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Some words of advice from a dentist


New Member
Hey guys, I am a dentist and just wanted to share some ideas from my experience for future aspiring dental students who are either school leavers or mature aged students (like I was when I applied for dental school). As a prospective dental student applying to dental schools in Australia I found that the most challenging aspect in the whole application process was actually the dental school interview (of course a good GPA/ATAR and UMAT score is important before you can reach the interview stage). I found that particularly if you are someone who has no prior background in the dental profession that it's difficult to translate your enthusiasm into words when being interviewed.

From my experience I would recommend the following tips for aspiring dental students (apart from the obvious attainment of high GPAs/ATARs and UMAT/GAMSAT scores):

-Volunteering/Shadowing at a dental clinic where you get to hang out with a dentist for the day! Whilst this might be difficult in the private setting, hopefully you can find a family dentist locally that's happy for you to tag along for a day and see first hand what it's like being in the dental environment. It would be even better if you get to go overseas or locally/regionally to volunteer in a medical/dental camp where you get to assist and ask lots of questions to the working dentists and check out for yourself whether you like the work or not.

-Read the ADA and public health policies regarding upcoming strategies and interventions planned for oral health (including those aimed at helping out indigenous and aboriginal communities)! Even if you don't end up working in the public health system (which by the way would be a great starting point for any new dentist graduate to commence their career) it would be great if you can demonstrate at an interview that you have a good general sense of oral health issues in the country and strategies/preventive policies that are put in place to help alleviate the disease burden in society.

-Work as a dental assistant if possible! A lot of dental students in my year and above were dental assistants who had an excellent sense of what it's like to work in the dental setting, there's nothing that could prepare you better for a dental career and dental school interview then to have first hand experience of working as a dental assistant. You get to develop a great sense of what it's like to handle both clinical and interpersonal relationships in the dental setting. Most importantly you get to find out for yourself whether this profession is one that will give you the fulfilment and satisfaction that you are looking for!

-Do as many hands on activities as possible! Doesn't matter whether you're involved in art work, painting, sketching, playing a guitar, pottery, knitting, sculpting or craft work, any of these would go a long way toward harnessing your passion and manual dexterity in a dental career You don't have to be an expert in any of these areas, but it's a bonus if you develop hobbies in the above areas. It goes a long way in demonstrating your enthusiasm at dental school interviews.