Dental Guides

3 Things to Do Before Going to Dental School

Sometimes it's really difficult to know what work we want to do in life. Others seem to know from an early age what they are interested in, and will often tell family members what they are going to be when they grow up. Luckily, most of the time you don't have to make long term decisions about your career path until you are attending college or university. If you are interested in a career in the medical or health care field, you may want to consider becoming a dentist. The dental field offers medical professionals a chance to make a six-figure salary and dentists are well-respected within their communities. The graduate school program for dentists is challenging and admission to the program is a rigorous process, as only half of the individuals who apply are typically accepted.

Know What Courses and Majors Are Best

It's important to take the right courses during your undergraduate years if you want to be prepared for entry into a dental postgraduate program. You'll typically need at least two semesters of chemistry, physics, biology, organic chemistry and also English composition. A strong background in the sciences is definitely necessary. Each school may require additional specific coursework, such as anatomy and physiology. A lot of pre-dental students feel that they have to major in chemistry or biology. While many do choose these majors, prospective students might also major in music, art, social sciences or other fields. It's best to choose the major that's right for you and then demonstrate your dedication and love for that area of study. What's key is not only your GPA, but being able to show that you took challenging courses and excelled in your studies.

Know How You Will Finance Your Education

The cost of attending a dental school program is substantial. It's estimated that the four-year cost of tuition, room and board, books and other fees and expenses for an in-state program would be $151,000. If you are going to attend a private school, you could easily pay over $265,000 by the time you have graduated. While scholarships and grants may cover part of these expenses, you will still need to come up with the funds to pay for most of the training. One of the best sources for financing the high cost of your graduate medical school is to apply for and take out private student loans. These private loans, typically offered by banks, finance companies and credit unions, allow you to invest in your future and then pay the costs of your degree off over time.

Get Experience in the Field

When you commit to attending dental school, you are making one of the biggest decisions of your life. It's important, therefore, that you are sure this is the true path for you. One of the best ways to know its right is to get valuable experience in the field while you are still an undergraduate. You can do this in a variety of ways, and your interest and efforts will also impress members of the program admission committee. You can get great experience and insights into the field if you arrange to shadow a practicing dentist or specialist. This will give you a deep immersion in the day to day work and will also let you ask questions along the way. Another way to gain experience is to become an x-ray technician or a registered dental assistant. You can also volunteer in local clinics and perhaps even do international charity work as a volunteer.

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