Application advice from a foreign-trained dentist

volunteer at eventAs 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.

A first generation American applies to dental school

BednarskiI am a first generation American. Both my mother and father grew up in communist Poland. After overcoming many obstacles, they were fortunate to obtain their U.S. citizenship and establish themselves in my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. My parent’s immigration to the United States is heroic in my eyes. They made sure their future family would have lives filled with opportunity. Neither of my parents had the chance to go to college or get advanced degrees, but they understood the meaning of education in the U.S. They instilled in me the importance of achieving. My parents did not specifically push me into a professional degree. However, due to their constant encouragement to excel, I grew to love academia and dreamed of becoming a dentist. The next question was: how on earth was I going to achieve this?

What I wished I’d known when applying as an international student

man on laptopAs an international dentist, when you make a decision to pursue a DDS in another country rather than opting for the conventional masters program in your home country, you are choosing the road less traveled. No one ever tells you about the struggles, goof-ups, road-blocks that can derail your enthusiasm in getting into a DDS program. Here are a few pointers when you embark on this wondrous journey.

Predentals: Don’t fear the gap year

gap-yearWhat if you are passionate about dentistry and you look down at your resume knowing it doesn’t quite reflect your passion? The dental school admissions process is a highly competitive endeavor. According to ADEA, more than 12,000 hopefuls applied to dental school in 2013 for less than 6,000 open spots. Therefore, it’s understandable that you may get overlooked if your resume is lacking.

If this sounds like you then I have one piece of advice: don’t fear the gap year.