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"One Piece of Advice" from Successful Applicants

Updated: Jan 21, 2021

We asked recent successful applicants (you can find their success stories here): "What is one piece of advice you have for someone applying grad school in your profession?"

Below is the compilation of all the great advice they have to share (in no specific order):


"Make lists! Organizing your thoughts. Write down what you need to complete or submit, the due dates, and who you need to contact. Make a timeline for all these thing. Doing these things may seem stressful or daunting, but it's a great way to work through what you need to get done and it's so helpful in making sure you stay on track!" - Elizabeth Iliuta (Dentistry)

"Don't give up. Keep on pushing through every struggle throughout the application process and face each challenge as an opportunity to improve on yourself while focusing on your main goal." - Omar Yaacoobi (Dentistry)

"Apply when only when you are ready and don't be afraid to take a gap year!" - Jaskaran Sahota (Dentistry)

"Own your story and show up as your most authentic self! Dental schools aren't looking for the "perfect" applicant—rather, they are searching for students with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Dig deep into the dental profession, but take the time to explore the world outside of dentistry." - Samantha Rustia (Dentistry)

"Do not be afraid to ask for advice from anyone, but be careful to always take advice with a grain of salt." - Dale Bongbong (Medicine)

"Develop your mindset. Throughout my endeavors I experienced many setbacks that directly affected my journey. I was always given two choices: let the obstacle overwhelm me or step back and approach my situation with logic. Don’t get me wrong, there were times I felt discouraged but I reminded myself that I wouldn’t pursue this profession if I wasn’t passionate about it. Lastly, be prepared to make sacrifices. Be content with missing out on some aspects of college in your pursuit. Trust me, it’ll be worth it." - Jai Ghotra (Dentistry)

"Start establishing relationships with your professors early so you avoid having to pick from professors entirely from your last year for letter of recs." - Vivian Le (Dentistry)

"I think it is important to be able to have a good work/life balance. While getting into dental school can be very difficult and time-consuming, allotting time for self-care and hanging out with friends can help you get through those tough times." - Nikko Carino (Dentistry)

"Do your research on the school you are applying to! I found that researching the school's mission statements, what communities they're committed to serving, and their culture really helped me when narrowing down schools to apply to. I picked schools who were focused on supporting communities I was dedicated to serving, which really helped me connect with my interviewers and showcase my passion." - Grace Manchala (Medicine)

"For someone currently putting together their application, get personal statement advice from as many people as possible. I found it helpful to talk to multiple friends, a writing professor, a science professor, a prehealth advisor, and one surgeon. Each person gave very different advice, and I realized many times that there were improvements I could make when I had thought I was done writing. For someone just starting their journey as a premed student, I recommend keeping a running journal with dates and short reflections for clinical experiences! Having very short reflections from shadowing and volunteer work helped me remember meaningful patient interactions that I wrote about in my application." - Anthony Diomino (Medicine)

"Be confident! It is so easy to compare your stats and extra curricular to others, however, I personally found that it usually only ever left me feeling discouraged. Dental schools look for well-rounded applicants. Keep your grades up, do well on your DAT, highlight your passions in your application, but most importantly, seal it all up with confidence-- you will succeed!" - Sonja Chesnutt (Dentistry)

"As you are participating in different events, take a moment every time to think about what you take from this event and what you enjoy from this event. I really do believe that it’s through experiences that a person really grows and discovers who they truly are." - Ava Kung (Dentistry)

"Surround yourself with successful people, and you will take on their good habits." - Evan Yu (Dentistry)

"Although applying & getting into PA school is very difficult, making attainable goals everyday during the application process will make the process go much smoother. If it doesn't work out the first time, keep gaining patient care hours and come back stronger!" - Vince Nguyen (PA)

"My one piece of advice on dental school application is to be true to yourself. Instead of doing things just to check boxes off a list, get involved in experiences that you find meaningful. Ask yourself, how will this experience shape who I am as a dentist?" - Selena Yang (Dentistry)

"Don't worry about being the perfect applicant stats-wise - put yourself first. Your mental health and ability to handle the rigors of grad school are more important long-term than a marginal improvement in your GPA. Averages are not representative of every successful applicant. Have a hobby, work a job outside of the dental field, and build a support system. It will all reflect positively on you as a well-rounded applicant." - Roger Krupetsky (Dentistry)

"Do not compare yourself to other applicants. Do not conform to be someone who you are not - focus on being your genuine self and refining your own core values that make you YOU!" - Taylor Cone (Dentistry)


Special thanks to all our amazing colleagues above who chose to share their wisdom!

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