• Ruhee Jaffer

Applying To Dental School

Updated: Jul 26, 2019

So you have decided to apply, and you want to be a dentist!

That is amazing because dentistry is a wonderful, fulfilling career. You know all the "checklist" must-do's for getting your AADSAS application together.


Trust me, I have been there trying to peruse the internet to see what other tips I could find to set myself apart. Let's face it, applying isn't easy. I have compiled an added list of items to think of when applying to dental school

1. Have a Mentor!

Did you know that you know that most successful people in every single field have mentors and personal coaches? Yup, even at the crescendo of his career, Michael Jordan had a mentor. Seek someone whose integrity, leadership and character intimately align with your ideal vision of your future-self. Most professionals are very open to this and can help guide you into becoming a successful individual.

2. Gain Experience

The best way to show your commitment to the field is through long term experience. Ensure that you really know what you are getting into by spending time shadowing general dentists and specialists. It is really important to diversify your experience - what I mean is don't only shadow your orthodontist, or only an endodontist, or only a pediatric dentist. Be knowledgable about your future field.

I highly recommend reaching out to your local dental association and letting them know you are a pre-dental student. Many local associations have mentorship availabilities, and will be able to connect you with dentist whom you may shadow.

For example, the California Dental Association and my local association the Los Angeles Dental Society have opportunities for pre-dental members to get engaged. CDA Foundation holds a CDA cares event every year. It is a great idea to help out at these events in some form or capacity to network and gain some more experience. The next CDA cares event will be held in San Bernardino on September 27, 2019 - September 28, 2019. Click the link and use the "volunteer now" button.

3. Be Passionate - about something other than dentistry

Surprisingly, many of us have interests outside of dentistry - shocking huh! Continue to be dedicated and involved in the hobbies you are most passionate about. It shows character and commitment. Going to dental school, I really appreciated the vast diversity of interests among my peers. An olympic swimmer, a pianist, a water polo player, a member of a band and many many more. Don't give up your non-dental non-academic passions.

4. Get Involved in your Community

So let me preface this - Dentistry is truly a profession rooted in service. What does this mean for you? Community involvement is mission critical to your long term success. This is a profession of giving. Your patients will always come first. A good way to prove that you are a good fit for dental school is to showcase your commitment to your community.

5. References Matter

Of all the things you do, please do yourself a favor and don't choose a random reference to vouch for your character. A well-known reputable "famous" faculty should NOT be your reference if they do not personally know you. One thing you really don't want is a copy-pasted template reference letter. Choosing your professors for your reference letters really comes down to how much they know you and can personally attest to who you are. Think about a reference letter as an affirmation to your credibility. The best question to ask when you are approaching a professor to write a letter of recommendation is "Are you willing to write me a personalized and strong letter of recommendation for me?" If you sense any hesitation, pick your ego up and walk out. A damaging reference can leave a deep scar on your chances at getting an acceptance.

Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions

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