In addition to stellar grades and competitive DAT scores, extracurricular activities are a must on your AADSAS application. There are many opportunities available including shadowing local dentists or specialists, volunteering at free dental clinics and getting involved with ASDA. These additions will positively enhance your application and show the admissions committee that you are truly interested in dentistry by having hands-on experiences and interactions with patients.
In my home state of Wisconsin, there is an event called Mission of Mercy which travels around every summer setting up a free dental clinic for 2 days. Anybody and everybody is welcome to get their teeth cleaned or have cavities filled. Look for MOM events in your home state. I would highly recommend volunteering at the event because it allows you to see a wide variety of oral health problems and get a true feel for dentistry. This can also give you an experience to talk about in your personal statement.
In addition to volunteering, joining ASDA can open up many doors. There are opportunities to hold a national leadership position on the Predental Advisory Committee (PAC) as well as write articles for this blog and ASDA’s print publications ASDA News and Mouth. Having a nationally published article about dentistry not only looks great on a resumé, but it is a great addition to a dental school application. Click here to write for ASDA.
Last but not least, getting involved with your college or university’s predental club or organization can positively add to your undergraduate experience as a predental student. At my university, we have a predental society that holds monthly meetings, along with socials, volunteer opportunities and fundraising events. Here is a brief list of things we have done in the past: volunteered at the Ronald McDonald house, raised money for Operation Smile, attended the Chicago Midwinter Meeting as a select group of UW-Madison Predental Students, and went to a Brewer’s game in Milwaukee. Starting a predental club is also an option if your college or university doesn’t have one; however, joining a premedical or pre-health professions club is also a possibility. Although the club wouldn’t necessarily be dental-specific, it wouldn’t hurt to participate in their volunteer and fundraising events.
Overall, extracurriculars and volunteering will be the icing on the cake for your AADSAS application. There is nothing admissions committees like to see more than a smart student who spends time giving back to the community in various ways — dental-related or not. With that being said, I will leave you with one final piece of advice: don’t spread yourself too thin and jeopardize your grades — find a few things you enjoy participating in and stick with them throughout your college career. Good luck!
~ Madison Felber, member, ASDA predental advisory committee
Don’t forget! Predentals who join ASDA during Predental Week will be eligible for prizes, including an Apple iPad mini, $250 Best Buy gift card and $100 Amazon gift card.
2016 Predental Week is sponsored by: