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):
"I want to encourage everyone to be proactive in reaching out to schools. Although I had received acceptance in December, I had not heard back at all from my top-choice school. With the encouragement from Jenny and Wilson, I sent a letter of interest to the admissions which landed me an interview the following month. I was initially waitlisted, but I continued to express my interest in their program by sending a letter of intent as well as update letters on my activities every few weeks. Ultimately, the school invited me to join the class at the end of May near the end of the cycle. It is not over if a school doesn't get back to you. Reach out and be proactive - it could change everything!" - Shinwoo Lee (Dentistry)
"I would say to stay positive, be realistic and intentional, and believe in yourself." - Jessie Allcock (Dentistry)
"- Be proactive! This goes to say for anything in life, but it’s important to take advantage of the resources that are available. Reach out to current dental students and attend pre-dental events hosted by the schools. Even if you’re not local to the dental school, you can connect with them through admissions webinars or the ADEA GoDental Fair!
- Don’t be afraid of constructive criticism! When applying to dental schools, you want to be the best applicant you can be, and to do so would mean getting as much feedback from others. You’ll get a lot of feedback regarding your personal statement or interview answers. Listen to them wholeheartedly cause they will only make you a stronger applicant! In addition, dental students are one of the best people to reach out to when it comes to this as they’ve gone through a similar journey. Let people know you would like their input and they’d be happy to help! :-) - Isabelle Tseng (Dentistry)
"There are a few things that I think are incredibly important. Apply early and have all parts of your application glowing, not just one aspect! Schools look very holistically. Lastly, make connections. The UC Davis Pre-Health Conference is one of the best ways to talk to deans and admission committees. Dental schools get thousands of applications per year; you need to find ways to stand out so that they can put a name to your face!" - Fareen Baloch (Dentistry)
"To start early and don't be afraid to ask others for help.." - Viet Nguyen (Dentistry)
"Do things that scare you and take you outside your comfort zone. That's where I found I learned and grew most." - Anna Chung (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)
"It is absolutely OKAY to need help and ask for it! Requesting for help isn't a burden or a weakness, but rather demonstrates high self-awareness and determination to achieve your goal(s). Applying to grad school can be a stressful and arduous process, but finding the support of others can make the journey more bearable and enjoyable." - Ivan Tse (Dentistry)
"I would say that you should really focus on making a strong narrative. Don't do random service projects and internships that make you look good. Get involved with a cause you care about and pursue it in your extracurriculars and internship so that way you have a consistent theme. Then you can connect that theme to your impact on dentistry. Creating a cohesive app is really simple- just follow a cause you're passionate about, and it will shine through your personal values and mission. Think about how your passion applies to dentistry ( eg helping a special population)" - Sophia Hernandez (Dentistry)
"My biggest piece of advice when applying to dental school is to start early and do your research. Luckily my school had a pre-health department and I had essentially completed my application in January before AADSAS even opened up. By starting early, I allowed myself time to research the schools I could see myself going to, as well as provide myself with enough time to prepare for interviews knowing the schools I could potentially receive an invitation to. " - Jordan Asnes (Dentistry)
Special thanks to all our amazing colleagues above who chose to share their wisdom!
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