The following links may be useful to pre-dental students.
University of Minnesota
UMN Health Careers Center
Online Workshops for personal statements and interviews: http://www.healthcareers.umn.edu/online-workshops/index.htm
Also have a class, AHS 2400, to help students write a personal statement.
Want to gain hands-on experience?
Dental Preparation Course:
I wanted to provide some tips that I learned from others:
Writing your Personal Statement:
- Make it real, true to you, talk about your experiences in-depth.
- SHOW rather than tell what you did…your experiences….if you speak from the heart, your passion will show!
- Sit down and ask yourself why you want to be a dentist? (This question requires a lot of time to think about).
- Start early! The personal statement is not done until you have talked about your story/ your background/what made you interested, began this field/why this career. Give examples from your experiences.
- Do not make it specific to a dental school. This personal statement is for every dental school you apply to.
- The character limit and space is 4,500 words –so make sure to stay within the limit–the personal statement should be about one and a half pages.
- Take your time, start early and edit! Get feedback from friends, family, but most importantly, dentists, faculty, dental faculties, ask them what made the paper stand out? What can they sum up with you in a few words?
- Do not send your paper to the Admissions Committee-this is unfair viewing yours before submission.
- Lastly, EDIT AGAIN! Only submit when you are sure about your paper.
- Dr. Lopez will speak more about this in detail.
- Make sure to shadow dentists (different specialties are nice, but make the majority be shadowing general dentistry–a minimum of 100 hours).
- Do what you love to do–volunteer, participate in extra-curriculars that you are passion about and major in whatever you want (as long as you take sciences courses and do well in them).
- The Writing Center is a wonderful place to get input from someone that does not know you and can help you edit your writing!
- Register on the ADA website only when you are ready.
- If you can study during classtime, do, but do not take a heavy load of courses.
- Take the exam ONCE if you can, do not take it to just see what it’s like…the first score will always be on your dental application.
Letters of Recommendation:
- Ask/Notify your professors in advance
- Let them know that if they want to submit the letters on the first day the website may crash, so let them know to continue to do so until you receive an e-mail from AADSAS that let’s you know that the letter has been submitted.
- There is a lot of material–prepare a year or a semester in advance by creating an account on the AADSAS cycle from the previous year and do not submit it-copy your information and paste it to a Word document for safe keeping.
- When the cycle is really opened, on the first day quickly print out the transcript matching forms and request transcripts from each of your school–the first day is busy, so the website may crash…if you print it out early and can send it right away that would be to your advantage.
- To prepare for these questions, Google and practice questions online.
- Do not rehearse them.
- Be YOU, TRUE like your personal statement
- Depending on your interview (closed/blind or opened)–be prepared to talk about your experiences, personal statement and grades.)
Lastly, breathe, embrace the journey for that is what matters. Learn a lot and have fun =)