Your Pre-Dental Planner
All Work And No Play Makes A Dull Applicant
A great GPA and transcript strewn with A's is an undeniable plus to a prospective dental school. However, like college, it's important that you are well rounded and have other interests, both dental and unrelated.
Join an intramural or club sports team, write for the school paper, or create set designs for the drama club. Many activities show schools that you are multi-dimensional and interesting. Social environments imply that you can deal with many different types of people and situations. This shows potential schools that you value teamwork, work well with others, and can implement effective communication skills—all abilities necessary for success in dentistry. In addition, extracurriculars can also be a great way to relieve some stress and take a break from your academics.
Many schools have pre-dental societies. Your non-dental friends may call you a geek, but this is an excellent way to meet people with similar interests and goals. These organizations also offer several fun and educational activities. They often bring in guest speakers such as professional dentists with various areas of concentration, representatives from test preparation centers, deans of admission from dental schools, and current dental students. They also may provide review sessions or hints and tips for common classes.
Joining clubs or teams can be an invaluable asset to your future success. These organizations not only look great on an application, they also offer numerous educational opportunities and the chance to gain a ton of exposure, experience, and insight. You can make contacts through these societies, which may prove very useful in the future—specifically in your search for offices to volunteer at, dentists to shadow, or experts to do research with.
Plus, professors that work in the field often serve as advisors to such organizations. Thus, you will have a chance to establish a close relationship with a teacher outside of the classroom. Be nice to them, they will have tons of knowledge to extend... and think of what a great recommendation letter they will be able to write for you!
If your school doesn't have a pre-dental society you can start one, and even make yourself president! Contact the American Student Dental Association for details.