What D1s wish we knew before Dental School
I’m Rebecca, or Bec for short, and if I weren’t going to be a dentist, I would have been an advice columnist. However, the appeal of a white coat and the noise of a drill were enough for me to abandon my two year career as an advice columnist at Tufts. “Bec and Call” is my way to fill this void and to offer a resource to those applying to dental school. If you have questions and are unsure of how to find the answer; I will be at your beck and call!
Applying to dental school can be overwhelming. Between pre-dental course work, preparing for the DATs, sending out applications, and interviewing, it can feel like a full time job. Moreover, if you’re like me and the first person in your family to go to dental school, it can feel like you’re flying blind through the process. My goal of this column is to offer honest insights into applying to dental school and what to expect once you get in. As a former DAT teacher who is currently navigating her D1 year, I am well qualified to field your questions on this process. Coupled with the fact that I am a Queens kid with an overbearing Italian mom, I have no problem dishing tough love when necessary.
Questions can be submitted anonymously via Google Forms and can be on any topic related to the application process, course work, or what a day in the life of dental student is! Seeing as this is the first edition, I will focus on things that my D1 classmates wished that someone had told them while they were applying.
1. How important are DAT scores?
Most dental schools use a wholistic approach so one aspect of your application is not the most important. However, if you have a lower GPA than the average at a particular school, you want to have strong DATs to make you a more competitive applicant or vice versa. However, there is more to an application than DAT scores or GPA; volunteering, shadowing, and course rigor are taken into account too. So the take-away here is to do your best on your DATs but to remember that they are not the singular, most important part of your application.
2. What do you wear to an interview?
As a woman, interviewing was the first time in my life that I could wear the same outfit more than once and not feel guilty about it, so liberating! I wore a navy pants suit with flats, channeling my inner Hillary Rodham Clinton. However, some girls would wear dresses with a blazer. Most men interviewing wore suits and dress shoes. In terms of shoe choices, keep in mind that many interviews have a walking tour component so choose shoes that you feel comfortable walking in.
3. How do you balance interviewing and coursework?
It can be challenging to juggle coursework with interviewing. Most schools interview during business hours and on workdays, so you’re bound to have a conflict of some kind. My advice is to start to make arrangements early. Once you are offered an interview check your syllabi and try to get in front of any conflicts that might arise by meeting with your professors and explaining that you are applying to dental school. Most professors will be supportive and accommodating.
That’s it for this edition, submit your questions to the Google Form and good luck applying!