This past March, Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) ASDA Chapter hosted a Predental Day event geared towards undergraduate predental students. After a warm arrival and Patterson Dental sponsored lunch, we were separated into two groups, or “tracks” for the day based on our year of undergraduate studies.
Track 1 was geared towards freshmen and sophomores. Their first rotation was a Q&A session which focused on which prerequisite courses to take as an undergraduate as well as general admission questions. Students participated in a hands-on wax-carving session, followed by a tour of VCU’s dental school from current dental students.
As a postbac student, I participated in track 2 activities (which was also open to third and fourth year undergraduate students). For our first rotation, we did dental preps on tooth #19 in DentSim lab. It was really exciting to get the opportunity to do some of the work that actual dental students do! While I understand dentistry is a fine art, I really couldn’t believe the level of precision required to successfully prep a tooth. This rotation was my favorite of the day because it was both hands-on and provided an accurate snapshot of what dental students do in DentSim lab.
Our group had 1-on-1 mock interviews with dental students acting as members of an admissions committee. Using a list of commonly asked interview questions, they were able to provide us with a realistic simulation of what to expect during dental school interviews. Afterwards, they constructively critiqued us individually and provided useful advice on how to further improve our interviewing techniques.
Our last rotation of the day was a tour of the dental school facilities. After our rotations were completed, all of the pre-dental students reconvened to hear closing comments from Dean Dr. David Sarrett, as well as the highly anticipated Q&A session led by Dean of Admissions, Dr. David Healy. We were so engaged in the Q&A session that we went over the allotted hour! I felt this session was incredibly beneficial because it provided us with an opportunity to directly ask Dr. Healy questions about VCU’s dental school admissions process as well as their application processing timeline.
The day ended with a raffle prize event in which VCU School of Dentistry t-shirts, Sonicare and Oral B electric toothbrushes, and Crest Professional White Strips were given away, alongside a highly coveted free Kaplan course worth $1500. I was fortunate enough to be the lucky recipient of the Kaplan course!
Throughout the day, we had many opportunities to interact with the dental students, ranging from first through fourth years. Each conversation provided me with an added unique perspective on what dental school is really like. VCU’s dental students were incredibly friendly and helpful, not only during the day’s activities, but also with answering general questions about VCU’s dental school, the AADSAS application process, and which materials they found beneficial when studying for the DAT. I even had the opportunity to meet my ASDA predental mentor; she is a first year dental student who has already made herself available to me as a resource, and someone whom I plan on consulting during the application process this summer.
I would like to thank VCU ASDA, Kaplan, P&G, Sonicare, Henry Shein, Colgate, and Patterson Dental for making the predental Day event memorable, engaging, and above all, inspiring. I was fortunate enough to hear about the event from my Pre-Health Advisor who has been an excellent resource for pre-dental events. I highly recommend all pre-dental students seek out similarly specialized pre-dental programs such as VCU ASDA’s predental Day, in order to enhance their journey to dental school and to further augment their interest in the dental field.
~Sara Gholam, predental member