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2nd Time is the Charm- A Dental Admission Story

February 3, 2011

All ready for Dental School!

Reapplying for dental programs was still as grueling as the first time around.  But this time I knew first hand all of the work that goes into applying for dental school, so I hit the ground running.

After graduating in April 2010 from Eastern Michigan University I started preparing for the dental application that would open on June 4th.  First off my personal statement, how was it going to be different from last years?  How have I grown as an individual and a student in the past 12 months?  What will make me stand out amongst the other 2200 applicants?  Wanting to prepare a stellar essay, I fine-tuned and edited this essay almost everyday.  I asked for comments from my family, friends and previous professors to see what things they thought stood out.  Their feedback gave me a good idea of how this essay spoke of me as a student and individual.

In addition to my personal statement, I prepared descriptions of all my shadowing and volunteering experiences, along with my extracurricular activities including my job history during my undergraduate years.  Managing my own work was not the only thing I had to do, I also had to make numerous trips to my professor’s offices to see if they had enough background information to write a personable letter of recommendation and that they understood the AADSAS online electronic submission of the letter. Having all of this prepared in advance I knew would really help me for when June 4th rolls around.

Sure enough before I knew it, it was June 4th and even with all of my preparation I still spent 6 hours in front of the computer filling out my application.  It felt amazing when I hit the submit button (minus the outrageous cost of the application) and know that I could check that task off my list.  But I only felt that relief for a brief second because the next thing I had to conquer was the most intimidating, the DAT.   I had taken the test before, but I knew I could strengthen my score which would show dental schools that I was ready to endure a DDS degree.

Oh the DAT!  I don’t know anyone that doesn’t cringe at the sound of it!  You would think that after taking the test twice that retaking it wouldn’t be as scary, but it was even scarier.  As soon as possible I got my head in the game, and studied for hours EVERYDAY.  That was one of the things that I think helped me strengthen my score along with taking every practice test available.  I prepared, and prepared and finally took on the real thing.

Throughout the entire examination I felt confident but kept my eye out for details, focused on the task at hand, and kept moving through the computerized test.  Before I knew it I had a ten-minute break, sat down again, and then boom, it was over.  I waited and then felt success run from my head to my toes, I did it!  Never in a million years did I expect that success and it told me that you really can do whatever you put your mind to.

Even though I felt great about my application now, there was an inkling of uneasiness in my heart.  I was afraid that I might have waited too long to retake the DAT because it was already September 21st which is mid application cycle.   I knew all I could do now is fax an unofficial score report to schools and hope for the best.

Well I am very happy to say that the very next day I was invited to interview at U of M.  I had never felt so proud in my life!  U of M had been my first choice school from the start.  I had toured the school with my Pre-Dental Club at EMU and enjoyed every second within the facility.  I was really excited about the things they were doing there and the education I would receive if I attended this school.

I had three interviews this year, and none of them gave me more information or attention as my interview at U of M.  I thought I had done plenty of research and knew a good deal about their DDS program, but I learned a ton that day.  For example, I learned more about the pathway curriculum, the outreach opportunities, the research available, and the DDS/PhD program.  Another thing I really enjoyed during that day was the interview itself, or the MMIs (multiple mini interviews).  At other schools I was asked a couple ethical questions, but mostly I was asked to explain certain parts of my application.  That was not the case at U of M.  The questions forced you into the mindset of a professional, which in my opinion was the best way to see that I would be a fit individual for a health service profession.  All in all I was very impressed with the entire experience.

Needless to say, in early January I received a phone call from Pattie Katcher, Admissions Director at U of M.  She was happy to offer me a seat in the dental school class of 2015.  I couldn’t have been happier to receive acceptance from such a prestigious institution like U of M.

And that ladies and gentlemen was the making of a very proud Wolverine!

Jessica S. is a newly admitted D-zero and a recent grad at EMU.  She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and minored in Biochemistry and Spanish.  She currently teaches as a DAT instructor for Kaplan and works as server at J. Alexander’s Restaurant.

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