’s mind about a gap year!
A dentist is a leader not only in her field, but also in her community. In preparing to become a dentist, it is important to consider the position that a professional holds within the community and the responsibilities that come with it. As a predental student, there are countless opportunities to get involved early and gain leadership experience both within school and your community. Based on my experiences, these opportunities are best broken down in three categories: volunteer opportunities, leadership positions in school organizations and leadership development through ASDA.
There is no denying that technology touches almost every aspect of our lives. The dental field is no different–it is constantly advancing due to all aspects of technology. However, it would be short-sighted to attempt to discuss this topic in totality because it is too expansive to cover here. Furthermore, who am I to inform you of the latest in dentistry? We are peers and generally have similar dental experiences thus far. Not to mention the information won’t be the latest by the time this is published!
Luckily, information on technological advances in dentistry are out there. The fact that you are reading this displays an eagerness to learn about them. In think an active approach to professional development is what will set you apart from other students when competing for those coveted dental school seats.
Read on to find out how ASDA’s webinars can help boost your application to dental school!