Predental students vying for a coveted space in dental school need to find innovative ways to stand out to highly selective admissions committees. Whether you are looking to gain clinical insight or to determine if the career is right for you, shadowing a dentist can help you go above and beyond in making an impression. Here are five ways to gain shadowing experience as a predental student:
1. Talk to your dentist
Your dentist knows you personally, and the care you received from him or her may well have influenced your decision to pursue a career in dentistry. Whether you chat over the phone or at your next appointment, ask if he or she would be willing to let you shadow for a certain amount of time.
2. Volunteer at a local practice
Consider volunteering at a local practice or clinic. This will help you get your foot in the door at a dental facility, allowing you to establish a rapport with the staff. When the time is right, ask one of the dentists about shadowing.
3. Intern abroad
Some companies offer predental internships abroad. Make sure you choose a reputable program that follows industry guidelines for students providing patient care. Programs should provide comprehensive safety and support services and focus on observation, not hands-on experience.
4. Speak to your university
Your university may offer opportunities for dental shadowing through summer internship programs or overseas missions. Get in touch with a predental advisor or your study abroad office to find out more.
5. Cold calls and e-mails
If all else fails, you can try calling and emailing nearby dentists and practices. Keep your contact professional and you may have some luck!
Have you participated in dental shadowing? Share your experience in the comments below!