The essay allows the admissions commitee to get to know you beyond the numbers. Those that have great grades and DAT scores probably will not need to put much effort into it. I know that my essay was pretty generic and I still got in. However those students that are on the border of acceptance, the essay could be the piece that convinces the reviewers to place place you into "the further review pile". The essay is where you can tell your compelling story of why you want to be a dentist, brag about the wonderful things you have done or shed light on some unique personal characteristics. The key is to be unique, write something that the commitee will remember. If you worked as a garbage man say it, but be sure tell the committee how this experience made you a better person and how it will help you to be a better dentist/dental student. Below I have compiled a list of ideas that you could talk about in your essay. Good luck in writing your essay!
- helping others - you have to say this!
- research experience - this will be important for those dental schools that are really research oriented like UCSF and Harvard.
- unique activities - equestrian, bowling champion, olympic meadalist, champion bird caller. Be sure to say how this activity strenghtened a characteristic useful as a dentist/dental student.
- artistry - dentists like to think they are artists. If you are an artist, that's a huge plus. You know, aesthetic dentistry is a really big thing now. Plus with all those tooth carvings and wax ups you 'll be doing, having this skill will make life easier for you.
- attention to detail - to make a perfect crown or prep you need to have this skill! Dentists take great pride in accuracy and precision.
- perserverance - denitstry is frustrating especially when you have to take 6 impressions on one person. You will have many moments in dental school that may momentarily give you the idea of quitting.
- good organizational skills - with all the lab work and didactics you need this skill to make it through. It's not the dental school is hard but they really load a lot of stuff on you.
- compassion - you are a healthcare provider now. You need to connect with patients and gain their trust. Trust is key, the commitee will like this.
- good listener - patients love to talk in dental school. You need to hear them out or they will never come back.
- revelation - you vacationed in Fiji and witnessed major oral surgery on queen Mlalalmmakkalua. All the islanders were grateful. You even got to suction. Now dentistry is your calling.
- volunteer work - any experience in dentistry is helpful.
- hard worker - this is already implied by you getting this far.
- odd job - it will make you stand out. Just be sure link the job experience with heigthening some quality of yours.
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