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One Year Post Interview- A D1 Perspective

October 8, 2015
Michael at his CVI last year.

Michael at his CVI last year.

To all the Upcoming Dental Applicants…I am excited for you!

I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since I applied to the University of Michigan School of Dentistry.  I remember my undergrad, the DAT, the application, and the interview process all too well.  While it was hectic, stressful, and often times discouraging, I am grateful for the experiences had and the lessons learned.

Being from Arizona, it was exciting and new to see the colors of fall, something I had only seen in photos.  Even more surprising was the bitter cold that hurt my hands and face when I stayed outdoors for too long!  Nonetheless, I had a gut feeling that Michigan was right for me.

I was impressed by the kindness, and warm welcome Michigan showed towards the incoming applicants.  During the interview, the faculty conducted a ‘getting to know you’ exercise in which I had the opportunity to learn about a few of my future classmates – some of them are good friends here with me now!

After a tour of the school, we were guided to a room where we began the Multi-Mini Interviews (MMI).  The biggest message I wanted to convey was of being genuine and true to whom I am.  I wanted them to see me for who I was and accept me because of it.  Once the interview process was over we were released to wonder and hope that we had represented ourselves well enough to meet the Michigan standard.

The upcoming months leading to December seemed to be a constant cycle of doubt and confidence, practically making it impossible to concentrate on my undergraduate classes!  There were weird moments when I was sure I wouldn’t get in to Michigan, I kept replaying the interview in my mind, thinking ‘I should have emphasized this more’.  But then there were times when I realized I had worked so hard, and my actions reflected my desire to attend Michigan.

November 30th arrived with great anticipation.  I remember thinking, ‘why is today going so slow?!’  I felt like a 5-year-old kid on the day before Christmas!  My pre-dental friends didn’t make it any easier to keep my mind off the time by discussing where they wanted to go.

The morning of December 1st finally arrived, and my phone was blowing up with messages!  My friends shared their successes by texting where they had been accepted, some had already heard from three schools.  Unfortunately, I had yet to hear from any school, most importantly Michigan.  8 o’clock rolled by, but I wasn’t initially worried because it was still early in the day – surely Michigan must have loads of people they were trying to reach and talk to! 9 o’clock…nothing.  10 o’clock, now I was getting nervous – should I call them?

I remember being more upset and frustrated at myself than any other time in my life.  I had worked so hard to get into Michigan, and now I was going to have to wait a whole year before I had the chance.  While I was happy for my friends, I was also slightly envious of their received acceptances.

11 o’clock came and went, and it was time to head to class.  Just before I pulled out of the driveway, my phone had an unmistakable ‘ding’ signifying I got an email.  Immediately checking it for good news, I saw that it was from Michigan!  I was cautious to open the email, knowing that if I had been accepted I would have received a phone call, instead of an email…were they rejecting me already?

I saw that it was from Pattie Katcher, who informed me that they had been trying to contact me throughout the day and that I needed to call her!  My heart started racing and I immediately dialed the number to the school.

Pattie picked up the phone, and once again, informed me that they had been trying to get ahold of me – stating that my phone number was not dialing through!  I expressed my gratitude for her taking the time to email me, and then waited to hear what she had to say…

Pattie started with a polite introduction, and then finally offered an acceptance into Michigan!  My wife, who happened to be with me at the time, was able to celebrate this moment with me and share my joy first hand.  There are only a handful of moments in life that you truly vividly remember, and being accepted into dental school is one of them!

When I applied, I had an idea what dental school was like.  Existing dental students told me, “you will have a lot of sleepless nights” or  “it will push you beyond your pre-conceived limits” – all of which are true!  Dental school requires a lot of time, attention, and sacrifice.  If you are willing to invest all three, you are set!

Although my experience at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry has been only a few short months, I am happy to be part of it!  I chose Michigan because it is ranked as the top dental school in the U.S. and 4th in the world, and I desired to build a strong foundational health care knowledge.

Dentistry is more than just filling teeth here at Michigan – you’re officially being trained to be the world’s best and brightest health care professionals.  Dentistry is not a trade, but a profession in which we have the opportunity to be proficient health care scientists within the oral cavity.

You can only do dental school once, make the right choice and hope that Michigan picks you to be a 2020 dental school candidate…good luck!

Michael Halcomb is a D1, happily married, Arizona native, and a Harry Potter fan. He also wants to remind you to check your phone number on your application twice!

  1. Dominique permalink
    October 9, 2015 6:07 pm

    Mike way to go you are amazing!!!!! I give you five stars! Love your story!!!!!

  2. Ally Gherkins permalink
    October 9, 2015 5:31 pm


  3. Kenny halcomb permalink
    October 9, 2015 12:58 am

    Michael is a dynamic individual and has many talents as a parent I am very proud of him and grateful to call him son and friend. He loves Michigan and being a great institution as Michigan is and a great devoted student as he is they fit great togeather, really it’s great to say go blue.

  4. Dominique graham permalink
    October 9, 2015 12:13 am

    Michael is Soo awesome!!!

  5. Another D1 permalink
    October 8, 2015 7:44 pm

    The fact you could write a public post including the phrase “dentistry is not a trade, but a profession” is a little revolting to me. To give context to those who read this post but weren’t present for the hour and a half long presentation given to the D1 class a few weeks back, this was a phrase used repeatedly by the dean of the dental school here. She came to us with a message saying that dentistry is “in danger of devolving into a trade”, and how we as future professionals need to protect it because people like “hairdressers or plumbers are lacking the drive” to learn like us. More than once she used the phrase “devolve”, putting dentists on a pedestal as if to say having a certain career defines you as a person; because people who work trade jobs are inherently uneducated. It was rude. It was ignorant. And I suggest you rethink how you judge people if you really bought into that nonsense. This is an amazing school with amazing students, and, for most of us, it isn’t a place for that kind of closed mindedness.

    • Michael Halcomb permalink
      October 9, 2015 9:40 pm

      Another D1,

      I want to sincerely apologize for you having taken my post this way. It was never my intention to cause offense, or make anyone upset. In regards to the lecture with Dr. McCauley, I gained a completely different perspective on what she had to say.

      I want to make it absolutely clear where I stand on this issue. I am in no way judgmental towards those that are involved in a trade. Having father who is an insurance salesman, a mother-in-law who is a tumbling coach, two sisters that are cosmetologists, and aunts and uncles involved in construction, I have never put myself above any of them and don’t plan to. I have recognized the respect and honor they have gained due to their accomplishments in their own respective professions, each of which required time and talent on their end to master.

      In regards to Dr. McCauley’s words, to me, the message she was trying to convey is that the dental profession is held to a higher standard of ethics than other professions, or “trades”, because of the seriousness of working with someone’s health. Dr. McCauley also stated that dentistry is more than just “drilling and filling”, but requires us to adapt to the ever-changing dental world. In addition, she stressed the importance of not letting the seriousness of this higher standard ever slacken and encouraged each of us to uphold it.

      If you have more questions regarding where I stand on this, I would be more than happy to have a conversation with you. Again, I am deeply sorry for any stress or frustration I may have caused. I should have been clearer on the message I was trying to convey.

      To those reading this post and desiring to apply to Michigan, I want to restate my excitement, and devotion to Michigan. The entire faculty is truly one of equality, diversity, respect, and inclusion of all backgrounds – which is what makes Michigan so unique! I am honored to add myself to the great legacy this school is recognized for.

      Best Regards,

      Michael Halcomb

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