Posts filed under ‘Application Process’

Webpage with tips for the dental school interview

Here’s a website I found with information about the dental school interview. Dental School Interview

It looks a little old as it discusses “Important topics of 2003-2004” but I think it would still be helpful for potential interviewees to get an idea of possible questions that may be asked. It also provides a few suggestions for answers. It also has tons of questions, more than I’ve been asked during my interviews. Do be sure to check SDN’s interview feedback spot. That’ll give you an idea of what questions may be asked for a given school.

When I interviewed, I checked out SDN’s feedback page on the school I was interviewing at. I copied and pasted all past questions onto a page, printed it and answered them in my own words. Since I get really excited from the nervousness of interview day, I tend to talk a lot and sometimes my brain shuts down and I end up babbling. For me, it was important to get an idea of what I was going to say. I knew I wasn’t going to be as articulate as I am on paper but having some focus was better than just yapping. Well, I still yapped but at least it was towards an albeit muddled point. If you know this area needs work, make sure you prepare whichever way works for you whether it be mock interviews with friends or visualizing the interview in your mind.

Also, it’s not necessary to have every single question memorized verbatim. There are so many questions, I don’t think it’s feasible to try to learn them all. You still get a very good idea of the sorts of questions will be asked from SDN. Just know yourself and trust that you’re a great candidate for the school. Know what you’re for and what you’re against, what sort of dentist you’re looking to be, etc. Also if you’re not sure, it’s okay to say so.

At my UOP interview, I told my interviewer the second we got started that UOP is my first choice. His response was that everyone says that and it did catch me a bit off guard. It didn’t shake me up too bad since it was the absolute truth and I was confidant in that. Then he asked me about specializing. I told him that I wouldn’t know until I had some hands on experience in each area. In fact, I actually brought up Columbia in my interview and afterwards, kicked myself over and over about bringing up another dental school during an interview. Though, it seems everything turned out pretty well in the end.

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February 26, 2008 at 11:10 pm Leave a comment

What is the last book you’ve read

I started reading The Great Gatsby yesterday. It’s a colorful, funny, and insightful book. I never got around to it in high school and it’s been wanting my attention for some time now. For anyone who hasn’t read it or want a great book to talk about during the interview, why not go with a classic like this one? If you have read it before, then you already know what it’s about. Just brush up on it and you’re set when interviewers ask questions like “What was the last book you read?”

When I applied in 2006, I was asked that very question during my Columbia interview. I didn’t have an answer. What went through my head was a series of thoughts along this line,

Maybe my organic chemistry text because I’m taking that course. Or maybe genetics, or … or heck, cell biology? Come on, that reads just like Russian literature. You know Crime and Punishment? Crime being I’m a pre-dent. Punishment being I’m a pre-dent.

Of course, what came out of my mouth was a stammering, “Well, I read Atlas Shrugged a while ago.” A classic, must-read on many a person’s favorite books’ list. This was a winner answer, right? Sure is. No doubt about that but it had been 4 years since I actually read it and since I didn’t think too highly of it as a work of fiction, I wasn’t very enthusiastic about my response.

I was again asked this question in 2007 during my Nova interview. Except this time, a year had gone by and I graduated college and spent my summer pursuing such things as biking, yoga, an intro piano course, ceramics, and of course, reading. I read a few Paolo Coehlo books: The Alchemist, Veronica Decides to Die and another classic, Watership Down. When the question of what my last book read was, I happily chirped, “I read The Alchemist by Paolo Coehlo over the summer and it really resonated with me. I liked the message it had.” or something to that effect. Although during the nervousness of the interview I could barely remember anything. Still, I was able to remember that because I really did like it. It was an honest, real-me answer. It’s not as flashy as Atlas Shrugged but in a half an hour interview, they just want to get a picture of you as a well rounded person. It’s not like if you read a bigger, wordier book, they’d give you a scholarship for being an awesome book reader. I’m sure the key is that you read “books” and understand it’s difference from a “textbook”.

Bottomline: Have a book ready to talk about. It doesn’t matter if you liked it or not. A serious, well thought out critique of the book whether positive or negative will be just as respected. If you don’t have the time, there’s always Sparknotes but be warned, it’s not as fun as actually reading the book.

P.S. For those who have read The Great Gatsby. Chapter 4, Mr. Wolfshiem, Gatsby’s “gonnegtion”, has cufflinks made out of human molars. Is that not the pinnacle of pimp?

February 24, 2008 at 8:59 am 1 comment

20 Questions with Dr. Lippman, DDS of Nova University

This is an interview with Dr. Lippman, DDS. He’s the assistant Dean of Admissions at Nova Southeastern University. In this interview, Dr. Lippman goes into things like what he and his staff look for in a potential student, extracurriculars, red flags, research, etc. It’s worth reading through.

Any other advice or tips on the application process?

The best advice I can give is to apply early!

I echo his answer as the best advice you can take during applying.

You can read the interview here: 20 Questions with Dr. Lippman, DDS

February 21, 2008 at 9:09 pm Leave a comment

A little bit of background on Dr. Student Dentist

There are lots of places I could start. In fact, I started writing in reverse chronology like in Memento but opted to start where all good starts start, the beginning.

I can’t say I always wanted to be a dentist. The only thing I did know was that I wanted to provide a service. It wasn’t until I started working at my step-father’s dental office in 2003 that I began to see dentistry as a viable career choice. For all my life, I had seen dentists as television and movies set out to portray them. When I began working with actual dentists, that stereotype was shattered. I wanted to do what they did but how to get there was the million dollar question.

I wasn’t really committed to dentistry until the fall semester of 2005 and it reflected in my grades. I didn’t know that then. To me, I had poor grades but couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong. Family troubles, an external locus of control mindset, a lousy record, and being able to mooch off my parents culminated in a general sense of apathy. I didn’t see why or how I needed to change while I continued to trudge onwards towards the mirage of getting into dental school. I had already taken all my prerequisite courses with B’s and C’s. There was also a D or two speckled in there for variety. Aside from the A’s I got as a freshmen and another I got in a summer business 101 class, my grades were that of a low B student.

Then during fall 2005, my senior year, I registered for physiology. This was my second upper division biology course; the first was microbiology and I earned myself a C+. I was a psychology major with a B and C in General Bio 1 and 2, respectively. Also, at my undergraduate school, this is rumored to be a tough course. It was. The professor was a huge b*llbuster and he liked to write exams asking for the most incorrect answer. With only 20 questions per exam, it wasn’t hard to have points lopped off left and right. I respected him right away. That wasn’t enough to get me to care, though, and I ended up with a 60 on the first exam. That was supposed to be the easy one. Then the second exam rolled around and I got a 30. With a lot of things in my life pointing to the fact that the only direction I was headed was to McDonald’s School of Burgers, a soul driving, passivity crushing discontent began to brew in my gut. I hated how things were going, the feeling of having little control over my life, and knowing I would never reach my dream of anything professional, let alone dental school. With that, I came to realize I just needed to start doing something, anything at all since there really wasn’t any place to go but up.

After my grade of 30, I spent some quality time with my good friend, box o’Kleenex. I made up my mind to not only not fail but to get an A in the course. I probably knew that was absurd with a 60 and a 30 but I set the lofty absurd goal anyways. My thought was, aim for the stars because even if I don’t get there, I’d still be amongst the clouds. I put everything into that class, really truly studying for the first time. It was different to say the least. For the third and final exam, I ended up with an 80. I walked out of that course with an A-. Later that week, I overslept and missed my a 200 level psychology final. I walked out with a C+ in that class. Baby steps.

With my appetite whetted, for Spring 2006, I signed up for as many upper division science courses I could see myself confidently handle. SuperC from the SDN forum once wrote about his academic turnaround and said, “… go big or go home…”. I made that my motto for getting into dental school. I knew if I could show that despite my lackluster performances of years past, I was capable of performing on par or better than those who’ve performed steadily then I had a good shot. And if not, I’d keep going until they noticed me. I put in another good semester with 2 As and 2 A-s in the upper division biology courses and a B- in my psychology statistics class. For the first time since freshmen year, I made the Dean’s List. For me, that was a big accomplishment and a notch in my academic bedpost. Confidence +1. I wasn’t overly excited since one great semester does not an awesome applicant make.

For the summer of 2006, I set out to apply and take the DAT. There was no point in pussy footing since I didn’t know what the outcome would be if I tried but I knew exactly what it would be if I didn’t. I studied like fiend, took my DATs and scored in the 99.9 percentile for my total science (TS) and 99.6 percentile for my academic average (AA). I applied and the rejections started piling up. In the end, I was interviewed at Columbia and University of Maryland. I was rejected from the former on December 1st and wait-listed then rejected from the latter.

I continued onto another year of undergrad and set out to show that I could do well and be consistent with my results. I did just that and reapplied later that year. I ended up with five interviews, one with the school of my dreams. I was accepted into my top choice, University of the Pacific, and now I’m waiting to start.

February 21, 2008 at 7:38 pm Leave a comment


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