The journey of being a pre-dental student can be a long and stressful one! However, if you’re reading this, congrats! The first step to becoming a dental student is knowing that this is what you want to do. The ride to dentistry can be a long and daunting ride, so knowing that this is what you want, and being passionate about it, is extremely important. The second thing to remember is that every single journey is different. There are so many different majors, timelines, and routes that you can take to get into dental school so trust yourself and what you enjoy and follow that!
My first piece of advice to pre-dental students that are looking to get into dental school after their undergraduate studies is to stay organized! This can apply to a lot of steps in the process, but grab a good ol’ planner and a notebook that excite you and strap in! For your college courses, and beyond, I have found that having a planner and notebook to keep track of due dates, requirements, and assignments is essential. This also applies to dental school applications, as you can keep track of due dates for important application deadlines, pre-requisites as these can vary from school to school, and other important information for the schools you are applying to.
My second piece of advice is to play to your interests and strengths, and not to compare yourself to others in the application process. Yes, it is important to get involved and take the necessary classes that are required, but you can tailor your journey to what you feel you will excel in! Take electives and majors that interest you, and you will inevitably do better than if you tried to fit a certain mold just to get into dental school. For example, I majored in Biomedical Sciences but I minored in Spanish because it was interesting to me. Some of my current dental school classmates majored in things that are unconventional such as Economics, or Theatre, and they still got in! So, don’t feel like you have to only get involved in dental-related clubs or majors, you can truly still do what you like and get in.
My last piece of advice is to stay focused on your goal, but don’t let it consume you. College can still be a fun and memorable time, while also getting good grades and staying focused on your goal of getting into dental school. As long as you keep that passion and understand that your end goal is to become a dentist, you will succeed. Stay focused, do well in your undergraduate classes, but also join clubs and make friends and memories that will last beyond dental school! It is important to continue to be a well-rounded person, not only for applications and interviews but also for yourself!
Time moves so quickly, as I feel like I was just in the application cycle myself, and am now a 4th-year dental student. Enjoy each step along the journey as a pre-dental student, because time flies! Stay true to yourself, don’t be afraid to reach out to others and network or ask questions, and remember that you are a fantastic applicant in your own unique way!